Variety honors women for work for kids at Heart of Gold Gala

The Southern Nevada Variety Club Tent 39, a group dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with special needs, had their Heart of Gold Gala on April 11 at Paris Las Vegas. The event honored women in the community who have dedicated themselves to Variety’s mission. The gala, chaired by Kari Ayers, was titled “Hats Off to the Ladies of Variety.”

Among the works of the group are the Variety School for Special Education, the Variety Early Learning Center (a day care facility), and the John F. Miller School’s Liberty Swings for children in wheelchairs.

The gala was a journey through “Alice In Wonderland” as guests, including Donna and Tom Jenkin and daughter Jenifer; Linda Smith, Mark Tratos, Ken Wiles, Jason Smith, Tanesa Medlin, Celena Haas, Tom Mikovits, Gretchen and Zack Higgins, Alison Ozuna, Michael Aburas, Diane Hertz, Alan Vogel and Doreen Alvarado, were greeted by Lee Craner, chairman of the board, and two large white rabbits (Marco Landin and Heather Hyde) at the entrance.

Lauri Thompson, president of Variety, was joined by the Mad Hatter (Kenn McLeod) and Tweedledee (Jeremiah Munsey) and Tweedledum (Kyle Van-Son).

Guests had their photos taken with Alice in Wonderland (Lisa Fischel) as they participated in the silent auction while Kathy Kavanaugh played the harp.

Mistress of ceremonies was Collette Wieland of KVBC-TV, Channel 3. A video featuring early Las Vegas Variety activities and personalities was shown. Entertaining were vocalists Lisa Ferris and Stephanie Thorpe. Music was by Angela Chan, Jason Manlapaz, Ed Richards and Raymond Sicam. The featured entertainment was a magic show performed by Scarlette the Princess of Magic.

Don Pitchford conducted the live auction for a bottle of rare wine, and a live bunny with its own Rabit-Tat that sold for $150.

Recipients of the 2009 Gold Heart Awards in attendance were Barbara Dorfman, May Mushkin, Nancy Saitta and Irene Vogel. Each honoree received a leather-bound book of the works of Lewis Carroll. The same book will be donated to Variety School in their name. Ruby Collins, executive director for Variety Learning Center’s lunch program, was presented a check for $10,000.

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