Posted on 21 November 2013 by La Habra Journal
By Jennifer Nguyen
La Habra Journal
Nearly 250 people from La Habra and the surrounding communities got their jumpstart to the
Michele Byers, Monica Bocanegra, Lindsay Cecil and Ryan Hardy enjoy the HBIC Gala Saturday.
holiday shopping frenzy Saturday evening at the 27th Annual Gala Affaire and Auction, hosted by Help for Brain Injured Children (HBIC). The charity event was held at the Friendly Hills Country Club in Whittier in hopes of raising money to benefit the programs of the non-profit organization. Established in 1967, HBIC helps children and adults with disabilities with physical development, independent living skills, communication training, academics, and positive behavior support. Some of the things up for the silent auction included gift baskets filled with sweet treats, wine and champagne, Mary Kay cosmetic products, and jewelry.
“HBIC has always been proud to be able to maintain very low Administrative costs,” said Jason Cecil, director of development for HBIC. “For that reason, money from the Gala goes primarily to
Danny and Ofelia Hansen received the Friends of Children award at the HBIC gala Saturday.
programs in the form of materials, technology, specialized services, community based learning outings, and our highly qualified staff.” The joyous atmosphere was filled with excitement and laughter, with people placing bids after bids on a wide range of items up for the auctions. Blues and jazz tunes by artists like Frank Sinatra and Michael Bublė were also played throughout the night. Members of the community, including HBIC staff and board members, volunteers, as well as relatives of students who attend the developmental school, turned out for the elegant event. Cleta Harder, founder of the HBIC, was also in attendance Saturday evening, and was happy to see many people turn out for the fundraising event. “I hope they get a wonderful, gratifying feeling knowing that they’ve done something to help someone else,” she said.
Harder also later presented the Frank L. Scott Family “Friends of Children” award to Danny and Ofelia Hanson, a couple well-known for contributing to the community through donations and volunteer work.
Michelle Bunce , Erin Welch with her dog and Aaron Dillon take a moment at the gala Saturday.
Danny Hanson said it was an honor to receive this award. He credited his wife Ofelia for pushing him to continue helping out the community, describing her as “the most awesome person I’ve ever met.” “She works at the Boys & Girls Club, and she loves that club and those kids more than anything. When we got married, I told her I was involved with brain-injured kids, and my wife told me, ‘You know what? I’m behind you 100 percent,’” he said. La Habra Police Chief Jerry Price, who has worked with Danny on the executive board, said the couple were very deserving of the award. “They have been a tremendous asset to the community of La Habra,” said Price. The live auctions started towards the end of the night, with countless bids on a number of items, including a Maltese puppy.
“Fundraisers, like the Gala, help to fill the gap in funding that HBIC received from contracts with various school districts as part of our largest program, the Cleta Harder Developmental Day School,” Cecil said. “As the economy continues to struggle and forces foundations to cut back on their grants to smaller organizations, like HBIC, fundraising and our private donors and small businesses play an even larger role in our success than they have in the past.
Karsen Camarena and Hailey Rodriguez help out at the HBIC Gala.
“It’s fine and dandy that we’re having a good time. There’s great music, there’s great food, and there’s great company, but the whole focus is the kids,” said Johnny Benavides, program specialist at HBIC. “What we’re trying to get out of this event is knowing that this is where your money is going – the children.” If you are interested in donating to HBIC, you may call (562) 694-5655, or go to: hbic.org.