‘Reality stars’ honored for their work

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 You probably remember Gloria and Margaret’s great performances with the [email protected] program – helping adults improve their literacy skills so they can assist their own children with homework and also balance their checkbooks, read bus schedules and deal with more of life’s daily reality checks. Racquel Decipeda and Robert Rayas were busy table-hopping. You certainly remember Racquel’s award-winning cameo with the juvenile community service program, helping troubled kids straighten out their lives. Rayas was there to pick up his award for starring in reality shows at the Braille Institute, AIDS Service Center and the Center for the Partially Sighted. And who can forget the performances that Vahan Shahenian and Bundid Buranasilin gave with AmeriCorps’ VISTA Job Readiness Program, or Estela Santana’s work with seniors and the elderly in the Valley? Linda Knutson won for her work with the Glendale YWCA Domestic Violence Project. Kathy Stoddard, Shirley Finley, Bev Rosen, Gladi Wilmes and Kendy Varnum took home the prize for their performances with the VITAS hospice program. The cast from MEND – Meet Each Need with Dignity – was there to pick up an ward for making sure no one’s child goes to bed hungry or cold: Lalit Windokun, Norma Santiago, Rose Matuz, Lidia Castillo, Mary Mendoza, Maria Elena Martinez, Daniel Sube, and Silvia Huerta. Great reality stars. The star of Guadalupe Community Center, Lydia Nassoura, joined Rochelle Henderson, the lead in Project New Hope, up on stage with the volunteers from New Horizons – where young adults with disabilities learn job skills that lead to employment in the community. Let’s hear it for Paul Elkins, Ted Barba, Mary Valente, Tobi Schneider, and Gloria Elgort. All of them reality stars. They didn’t have to survive in the jungle, eat worms, or find a rich husband to win their reality show awards. No, all these volunteers had to do was give their time freely to make life better for a lot of people in this city who can use the help. The ultimate reality show. They’re all stars who deserve our recognition and thanks, but seldom get it. If ever there was a man or woman who shouldn’t be lost in the shadow of a high-profile spouse, it’s Cindy McCain, wife of Arizona Sen. John McCain. She was in town over the weekend to accept the Wallis Annenberg Award for her work with Operation Smile, which has provided free reconstructive surgery to more than 90,000 children and young adults with cleft lips, cleft palates and other birth defects in 25 developing countries. McCain also founded the American Voluntary Medical Team, and has personally led more than 55 medical missions to Third World and war-torn countries, including Mother Teresa’s Orphanage in India, where she brought back two babies in need of medical attention in the United States. One of those babies is now a healthy little girl named Bridget McCain. “These are humane stories, people-to-people stories, without any politics involved, and I like that,” Cindy said when we had a chance to talk last week. “Traveling with these doctors, I’ve watched them do some incredible, remarkable things. I’ve seen them give poor children whose lives have been filled with nothing but taunts and name-calling their self-esteem and beauty back.” As the wife of a national politician, she’s had the opportunity to see how a lot of organizations spend their money, and how much of it doesn’t make its way to the people who need it the most, Cindy said. “That’s not the case with Operation Smile. The money goes directly to giving those children a better life. I really appreciate that. I think most people do.” For more information, log on to www.operationsmile.org. And finally, if you’re looking for a quick, fun read, check out Jack Lane’s “Gallery of Stars,” a compilation of the stories behind the hundreds of caricatures the Woodland Hills artist drew of famous people for the Hollywood Brown Derby’s Wall of Fame. “Just about every movie idol or celebrity passed through the doors of the famed Derby, and if they had reached the peak of their potential, a caricature version of their famous face was added to the Wall of Fame,” Lane says. To order the book, go on line to www.amazon.com, and type in the book title. Also, Lane will be autographing the book from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble at The Grove at the Farmer’s Market, 189 Grove Drive, Los Angeles. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Dennis McCarthy, (818) 713-3749 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Odds and ends from around the Valley: Some of the biggest reality stars in the business stopped by Sam’s Cafe in North Hills on Thursday to be honored by their peers. You may have seen some of their award-winning performances this year. No, not on TV. In real life. Gloria Santana and Margaret Sanders from the Volunteer Center of Los Angeles were there, chatting it up with the stars of dozens of other reality shows being honored by the San Fernando Valley chapter of Directors of Volunteers in Agencies. last_img