Annual Gift of Life Gala

Event raised $156,000 for Mary’s Path

More than 200 guests attended the annual gala

More than 200 guests attended the annual gala

More than 200 community supporters stepped back in time to the 1940s at Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana, Calif., for our annual “Gift of Life” Gala. $156,000 was raised for programs and services that fulfill medical, educational and therapeutic needs for our teen residents, many of whom have experienced trauma from abandonment, abuse and neglect.

The gala began with a cocktail reception, where guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and mingled among authentic, historic aircraft and vehicles. During the reception, long-time Mary’s Path volunteers, Rick and Karen Purpura, received the Highest Impact Award. For the last 5 years, the couple donated countless hours of service to the charity, including helping organize the annual gala. Additionally, Mary’s Path Lead Social Worker Liz Mojica was honored for her 20-plus years of guiding and supporting the residents.

In addition, two heartwarming testimonies were shared, one from Jasmine, a former resident who was neglected as a child and then plunged into life as a homeless youth, shared how her life was transformed by Mary’s Path. The second testimony was from Christina, a current resident who recently turned 18 and is graduating high school, but anxious about leaving the residence to live on her own.

Platinum sponsors for the “Gift of Life” gala are the Dirk family and Banc of America; Gold sponsors are Peek Family of FLW, Inc. and Insperity; Silver sponsors are Liz Ryan of Surterre Properties, Precision Coil Spring and Sauté magazine.

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Equine therapy, Mary's Path

Equine therapy inspires growth and healing.

Horse therapy program helps residents learn about trust building

In March, we introduced our residents to equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP), thanks to the support from Zonta Club of Newport Harbour, an organization of professionals that empowers women through service and advocacy.

EAP utilizes ground work with horses and has proven to be a positive treatment option for individuals healing from trauma such as sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some benefits of EAP include: respect for self and others, boundary setting, empathy towards others, responsibility and accountability.

In the eight or 16-week program, our residents gain positive behaviors that help them navigate the complicated and stressful life situations they are facing. We expect to see positive changes in the residents and their ability to cope in a high-stress environment by evaluating their coping mechanisms prior to and after EAP.

Your Real Success

Your Real Success

“Your Real Success” helps residents take control of their lives and learn about their strengths, talents and abilities.

New dignity program teaches residents to overcome, succeed and thrive

A special thank you to St. John the Baptist Catholic School for helping fund our new “Your Real Success” program, a curriculum targeted for transition-aged youths who are overcoming pain and trauma.

The program was developed by author, speaker and trainer Rhonda Sciortino, who is also a survivor of abandonment, abuse and poverty. Rhonda started a nonprofit, Successful Survivors Foundation, that collaborates with child welfare organizations, churches, schools, and business and community leaders to help former foster care teens establish healthy relationships, mine the lessons out of their adversity, and create their own personal success. She is a spokesperson for Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice and for Foster Care Alumni of America.

“Your Real Success” is helping our residents understand their strengths, talents and the coping abilities they acquire through hardships, how to develop healthy relationships, and how to take responsibility for their lives.

Resident Jennifer shared while working through the six-week program that “this [program] helped me feel confident and good about myself.”

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