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Jewish Journal

The Circuit

by Michael Aushenker

October 31, 2002 | 7:00 pm

High priority

Oct. 17, 2002, will go down as a special day in the history of Aviva Family and Children's Services. That was the day when everybody came together to celebrate the dedication of the new Aviva High School and administration building, a facility perched on the foliage-flush corner of Franklin and La Brea avenues.

Before the ribbon-cutting and dedication, visitors were treated to a special program and tours of the new Aviva High, which is currently providing an education for 52 at-risk girls. By year's end, 84 girls will be enrolled.

Wendy Wolf, Aviva's board chair, introduced the indoor program while Rabbi John Rosove of Temple Israel of Hollywood and the Rev. Scott Erdman of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood made the opening benedictions. Also on hand for this proud occasion: Aviva's Associate Executive Director Ira Kruskol and Aviva High School Assistant Director Carolina Lluria.

Sharing Aviva President/CEO Andrew Diamond's big moment onstage before a packed auditorium was California's first lady Sharon Davis, who was joined by Mayor James Hahn, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Councilman Tom LaBonge and school board member Marlene Canter.

"It is about turning around lives an having them realize the American dream," said Davis, congratulating Aviva's staff and supporters. "You provide hope and healing to children who need it most."

"It is our job as elected officials to partner with Aviva and other organizations that share our mission," Yaroslavsky said.

Hahn, who with LaBonge promised to help secure another $400,000 in funding for Aviva, said, "We like to brag about how many streets we pave and trees we've trimmed ... while the success you have may take longer, its work is much more meaningful."

The politicians got a special treat when the Aviva Student Choir, led by Kim Marve, performed a rousing rendition of "Lean On Me."

"I really enjoy coming to work here," said teacher Inga Harris of the new facility, which has been operational since June. Harris spent the last year working for Aviva, which has other facilities on Hollywood Boulevard at Camino Palmero, as well as in Van Nuys and Panorama City.

The architects of the new school maximized building space, which includes a rooftop playground. A computer lab will be opening soon, but the new facility will provide a change of scenery for the at-risk youth, giving them a place to come to for their daily schooling, as opposed to being taught at their Aviva residences.

For more information on Aviva Family and Children's Services, call (323) 876-0550; visit www.avivacenter.org.

Davidson's Big Day

"Something Wonderful: A Concert Benefiting the Actors' Fund of America and a Tribute to the Centennial of Composer Richard Rodgers'" will honor Gordon Davidson, artistic director of the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum of the Los Angeles County Music Center, with the Nedda Harrigan Logan Award for his contributions to theater. Proceeds from the evening will benefit The Actors' Fund of America, a nonprofit organization founded in 1882 to provide for the social welfare of all entertainment professionals.

Performers scheduled to appear at the event, to be held at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State Los Angeles. on Nov. 9, will include Ian Abercrombie, Christine Andreas, Theodore Bikel, Carole Cook, Tyne Daly, Nancy Dussault, Mitzi Gaynor, Estelle Harris, Gregory Harrison, Marilu Henner, Michael Jeter, Jane A. Johnston, Dale Kristien, Lorenzo Lamas, Karen Mason, Marilynn Lovell Matz, Rod McKuen, Rita Moreno, Patricia Morison, Pamela Myers, Jack Noseworthy, Hugh Panaro, Valarie Pettiford, Stefanie Powers, John Raitt, Alice Ripley, Honey Sanders and Lesley Ann Warren. Mary Rodgers and Julie Andrews will serve as honorary chairs.

"Something Wonderful," a concert directed by David Galligan and produced by Emmy Award-winner Scott Mauro, with musical direction by Gerald Sternbach, will feature songs from Rodgers' 900-plus song career, including highlights from his partnerships with Lorenz Hart ("Babes in Arms") and with Oscar Hammerstein II ("Carousel," "South Pacific," "The King and I" "The Sound of Music" and "Oklahoma!" ).

For tickets, call (323) 933-9266, ext. 54.

The Art Of Schmooze

The Bell Family Gallery at the Jewish Federation's 6505 Wilshire headquarters opened its "Art & Artifice" exhibit, spotlighting a collection of Strauss-Peyton portraits. Collector Stephen White, who loaned the collection, the show's curator Judy Fischer and Bell Family Gallery namesakes Lionel and Terry Bell were among the guests at the kick-off reception.

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