Jewish Journal

Vista Del Mar breaks ground for new special-ed center

by Julie Gruenbaum Fax

September 8, 2010 | 9:38 am

Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services recently broke ground for a new education center on the campus of its special-education Vista School.

Founded as a Jewish orphanage in 1908, Vista Del Mar is now one of the nation’s largest comprehensive care facilities for children and adolescents experiencing social, behavioral, emotional, or developmental challenges. Its 45 programs serve about 6,000 children and families annually.

Al and Hedi Azus donated $1.3 million toward construction of the new building that will bear their name and established a $500,000 Vista Del Mar children’s fund.

Al Azus, who has been on the board for more than 25 years, was a client at Vista decades ago. Unable to stay afloat financially, he brought his two children to Vista, where they were placed in foster care while he searched tirelessly for employment.

Today he is the founder and president of Alna Envelope Company in Los Angeles.

“Like so many of us you have always placed a priority on education, and we have every reason to believe that Vista can become the best private, special-education school in California,” Vista Del Mar’s Board Chairman Carol Katzman told the Azus family during a groundbreaking ceremony last month. “Your gift provides a facility for children with special needs to learn and thrive, enabling them to leave Vista with the capacity and desire to succeed in the world.”

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