Pasadena Education Network Fundraiser Raised Over $20,000 Last Weekend

Amelia Chapman, left, Steve Cole and Tina PhamRuss Meek and Nancy Rose DuffordThe John Muir High School Jazz Band performAngie Uniu, left, her son Isaak Uniu, and her husband Scott UniuThe Paella Project serving classic Spanish paella Nury Arrivillaga, left, Tina Pham and Bernadette ColeEllen Harden, left, Scott Harden and Sara KimBegonia Bautista Beltran, left, and Elvia SotoKim Kenny, left, Mo Hyman and Jennifer H. LeeFrom left: Russ Meek, Diane Orona, Begonia Bautista Beltran, Scott Harden, Angie Uniu, Amelia Chapman, and Nancy Rose DuffordFrom left: Jon Fuhrman, Pasadena Superintendent Dr. Brian McDonald, Pat Cahalan, and Elizabeth PomeroyIngrid Kuo the owner of

By ANDY VITALICIO with DAVID CROSS | Photography by JAMES CARBONE

4:40 am | April 17, 2019


The Pasadena Education Network (PEN), founded by Pasadena parents in 2006 to promote family involvement in public education in the Pasadena Unified School District, raised over $20,000 during its 11th annual Wine, Beer and Spirits Tasting last Sunday, a fundraising event that also honored parent volunteers Begonia Bautista Beltran, Scott Harden and Angie Uriu.

During the event, Diane Orono was also recognized with the PEN Founders Award.

Nancy Rose Dufford, PEN Executive Director, said about 170 people attended the event which also featured both a live and silent auction, and international flavors provided by Amara, the Paella Project, and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Their goal was to raise $30,000, and Dufford said she’s confident they’ll reach the goal after all the proceeds from the auctions and donations are factored in.

“It’s a great event because it brings together parents from throughout Pasadena Unified School District schools and also PEN supporters,” Dufford said. “So it’s a great opportunity for parents to get to know one another, even though their children may be attending different schools. And one of the things I really liked about it was that we met some parents there whose kids are actually incoming kindergarten students. They came as a way of starting to develop their community and to be part of the PUSD and PEN family.”

Most of the parents who are PEN members started with the group when their children were in kindergarten, and up to the time the kids reach middle school and high school, the parents already know each other very well and get to see each other at such events as Sunday’s fundraiser, Dufford said.

“We have added on not just programs for elementary (school) but helping parents find the right middle schools for their students,” she said. “And then we just recently started helping them find the right high school for their students, and now we’re actually working to help them understand the college process.”

From a small group of parents in 2006, PEN has grown to over 1,400 members who support each other and help find resources to make it easier for more children to be able to go to school.

Throughout the school year, PEN conducts a number of parent orientation programs to discuss such subjects as choosing the right elementary school, middle school parent panels, high school options, and college-related information.

The group also conducts on-site parent engagement programs in coordination with PUSD, and school tours, assisted by PEN Parent Ambassadors now present at every PUSD school.

During the 2017-2018 school year, over 2,500 parents attended these school tours in total, PEN’s accomplishment report showed.

Between now and Saturday, PEN has arranged for about five tours at different schools and an open house event so parents can become familiar with their kids’ prospective schools. PUSD usually assigns personnel to assist PEN in these events.

For more information about upcoming events of the Pasadena Education Network, see their calendar online, www.penfamilies.org/calendar?view=calendar&month=04-2019.