Union Station Hosts Pre-Gala Party at the Blacker House

2013 Gala Honorees Robert Floe with Claire and Mayor Bill BogaardUnion Station CEO Rabbi Marvin Gross announces the 2013 gala honorees.Gala Event Co-chair Rene Chiara, Patron Party Planner Yasmine Khalil, and Gala Event Co-Chair Margo KidushimScott Webster, Client Speaker Leilana De Los Santos, and Lori Webster, the couple who gave Leilana a job after she completed the program at Union Station.Charles and Rene Chiara, co-chair of the upcoming gala on May 11.Greg and Rondalyn Stanislawski at the Union Station Patron Party held at the Historic Blacker HouseSusan Futterman, Gloria Pitzer, board member Liz Trussell, and Rhodes TrussellBetty Anne, visiting from New York as the guest of patrons Marshall and Shirley CohenCary Moore, Board Member Jim Moore, Gail Maltun, and board member Alan MaltunJohn Oliphant, Marlene Oliphant, Dana Bean, and Gregg VonFempeUnion Station Board Members Liz Trussell, Diana Peterson-More, Karen Shanbrom, and past board member Gloria PitzerJoseph Saceric, Ken Garey, and Chris SisleyValerie Van Horn-Murphy and Tim MurphyHarvey and Ellen Knell, owners of the Historic Blacker House who graciously host events for various organizations like Union Station.Rabbi Marvin Gross, CEO of Union Station with Brandy Burnett

Article and Photos by RACHEL YOUNG

1:08 pm | April 15, 2013


Union Station Homeless Services hosted a pre-gala event on April 14 at the Historic Blacker House to honor patrons and present the honorees Robert Floe and Mayor Bill and Claire Bogaard who were chosen for their support of Union Station’s lifesaving work.

Union Station CEO Rabbi Marvin Gross thanked all the sponsors and event planners before introducing the special speaker of the event who brought a glistening tear to most eyes: Leilana De Los Santos.

Leilana is one of the success stories of Union Station who entered in 2003 from being in the penitentiary for the third time.

“I was homeless. I came out of the penitentiary and all my family had shut the door on me. But Union Station opened their doors to me… It was a beautiful door that helped me turn my life around… They gave me a second chance at life,” Leilana said.

The 12-step program called Sources helped give her life skills and taught her how to get a job by believing in herself. Her success story is that she was hired at Webster’s by Scott and Lori Webster six years ago and has now become the lead salesman and store manager.

“Its so good for us to hear [Leilana’s] story to remind us why were here having a patron party. It brings us back to what we’re working toward,” planner of the Patron Party Yasmine Khalil said.

Gala Event Co-Chairs Rene Chiara and Margo Kidushim announced that sponsors for the gala have already donated $300,000, making their goal of $400,000 seem very attainable.

“Without the support of the community, their generosity, their spirit, their dedication, we wouldn’t be where we are today. It really is a reflection of the commitment of our entire community,” Union Station CEO Rabbi Marvin Gross said.

Union Station has developed an effective system to help the homeless who walk into their doors rebuild their lives so they can go onto have successful, self-sufficient lives in which they are regular participating members of the community.

“Over the years since our inception in 1973 thousands of people have gone through our programs and achieved that goal. That’s very fulfilling and heartwarming and something that the whole community can really take pride in,” Gross said.

At the 5th annual benefit gala “A Place to Call Home” Union Station Homeless Services will be celebrating their 40th anniversary. It will be held on May 11, 2013 at the Langham Huntington, Pasadena.

For more information or tickets call 626-240-4559, visit http://www.unionstationhs.org/gala.html or email giving@unionstationhs.org.