Rachael Worby, artistic director and founder of the Pasadena orchestra MUSE/IQUE, was honored last night by Hillsides during the foster care charity’s Circle of Excellence dinner in Pasadena honoring volunteers and major donors. Worby, who for the last five years has brought musical performances to the children in Hillsides residential treatment services program, was awarded a Hillsides Community Angel Award by Hillsides Chief Executive Officer Joseph M. Costa.
“To see the transformation of the children in response to the music and to see them become musically literate has been truly amazing,” said Costa during the ceremony.
During her acceptance speech, Worby expressed her thanks, and told the audience that her goals are to not only expose the children to world-class musical performances but to let them know that they are valued and not forgotten. She also treated the audience to a performance of Bach’s Andante from Sonata #2 by violinist Julie Rogers and dancer Stephanie Kim.
Also honored during the evening was former Hillsides chief advancement officer Nancy Garni, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously. Garni, who passed away in October 2015, led Hillsides development department for 26 years and all total, raised $50 million for the agency. Costa remembered Garni for not only her fundraising talents but her “gracious heart and her friendship.” Garni’s daughter, Kati Farina, and Garni’s husband, Michael Seltzer, accepted the award in her honor.
Karen Whyte, a former Hillsides volunteer and member of the Glendale volunteer group Las Candelas, also received a Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously for her volunteer work at Hillsides Education Center on behalf of Las Candelas. Whyte, who was killed in a car accident this summer, was remembered for being the epitome of a great volunteer – kind, organized, in control, and giving. Twelve members of Las Candelas attended the event in her honor. Accepting the award were Whyte’s husband, Page, and daughter Tracy Shaw.
Three other awards were given out during the evening:
• Hillsides volunteer Pam Mahon received a Hillsides Angel Award for her efforts helping with the Hillsides gala and other activities;
• Kevin Wong received a Special Recognition Award for his work with the Hillsides Volunteer Network, a support group of Hillsides;
• Fellowship Monrovia was also awarded a Special Recognition Award for its work with the children who live on the Hillsides Pasadena campus.
Starting out the evening, Pasadena author and former Hillsides board member Dianne Dixon gave an emotional keynote speech of her life’s journey and how her experiences are echoed within her novels. Dixon’s latest novel, “The Other Sister,” will be published in November.
The Circle of Excellence dinner is an annual event where Hillsides honors supporters who have gone above and beyond. This year’s event was held at the Shakespeare Club in Pasadena.
Hillsides provides high quality care, advocacy, and innovative services that promote safe, permanent environments where children and youth can thrive. Headquartered in Pasadena, the agency and its affiliation with Bienvenidos serves 13,000 children and families in Los Angeles County throughout its 35 sites, including school-based mental health offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Baldwin Park. Foster care and adoptions services in approved resource family homes serve families in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. To learn more about both agencies, visit www.Hillsides.org and www.Bienvenidos.org. Visit Hillsides on Facebook @hillsideschildren, on Twitter @Hillsides, or on Instagram @HillsidesPasadena.