Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Heroic fashions and a new era of bliss

By: David Laurell
Burbank Leader

Mayor Marsha Ramos cut the ribbon to celebrate the grand reopening of Bliss Unlimited in the Burbank Town Center Mall on Thursday evening. The event also honored Assistant City Manager Mike Flad for his years of support of We Care for Youth.

Originally opened in November 2005, Bliss Unlimited operates as a nonprofit subsidiary of We Care for Youth, a Burbank-based nonprofit organization founded in 1991 by co-executive directors Jose Quintanar and Linda Maxwell. Having moved to their new location, on the mallís third floor near Mervynís, Bliss Unlimited will now enjoy a much higher profile in which to offer their art, jewelry and other unique items inspired and created by young people.

The business started as a coffee brokerage in 1995 and then evolved into a retail store providing corporate gift baskets.

It was during that time that Quintanar and Maxwell proposed a business-to-youth mentor program in which teens would be trained in job readiness.

They then developed a curriculum on small-business management that offered high school course credit in exchange for work. Exceptional students were even offered the opportunity to apply for sales and management positions.

Among those who came to honor Flad and stayed to enjoy the food and music of the pop band Strange Radio featuring Greg Erba and the beautiful Kira Nichole were Fladís wife, Julie, and daughter, Bella, Vice Mayor Dave Golonski; Jim OíNeil, executive vice president of Crown Realty and Development who manages the Burbank Town Center; Sunder Ramani, president of Penta Resources; Burbank Chamber of Commerce President Gary Olson and Parks, Recreation and Community Services Deputy Director Teri Stein.

Others on hand included Dave Ramos, Arin Haghverdian, Diana Shaginian, Jeff Prutz, Joseph Solis, Marci Wacker and Diana Makosian.

From peaceful bliss to the roar of lions, this past Saturday saw models representing local Lions Clubs team up with Stein Mart as the service club organization staged the annual district 4-L1 luncheon and fashion show.

Presented with a superhero theme, the event held in the Castaway Restaurantís Mountain View Room gave members and guests the opportunity to shop with various vendors who donated a portion of each sale to the Lions Club.

On the local level, funds raised at Saturdayís event will support the districtís eye mobile, which is used to offer free eye screenings at community events, eyeglass recycling, Guide Dogs of the Desert and Canine Companions.

Along with the welcoming remarks by the event chairwoman Marcia Newyear and District Governor Yasin ďLuckyĒ Lakhani, the assemblage enjoyed, lunch, the fashion show and a modern dance performance by Danciní N Action.

Among those whose work and presence made the day a success were Past District Governor David Stewart, who served as the eventís master of ceremonies; Zina Lakhani, Janet Lowney, Joann Wayland, Pam Burdick, Lita Guidotti, Carla Schultz, Eva Hebebrand, Barbara Wood and Marva Murphy.

Others in attendance were Frank Wayland, Ron Burdick, Bill Newyear, John Mclane, David Santos, Justin Hillermann, Alannah Pique, Theresa Kitts, Chris Anderson, Robyn Lyons, Celena Johnson, Lindsay Harris, Jose De Hoyos, Jamie Ellis, Ginny Goodenough, Lita Guidotti, Mike Janiszewski, Sandy Madsen, John Severino, Jean Shimotsu and Bhavna Shodham.