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Most guests took the South Pacific theme to heart at the Collaborative Courts Foundation’s second annual fundraising dinner at the Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach. I heard about “Some Enchanted Evening” through my friend Zara Cerni, who chaired the event and believes passionately in the foundation’s mission to provide non-violent offenders mired in substance abuse, mental illness and homelessness with judicial supervision through rigorously monitored rehabilitation services. Working alongside the traditional court system, the foundation has been very successful in changing lives.

The evening honored the following Collaborative Courts judges: Matthew Anderson, Debra Carrillo, Michael Cassidy, Deborah Chuang, Maria Hernandez, Richard Lee, Joe Perez, Wendy Lindley, Glenda Saunders, and Kimberly Menninger, as well as Commissioners Ronald Klar and Jane Shade. “It’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve done,” Judge Saunders said in her remarks to everyone.

Combat veteran Christopher Wright spoke, sharing that his life was a mess after serving two deployments in Iraq. Suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, anger anxiety and alcoholism, he needed help. He experienced an amazing recovery through the Collaborative Courts system and is working on a degree in physical therapy, which he will use to work in the Veterans Hospital. “Thank you, Judge Lindley and the Collaborative Courts system,” he said. “I’m a proud Marine Corps combat veteran and a proud graduate of the Collaborative Courts’ Combat Veterans Program trying to make a difference in the world.”

The fun affair gave the 150 guests an opportunity to purchase all kinds of items in the silent auction, thanks to participating vendors, who gave a portion of their sales to the effort. I loved the starfish thongs and broad-brimmed straw hats. The island-themed dinner was delicious, and the ’66 Sevilles rock ‘n’ roll band kept things lively. The live auction, overseen by emcee David Grant and auction chair/board member Laura Baratta, offered a Carrie Underwood performance at Staples Center and a one-week stay in a cottage in the Cognac region of France, among other opportunities.

Assisting Cerni were foundation board members Janet Buck, Robert Burnham, Hon. Joanne Coane, Solange Ritchie, and chairman Maureen Aplin, as well as the mothers and daughters from the National Charity League’s Monarch Chapter, who helped with registration. Cerni later told me the effort netted $70,000 for the Collaborative Courts Foundation, which helps fund the life-changing support programs.