, , , , , , , , ,

I always have a great time at a Working Wardrobes fundraiser, thanks to its effervescent CEO/Founder Jerri Rosen. Her magnetic smile lights up any room, and I know I am going to be impressed any time I attend a Working Wardrobes event with this amazing woman’s efforts in helping homeless and out-of-work men and women regain their dignity and get them back to work. This particular fundraiser, themed “Blue Jeans & Swing,” was held at The Shea Center in San Juan Capistrano, where 295 friends and supporters enjoyed music from the Swing Shift band, could choose to ride a bucking bronco, have their photo taken in western garb, take line dancing lessons from South Coast Dancesport instructors, and opt for a casino game or two for the cause. The turquoise tabletops with red kerchief napkins and large colorful boot centerpieces made for a striking event space, while the tasty pulled pork sandwiches, barbecued chicken and baked beans proved a tasty repast, thanks to Soiree Catering.

Following dinner, awarding-winning West Coast Swing dancers Liza Hillman and Ryan Crutcher showed us how it is done – wow! – and energetic emcee/auctioneer Larry Flynn encouraged guests to give money through the “Blue Jeans Dash” by signing their names on huge sign-ups on the dance floor. Rosen introduced, via video and in person, five men and women whose lives have been changed through their involvement with Working Wardrobes. Their stories brought the cause home and included Reginald Field, Desmond Rice, Cassandra Lewis, Elizabeth Calhoun, and Elvert James Blount. Also poignant was the launch of WW’s new program, VetNet, which Harry Humphries, who co-founded VetNet with Rosen, explained is a professional job training and career services program that is specific to veteran’s needs and job placement. Harold Eldridge, WW board member and VetNet Advisory Council Chair, assisted Humphries in a cash challenge for the program, which raised $52,000 for VetNet (net proceeds for the night were $150,000, including the VetNet challenge).

The live auction was great fun, with Wienerschnitzel’s Weiner Wagon Party for 50 and the trip to Vegas in a private plane both going to WW supporter Jana Turner, who paid $3,600 and $4,000 respectively for the items, and Chris and Rose Mayer won the adorable Savannah kitten (a new breed of cat that looks like a leopard) for $2,000. Rosen gave a shout out to volunteer and event chair Lynn-Marie Cooper before guests hit the dance floor to close out the fun affair and left with South Coast Dancesport gift certificates. A little swing is good for everyone!