From Maddi's Closet Children's Cancer Fundraiser November 12th at Dodger Stadium E-mail
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Children fighting cancer will benefit from a fundraiser sponsored by From Maddi’s Closet on Saturday, November 12th in the exclusive Stadium Club at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles.

The “Knock It Out of the Park” themed event is one of the major fundraisers for From Maddi’s Closet’s efforts to assist children fighting cancer.  In recent years, the local group has donated more than $400,000 to provide emotional and financial support to three thousand patients and their families and support with children’s cancer research.

“Childhood cancer is the number one disease-related killer of children in our country, and it is critically important that we increase awareness of what we can do to fight this terrible disease,” says Donna Holmes, president and founder of From Maddi’s Closet. 

Holmes has been actively carrying her message about the battle against children’s cancer to local groups. She has spoken with local Chambers of Commerce, service clubs, businesses and numerous other community organizations.  She is available to speak to groups that are interested in learning more about the importance of working together to improve the lives of children and families facing this difficult battle.

From Maddi’s Closet is a local nonprofit organization started twelve months ago after Madison Leslie Holmes lost her battle with cancer at four years of age.

Maddi’s family and friends began the organization to carry on the extraordinary spirit of generosity and compassion the young girl had shown to other children fighting cancer. Despite her illness, Maddi befriended other children undergoing treatment, and gave her own toys and clothing to those in need.  She asked her family to sit with other children who were more sick, frightened or lonely when they had no family members at the hospital.

Since its early days, participation in From Maddi’s Closet has grown, and the organization has broadened its efforts to support children with cancer.  The group raises funds for pediatric cancer research, and offers support to ill children and their families whose emotional and financial needs are unmet by other assistance programs. The group provides many services – from an annual toy drive to events and activities geared for patients at Children’s Hospitals in Orange County and Los Angeles.

From Maddi’s Closet also involves children in helping children. A Junior Advisory Board composed of middle school and high school students represents the organization at many public events, operates public awareness booths, hosts inpatient and outpatient projects, and assists at the annual We Can Family Camp for children with cancer and the recent Meet the Experts Event for patients and families, co-sponsored by From Maddi’s Closet and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

Ribbon Cutting for New Playground Equipment at Frontier Park E-mail
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Monday, 01 August 2016 19:30

City officials and community members gather for a ribbon cutting this past Friday as the new playground equipment was unveiled at Frontier Park. Earlier this year the city council allocated more than $714,000 for play area renovations that also include Anna J. Martin Park and the tot lot at the community gymnasium.

Join the Public Safety Dog Walkers Program E-mail
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Saturday, 09 July 2016 04:27

La Mirada~The next Captain K-9 meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 13 at Gardenhill Park, 14435 Gardenhill Drive, at 6 p.m. Dog owners and their pets are encouraged to attend.

The “Captain K-9” Dog Walker Watch program encourages recreational dog walkers to serve as an extra set of eyes and ears for local law enforcement.

Captain K-9 participants are trained to effectively observe and report suspicious activity while on routine walks with their dogs and how to best help dispatchers and deputies respond to criminal activity.

For more information on the Captain K-9 Dog Walker Watch program, contact La Mirada Safety Education Officer Mary Cipres at (562) 902-2986.

World’s Largest Swim Lesson at Splash! La Mirada E-mail
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The Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center will join aquatic facilities around the world for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson on Friday, June 24. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the event kicks off at 10 a.m. The free event aims to promote the importance of teaching children to swim and the message that “Swim Lessons Save Lives”.

Statistics indicate drowning is the second leading cause of unintended, injury-related deaths for children ages 1-14.  The World’s Largest Swim Lesson was created to support drowning prevention and water safety. Community members of all ages and swimming abilities are encouraged to take part in this event.

World’s Largest Swim Lesson spokeswoman, and four-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Janet Evans will kick off the event.  Participants will take part in a free swim lesson which helps send the message that “Swim Lessons Save Lives” Following the lesson, participants age 13 and under will receive free admission to the Splash! Buccaneer Bay Waterpark with a paid adult.

To register for The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson or for more information, call (562) 902-3191 or visit Pre-registration is encouraged but participants may also come early and register on the day of the event. Splash! is located at 13806 La Mirada Boulevard.

Hutchinson Middle School Student to Appear on National TV Cooking Show E-mail
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Friday, 13 May 2016 16:38

La Mirada~When a young child prefers to watch cooking shows on TV rather than cartoons, it has to be a sign of things to come.

La Mirada resident Bella Coonis will be appearing and competing on the Food Network's television program, Chopped Junior this Tuesday May 17th at 8:00 p.m. PT, after being chosen to appear on the show.

Bella went through an interview and tryout process to be considered and got the call late last year that she made the cut. She flew to New York City this past February to film her episode, but there is a hush-hush about the outcome of the show so you will have to tune in to find out what happens.

The 13-year old creator of fare is the oldest child of La Mirada natives Nick and KC Coonis, who have three other children. Bella is a big fan of the Food Network.

Her Mom KC told me, Bella has been in the kitchen since she was around two and didn’t think anything of her TV viewing habits at first. However, she knew something was up in later years when Bella would ask for kitchen appliances, such as torches and mixers, at Christmas time instead of toys.

She said her daughter “has a passion for what she does and it shines through.”

I asked Bella what one of first memories is of cooking or baking and she said making sugar cookies with her mom, “She inspired me. I loved watching her and I wanted to help her in the kitchen.”

She produced YouTube videos showing how to make such dishes as tuna casseroles when she was five years old. She was around “seven or eight” when she first began preparing complete dinners for the family.

Talking with Bella I sensed she gets a special joy out of pleasing people with her food, such as when she made spaghetti & meatballs for her Uncle Johnny, who apparently hadn’t had it prepared a certain way in a long time.

Bella attends Hutchinson Middle School and is an honor roll student. Her principal Sara Siemens said it has been low-key on campus because of the sensitivity of the outcome of the show but offered, “We are extremely excited for her and it is quite an accomplishment. It is especially enjoyable when our students take their passions and expand on them.”

As for her future, Bella said she would like to attend the Culinary Institute of America and get a business degree in hospitality. After that, she would like to open her own cafe.

See Bella’s casting video from last year here.

Recently, Bella entered a cooking competition at the Anaheim Citrus Festival. Her dish was her own original recipe called Indulgent Citrus Cake with Mascarpone Cream, and she won against an all-adult panel.

Everyone is invited to join family and friends for a viewing party of her episode "Go Fish!" this Tuesday, May 17th at 8:00 p.m. at Chili's, 1600 West Imperial Highway in La Habra.

UPDATE: Bella beat the other three contestants and was named a Chopped Junior Champion! Although she had a challenge in the desert round, she rose to the occasion to make La Mirada proud!


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