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Magical Evening Breaks Records

By Suzanne DeVore, 1/2/15 (source: Valley Courier articles on 12/7/14 and 12/12/14)

The fundraising event entitled “Share the Magic” had its most successful year yet due to generous corporate sponsors, community members, a hardworking staff and local vendors.

On Friday December 5th, 2014, the 24th annual holiday gala benefitting La Puente Home, hosted by La Puente, Valley-Wide Health Systems, Inc. and Adams State University’s Theatre Program, broke previous years’ proceeds record by a wide margin, garnering $78,000 in support of the homeless shelter’s many programs. Over the past seven years the events have raised more than $350,000 for La Puente.

Long-time corporate sponsors were joined by new ones as many in the Valley community contributed to ticket sales for the ASU Theatre Department’s opening night holiday production of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” directed by theatre professor Dr. John H. Taylor.

Audience members mixed and mingled at the reception featuring contributions from local vendors such as Chief Liquor and the San Luis Valley Brewing Company, and heard a testimonial from a La Puente client before seating themselves for an enjoyable twist on a beloved holiday classic.

“The work done by La Puente helps to support and sustain the lives of people who are much less fortunate than us,” said Gigi Darricades, Valley-Wide Health Systems’ President and CEO.

Of the total amount raised, $23,000 will go to La Puente’s Legacy Fund endowment in honor of Dr. David Svaldi, ASU President and his wife Virginia, long-time supporters of La Puente and particularly supports of the annual “Share the Magic” holiday gala presented in conjunction with the ASU Theatre department. For several years the couple, joined by Whaylan and Helen Lester, have funded and hosted the holiday play opening night reception and purchased “the house,” so that ticket sales benefit the charity.   Svaldi retires soon from his post as president, and he and his wife Virginia were honored Friday evening with a commemorative plaque and the warm wishes of all present.

“We wanted to take this opportunity to recognize the very generous and wonderful contributions of David and Virginia Svaldi,” said Lance Cheslock, La Puente’s executive director. “We discussed a way to recognize the contributions (to the Legacy Fund) and finally came up with It’s a Wonderful Legacy.”

The evening was a wonderful and special way to begin the holiday season.