Margot Anderson

Careers

If you’re looking for a career where you will get to make a direct impact on the lives of at-risk children and youth, then consider joining The Laurel Foundation’s team! The Laurel Foundation’s staff works alongside our donors and volunteers to further our nonprofit’s mission of empowering and supporting children, youth, and families affected by HIV/AIDS. As a member of The Laurel Foundation’s team, you will be able to engage in fulfilling work that makes an tangible difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.


Nonprofit Management Intern   

Time commitment:

One semester minimum, 15 hrs per week (Monday-Friday)

Position Description:

The Nonprofit Management Intern will support The Laurel Foundation’s mission of empowering children, youth and families affected by HIV/AIDS by building community networks, participating in outreach events, researching new sources of funding, soliciting in-kind donations, and supporting organizational events. Depending on your interests and skills, you may also have the opportunity to participate in other aspects of nonprofit work such as social media communications, grant writing, and event planning.

Responsibilities:

  • Be able to clearly communicate the mission, programs, and successes of The Laurel Foundation
  • Research new sources of funding that align with The Laurel Foundation’s mission and vision
  • Complete all tasks in a timely manner
  • Represent The Laurel Foundation at outreach and community events
  • Update and develop new outreach materials
  • Convey The Laurel Foundation’s mission across various social media platforms
  • Assist in fund raising campaigns and events

Qualifications:

  • Previous professional, volunteer, or classroom experience with nonprofits (preferred)
  • Strong attention to detail and time management skills
  • Exceptional organizational, communication, and writing skills
  • Able to take constructive criticism and confidence in expressing ideas
  • Basic social media knowledge and graphic design skills
  • Self-motivated and able to work with minimal supervision
  • Ability to plan, organize, and effectively present ideas to a group
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office programs and basic office equipment
  • Creativity and a great sense of humor

Benefits:

  • Gain insight into nonprofit management and structure
  • Network with local businesses and nonprofit professionals
  • Work with diverse populations in cross-cultural or multicultural settings
  • Build professional resume with tangible outcomes
  • Learn or expand current knowledge of the fundamentals of fundraising

Application Instructions:

Send resume and Nonprofit Management Intern Application to our Director of Volunteer, Lauren Franklin, at lfranklin@laurel-foundation.org

Margot AndersonCareers
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2016 Volunteer of the Year!

The Laurel Foundation is extremely fortunate to have the support of an outstanding volunteer base, who sacrifice their own personal time and resources to give back to children, youth and families affected by HIV/AIDS. It is only through this amazing group of selfless individuals that we are able to continue to provide free educational and support programs for the at-risk families we serve! It takes a very special kind of person to devote their vacation days, or take time off school, to volunteer, and today we want to take a moment to recognize one volunteer that has gone above and beyond even that high criteria.

Due to her incredible drive and dedication to supporting the families we serve, The Laurel Foundation is delighted to announce that our 2016 Volunteer of the Year is the one and only TATOR TOT!

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To find out more about Tater Tot’s experience volunteering with The Laurel Foundation, we started by asking how she got involved in the first place.

I first found out about Camp Laurel through my friend, Laura (Cheese). We were grabbing food after work one day and I mentioned that I was trying to find ways to get involved in the community. Hearing that, Laura said that I had to give volunteering at Camp Laurel a try because I’d be a perfect fit for the program.   Although I had never worked at a camp before, I knew that I liked working with kids from my experience as a classroom aid and working at a family family back in WA. The way that she spoke about Camp Laurel and the community it creates definitely got me interested, so I decided to apply. 

I’m so glad it all worked out, because my phone interview to join my first camp was rough! Right before I was scheduled to call the office, my car broke down, leaving me stranded in the Santa Monica Library parking lot. I had to answer interview questions while muffling the sound of traffic and dodging people asking for donations! 

Fortunately, despite her rough first call, Tater Tot showed to be a natural fit for our camp family and has been volunteering with us ever since. Not only is TaterTot an incredible asset to camp, she has also been an unbelievable support at our events throughout the year and at the office. No matter if its a project large or small, she never hesitates to step up and help out!
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Nothings prepares you of the amazing community that makes up the Camp Laurel family.

I remember at my first camp training they pulled me and the other new counselors aside right when the day started. When we walked in to join the rest of the staff, everyone started singing the “we love you new counselors” song, and I was blown away. I thought, “what the heck have I just gotten myself into?!”

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Since she joined The Laurel Foundation’s team in 2013, TaterTot has been a steady fixture at both camp and The Laurel Foundation’s year-round events. In fact, Tater Tot hasn’t missed a camp since she started volunteering at Camp Laurel!

In particular, I love the evening programs at Camp Laurel because you never know what you’re going to get with them! Anytime you run a big all-camp activity, you can be sure that something changes from what you had planned and that you’re going to have to be flexible and adjust. Thats one of the great things about volunteering at camp. I think, that you have to learn to let it go and just live in the moment. 
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We asked Tater Tot why coming back to Camp Laurel every year was so important to her, and her answer really touched our hearts:

I keep coming back to Camp Laurel because its so rewarding to get to know the campers through the different programs. As you keep coming back, campers begin to recognize you and you become a part of their lives. And every camp you get to know them a little better as well, which really gets you invested in these kids and their development as individuals. Its almost like they become a part of your extended family and every time you reconnect at camp is like a reunion.

My favorite part of camp is the unscheduled time you get with your campers in the cabins. Even though these aren’t the times when we’re doing all the fun camp programming, this is when you really get to know the kids you’re working with. When its just your cabin hanging out, they let you see their silly sides and who they are as individuals. This is when you really get to see them grow.

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TaterTot, the positivity, compassion, and dedication you bring to everything you do is an inspiration to witness. Thanks for being the amazing person you are! We’re so lucky to have you on The Laurel Foundation team!

Margot Anderson2016 Volunteer of the Year!
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February Donor Spotlight- Doug Wheeler!

This month we are delighted to recognize all that our amazing donor Doug Wheeler has done for The Laurel Foundation and the children, youth and families that we serve.
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Doug has been a wonderful support to our nonprofit for many years and always goes above and beyond to help out The Laurel Foundation in any way possible. Whether its connecting The Laurel Foundation to corporate sponsors, donating camp supplies for Camp Laurel’s overnight trips, or securing shoes with the support of Big 5 Sporting Goods for the children in our program, Doug has been a tremendous asset to The Laurel Foundation.
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Doug Wheeler has also been a driving support for The Laurel Foundation’s annual Ride for AIDS, giving his time, energy and financial support to ensure the event’s success. In addition to riding 50 miles along the Pacific Coast to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS and The Laurel Foundation, Doug is hands-down the biggest recruiter of Ride donors and supporters. When our nonprofit decided to no longer host Ride for AIDS in 2014, Doug kept the tradition alive by independently running Wheeler’s Ride for AIDS in honor of The Laurel Foundation, raising over $5,000 each year!
Doug, thank you for all that you do to further The Laurel Foundation’s mission of supporting children, youth and families affected by HIV/AIDS! We are so grateful to have you as a part of The Laurel Foundation’s team!
Margot AndersonFebruary Donor Spotlight- Doug Wheeler!
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Spring Family Camp


We are excited to announce that our 2016 Family Camp will be occurring May 6 – 8 (Friday – Sunday).  We have heard time and time again that the parents want a warmer camp (hence the date change) and a more “retreat-like” setting. Well … WE HEARD YOU! This Spring our Family Camp will be at a BRAND NEW SITE! Thats right, we will be hosting our first ever Family Camp program at the gorgeous Camp Stevens, located in the mountains of San Diego County.

We are incredibly excited for this brand new venture and know that you will be too. Our CEO, Margot  Anderson, explored the facilities of Camp Stevens late last year and took a ton of pictures, specifically to share with you. So prepare to get excited about this new site through a quick picture tour. Lets get going!

 

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One of the things that drew us to Camp Stevens immediately was its beautiful grounds and comfortable facilities.

Camp Stevens


This beautiful retreat-like camp will be more comfortable for our parents.  The facilities will give the parents a more relaxed setting, one that will help facilitate the formation of important support groups.

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The dining room is not only AWESOME, but the food is too!  Organic farming on site will teach both the children and parents how the importance of good food choices can be healthy and taste GREAT!


We also fell in love with the cozy meeting rooms and indoor programming space!  The parents now can sit by a fire, sip on tea and coffee, and munch on popcorn while participating in important discussions facilitated by our volunteer social workers.

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The comfortable cabins didn’t hurt either!

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Plus, how neat would sleeping in a fully equipped yurt be?!

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We saw at Jameson Ranch Camp this summer how great organic, homegrown food can taste while you’re up at camp. Camp Stevens, as mentioned, grows a lot of the food we will be eating on site, and additionally offers cooking classes! Now we can all learn how to cook healthy food that tastes GREAT.

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Just like summer camp … we will pick fresh eggs for breakfast!

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Best part of all (in our opinion) is that Camp Stevens offers all these amazing amenities and STILL has all the fun camp activities that we know and love here at Camp Laurel.

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High and Low Ropes


Climbing Wall

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Swimming Pool

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We could not be more delighted with this campsite and wish that we were at camp already so we can experience it all in person! Spring Family Camp is definitely going to be a program to remember – we hope to see you all there! So save the date and please join us May 6 – 8 for Spring Family Camp 2016!


Check out our video of Spring Camp and other 2016 programs!

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Margot AndersonSpring Family Camp
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January Donor Spotlight – Angel Flight West!

Angel Flight West has been a wonderful support to The Laurel Foundation for many years, providing free flights to Camp Laurel for our at-risk campers!

Angel Flight West is a non-profit organization of volunteer private pilots who provide free air transportation for families affected by life-threatening illnesses. Angel Flight West’s volunteer pilots donate their time, aircraft, and fuel costs to provide transportation to and from Camp Laurel for campers that otherwise would not be able to participate. In the past two years alone, Angel Flight West has provided 160 flights to the children, youth and families affected by HIV/AIDS served by The Laurel Foundation!

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We cannot be more grateful for our partnership with Angel Flight West! Its only thanks to the dedication of their staff and amazing volunteer pilots that many of our families are able to participate in our Camp Laurel programs and able to access the vital educational and support services that camp provides.

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See all of the great work Angel Flight West does for children and individuals affected by life threatening illnesses by visiting their website, www.angelflightwest.org or following them on Facebook. What an amazing organization!

Margot AndersonJanuary Donor Spotlight – Angel Flight West!
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2016 Camp Laurel News!

As you have probably already noticed, this has been a big year of growth and change for The Laurel Foundation. Our goal as an organization for 2016 is to take in the feedback we’ve heard from our families, Board of Directors and volunteers to improve our programs and make them even more impactful for the children we serve. Through post-camp surveys, informal conversations, and official focus groups, we have heard a LOT of amazing feedback thats given us great insight into areas that we can grow and improve for years to come. We can’t thank you enough for the insights you’ve all shared with us- its only thanks to your feedback that we can continue to improve as an organization!

So whats in store for The Laurel Foundation in 2016?
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2016 Family Camp

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We’re going to be kicking this year off with a big shift in our Family Camp programming. For the past couple of years, the biggest feedback we’ve received by our families and volunteers working with our adult campers, is that Camp Laurel really challenges our parents to step outside of their comfort zones through both the programming,  accommodations and weather. While we believe strongly in providing opportunities for our campers, both adults and children, to expand self-perceived capacities,  we feel that providing a space that can better accommodate our adult campers physical needs would allow them and the children to be more at ease and provide a more empowering environment overall.

With that feedback in mind, we will be shifting our Family Camp program to the spring and will be using a brand new site that provides a more retreat-like atmosphere for our adult campers, while still providing the camp programming we all know and love! The exact dates for Family Camp are in the process of being confirmed, but we know that it will fall in late April or mid May. Keep your eyes peeled for pictures of our brand new (gorgeous) campsite and a video site tour in mid-December.


Day Events

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Building a year-round community within the families we serve continues to be one of our main goals. To better support this goal, we plan on offering more day programs for the children and youth living in both the Los Angeles and San Diego areas in between our Camp Laurel programs.

This past year we were able to partner with AIDS Healthcare Foundation to provide an arts empowerment event for the girls aged 10-14.  Additionally this summer we provided our families with paddle boarding lessons at our Beach Day event and partnered with Positive Adventures for a day of family games and team building. We heard great things from our families about the effect of these one-day programs and they have made it clear that they want to see more of the same going forward.    

In 2016 we aim to expand our day events and continue to offer our families a chance to reconnect and grow together throughout the year. Be on the lookout for awesome events in your area!


CIT Retreat

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We love our CITs! The CIT program is without a doubt one of the most impactful leadership development opportunities we offer at The Laurel Foundation, and we want to help build it up even further! This year we plan on giving our new and returning CITs a special weekend retreat where they can come together as a unit and develop their leadership, communication, conflict resolution, and team building skills before working directly with the youth at Summer Camp as Counselors in Training.

More details about this weekend retreat are forthcoming. We could not be more excited for this one!


Summer Camp

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Our families can’t stop talking about how much our campers enjoyed Summer Camp this year! All the new activities- horseback riding, zip line, mountain boarding, and rocking climbing just to name a few- made for an incredibly fun and empowering program for the kids. Due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received, we plan on continuing the outdoor education focused Summer Camp program we kicked off this past year in conjunction with Jameson Ranch Camp.

With one camp at this new site under our belt, we have a clear idea of which areas we can improve upon, build up, and make even more special the next time around! A major thanks to all our Summer Camp counselors who gave us fantastic suggestions on how we can take this camp to the next level! Summer Camp dates will be in August.


With all these programs in store, 2016 is definitely going to be a year to remember! On top of the programs listed above, we will of course be having all the traditional events The Laurel Foundation hosts each year – Holiday Party, Golf Tournament, and Wine Tasting Benefit. There’s a possibility of even MORE events and programs getting tacked onto our 2016 calendar as well, so give us YOUR feedback on what you would like to see happen with The Laurel Foundation this next year!

Please contact us anytime at (626) 683-0800 or LFranklin@Laurel-Foundation.org if you have any questions or comments about our upcoming 2016 programs.

Margot Anderson2016 Camp Laurel News!
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World AIDS Day is Giving Tuesday!

 

#GivingTuesday is here once again and this year it falls directly on World AIDS Day!

Every year The Laurel Foundation uses Worlds AIDS Day to bring awareness to the ongoing fight against HIV and AIDS, and to support  the everyday challenges children, youth and families face due to living with this disease. This year World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for our volunteers, supporters and community to directly support the programs The Laurel Foundation provides for families affected by HIV and AIDS by pledging to become Sustaining Donors in honor of #GivingTuesday.

Last year for #GivingTuesday, over 20 individuals decided to support our nonprofit by becoming sustaining donors. Through their support, we were able to raise over $4,200 for The Laurel Foundation’s 2015 programs! This year we hope to double the amount of sustaining donors that pledge their support to the children and families we serve.

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As a sustaining donor, YOU choose your giving level, and your contribution is automatically deducted each month from your credit card or bank account. By choosing a contribution amount that YOU feel comfortable with, you will help to change the lives of HUNDREDS of children, youth and families affected by HIV and AIDS. Even $10 a month,  can make an incredible impact on the at-risk youth we serve.

What your dollars do!

So this World AIDS Day – December 1, join The Laurel Foundation in supporting children, youth and families affected by HIV and AIDS in honor of World AIDS Day and #GivingTuesday by becoming a sustaining donor. Visit our donations page to set up a giving plan that works with YOUR life.

1794710_10152669200389900_1371016510535254468_nOur hope is that you will spread the word through social media and email everyone you know to help us reach our goal.  PLEASE HELP US – SERVE THE KIDS – THIS #WORLDAIDSDAY – #GIVINGTUESDAY!

GIVE  and  SPREAD THE WORD!

Margot AndersonWorld AIDS Day is Giving Tuesday!
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November Spotlight- ScrollUp Consulting

ScrollUp Consulting has completely changed the face of The Laurel Foundation by creating a brand new website for our nonprofit! ScrollUp Consulting made designing a new site to better serve our clients and donors seem like a breeze, and created a beautiful new platform for us in no time at all.

Not only did ScrollUp Consulting create a simplified and modernized site that works across multiple devices, they also made sure that our website was secure, fast, and most of all, accessible. Its obvious to see why their company is considered a top contender in the web development, computer support, and cloud integration field!

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The Laurel Foundation was connected to ScrollUp Consulting through its amazing founder, Sellers Stough. Sellers, aka Celery, has been donating his time at Camp Laurel since 2001 as a camp counselor. Sellers has volunteered in many different roles within our programs and has been a wonderful advocate for our nonprofit within the community. We could not ask for a more dedicated, passionate, and supportive volunteer!

Thank you Sellers for all that you have done for The Laurel Foundation through your work as a volunteer and through your professional skill sets as a web designer. You have helped make such a huge impact on the children, youth and families The Laurel Foundation serves throughout the years!

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See all of the great work Sellers Stough and ScrollUp Consulting does by visiting their website, scrollupconsulting.com or adding them on Facebook. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them for all your web development and computer support needs- we could not give them a higher recommendation!!!

Margot AndersonNovember Spotlight- ScrollUp Consulting
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Why I’m A Camp Laurel Counselor

Working as a camp counselor has made me who I am today. Through volunteering at programs like Camp Laurel, I have gained confidence, found self-acceptance, and secured a happiness deep within myself that I would not have found otherwise. Although everyone has their own journey that brings them to camp, I wanted to share my personal story with you here.

It was on a dark and stormy day when I stumbled across Camp Laurel. Ok, so maybe not dark and stormy, but it was a memorable day in 2014 for sure! I was sittin’ on my fencepost, chewin my bubble gum (chew, chew, chew chew), playin with my yo yo (wee-oo wee-oh), when along came Caaaaaammmp Laurel. (Ah, couldn’t resist adding in a camp song!) Having a family member who passed away from AIDS, I felt an immediate personal connection to the non-profit and wanted more than anything to get involved.

I made it my mission as a newly adopted member of the Camp Laurel family to peal bananas, raise the roof, pop the corn, mash potatoes, and put a smile on all of my campers faces. I wanted to help them forget whatever troubles they may be grappling with, even if just for a while. I gave these kids a friend, someone judgement free who too wasted all of mom’s money on endless amounts of bazooka zooka bubble gum. But more importantly, I gave these kids someone who cared about them, because I know from personal experience how important having that caring person in your life can be.

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For the majority of my young adult life my sexuality was a secret weighing heavily on my heart. Fear of losing friends, fear of disappointing parents, and fear of society were major factors that kept me from accepting this part of myself. With time this secret broke my spirits and the shame I felt for being gay made me incredibly unhappy.

Whenever I was upset growing up my mom would say “Laugh. It makes you feel good. And if you can make someone else laugh, that makes you feel even better. Go make someone laugh today.” It only took me what, 18 years? but I’d finally decided to heed her advice. Make someone laugh…

I thought back to the last time I had tons of fun and made some awesome folks laugh and immediately thought of camp.

About eight-some odd years ago I went to camp as a camper and the memories that experience gave me are some of the happiest memories I have to this day. At camp I got to develop my communication skills with others. I got to try new things I’d never done before like canoeing, horse-back riding, and hiking across large expanses of uneven terrain carrying half my body weight in a backpack on my back (fun stuff, really, that last one in particular). But what I enjoyed most about my experience as a camper was that I was able to make life-long friends, have fun, and let my worries fly out the window.

Seriously, my biggest worry as a camper was the bug issue. I hated bugs then, and I’m not PARTICULARLY fond of them now. But how awesome is it that I can say with complete honesty that THAT was my biggest worry!

So several years ago I decided to go back to camp, only this time I was going back as a counselor. Fortunately for me, my experiences as a counselor did not disappoint.

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Volunteering at programs like Camp Laurel not only gave me a chance to get involved, but also offered me a judgement free environment where I could once again forget about the worries in my own life and just make a child laugh. In time I found myself tapping into these parts of myself that had been dormant for so long, waiting to break free. Acting silly, dressing in crazy costumes, singing and dancing to crazy songs; I felt happy and it felt amazing. The gratification I received over the years in return for all the silliness and hard work was far more than I’d expected. There’s no greater feeling in the world than watching a kid smile, and thinking “wow, I played a part in that.”

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As someone who felt different and isolated in my younger years, I found it fascinating coming back as a counselor  to see what diverse group camp brings together! The kids and many of my fellow counselors were a unique and awesome bunch from all walks across the globe, but at camp none of our differences mattered. What mattered at the end of the day wasn’t what made you different, it was what brought you together.

I made life long friends as a counselor, and without even realizing it, BOOM! (chicka boom), I’d grown into a more confident individual.

I’ve reached a place now where I’ve found confidence, self-acceptance, and happiness deep within myself and I know I couldn’t have done it without the self-esteem and confidence boost working as a camp counselor has given me. Laughter healed me just like my mom said it would and now, 5 years later, I am still bo diddly boppin’ back to my pizza shop and volunteering at summer camps across California, healing others, one laugh at a time.

-Dimples (aka Alishia)

 

Margot AndersonWhy I’m A Camp Laurel Counselor
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The Mad Hatter Party

Just in time for Halloween, The Laurel Foundation is hosting it’s first theme party…The Mad Hatter.  Held at the famous Lantern House in Venice Beach California, the event will have a hosted bar and food.  Prizes will be given out for the best costume and the best hat.  So whether you like to dress up or not, a hat is all it takes to come to this PARTY!  All proceeds will go to The Laurel Foundation and help to send children, youth and families affected by HIV/AIDS to our programs in 2016.

So save the date and purchase your tickets today!  Tickets are $50 and Sponsorships are available.

Hurry, as this party WILL SELL OUT FAST!

WHAT HAT WILL YOU WEAR?

DATE: SATURDAY OCTOBER 24, 2015

TIME: 7-10PM

WHERE: LANTERN HOUSE, VENICE BEACH, CA

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For more information please contact Ari Ruiz at The Laurel Foundation’s office – 626-683-0800

Margot AndersonThe Mad Hatter Party
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