Laura’s House ‘Brighter Futures’ Virtual Luncheon Raises $70K

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Margaret Bayston and Patty Bucklen. Photo Credit Londen Productions

For the past four years, Laura’s House – a local nonprofit organization dedicated to domestic violence prevention and education – has held a Brighter Futures fundraising luncheon attended by several hundred supporters.

This year, the 5th annual Brighter Futures luncheon was to be held at the Balboa Bay Resort, but the coronavirus mandates made a large gathering impossible.

So, Laura’s House did the next best thing: they took their Brighter Futures luncheon online.

The 5th annual ‘Brighter Futures’ luncheon was held on June 26 and virtually attended by 200 people. It was chaired by Laura’s House Board Member Anne MacPherson, and highlighted the important work being done in the community to help educate youth about healthy relationships.

In line with its annual in-person luncheon, Laura’s House shared beautifully decorated tables, place settings and center pieces inspired by the brighter futures theme and designed by decorators from this year and years.

Virtual Table decorated by Kendra Scott of Fashion Island

“In light of the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders, we’ve seen an uptick in domestic violence cases in Orange County and beyond, making it critical – now more than ever – to support our community with the resources needed to live free of physical and mental abuse,” said Margaret Bayston, Laura’s House CEO/executive director, in a statement. “For five years, Brighter Futures has provided a platform to celebrate our loyal supporters and raise the funds needed to fulfill our mission of changing social beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate violence. Prevention education is key, and we’re happy to gather this group of supporters to share expert insight on healthy relationships and to empower our guests with the knowledge to be an advocate.”

During the event, a panel discussion focused on “What Parents Need to Know.” Panelists provided insight and counsel about teen dating and healthy relationships and covered a variety of subtopics including tech abuse, human trafficking, bullying and other unhealthy or harmful behaviors affecting today’s youth.

Panelists included Don Barnes, Sheriff-Coroner, Orange County Sheriff’s Department; Jennifer Ponce MSW, CHES, Prevention and Education Manager, Laura’s House; Dr. Adela Cruz, LCSW, Mental Health Coordinator, Anaheim Union High School District; Adam Doge, Founder & CEO of EndTAB and Veronica Stephens, Moderator and Community Education Specialist, Laura’s House.

Laura’s House also presented Brighter Futures Awards to community members who have demonstrated a strong allegiance to empowering youth, advocating for healthy relationships and spreading awareness about domestic violence prevention and education. Honorees included Makayla (Youth Leader Award), a high school student at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, and Sonia McClellan, an advocate for domestic violence prevention and education.

During the event, mixologist Neesa of Harley’s Laguna Beach showed guests how to prepare a Butterfly Pea Lemonade mocktail that aligned with the event theme.

A silent auction opportunity drawing included gifts from David Yurman, Balboa Bay Resort, South Coast Plaza, Lido House Hotel, Athleta, Alice & Olivia, Gorjana and several others.

The event raised $70,000 for Laura’s House.

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