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Love was all around at Tennis Ball

October 16, 2004

Joyce Rudolph

The competition was stiff during the first Tennis Ball dinner dance.

But no one was near a court.

Instead, a superb array of silent auction gifts kept guests

running back and forth to the bidding sheets during the fundraiser

for the Family Service Agency, now known as Families First in

Burbank. City Manager Mary Alvord was mistress of ceremonies and

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welcomed the more than 200 guests to the Oct. 8 event at The

Castaway. A steak-and-salmon dinner was served and dance music was

provided by the band Orange Colored Sky.

Mayor Marsha Ramos presented Kermit Floyd, president of the board

of directors, with a Mayor's Commendation for his financial guidance

of the agency. Ramos asked guests to singing "Happy Birthday" to

Laurie Bleick, agency executive director, and also presented her with

a Mayor's Commendation for her tireless efforts with the agency for 3

1/2 years.

Proceeds from the dinner and tennis tournament, preliminary figure

is $70,000, officials said, will go to the agency's two programs --

the battered women and children's services and the Burbank Unified

School District collaborative programs.

The agency provides an outreach program for battered women and

their children, which provides counseling, peer support groups, legal

advice, food, clothing and emergency shelter.

In addition, the agency works with the school district on three

projects. Two projects provide on-site counseling services for all

three middle school campuses and the Community Day School, an

alternative school with 80 students from 12 to 17. The third

program, based at the agency's office, provides group counseling to

elementary age students and their parents.

Joyce Starleaf led the committee members buzzing back and forth

during the party, including Mayor Marsha Ramos, Janet Killian, Julia

Larsen, Pat Smola and Marie Brannon.

Ticktockers, like Elizabeth Starkand, of the National Charity

League, Burbank Chapter, escorted guests to their seats and blew up

balloons in colors of, what else, lime and white -- like a tennis

ball -- to go with the tennis racket centerpieces.

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