By Karen Billing
The Beach and Country Guild is hoping everyone will “Strike a Pose” this year in support of United Cerebral Palsy, San Diego at its annual luncheon and fashion show. The event will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
“We’re doing really well this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if we sell out,” said guild president Lynn Owen, who has been with the guild for 25 years and is serving as its president for the third time.
The guild holds several small fundraising events throughout the year, such as rummage sales and a golf tournament, but Dia Del Sol is its biggest fundraiser every year and its most successful.
The event will feature silent and live auctions, gourmet luncheon, and a runway fashion show featuring looks from Nicole Miller, Karen Millen, Ted Baker, GOGA by Gordana, Maggie B and Mister B. Mistress of Ceremonies is Kimberly Hunt.
Donation drawing items include jewelry from Tiffany’s, a Hermes scarf and reserved seating at Padres Opening Day 2013, among others.
Exciting live auction items include seven nights for two on the SeaDream Yacht Club Mediterranean Cruise, a three-night getaway at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, and seven nights in a private villa in Cabo San Lucas.
“One that is always a big seller and the women go crazy for is the dinner for six cooked by the Rancho Santa Fe Firefighters,” Owen said.
The Beach and Country Guild is in its 43rd amazing year of supporting United Cerebral Palsy. UCP’s mission is to advance independence, productivity and full citizenship of people affected by cerebral palsy. Their mission includes everything from assisting someone in finding their first job, helping a child express himself through technology to breaking down barriers so all people can fully participate in the community.
“It’s such a relief for parents of kids with cerebral palsy,” said Owen, noting that once people with CP turn 18 years old, there are few resources for them and that’s where UCP can step in to help.
UCP runs programs where young adults with CP are given job training and are put to work — one of the jobs is helping stuff envelopes for the Olivenhain Municipal Water District.
“It’s such an elation, to see how wonderful it is to have them producing something,” said Owen.
The guild started 43 years ago with a few women in Rancho Santa Fe who found out that UCP in San Diego County had no one to help raise funds. They held a tea to raise money and were inspired by the success of their efforts.
“They thought “If we really work at it, we can do more’,” said Owen.
Owen knew very little about cerebral palsy when she first started with the group. A friend told her about Beach and Country Guild and once she started participating and seeing the benefit the organization provides, she was hooked.
“It’s my passion,” said Owen, who says she is downright selfish and happily so when it comes to supporting this cause.
Part of Dia Del Sol is also a children’s fashion show, featuring children with CP. The smiles on the faces of participants is indescribable, Owen said.
Owen recently received a heartwarming email from the parent of an 8-year-old who participated in last year’s show.
“She said that it changed her daughter’s life, that she now realizes ‘I can be somebody, I have the ability to dress in a pretty outfit and have people applaud her just for being her. She said her whole life is turned around and she wants to do things, be out and that she is proud of who she is,” Owen said. “That e-mail just tore me apart, it was so wonderful and that’s just a small part of what we’re able to do.”
She said there are heroes at UCP changing lives every day.
Owen, a fine artist by trade, has been in charge of the decorations for Dia del Sol for “years and years” and she enjoys coming up with something different every year. One year centerpieces were composed of handmade paper, another used mirrors and one very funky year they had toasters plugged with flowers.
Her group of seven volunteers has been working once a week since June on the special centerpieces for the event. In her Del Mar home studio, centerpieces are striking a pose all over the place.
In her studio, on the tables and dangling from a wire, are 40 “girls” — little wooden models each painted bright colors. The wooden girls are each composed of 17 moveable pieces and 19 screws and bolts that were lovingly painted and put together piece by piece.
Each girl will be on an electric stand, turning and striking a pose at the center of each table. There will also be five, life-size girls and all of the artwork will be sold off at the end of the event.
Tickets are still available online at www.beachandcountry.org (or visit www.beachandcountry.org/dia-del-sol/).