Childhelp’s upcoming Holiday boutique benefits abused and neglected children


By Diane Y. Welch

The local chapter of Childhelp, a nonprofit organization that supports abused and neglected children, is organizing “Fantasia,” a holiday boutique and luncheon at the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club.

On Friday, Dec. 2, guests may browse the tables of about 24 vendors, each with quality merchandise perfect for gift giving. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. with complimentary bellini cocktails served for the first hour, and luncheon served at noon. The event ends at 3 p.m.

“Lovely Holiday gift items will be available for purchase,” said Michelle Teran, board member and publicity chair. “Everything from olive oil to sunglasses, to purses and everything in between,” she added. Teran has been a volunteer with Childhelp for 10 years, initially serving as the communications officer.

In addition to shopping there will be opportunity drawings and a silent auction. Included are sport packages; Del Mar Race Track tickets; a limo ride package; a Cohn Restaurant gift certificate; a children’s photography session with Leslie Hoffman plus a complimentary portrait print; skin and body care products; and lots more.

A live auction emceed by Scott Chodorow, a teacher at Torrey Pines High School, kicks off at noon. Teran anticipates that hot bidding items will be two in-home dinners served by local firemen at a Rancho Santa Fe estate home and an Olivenhain home, donated by members.

The luncheon is a major fundraiser for Childhelp, with 20 percent of all of the proceeds going back to the charity. Funds benefit the residential treatment services offered through the Merv Griffin Childhelp Village, and The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This year the San Diego chapter celebrates its 25th anniversary. The chapter helps fiscally sustain the village which houses up to 90 children and sits on 121 acres in Beaumont, Calif. One of its most successful programs is the special friends program. Childhelp members are matched with a child and asked to visit them a minimum of three times a year. This includes a Christmas program, Special Friends Day, and the child’s birthday. These relationships can be short or long lived.

In the case of former San Diego chapter president, Laureen Bolstad, who befriended a teenager – Ashley – the relationship spanned several years. Bolstad saw first-hand the instability in Ashley’s life and how she was moved from foster home to foster home.

Bolsted supported Ashley, financially and emotionally, liaising with social workers who helped Ashley make critical decisions about her future, said Bolsted. Ashley’s story has ended in success as she is now a young adult enrolled in culinary school and looking toward a brighter future.

Childhelp was founded in 1959 by Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, two actresses from the “Ozzie and Harriet Show” who were performing USO shows in Japan. When they realized that the streets were the home of the Eurasian children that no one wanted, they began a quest to save and protect them. As time went on, their focus changed to the United States where five children a day die from child abuse.

At the Fantasia event, Rancho Santa Fe resident Andrea Naversen will attend and will be honored with a “Love of a Child Award.”

Event tickets are $95 each. Included in the price is luncheon and beverages.

Contact Jeanette Arthur at to purchase tickets in advance of the date.