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Terry Gardner Headshot

The Dubnoff Center Continues To Help Kids While California Continues To Cut Funds

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Remember how Nero fiddled while Rome burned? That's how I felt when I read reports of how little the Sacramento legislature accomplished this summer. On July 11, 2009, Shane Goldmacher reported in The Los Angeles Times that: "On Tuesday, legislative committees considered a trio of food measures--the definition of honey, what qualifies as 100% pomegranate juice and creating a blueberry commission." Suddenly, I wondered if Nero might govern California better than that dysfunctional bunch in Sacramento.

A pomegranate assessment won't help restore funding for the nonprofit Dubnoff Center for Child Development. If the California legislature is too busy defining honey than ensuring sufficient support for mental health and educational facilities like Dubnoff, perhaps the private sector can step up and increase donations. When the former Dodger, seven time All-star, Reggie Smith, heard about Dubnoff's plight, he dropped his bat and picked up his golf clubs to help with Dubnoff Center for Child Development's 7th Annual Charity Golf Tournament.

Last year, Dubnoff generated 50% fewer donations, grants and fund raising. This led to layoffs and cutbacks in support areas such as sports, literacy and the arts. I knew California schools were scrambling to buy books and make up for budget cuts but I had no idea of the domino effect that these cuts have caused.

Dubnoff works with children with special needs that have been unable to succeed in public schools due to emotional disturbances, educational needs or developmental disabilities. In Twitterese these kids arrive with monikers like "unreachable," "hopeless," and "slow." But Dubnoff doesn't accept these handles. They see children that need their help, and Dubnoff's teachers and therapists will pour their years of experience and endless patience into these kids until they find the key that gets their educational motors running.

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Everyday Dubnoff Center's teachers and therapists are pulling children deemed "unteachable" back from the precipice of failure onto sure footing to become productive members of society. But now Dubnoff needs the financial support to keep creating these mini-miracles.

Sandra Sternig-Babcock, Ph.D., President and CEO of Dubnoff Center for Child Development says, "We're proud that we're not just effective--we're efficient. Eighty-eight cents of every dollar received from any source goes directly to the programs that help our children, with only 12 cents going to administration, fundraising and other expenses. That's among the highest efficiency rates in the non-profit world."

On Monday, October 26, 2009, Reggie Smith will not only serve as Master of Ceremonies for the Golf Tournament, he will hit the links to help Dubnoff raise funds to restore those programs that have been cut. The Tournament will be held at Mountain Gate Country Club on its championship golf course located at 12445 Mountain Gate Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049. Individual registration costs $300; Foursomes cost $1,100. Sponsorships are also available.

Hopefully, this golf tournament can achieve more in 18 holes than Sacramento can accomplish in 18 weeks.