Laura's House 'Ports of Call' Gala Raises Funds And Awareness for Domestic Violence Victims

Annual Charity Event Honors Orange County Sheriff and Prominent Family Law Attorney
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Newport Beach - California - US

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Sept. 28, 2018 - PRLog -- More than 300 guestsgathered Sept. 22 at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach to say "Bon Voyage!" to domestic violence at the Laura's House (  24th annualgala themed "Ports of Call."  The festive soirĂ©e raised nearly $580,000 for services benefiting domestic violence victims and was an opportunity to present special awards to Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens and Steven G. Hittelman of Hittelman Strunk Law Group LLP.

Funds raised will be used to support the Laura's House emergency shelter, transitional housing, community programs, legal advocacy services, counseling and resource center, prevention and education outreach programs for teens and more. Founded 24 years ago, over the years the nonprofit has provided services to more than 55,000 people.

"Every year when our passionate domestic violence advocates gather for our gala, it is inspiring to all of us at Laura's House. Our stretch goal is for society to no longer need an organization like Laura's House and we do hope that happens one day. In the meantime, providing emergency services to those in need, and bringing awareness and education to the community, are activities we pursue with passion," said Margaret Bayston, Laura's House CEO and Executive Director.

NBC4 award-winning reporter Vikki Vargas was the evening's emcee, following entertainment at the cocktail reception by the Ports of Call Dancers and Magician Johnny Wu. Guests also could vie for silent auction items and purchased opportunity drawing tickets for an exclusive trip for 6 to the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

Guests enjoyed a beautiful cocktail reception and silent auction, featuring unique items and a large Wall of Wine, featuring over 200 bottles of wine. After the gourmet dinner, Bayston and Gala Chair Laura Khouri presented the 2018 Crystal Heart Award to Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens for her endless dedication to the Laura's House mission. Bayston noted, "Your dedication to supporting and empowering our clients and your support of Laura's House has made a significant impact on our programs and our clients' safety. We so appreciate all you do for us and those we serve."

The 2018 Legal Leader Award was presented to Steven G. Hittelman for his unconditional support of the Laura's House legal department over the years through his law firm, Hittelman Strunk Law Group, LLP. Hittelman provides pro bono services even with the most difficult cases, trains attorneys to volunteer in domestic violence legal clinics, provides guidance to Laura's House staff, and supports Laura's House events through the year.

Khouri noted, "Steve Hittelman is a very special gentleman who has supported the Laura's House legal department in just about every way possible. We appreciate everything done by Steve and his firm."

Later in the program, an emotional recording of a child calling 911 for assistance and the role that our first responders serve was played for the audience, a reminder that domestic violence is an issue affecting the entire family. Attendees also heard first-hand testimonies from Sergeant Don Vogt and Sergeant Cruz Alday, local officers with the Orange County Sheriff's Department, who shared experiences they have faced dealing with domestic violence situations and the prevalence this issue continues to hold in our own community. Guests were asked to support domestic violence victims through the Rebuild A Life portion of the program.

A live auction rounded out the evening, with fabulous prizes such as a VIP Dinner for sixguestsat Chef Greg Daniels new restaurant, Harley Laguna Beach, box seats to Justin Timberlake at the Honda Center, luxurious Maui getaway, and an exclusive private yacht getaway that pulled in 55,000! The opportunity drawing winner captured an evening for six at the world-famous Magic Castle. Dancing concluded the celebration. Guests enjoyed a live band and musical entertainment by the Sensation Showband.

This year's sponsors included; Presenting Sponsors, Laura Khouri and Michael K. Hayde; Port of Monaco Sponsors, The Nancy and Geoffrey Stack Family Foundation, Port of Rio sponsors, The Jacqueline Glass Family, Haskell & White LLP, The Joe MacPherson Foundation, and Verizon; Port of Cape Town sponsors, Napa Foundation/The Busch Group, Lucas Development Corporation, Neudesic, and Park Newport Apartments; Port of Bangkok sponsors Patty Cyr, Laura & Mark Feld, The Frome Foundation, Gessell Psychotherapy, Hittelman Strunk Law Group, LLP, IHP Capital Partners, Pat & Rick McAuley, R.D. Olson Development, Rutan & Tucker LLP and Casey & Tim Wolin.

Looking ahead, October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and Laura's House has a variety of initiatives and fundraisers through which advocates can become involved. Please visit to find out more.

About Laura's House

Laura's House is a nonprofit organization established in 1994 to provide domestic violence-related services.  It serves as the only state-approved comprehensive domestic violence agency in south Orange County, Calif., serving communities throughout Orange County and the surrounding regions of southern California.  Over the past 24 years, Laura's House has provided shelter with support services to more than 5,000 abused men, women and their children and non-residential direct services including 24-hour crisis intervention, counseling, life skills education and legal advocacy to over 55,000 persons.   The mission statement is as follows: Changing social beliefs, attitudes and the behaviors that perpetuate domestic violence while creating a safe space in which to empower individuals and families affected by abuse.  Services include an Emergency Shelter, Counseling and Resource Center, Children's Therapeutic Programs, Transitional Living Center, Legal Advocacy, and Community Prevention/Education and Outreach.  In 2017, Laura's House provided direct services to 3,821 persons and prevention/education and community outreach activities to 24,733 persons. To find out more please visit and Connect with Laura's House on Facebook (, Twitter (, Instagram ( and YouTube (

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