Community Spotlight: Girl Scouts, Holiday Boutique, & Our Holiday Donors

January 8, 2024

The 14th Annual Holiday Boutique

On Saturday, December 16, the 14th Annual Holiday Boutique was held at our North Hollywood offices to serve the numerous clients from our Housing, Intensive Services and Mental Health programs.  A lot of joy was shared that day.  

The Holiday Boutique was created by Penny Lane Board Member Kathryn Bailey Cunningham and her fellow Jack and Jill of America, Inc. member, Deanna Thomas as a way to make the holiday season bright for as many of Penny Lane's clients as possible. It is a one day shop for FREE event where our families can pick 5 to 7 new items especially for them.  The items ranged from toys and toiletries to clothes and blankets. This year, the event had more volunteers, more donations and new donors serving hundreds of individuals who attended.

The day started with our donors and volunteers arriving with energy and purpose. The San Fernando Valley Divine 9 members and Kappa League youth began setting up and sorting the boutique as a local Girl Scout Troop from Glendale brought wonderful donation, lovingly wrapped, as well as food from Porto's for all of the volunteers! Our favorite school; Sylmar Biotech Health & Engineering Magnet led by Ms. Losa were setting up tables and sorting donations as our wonderful Girl Scouts were decorating the venue to make it more festive.

We were fortunate to have two of our amazing Penny Lane Board Members attend. Anthony Lee oversaw the setting up of tables and chairs along with fellow members of the San Fernando/Antelope Valley Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. The Kappa's always come through providing donations, volunteers, personal shoppers and set-up/cleanup work. He was also the catalyst to having the Divine 9 represented over the last few years as they too helped with set-up, clean up, personal shopping and donating! Most of our volunteers came from these organizations and for that we are forever grateful. Thank you to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority , Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity!

Board Vice President Katrina Rosales also brought wonderful bike donations, decorated, set up stations and worked with the clients and staff!

We gained a new supporter this year with the wonderful addition of Pat Tallman. Through the “BE A SANTA” program, she collected funds to purchase some of the gifts. She was so amazing organizing the stations, greeting the clients and volunteers, decorating and spreading joy!  We are so grateful for the help of this amazing lady that for over 30 years has helped us collect donations, so we can provide gifts for our families and make this holiday bright for everyone.

All in attendance were treated to an AMAZING meal lovingly donated by Suela’s Soul Food. Her staff made all feel welcome and full as holiday music played via DJ Edwin.

None of this would be possible without the hard work of Nydia Barakat! Through her efforts, palettes of donations were distributed and everyone had the most amazing time.

Thank you to all the Donors, Volunteers, and Penny Lane Staff! It takes a village to help the amount of clients that we serve but the community is always ready to come through for us and they do it with love, empathy and smiles.

Thank you for making this event a special one for our families. We look forward to the 15th Annual Holiday Boutique in 2024!

-Nydia Barakat, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos below!

Thank you Girl Scouts!

This fall we connected with a Girl Scout Troop that has been so kind and amazing.  One of their members’ mother Meghan worked with Penny Lane over 20 years ago and felt inspired to help again.  She said “I discovered what an AMAZING organization Penny Lane was over 20 years ago when I dressed up as an Elf to help my ex-boyfriend (Santa) hand out Christmas gifts to the Foster Tweens and Teens --- and I fell in love with Penny Lane.” She was regrets waiting so long to reach out again to offer her help  now she has a Green Girl Scout ARMY to help her! Meghan and her daughter Rachel  will be moving at the end of the year, but some of the other moms already said "We should do this every year!!!"  Thank you Meghan!  We are so happy that you reconnected with us.

Their mission is: "to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place." And so they helped make a better place at Penny Lane. In November they helped at our Thanksgiving event.  The girls (and parents!) had SO much fun organizing the bags and donations to hand out, shouting "Happy Thanksgiving!!!" to the families in the cars, and getting to know everyone helping like the wonderful guys from the fraternity and the amazing DJs who by the way kept all of the girls dancing!!!   In December at our Holiday Boutique event, the girls and parents organized all the toys for the children.  It was a beautiful scene seeing children looking for toys to help children in need.  Meghan said “ I think ALL our girls and parents felt privileged to be there and got a true appreciation for their holidays which are normally very stress free in comparison to some of your families experiences. Thank you for including us so warmly and taking my cold call. I know the girls got so much out of this experience!

The troop likes to give back to the Community and we thank Meghan, the Girl Scout troop and their families!  Our families had a fabulous holiday because of your kindness and generosity.  It takes a village and your group helped us transform lives.

-Nydia Barakat, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos of the Girl Scouts!

Thank you to All Our Community Donors

Santa has his elves who help him get his Christmas on and we would be remiss at Penny Lane if we didn’t thank a few of our helpers who make the holidays merrier for our clients.  Ares Management, Houlihan Locky, Logix Community Stars, Coldwell Banker Realty (Brentwood), Counter Punch Studios Virtuous Games, Good Life Family Bike Club, Bike Angels, San Fernando Valley Woodworkers,  Fortress Investment Group and Allied are a few of the organizations that have filled our hearts with gratitude. There are so many other individuals and organizations that helped through their donation of time, money, and/or specific gift items for the youth and families that we serve.  All of you embrace the true holiday spirit and made smiles appear on many faces by giving of yourselves to those we serve.  

Penny Lane also thanks their staff, board members and volunteers who contributed selflessly of their time and energy this past holiday season.   Thank you all for what you did and what you will do in the future as we truly couldn’t do what we do without you.

Happy New Year!

-Nydia Barakat, Penny Lane Centers