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3 posts from April 2012


Eat, Play, Learn Luncheon a Big Hit


Chef Dean Carvalho

The first of three festive luncheons  (auction items sold multiple times at La Luz's fundraiser last year) known as "Eat, Play, Learn" was held last week at Rancho Mineiro, the Brazilian-inspired estate of Scott Smith and Marcelo Defreitas (indefatigable "Copacabana" and now "Noche en  Casbah"party chair).. 

With the ladies assembled at the large dining table set impeccably with silver and antique china, Arden Kremer led them through a tasting of a flight of premium olive oils.  Kremer is a professional olive oil judge and wife of former LL board member Phil Coturri.

 Dean Carvalho, who has taught at HomeChef in San Francisco and Ramekins in Sonoma (he was also visiting pastry chef at General's Daughter while Lisa Vitale was away having a baby) was the event's main attraction .  He entertained and demonstrated cooking techniques and professional "insider tips" as he prepared the luncheon.  Karen Adelson served as his right hand gal -- as  Kimberly Blattner said,  "She's as efficient as an OR nurse." 

 The menu included: Chilled pea shots with spicy crab; scallop, arugula and lemongrass pot stickers; and a deconstructed "NOT"  lemon meringue pie-- a luscious confection of toasted phyllo dough and lemon curd served with muscat wine.  Over the top moment was realizing and toasting the birthday of La Luz ED Yvonne Hall!


Arden Kremer conducting olive oil tasting


Holly Kyle learns flipping technique



Don Francisco's Story

Francisco Lopez immigrated to Sonoma in the early 1980's to work in field labor.  He was fortunate to eventually gain his permanent residency in 1990 through the Reagan Administration's Amnesty program.  He has spent the past 30 years working hard to support his family, and always used his 2 weeks’ vacation to visit his hometown in Michoacán, Mexico, where his wife of nearly 50 years and his eight now grown children still live.  He retired last year from the Sonoma Valley Inn where he had worked more than 10 years as a groundskeeper.  

He connected with La Luz Center in 2009 and a conversation soon began about his dream of becoming an American Citizen.  Although he has significant ties to his home country, it has always been his hope that his wife and children would join him in Sonoma.  Unfortunately, due to broken US Immigration Policy, this never happened.  Francisco says that “working with the staff at La Luz was what really motivated me to realize my hopes for citizenship.”  He worked with La Luz over the course of about a year preparing him for the interview, saving every penny and finally filing the application with the help of a La Luz family advocate.  Francisco was sworn in as an American Citizen on April 4th.  Congratulations Don Francisco!!



La Luz to conduct new Executive Director search

Our current Executive Director, Yvonne Hall, has spent over two years fine-tuning the business and professional fundamentals of La Luz.  She now feels we are ready to conduct a search for a new, long term individual to continue La Luz's work in empowering our community through education, leadership and self-advocacy.  

Executive Director Job Description