By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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Photo by DAVID YAMAMOTO/Ventura County Star

Party guests don a stache to raise nonprofits' cash

March 7, 2015

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Wearing wigs of all colors and fake mustaches of all shapes and sizes, more than 200 people gathered for a Wig & Stache Party to benefit three local nonprofits that serve women and children in the Conejo Valley.

Presented by the Westlake Village Junior Women’s Club, Friday night’s fundraiser at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza was hoped to generate $20,000 for the kids circle program of the Cancer Support Community, the Conejo Free Clinic’s mammogram fund and the Many Mansions homework tutoring club.

“We used to support about 30 different charities and would give a little bit to everybody,” said event chairwoman Nicole Crutcher, of Thousand Oaks, who wore a waist-length, curly pink wig Friday night.

“About two years ago, we decided to refocus our efforts ... and looked through all the organizations we were supporting and narrowed it down to three. We feel now we’re making a bigger impact instead of spreading it everywhere.”

The event featured a cocktail hour, dinner, dancing and a dessert room, as well as a special space for guests to take photos in their wigs and mustaches.

Funds were raised through ticket sales and a raffle, as well as bids on more than 100 action items, including 75 gift baskets.

Paul Green, an award-winning magician with the Magic Castle in Hollywood, donated his time to perform tricks.

“This organization commits itself to helping other people. They have many more organizations they support,” said Green, who lives in the San Fernando Valley. “I can help people dig a little deeper into their pockets and make the evening fun and memorable.”

The money that goes to the Conejo Free Clinic will help it meet its funding needs, which are solely dependent on donations, said Mara Romezi, of Simi Valley, a volunteer board member for the clinic who was at the fundraiser.

“We have a lot of funding needs because our patients are growing,” Romezi said. “We are reliant on the generosity of supporters like the people who attend this event.”

The clinic appreciates the women’s club’s efforts over the years, she said.

“They’ve been consistent in terms of their fundraising and their support of the clinic because they get to choose which charities they donate the funds to, so we’re very grateful,” she said.

This is the first year for the fundraising theme to be wigs and mustaches.

“It’s hard to get men to dress up, and who doesn’t want to wear a pink wig?” said Jessica Davis, of Newbury Park, the club’s vice president of spring fundraising who wore a long, curly pink wig she bought online for $12.

Kendon Studebaker, of Thousand Oaks, had the 1960s in mind with his fake mustache and mop-top hairpiece.

“I’ve got a little Sonny Bono in me,” Studebaker joked.

Catalina Hirsh, who donned a hot pink short hairpiece in a 1920s style, joined the women’s club six months ago to be part of a cause she could call her own.

“I’m a housewife and mother of four. My husband is the COO of a company, and everybody has their thing, so I was looking for something that belonged to me,” Hirsh said. “This club gives you so many opportunities to help others. They know their community, and it’s not just about writing a check.”

Every individual in the 60-member club goes above and beyond to give back to the community, Crutcher said, “and we have a blast doing it.”

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