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May 9, 2006 > Chocolate Indulgence: Celebrating 30 Years of SAVE

Chocolate Indulgence: Celebrating 30 Years of SAVE

by Venkat Raman

Chocolate aficionados are in for a treat again.  Fremont based SAVE (Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments) will have their annual Spring fundraiser event on May 20, 2006.  This marks the 30th year of SAVE's existence and also the 10th year of service by Executive Director Rodney Clark.  A special combination indeed.

SAVE had its beginnings in 1976 and has always been a Fremont based organization.  It has helped victims of domestic violence over the years by providing temporary shelter and a process to rejoin mainstream society.  Traditionally the victims have been women, but increasingly men are receiving such help as well.  SAVE currently has a 30-bed shelter for a 90-day stay.  People who need help beyond those three months can get into one of its 15 apartments for another 18-month stay.  In addition, people may be accommodated in area motels and given transportation vouchers to overcome lack of availability of shelter space.  Sometimes, victims are able to live in their own homes with SAVE providing counseling and other help.  SAVE's counseling includes individual therapies as well as drop-in group sessions.  Any victim, whether or not from Fremont, may be served.  Though an autonomous non-profit organization, SAVE maintains cooperative ties into city services, especially the police department.  Chocolate Indulgence is one of two annual fundraising events.

SAVE is expanding this year's event from a 3-hour Thursday afternoon affair to a 5-hour Saturday evening gala.  The venue is changing as well, to ClubSport, Fremont.  Reception will be in the lobby between 6 and 7:30, followed by dinner and dancing in the gym.  The dinner will be buffet style to foster continued socialization through the night.  DJ Jim Ferguson will keep dancers on their toes with music.  Entertainment during the reception will be provided by Morningstar Altruists, a Jazz trio from Kennedy High School.  Highlight of the evening, of course, is the table of decadent chocolate desserts that have become the tradition of the SAVE events.  There will be sugar-free sweets to cater to diabetics, as well as non-chocolate desserts to provide for patrons with such needs.

During the evening, local artists M. Barta Atkins, Susan Helmer, Denise Oyama Miller and Cindy Sullivan will be displaying their artwork for viewing as well as purchase.  In addition to regular pictures and paintings, other items like jewelry will also be on display.  Anthony Ferguson of San Francisco based Cacao Anasa will discuss how he makes his unique artisan truffles and will offer samples.  Fremont based Red Skye Wine will be offering wine tasting.  Another fun option will be balloon poppers where helium filled balloons can be purchased and popped to retrieve interesting prizes inside.  There will also be silent auction to round out the evening with items such as a helicopter ride around the bay, a week's stay in a condo in Tahoe and lots of A's tickets.

Leslie McGarry, Development Officer and the main organizer of the event, has been with SAVE for a couple of years and is very enthusiastic about the program.  She pointed out the grim reality: "It is good that we have survived for thirty years, but it is sad that our services are still needed after all this time.  Domestic violence hasn't been eradicated."

SAVE's annual fundraiser, Indulgence: An Evening of Chocolate, Art and Wine will be on Saturday, May 20, 2006 from 6:00 to 11:00 pm at ClubSport Fremont, 46650 Landing Parkway, Fremont.  Entry fee is $85 in advance, $95 at the door.  Tickets can be purchased online, by phone 510-574-2262, or email

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