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Verdugo Views: Oakmont remains in league with Foothill club

March 29, 2012|By Katherine Yamada
  • Foothill Service Club for the Blind member Walter Dorrance, right, demonstrated his leather craft skills at a 1951 sale of items made by members of the club. Oakmont League members organized the event, held at Sears. Oakmont members from left, Alice Van Roo, Lenora Vom Cleff, Pat Mann, Dot Jones and Evelyn Bertram.
Foothill Service Club for the Blind member Walter Dorrance,… (Photo courtesy…)

Back in the ‘40s and ‘50s, one of the most popular activities at the Foothill Service Club for the Blind was the craft program, which began soon after the club was founded in 1940.

The club grew very quickly and by the time this story begins, it had moved to a bigger place on North Glendale Avenue. At the time, two state teachers, plus a sightless instructor from the Braille Institute, were directing the craft work two days a month. Items were displayed and sold at the club’s annual picnics, often held in the gardens of private homes.

The club continued to expand and they soon outgrew their North Glendale location and found a larger place in the Thursday Morning Club on Cypress Street.

It was during this time that new state regulations forced the loss of the craft class teachers, wrote club historian Frances Brown Clarno.

But the club was loath to give up the craft classes, as they provided members with a skill, so they cast around for volunteers.

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A young woman named Pat Mann, a member of Oakmont League, stepped forward. She agreed to take over the craft classes and brought several other leaguers along to assist. Not only that, the league decided to help the club for the blind find a permanent home.

“The Foothill Service Club for the Blind has found a good and lasting friend in Oakmont League, which for more than two years has made the club its major philanthropy,” wrote Betty Preston, Glendale News-Press Women’s Editor, in 1948.

“This year, in addition to actual hours spent with club members in craft work, the league presented $3,000 to the building fund. The gift, more than half of the $5,400 proceeds from Gold Gulch, is double that given last year,” Preston wrote. The gifts were designated toward the purchase of property and construction of a clubhouse.

League members assisted with craft classes on the first and third Thursdays of each month at the Thursday Afternoon Club. They also served lunch to the craft workers one day each month.

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