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Las Primeras are usually always first Richard Pena | Sat, Feb 05 2011 12:00 PM

We have often averred how fortunate the people of the South Bay are to have philanthropic units in our communities.

The gamut runs from the service clubs in our midst - from those who work out of churches to the women's organizations. At this particular time we are singling out one in particular, the ladies club known as Las Primeras.

For more than 60 years Las Primeras has been a formidable force in the South Bay giving financial aid to people and units who are in the business of helping others.

The literature tells us that the organization was founded by Irene Vitalich, a local resident. It originally was an auxiliary to the Children's Home Society in San Diego, a unit which placed children in adoptive homes.

The auxiliary held its first meeting in January 1950 at the San Diego Country Club. There were 24 charter members and they adopted the name Las Madrinas, which meant The Godmothers.

From the very beginning the unit formed something more than one more organization; they established a friendship among members that exists to this day.

This was a group of ladies who shared a common desire to support the community.

Meetings were held at the club for many years but lately meetings have been held in members' homes.

The club raised funds by holding theme dinner-dance parties and other methods, all proceeds going to help the Children's Home Society.

In 1973 the members of Las Madrinas felt that their interests and the needs of the community had changed. They decided to become an independent non-profit unit and divorced themselves from the Children's Society. There was a great demand for support from many South Bay organizations and the ladies thought their club, which by that time was well established, could better aid others. They changed their name to Las Primeras, literally The First Ones, and went to work.

Today Las Primeras is an organization of 130 active, associate and patron members. They continue to lend support to other units in the community and they continue to share the friendship that was established so many years past.

I met with two of these ladies, Stacey Scott and Kris Prince, at the Bonita Museum and they brought me up to date, particularly on the details of a coming event, their annual dinner dance.

Scott and Prince will chair this big fundraiser, titled Rock Stars Tour 2011. The music, we understand, will be from a band that features the tunes and arrangements of those others who made their mark in the early days of rock. This dinner/ dance will be held at the SD Country Club on the evening of March 26.

The ladies tell me they expect to raise somewhere in the neighborhood of $40,000, indeed a very nice neighborhood in which to be, particularly in these troubled financial times.

Nearly every cent collected will go into some of the unit's philanthropic endeavors. Various organizations and individuals submit their requests for aid and then this request is reviewed by a committee which will then pass or reject the request.

Some of the units that have been aided by Las Primeras are BETH, the horse riders who assist physically handicapped people, the Bonita Historical Society, Child Abuse Prevention Foundation, the Chula Vista Nature Center, George G. Glenner Alzheimer Center, the Salvation Army, the San Diego Blood Bank and many more.

I have attended many Las Primeras events in the past 20 years. They not only are for a worthy cause but they are also a lot of fun. Persons interested in attending Rock Stars Tour 2011 are asked to e-mail Sue Miller at szq@cox.net.


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