By Alanna Shepard

The Rotary Club of Santa Monica will be presenting the 11th Annual Wine & Food Festival Sunday, October 7, 2018 from 4-7 PM at Playa Studios in Culver City. Enjoy premium wine tasting, a twilight buffet compliments of FIG Restaurant Santa Monica, exciting live and silent auctions plus live music. Rotary Clubs worldwide are turning their attention to the greatest human rights issue of our time: human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Therefore, the highlighted charity for this event is Saving Innocence, a Los Angeles based organization that helps underage kids who’ve been saved from prostitution to restart their lives with vitally needed support on multiple levels. Additional charities that will benefit are American Red Cross, END POLIO NOW, the Westside Food Bank, the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica, Meals on Wheels West, the Kenya Children’s AIDS Project and others. Last year’s festival raised nearly $100,000 which the club used to contribute to the above charities. For ticket information visit or call (310) 392-3654.

As part of its continued community outreach, the Rotary Club of Santa Monica has started the “Unsung Hero of the Month” award that honors community volunteers. This month’s honoree is Barbara Browning, RN. She was nominated by the staff of WISE & Healthy Aging for her extraordinary service. Ms. Browning volunteers three days a week with WISE & Healthy Aging in addition to serving on the board. One day a week she volunteers in the Emergency Center at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica where she retired ten years ago after overseeing the Quality Assurance efforts as a nurse executive for 46 years. She is very active in her Lutheran Church, where she and the former pastor administered a volunteer hospice program while she was still working full time at the hospital. A long-time Santa Monican, Ms. Browning helps a number of the WISE & Healthy Aging elderly clients with their shopping, accompanying them to doctor appointments, and even visiting with them when they are hospitalized. One elderly, blind client who is suspicious of people, is only willing to be joined by Ms. Browning when running errands. She has been known to take on doing laundry for an elderly client who became too weak after returning from the hospital. When she is not on the phone checking on senior clients, or out being a visitor to another, she also voluntarily teaches caregiver training to family members. She is master-trained to teach a nationally-recognized, evidence-based caregiver curriculum. Folks who have taken her specialty Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia course rave about her patience, understanding and support. Congratulations to Ms. Barbara Browning, Rotary Club of Santa Monica’s “Unsung Hero of the Month.” As this is a new recognition, the Board of Directors of the club are seeking nominations for the coming months. Please let us know who you believe is our next Unsung Hero. Contact Savi at 310.917.3313 or email us at

Recent past speakers include Chris Evans, MD who talked about Opiate Addiction, the drug problem in the U.S. and how we got here. Alan Smyth and Sarah Elander, of the Wine and Food Festival’s featured charity, Saving Innocence, addressed combatting human trafficking and modern-day slavery. It’s estimated that up to 46 million people are enslaved worldwide. In the United States alone, over 300,00 children are sex trafficked annually. Our most recent speaker was Susan Dunlap, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA). Ms. Dunlap’s 20-year career with Planned Parenthood has included work with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) leading advocacy efforts in battleground states across the country, as well as with Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) as a registered lobbyist ensuring that California’s public policy framework guarantees reproductive health and justice for all Californians. Dunlap also serves on the Board of Directors of equality California and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. PPLA’s 19 health centers provide comprehensive, reproductive and sexual health care services through 250,000 patient visits each year. In addition, PPLA also provides sex education to schools and communities throughout Los Angeles County.

Upcoming speakers include, actor, director, writer and producer John Kean who will discuss his award-winning film “After Auschwitz,” that follows six female Holocaust survivors trying to find a sense of normalcy in the United States. Peter Mullin will talk classic cars. Bruce Reznik, LA Waterkeeper Executive Director, will discuss “A Smarter Water Future for LA.”

The Rotary Club of Santa Monica is a dynamic group of business and civic leaders who have joined together to share fellowship and to support local and international charities. We are part of Rotary International which has over 1.2 million members in more than 33,000 clubs around the world. We are dedicated to service above self.

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