If you’re looking for the most compassionate people in the Orange County community, you’ll likely find them on the Childhelp membership roster, with Julie Thornton-Adams leading the pack as the chapter’s president. “Causes involving children have always pulled at my heartstrings,” says Thornton-Adams, who has been with the organization for eight years and “regularly celebrates birthdays and milestones” with other members who have become some of her closest friends. Hailing from Chico and having moved to Orange County nearly 35 years ago, she adds, “We live in Newport Beach and can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
Childhelp, established in 1959 by Hollywood starlets Yvonne Fedderson and Sara O’Meara, serves children affected by or at risk of abuse and neglect. “Two young actresses on a USO tour got started in the fight against child abuse and neglect, and have continued to be instrumental in leading the way and making better lives for our most vulnerable,” Thornton-Adams says. “They are the real deal and a true inspiration. Plus, I enjoy joshing Yvonne about her past boyfriend, Elvis Presley—a ‘very nice boy.’” The O.C. chapter, coming up on 50 years in 2020, is kicking off its celebration of the national organization’s 60th anniversary this year with its Diamond Jubilee Fashion Show and Luncheon at Fashion Island Hotel (tickets $175 to $50,000). To mark the March 14 occasion, Fedderson and O’Meara will be the afternoon’s honored guests and recipients of the Inspiration Award. The 37th annual event is the result of a collaboration between Childhelp and South Coast Plaza, which provides the latest runway looks from brands like Carolina Herrera, Roberto Cavalli and more. “Our chairs and volunteers continue to make this a successful sold-out event,” says Thornton-Adams. Indeed, the org proves to be a diamond in the rough for the O.C. community.