Spring brings renewal in different ways. One is the Venice community’s involvement to have fun while providing financial assistance to those in need. Today, more than ever, it is necessary for those of fortunate means to give of themselves. Venice has a long history of non-profit social services that count on the community for support. The following are ways you can help.

May 1st – A Window Between Worlds is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to using art to help end domestic violence. Celebrating its 20th year, AWBW has provided creative expression as a healing tool for over 60,000 battered children and women in crisis shelters, transitional homes, and outreach centers throughout the United States.

Art in the Afternoon is AWBW’s family and community event when their doors are opened to the community at large and offer art workshops all afternoon. This event gives everyone a chance to experience firsthand the healing power of art and to hear from a speaker how even one workshop can change someone’s life. In addition to art making, there is live music, games, face painting, a bounce house, petting zoo, balloons, live and silent auctions, and much more, including delicious food and, of course, an anniversary cake. Tickets are $45 with children under 12 free. The event is from noon to 4:00pm at AWBW’s Venice studio at 710 4th Ave. For more information, go to www.awbw.org.

May 7th – Celebrating its 17th year, the Venice Garden & Home Tour benefits the Neighborhood Youth Association’s (NYA) Las Doradas Children’s Center, a licensed care facility in Oakwood that provides full-time, education-based child care to low-income working families. In operation since 1991, the center offers “at-risk” children an opportunity for the care and additional guidance that prepares them to be effective learners, ready and eager to start kindergarten and to instill in them the values to become productive community members in the future.

The VGHT 2011 features thirty gardens and homes showcasing the distinctive vision of creative homeowners, architects and landscape designers inspired by the Venice Beach lifestyle. The tour will take you through our unique inland walk streets and the area known as President’s Row (named after Harding Ave., etc.). Tickets are $60 in advance and $70 at the door. The event is from 10:00am to 5:00pm with check-in at 804 Broadway. For more information, go to www.venicegardentour.org.

May 22nd – Celebrating its 32nd year, the Venice Art Walk & Auctions is the major fundraiser for the Venice Family Clinic, the largest free clinic in the country caring for more than 24,000 people annually. Eight sites now operate in Venice, Santa Monica, Mar Vista and Culver City providing primary care in addition to more than a dozen kinds of specialty care. There continues to be a great need to treat more patients and the Clinic is always looking for ways to expand services, reach more people in need and stretch resources even further. The proceeds from the Art Walk are one way of providing the Clinic as a safety net for the health care system on the Westside of Los Angeles.

You can support the Clinic by participating in the tour of 50+ artists’ studios and bid on more than 400 original works of art, including paintings, sculpture, graphics, photography, cartoons and furniture provided by Los Angeles area and Venice Art Walk artists. For more information, go to www.veniceartwalk.info.

June 11th – Celebrating its 35th year, St. Joseph Center motivates, inspires and empowers more than 6,000 men and women each year to build a better future for themselves, their children and, ultimately their community. By providing resources, referrals and personal support, SJC’s programs create a sense of hope for a new beginning that changes the lives of so many.

This year’s cornerstone fundraising event, “Voices of Hope” at the Skirball Cultural Center, will honor Jacqueline Powers Doud, president of Mount St. Mary’s College and celebrates the success and achievements of SJC clients as they strive to overcome the cycle of poverty and attain stability and self-sufficiency. The night will feature a cocktail reception, silent and live auctions, dinner and entertainment. For more information, call 310-396-6468.

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