Professional Child Development Associates celebrated twenty years of serving children with autism or other developmental disabilities and their families at their ninth annual Harvest Moon Gala on Sunday October 1, 2017. It was a gorgeous, fall evening as what seemed like all of South Pasadena was out in force to support this worthy cause and to honor former Mayor and current councilmember, Bob Joe. A running theme of the night was that if you don’t know Bob Joe, you must be living under a rock, such is his presence in all things involving South Pasadena. Joe was being honored with PCDA’s Community Service Award for his unwavering support of so many organizations all over South Pasadena and Pasadena at the home of Mario and Therese Molina.
It was a stunning backdrop for an evening that was both fun and moving. Joe received Certificates and warm remarks from Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Mayor Michael Cacciotti, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Assemblymember Chris Holden, State Senator Anthony Portantino, and Mayor Terry Tornek. Echoing remarks calling Bob Joe, “fighting Joe” due to his relentless pursuit of helping others Barger said, “Bob Joe always gives 110% to whatever he does.” On behalf of South Pasadena City Council, Dr. Richard Schneider thanked PCDA for honoring Bob Joe saying, “anyone who attends our city council meetings knows what kind of person Bob Joe is. He’s thoughtful, insightful, sometimes funny, sometimes not(!), he teases a lot and he’s a lot of fun to have on the council and we are proud to serve with him.” Joe was obviously very honored and happily posed for photos with his two granddaughters.
The sumptuous meal was prepared by Chef Claud Beltran and Mistress of Ceremonies, Lolita Lopez set the perfect tone with her charm and compassion. The guests were delighted by the thoughtful poetry of California Poet Laureate, Dana Giola, and a moving rendition of “You’ll Be in my Heart” by the PCDA Children’s Choir.
Another on-going theme throughout the night was how much people value the work being done by Executive Director Diane Cullinane and the entire staff at PCDA. Family and friends of Ethan Uy sang the praises of the programs at PCDA and described how far Ethan had come since first attending the teen program. Ethan was awarded PCDA’s Achievement Award and he gave a beautiful speech that received thunderous applause. Ethan is attending Citrus College as a freshman with plans to transfer to Cal Poly Pomona to major in Engineering.
After a touching and often hilarious tribute given by his daughter, Bob Joe finally took to the podium to thank seemingly everyone he’s ever met in his life! All kidding aside, Joe was visibly moved and full of gratitude for those who influenced and inspired him to be in the service of others and he fittingly closed with the humble advice to “do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, for all the people you can, while you can.”
Proceeds from the well attended event will fund new and innovative therapies and programs at PCDA for children and teens with autism and other developmental challenges.
To learn more about PCDA www.pcdateam.org.