Newcomer’s Group Practices Philanthropy

Newcomer member Vibeke Rosenberg helps shop for children in foster care.

Newcomers is a women’s social organization that includes newcomers and long-time residents of Pacific Palisades and adjacent areas: Brentwood, Malibu, Santa Monica and Topanga.

When joining, people can select the arm of the organization where they want to participate. Most recently the philanthropy/community outreach group is practicing “Tis the Season for Giving.”

Members helped collect and donate 1,000 pieces of professional clothing for The Bodega Rack at Santa Monica College’s Back to School Wardrobe Drive.

Now the group is working on a holiday gift wish list for Happy Trails for Kids.

“Newcomers annually ‘adopt a kid’ to provide holiday gifts ranging from $50-75, specifically from their Wish List, so it is personal and special to them,” said Janet Rotner, who heads the volunteerism committee. “There are about 150 kids who attend a special short winter camp where they will get gifts.”

This year Newcomers have adopted 50 kids’ gift lists.

Happy Trails was founded by Palisades resident Pepper Edmiston, a Palisadian, to provide a summer camp experience for children with disabilities. The nonprofit now serves more than 500 children, ages 7 to 17 in the L.A. County foster care system.  The program is year-round and provides children with a sense of community.

“I heard about Happy Trails when Vittorio’s restaurant put a flyer at Gelson’s two years ago,” Rotner said. “It shows what a small community can do to help others in need.”

If Palisades residents want to learn more about Happy Trails for Kids or donate to the Holiday Gift drive, visit or they can contact Rotner ( The drive ends December 15.

“We are also supporting The Book Foundation/Make Good Inc., which I learned about through Happy Trails,” Rotner said. “They are in Culver City and work exclusively with kids in foster care. The Book Foundation creates book nooks (only new books) in low-income communities, Make Good Inc. provides new clothing at their pop-up stores, which Newcomers also helps staff.”

Membership is $25 for a year and includes a monthly newsletter.

To learn more visit: For an application, please email the membership chair at

Members of the Newcomers helped children in foster care celebrate the holidays last year.

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