Evening of ‘Hope and Laughs’ to benefit area nonprofits

By Alicia Doyle
Ventura County Star, October 21, 2009
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A beer-tasting of ales supplied by Island Brewing Company in Carpinteria and a comedy show by the Ventura Improv Company will highlight “Hope and Laughs,” a fundraiser Saturday to benefit area nonprofits.

Among the beneficiaries of the evening event is Ventura County Mothers of Multiples, an organization that provides education pertaining to the physical, mental and social developments of twins and other multiple births.

“Each year, our club looks for ways to raise funds for worthy causes and also to find ways to make the community aware that we are available for support and education for mothers of multiple-birth children,” said Laura Teague of Santa Paula, president of the Ventura County Mothers of Multiples and the mother of fraternal twin girls.

Recently, Amanda Armitage, a mother of 3-year-old twin boys, joined Ventura County Mothers of Multiples, which was founded in Ventura in 1952 as the Ventura Mothers of Twins Club.

“She is also a member of the Ventura Improv Company,” Teague said. “Amanda suggested that we work together with the Ventura Improv Company, which was also looking for ways to promote workshops and classes to the community. And the Hope and Laughs fundraiser was born.”

Armitage of Port Hueneme, a member of the Ventura Improv Company since 2001, hopes the event will help shine light on the unique group.

“Improvisational comedy is its own art form, very special, and the folks at Ventura Improv Company are very good at it,” said Armitage. “It’s made up on the spot, never the same thing again, even though some scenes we’d love to play over and over. As one of my fellow performers used to say, ‘We bring the funny.'”

A member of the Ventura Mothers of Twins Club since meeting her husband at the Ventura Improv Company and giving birth to twin boys, “I love both nonprofits and have volunteered my time with both,” Armitage said. “I want Ventura County and beyond to know about them and support them because they do great things.”

In addition to supporting Ventura County Mothers of Multiples, ticket proceeds also will benefit the Ventura Improv Company and The Fetal Hope Foundation.

“The Fetal Hope Foundation is our club’s philanthropic recipient for this year,” Teague said of the organization with a mission to provide information, fund research, increase awareness and offer medical information pertaining to fetal distresses and syndromes.

“Imagine the joy of a mother finding out she is pregnant with twins. Imagine the horror of a mother learning that her twins suffer twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome — TTTS,” Teague said. “In TTTS, there is only one placenta, and one twin does not receive enough blood and one twin receives too much. According to the Texas Children’s Fetal Center in Houston experts believe there are between 1,500 and 2,000 TTTS cases nationwide each year.”

For a donation of $25 per ticket, “attendees will enjoy beer-tasting from Islands Brewery, a chance to win some great raffle prizes and be entertained with a hilarious improv show,” Teague said. “This is an opportunity for an affordable evening out to benefit some great local smaller nonprofit groups.”