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Do A Beautiful Thing — Tour Beautiful Houses

Heart of the Home tour benefits organizations that help East Bay needy children.

Would you like to tour a series of outstanding homes whose owners will share their beauty and commitment to a better world for children?

This weekend is the Children’s Support League's 23rd annual Heart of the Home Tour.

CSL of the East Bay co-chairs Jocelyne Birren and Debbi DiMaggio have overseen the selection of a circa-1900 Brown Shingle Arts & Crafts, a grand 1906 double-gabled Tudor, a pristine 1920s Spanish hacienda, a Classic 1920s Mediterranean and a dreamy Carmel-esque cottage that has sprung from a 1930s estate coach home. Docents from the community will be explaining the finer points, said CSL Board Member Jeanne Berres.

For the price of a tour ticket, attendees will tour these new and remodeled homes chosen by designers and architects for their style and sensitivity to the surrounding environment. In between, they will enjoy a boutique, lunch and can participate in a raffle at the Piedmont Community Center. The boutique has expanded this year to include 26 new and returning distinguished artisans offering sweets, home accents and jewelry, said Berres.

For the first 100 who opt for the VIP package, there is also a sixth home featuring breakfast with popular floral designer and author Ron Morgan.

CSL encourages everyone to support this year’s “backyard” charitable cause. “The need is very grave for many nearby families,” said Berres. For tickets in advance and a full description with photos of homes on the tour, visit www.WeHelpKids.org. On the days of the tour, tickets will be available for sale at the Piedmont Community Center, 711 Highland Ave., Piedmont. 

The annual tour raises funds for Alameda and Contra Costa County nonprofits that serve kids with all kinds of needs, from developmental to financial to family systems. The volunteer group raises funds – $165,000 last year and $2.5 million since its inception in 1986 – and allocates them to agencies around Alameda and Contra Costa counties.  Last year they provided funds to 24 agencies. This year’s recipients will be announced at the end of June.

In addition to the home tour, CSL members spend the year organizing a toy drive – this year it was specialized to meet the needs of caregivers who work with children – and preparing occasional meals for their selected nonprofits in between reviewing applications from worthy organizations.

“CSL screens its applicants carefully, and has become the go-to source for foundations who want to know more about service nonprofits,” said Berres. “We look to see how the funds are used.” 

Children’s Support League is open to all.  “We’re open to new members, and we’re encouraging people to join,” said Berres, who suggested potential members contact the organization via Web site or phone, or come to a monthly meeting, the second Tuesday of every month. 

Another perk offered by the Home Tour is the opportunity for sponsors to be listed in the tour book, which home owners keep and use throughout the year when they are looking for an architect, a plumber, a roofer …

”People hang on to them,” Berres noted.

Debbi DiMaggio April 26, 2011 at 04:10 PM
Thank you so much to all of the Homeowners who have graciously opened their homes up to the public. They are gorgeous! To buy your tickets stop by HIGHLAND PARTNERS at 342 Highland Avenue between 9 and 5PM. or got to www.wehelpkids.org - Thank you for your support! Debbi DiMaggio Co-Tour Chair Staffing Coordinator

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