Mary’s Path Raises $165,000 and Sense of Hope at ‘Gift of Life’ Gala

Aerial view of reception at Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana.

Fundraiser unites community to bring healing to abused pregnant teens and young mothers

More than 250 community supporters stepped back in time to the 1940s at Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana, CA for the Mary’s Path “Gift of Life” Gala, an annual fundraiser for the Tustin-based nonprofit that exclusively serves pregnant teens and young mothers. Funds were raised for programs and services that fulfill educational and therapeutic needs for Mary’s Path teen residents, many of whom have experienced trauma from abandonment, abuse and neglect.

“We are humbled by the support from caring men and women who come alongside us to help provide a very different and much improved future for Mary’s Path residents,” said Ellen Roy, executive director at Mary’s Path. “The gala is our best opportunity every year to raise critical funds that provide our residents and their babies with a safe home, education, therapy, life skills training and most importantly, hope for the future.”

The gala began with a cocktail reception, where guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and mingled among authentic, historic aircraft and vehicles. During the reception, long-time Mary’s Path volunteers, Rick and Karen Purpura, received the Highest Impact Award. The couple has donated countless hours of service to the charity, including helping organize the annual gala. Additionally, Mary’s Path Lead Social Worker Liz Mojica was honored for her 20-plus years of guiding and supporting the residents.

In addition, two heartwarming testimonies were shared, demonstrating the importance of a group home such as Mary’s Path for young, vulnerable teens. The first story came from Jasmine, a current Mary’s Path resident who was neglected as a child and then plunged into life as a homeless youth in Downtown Santa Ana. She came to Mary’s Path with little hope, shortly after giving birth to her son, and shared how her life was transformed.

The second testimony was from Christina, another current resident with a daughter. She revealed she had never experienced a loving and caring environment prior to coming to Mary’s Path. Now, as recently turned 18 and is graduating high school, she’s anxious about leaving the residence to live on her own.

Roy added, “Christina’s situation, unfortunately, is way too common. There is a big void in the transition from living in a group home with round-the-clock support to living on your own. Our vision for the future is to create a transition program for girls who “age-out” of Mary’s Path but aren’t ready to thrive on their own with their babies.”

The Mary’s Path cause is serious and the fundraising is critical, yet guests thoroughly enjoyed the special evening with a silent and live auction, featuring sought-after prizes such as a week in Cabo San Lucas and a weekend getaway in Paso Robles. The evening ended with plenty of dancing, as guests swung the night away to live big band music by Steven Michael and the Paul McDonald Big Band.

Platinum sponsors for the “Gift of Life” gala are the Dirk family and Banc of America; Gold sponsors are Peek Family of FLW, Inc. and Insperity; Silver sponsors are Liz Ryan of Surterre Properties, Precision Coil Spring and Sauté magazine.


marys path
Guests Lisa Kuo and Lee Kuo dance the night away during a live the performance by Steven Michaels and his Big Band


About Mary’s Path:

At Mary’s Path, pregnant teens and young mothers, ages 12-18, come to find dignity, learn self-sufficiency and regain hope. The girls, and their babies, find a safe environment in which to heal. A nonprofit, fully licensed residential program, Mary’s Path offers child care for babies, and treatment and education programs for the teen mothers to gain self-esteem, overcome trauma and learn parenting skills. Since 1994, Mary’s Path has helped more than 1,000 girls find a way to break the cycle of hurt — for themselves and for their babies. For more information, call (714) 730-0930 or visit

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