Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

MERCI’s 28th Annual Trees of Enchantment





On December 3rd 21 beautifully decorated themed Christmas trees complete with gifts surrounded the Lake View Room at the Almansor Court in Alhambra. Each guest placed their raffle tickets into a box in front of their tree of their dreams.

This celebration was MERCI’s annual fundraiser that celebrated their 62 years of service to the community and the retirement of Marta Escanuelas, the Executive Director. The guest list included 351 longtime supports who enjoyed a delicious Champaign brunch with their families and friends.


Monterey Park Mayor Teresa Real Sebastian was the Mistress of Ceremony.  She welcomed everyone to this wonderful event to support MERCI and honor Marta Escanuelas for her services to the clients and family members of MERCI.

She introduced Congressmember Judy Chu, Honorable Mike Eng, Assemblymember Ed Chau, Alhambra School Boardmember Adele Andrade-Stadler, Monterey Park City Clerk Vince Chang, Cesar Diaz representing Supervisor Hilda Solis, Dawneen Lorance, Yvonne Ng from the Monterey Park Rotary, Larry Sullivan from the Monterey Park Lions Club and Karen Roberson from the East Los Angeles-Montebello Business and Professional Women’s Club to the guests.


Judy Chu and Mike Eng honored Marta Escanuelas for her service to the community. They each spoke about her trials and tribulations in raising the funds to construct the new buildings for their clients. They praised her for her kindness to the people who were not included in the community. MERCI means so much in Monterey Park.


Cesar Diaz presented Marta Escanuelas with a proclamation from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for her many years of dedication to the clients of MERCI.


Ed Chau wished everyone Happy Holidays! He thanked Marta Escanuelas for her longtime service to the community. He thanked her for treating the clients and their families with dignity at MERCI.


Dawneen Lorance said she met Marta 35 years ago and they became fast friends. This is her 25th year working at the Trees of Enchantment since she joined the MERCI staff. She thanked Marta for supporting the employees and the clients. She thanked her for supporting MERCI.


Yvonne Ng presented Marta Escanuelas with an award from the Monterey Park Rotary Club. She thanked her for her service to MERCI.


Larry Sullivan presented Marta Escanuelas with an award from the Lions Club. He thanked her for her service to MERCI. He also thanked her for supporting the Lions Club. He called her a trouper as he thanked her for her dedication and commitment to needs of the special community.


Karen Roberson presented Marta Escanuelas with a proclamation from the East Los Angeles-Montebello Business and Profession Women’s Club. She said that Marta helper her and supported her as she founded another charitable group. She thanked her for being a leader and serving the special needs community.


Adele Andrade-Stadler thanked Marta for helping people in her neighborhood.

Vince Chang said he has heard many good things about Marta and MERCI. You make MERCI a great service to the community. We are very proud of you.

Teresa Real Sebastian thanked Marta for her help and her support as her mentor. You are a voice for people and pets. You are a role model for people in the community.  You are “a woman who walks in purpose”.


Rene Arauza introduced Boardmembers: Mike Woo, Keith Breskin, Christine Cismeros, Dawneen Lorence, Bobbi Bruesch, April Dominguez, Shel Hess, Christine De Vito and Linda Wilson. Elaine Woo attended in Mike Woo’s place.

Chris De Vito thanked everyone for attending the 28th trees celebration. Marta is a blessing to us at MERCI with a good staff and great memories. She thanked the guests and the MERCI staff. She thanked Marta for her work and wished her a blessed life.

Rene Arauza stated they are looking for a new executive director. He quoted that “old soldiers never die they just fade away”. We will not let Marta fade away. The MERCI Board honored Marta for her many years of service to this special organization by dedicating the new service buildings to her.

He thanked everyone for attending this special event today. He thanked Teresa for being the MC and the volunteers from the Boy Scouts from Troop 2399 and the Girl Scouts from Troop 7901for their assistance in making this event successful.


Marta Escanuelas thanked everyone for attending this special event. She was surprised by the dedication of the buildings. She said it took blood, sweat and tears to complete the building process. It was a long journey to get the buildings done and furnish them. She is grateful and thankful for this honor. She thanked the staff for their assistance. She thanked her mentors Lynn Monroe and Chet Latch for helping her learn this special job. It is always about the people we serve. Human Service requires a person with a heart. You can’t save the world but you can make your little corner of the world better.

She thanked her Mom and Dad for their support. She was hired in 1990 by MERCI. The clients need dignity and respect. MERCI makes that happen by treating people well. Mentorship is important to women. Her father said you could do anything.  It is not about your ego. You should help people move forward with kindness.

Marta introduced her son, Mark as her 36-year old baby boy. She said he is the best thing she ever did. She introduced her husband J T, his daughters Laura and Any, son-in-law Ian, granddaughter Claire, her mother and some of her close friends.

It has been really wonderful. She has a great staff. She will be leaving MERCI in great hands. You have touched my soul.


Senator Dianne Feinstein send Marta a proclamation that was present by Reyna Pena and Bernice La Scala.


Reyna Pena and Bernice La Scala presented Marta and J T with a retirement tree complete with two rocking chairs for their retirement.


Santa Claus joined the party to celebrate with his friends from MERCI.


Bobbi Bruesch and Karen Roberson from the Rosemead Kiwanis Club announced that their club would double the amount of any donations collected by them. They covered the room on foot and said MERCI for each donation. The basked contained $10,135 in donations.

The event featured several door prizes and 21 lucky people won the tree of their dreams.

Teresa Real Sebastian thanked the guests for attending this special event.


Lara Hilton won the “Happiest Place on Earth” tree. She said that she and her family would be taking their daughter Claire to meet Mickey.

MERCI has been serving the San Gabriel Valley since 1955. MERCI’s mission is to provide people with severe to profound developmental disabilities the right to an education in life skills, the opportunity to maximize their independence, and to advocate for their choices.

MERCI, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, federal tax ID#95-2219917. Donations are tax deductible minus the amount of goods and services received.

For more information about MERCI or to make donations to MERCI please call 626-289-8817 or visit www.merci.org.

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