Crittenton hosted a thrilling murder mystery dinner fundraiser at Angelo’s and Vinci’s Ristorante in Fullerton on Sunday night. All proceeds went to their Stepping Stones Program to aid vulnerable young adults from the foster care system.
The Stepping Stones program was founded by Crittenon to aid transitional aged youth. These are former foster kids, aged 18-24, who need help with affordable housing, independent living skills and higher education. Crittenton’s communications director Martha Jacco explained, “Our main goal is to provide mental health services for our young people who are system-involved, whether it’s foster care, juvenile justice or Child Protection Services.”
Joyce Capelle, CEO of Crittenton, added “My goal is to have a balanced array of programs for kids and young adults in crisis. I’m happy to see all these people support Stepping Stones. I’m really excited about growing this program.”
Actors volunteered their talents, working off Kathy Fitzpatrick’s script “An Expensive Blemish.” They mingled with guests before proceeding with their dramatic show. Victim Dr. Dan (Dan McLaughlin) dropped dead in the middle of festivities. Detective Roseanne (Roseanne Hill) and Detective Tamara (Tamara Ashton) interrogated guests. Suspects included artist Hayes Sackmann (Hayes Dunlop), his wife Anne (Anne Sackman), Dr. Dan’s manic patient Ryan (Ryan Shervington), and Ryan’s aid Shannon.
Meanwhile, Angelo’s and Vinci’s served a selection of Italian food which included pasta, garlic bread, freshly baked rolls and their famous lasagna. The restaurant has been a supporter and donor to Crittenton for at least 20 years.
The night proceeded with the bidding of goody bags. Dozens of bags filled with fun toys, food and electronics were displayed at the entrance for guests to gawk at and bid on. A raffle of pricey gift cards was also conducted with the help of Yorba Linda volunteers.
“The actors are amazing and the bidding is very fun as well,” said communications assistant Glenn Pham. This was her first murder mystery night, but not her first time working with Crittenton. “I’m really grateful that they gave me this opportunity because I never thought about working for a non-profit. There’s that myth that you don’t get paid and stuff. But I’ve learned a lot from my supervisor and from the volunteer department. Their mission really hit home for me.”
Guest faculty from Fullerton College gathered around their own table. Amongst them, business professor Gary Graves commented, “Before I started teaching, I’ve been to many of the mystery nights and I used to be on the board of directors. It started out as a home for unmarried girls with children, and now it’s evolved into a system that helps all vulnerable kids. We can’t be totally reliant on government funds. This is a way for the community to give back.”
The night ended with a twist. Ryan had murdered his doctor by total accident, and Shannon tried to get away with the fatal poisoning of Detective Roseanne. One table managed to solve this mystery in great detail, and they left with shiny trophies and bragging rights.