Annual Board Installation and Awards Celebration

Five Acres Presents Community Awards and Welcomes New Board Member

Five Acres announced its new board member and recognized its community award recipients at its 135th Annual Meeting and Board Celebration yesterday. Hosting at The Athenaeum located at California Institute of Technology, Five Acres honored community members and volunteers who demonstrated an unwavering commitment to its mission during the previous year.

These individuals have supported the charity’s mission in serving more than 6,500 children and families annually across six counties, with San Diego as the newest county. The charity offers a full continuum of care for children and families in crisis, including foster care, adoption, deaf services, therapeutic residential care for youth in foster care, and community-based mental/behavioral health programs.

“The purpose of Five Acres has always been to provide safety and well-being for children who need care from an agency like ours. And seeing the children on campus reminds me of the importance of them having a safe and forever family,” said Susan McGuirl, who is the charity’s board chair. “We are continuously looking forward to ensuring each child has a loving, permanent family.”

The individuals and organizations recognized were:

  • The Altadena Sheriff’s Station, The Children’s Thanks Award
  • Cathy Simms, Five Acres Special Award
  • Five Acres Foster Care Team, Special Service to Children Award
  • Rob Trauber and Johnny Was, Person of the Year Award
  • Ruth Coyne, Volunteer of the Year Award
  • The Youssef and Kamel Mawardi Fund, Special Recognition Award
  • The Five Acres Leadership, Dorothy Cook Lifetime Achievement Award


The charity also welcomes a new board member: Kelley Bannon Lashley, who joins the class of 2023. Lashley is the founder of Deka Law Group. She is certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. Her practice areas include estate and business succession planning, trust administration, probate, conservatorship and guardianship law, as well as nonprofit advising and mediation. Lashley worked alongside her grandfather, Robert D. Bannon, and eventually took over his successful estate planning practice that served Pasadena and the greater Los Angeles area for more than 50 years. Over the past 10 years, Lashley has expanded the firm’s practice into Ventura County where Deka now serves clients in its Westlake Village office. Having started her career in San Luis Obispo County, Lashley serves clients all over California.

The charity’s executive committee are Susan McGuirl, chair; Shoshana Puccia, secretary; Jason Melillo, vice chair, finance/investment; Chris Selak, vice chair, advancement; Grace Russak, vice chair, nominating; Christianne Kerns, vice chair, audit and former board chair; and Kirsten Hansen, vice chair, administration.

“In our 135th anniversary, it gives me great honor to recognize and appreciate all of our incredible awardees and our board of directors, who are among a legacy of volunteers and supporters that have been contributed to the impact and growth of Five Acres,” said Chanel Boutakidis, Five Acres chief executive officer. “With their commitment, we look toward the future of expanding our prevention and permanency services.”

To learn more about Five Acres, visit

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Marisol Barrios Perez, MSPA, APR

310-713-8567 |