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EDITORIAL:A salute to two groups of helpers

October 20, 2006

Two of our stories this week prove that good works come in all shapes and sizes — on land and by sea.

The Marine Mammal Center is celebrating its 35th anniversary, and the Assistance League is marking 30 years of its Early Intervention Program for developmentally delayed infants.

Both programs sprung up out of an unmet need and have made significant contributions to the local community and beyond.

The Marine Mammal Center started out on a volunteer basis, with one man rescuing injured sea lions and other mammals and nursing them in backyard swimming pools.

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Eventually, a city facility was obtained on Laguna Canyon Road, and donations were raised for a specialized center to treat sea mammals in need.

One of the great things about the center is that it's open to the public. It's a wonderful place for an up-close view of sea lions and other animals that we usually only see from a great distance, if at all.

Here you can play ball with a baby sea lion or watch the huge, lumbering elephant seals as they rise and fall in their deep pool — not to mention the cuddly harbor seals and ferocious adult sea lions.

The center receives its patients from all over the county, and those that are able to return to the wild are released into local waters. Those that cannot are sent to zoos and protected environments where they will be cared for and safe.

The care and individual attention these animals receive is truly remarkable.

The Assistance League program gives much-needed support to babies with developmental difficulties and their parents. In a group setting, the babies are challenged to grow and learn, and the parents are instructed in how to provide for the special needs of their children.

The League also does other good works, but the Early Intervention Program undoubtedly makes a huge difference in the lives of those it reaches.

Both groups are deserving of appreciation and applause as they mark three decades and more of making a difference.

The Marine Mammal Center will hold a Masquerade gala, appropriately, on the Sunday before Halloween, to celebrate its accomplishments and raise funds.

The Assistance League is planning to celebrate the Early Intervention Program with a luncheon event Wednesday.

We salute both groups and wish them many more years of service.

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