By Steve Virgen
11:37 PM PST, November 15, 2012
Sometimes it's all about the timing of things that make can make a normal day exciting.
KidWorks, a special charity that helps children in the heart of Santa Ana, knew it would have an annual luncheon just before the college football game: UCLA vs. USC.
Terry Donahue, a Balboa Island resident who is highly instrumental with KidWorks, had always been excited about the luncheon. With each week, he became even more anxious, as UCLA improved and USC showed its weaknesses.
Now this Saturday is a big game. The luncheon became a pretty big deal too.
In the weeks and days leading up to the charity event, Donahue wanted to go to great lengths to get the word out about KidWorks.
As Pat Donahue put it, "Uncle Terry even spent three hours with T.J. Simers."
I have never spent time with Simers, but he's one of my favorite sports columnists. I've heard how he can get under people's skin. Yet you wouldn't know that after reading his piece on Terry Donahue and KidWorks, and Terry's brother that was in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.
Terry's late brother, Dan, remains an important figure at KidWorks and a big reason Uncle Terry continues to talk about KidWorks.
"It's all about helping kids," Terry Donahue said a few minutes before the luncheon. "KidWorks is a tremendous charity right in the heart of Santa Ana. We want to give the kids the opportunity to rise, the opportunity to be successful."
Terry brought along some friends to help raise money for KidWorks, which includes the Dan Donahue Center, a community center in the heart of central Santa Ana's at-risk neighborhoods. The charity group doesn't want to see children head toward a life in gangs.
Sometimes it's all about the timing. Pat Donahue was happy to report $555,000 was raised toward KidWorks.
That turned a luncheon into a celebration. The event was sure to be a hit with the big game coming Saturday, but Terry and his friends wanted to make sure KidWorks would benefit.
The luncheon featured a panel, moderated by Ed Arnold, that featured John Robinson, former USC quarterback Paul McDonald, former USC fullback Brandon Hancock and two former UCLA Rose Bowl quarterbacks Matt Stevens and Wayne Cook, along with Terry Donahue.
They talked about their time in the sun and exchanged trash talk and good-natured jokes, all in the name of charity.
"This event is built around the big game and the luncheon is a type of kickoff for that," Terry Donahue said. "But we're also trying to support KidWorks and we want to try to help young kids get ahead."
There was plenty of local flavor at the event.
It was a pleasure to see former Raiders coach and assistant NFL coach Mike White, a Newport Beach resident, as well as former Newport Harbor High football coach Mike Giddings.
Both obviously have ties to Newport Harbor. White volunteered as an assistant one time under Jeff Brinkley. White and Giddings continue to have great respect for Brinkley, who leads the Sailors into a big game against Villa Park Friday night at El Modena. Villa Park is the No. 3 seed in the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division quarterfinal game. White and Giddings believe the Sailors can pull off the victory on the road. So do I.
As for my pick between UCLA and USC, I'll go with the Bruins. Terry Donahue, who'll be at the Rose Bowl as a fan, said UCLA will win in a high-scoring game.