in the community:
MenAlive is more than Arts and Entertainment
We promote understanding and acceptance for the LGBTQ community, countering the fear and discrimination that threatens all of society, especially youth. One of the ways we do this is through community outreach.
Orange County is the ever-growing place, in population and diversity, that MenAlive calls home. If we aren't wrapping gifts during the holiday season, we are volunteering at the food bank. From performing to celebrate the opening of the Argyros Plaza at Segerstrom Center for the Arts to marching in the OC Pride parade, our chorus volunteered thousands of hours during the 2017 - 2018 season to give back to our community.
If you also have a passion for community support and outreach, join MenAlive and help us make a difference in Orange County and our community at large.
Rich Cook Community Bridge Award
MenAlive's Community Bridge Awards, created in 2010 by then Board President Carl Stevens, are presented annually to honor those who have made a positive impact in and for the LGBTQ community. Later renamed the Rich Cook Community Bridge Award in 2014 to commemorate MenAlive Founder Rich Cook's final season as Artistic Director, the award continues to recognize distinguished members of the community who personify MenAlive’s mission of “informing, bringing healing, joy, friendship, and building bridges to the public at large.” These leaders have certainly influenced and furthered our message of friendship and outreach, and have helped bridge the gaps between and within the LGBTQ community and the greater world around us.
Felicity Figueroa is a community advocate, activist and organizer working to promote human and civil rights. She is a founding board member and current chair of the Orange County Equality Coalition (OCEC), an organization that came into being after the passage of Prop 8 and is dedicated to protecting the rights of OC’s LGBTQI community with a special focus on trans health and on the rights of gay and gender-nonconforming schoolchildren in the county. Through OCEC, she helped establish the first OC Progressive Summit and has worked on the Steering Committee of subsequent ones. Felicity serves on the board of Women For: Orange County, where she chairs the Great American Write-In, an annual event that brings together non-profit/progressive organizations and the general public to write letters to legislators and corporate heads on pressing social issues while providing the county’s progressive members with a one-of-a-kind networking opportunity.
After a summer job teaching English in Mexico City in 1979 turned into a twelve-year stay, Felicity returned to the States with a husband, one son, another on the way and a deep interest in and affinity for the Latino community and immigrant and refugee rights, which continue to be major areas of concern for her. She has worked with the Friends of OC Detainees since 2012 visiting and otherwise supporting immigrants and asylum seekers in confinement in Orange County’s two detention facilities, and she is a frequent volunteer at OCCORD’s citizenship fairs; recently, she joined the group ICE Out of OC to help educate the public about the need to defend sanctuary and to abolish the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement federal agency.
Felicity is the Ministries Board Chair of her church, Irvine United Congregational, and is very involved with interfaith work as one of the Board of Directors of the Newport Mesa Irvine Interfaith Council; she is also an active member of CLUE-OC (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice). She is VP of Membership for the OC chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the Public Relations chair for the OC NAACP, and she sits on the Steering Committee of the OC AIDS Walk and is part of the Organizing Committee for the annual OC Women’s March. Felicity is a member of the local chapter of Amnesty International and helps organize their annual Write for Rights event every December. She has led marches and protests against the Iraq War and police brutality and in favor of marriage equality.
In her personal life, Felicity loves spending time with her family and friends, dancing, Zumba class and getting her hands dirty in the garden.
Karen Zfaty grew up in Southern California (except for two years in Northern Virginia) in a large, close family. During college, she worked for a Literacy Program in Brazil for six months. She earned a BA in Linguistics at UCI and an MA in Semitic Languages, married, had a son, Isaac. When she found herself alone with him, she returned to UCI to work in IT and Grants Administration, and while there did an MBA in MIS to better support her little family.
Since 1988 she has worked for PARS, a Newport Beach Pension Administration firm where she manages a CRM Database. Karen shares her home in Irvine with her pug Mini and two parakeets, Jaune and Azul, and spends much of her free time with her 93 year-old father Ray and her 8 year-old granddaughter Charlotte.
She sings with Bob Gunn in St Mary’s Choir in Laguna Beach, enjoys traveling abroad, loves working out and does her best to fit in long weekly bike rides. Twice she has ridden the AIDS LifeCycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Karen served for five years on the ACTION AIDS CareTeam Network Board in Laguna Beach, then joined the MenAlive Board for five years, two of them as President. She returned to the MenAlive Board in 2014 after a year’s leave to serve three more years, again as President. She looks forward to retiring from PARS at the end of 2020 and has many dreams for that time.
Karen feels that her 11-year involvement with MenAlive has been a transformative experience. In addition to being renewed by wonderful music so carefully and beautifully prepared, she loves to see how the members of the chorus love and care for each other. She has often been a beneficiary of that love and support herself. She considers MenAlive to be a treasure – she loves the family and attending rehearsals and performances, and feels honored to be a small part of it.
Dr. Max Schneider & Ron Smelt