By Pasadena Weekly Staff

USC Trojan Affiliates, a philanthropic and social women’s group, of the University of Southern California invites alumni, parents and friends to attend its 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, meeting at Mijares Restaurant, 145 Palmetto Drive, Pasadena.

The evening will feature author Rose Nielsen speaking about “Turning Tears into Smiles.”

Nielsen and her 9-year-old English golden retriever, Blondie, have worked hard to bring smiles and support to the faces of those who need it most. They have worked at Huntington Hospital, various colleges, evacuation centers and libraries and now call Children’s Hospital Los Angeles home.

Nielsen said the definition of dog therapy is comfort, smiles, laughter, hugs and lots of shared love. She and Blondie will bring guests on a journey through their work — from funny and light-hearted moments with Blondie and her “husband” Luke (who wear tons of doggie costumes) to the emotional connection Blondie makes with the people she visits.

Blondie, who was “married” to Luke in an interfaith chapel in Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, has her own book entitled “Blondie and the Hidden Treasure,” written by Terry McKenzie and Nielsen.

All attendees will receive a copy of the book. Donations for receipt of the book are welcomed, as Nielsen has set a goal to raise $140,000 for the dog therapy program. To date, approximately $131,000 has been donated for this vital program.

Ann Palmer of Sierra Madre, recent recipient of a Widney Alumni House Volunteer Award and serving in her first term as Trojan Affiliates president, encourages women in the community to attend the October virtual meeting to become acquainted with the members of Trojan Affiliates.

The members meet five times a year in the San Gabriel Valley and are educated by various USC professors and other well-versed and interesting speakers. Members also donate their time to raise funds for scholarships for worthy USC students. The organization awarded 10 scholarships for the 2021-22 academic school year.

Volunteer opportunities have included selling USC products, volunteering at the Pasadena Showcase House and USC Day of Service. Of course, the members also participate in a variety of social and cultural events and interface in numerous capacities with the university.

The formal purpose of this alumnae organization is to foster a spirit of friendship, loyalty and cooperation with the University of Southern California, to develop and sustain a successful fundraising project to provide scholarships for USC students and contribute to the advancement of education.

Those interested in speaking at the meetings may contact speaker Chair Jacqueline Goodman at

For more information regarding USC Trojan Affiliates and/or to make reservations for the program, at $35 for a fajita buffet, contact Sarah Sismondo by Sept. 30 at 626-303-7284 or