Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

The beautiful Nesbitt Estate in Summerland was transformed into a fabulous fashion event when Dream Foundation—the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults—hosted its fourth annual Endless Summer Dream to raise vital funds for the organization.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

The fun kicked off with a poolside fashion show featuring headlining brand, Wildfox Couture, A Tropical Affair, Bubululu Malibu Bikinis, Jenni Kayne, K. Frank, Lolë, Make Smith, Saltura, Seavees, So De Mel Swimwear and local designer Danielle Rocha of Rocha Swim. Money raised will help bring final Dreams to life for terminally-ill adults and their families across the nation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Top model Alexander Amato was instrumental in rallying 27 of the globe’s hottest talent to model the latest looks down the catwalk to beats from DJ Gavin Roy Presents, accompanied by stunning aerial displays from Santa Barbara Airedanse Collective. Dancer and choreographer Josh Killacky made a surprise appearance, drawing whoops from the crowd. Following a live auction, singer/songwriter Cody Lovaas sang two songs. Along with the show, guests enjoyed food and drink, and visited pop-up shops where they bought clothing and accessories featured on the catwalk.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

“It is an absolute honor to have worked on Endless Summer Dream,” says Arlene Montesano, event Co-Chair (along with Ursula Nesbitt). “It was a compilation of boundless energy and love from the committee to the sponsors to the general public! We are all thrilled to have helped make so many Dreams come true for our terminally-ill recipients. We love Dream Foundation.”

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

After the fashion show was an exclusive After-Party held at the Nesbitt Nightclub, featuring a sneak-peek runway preview of Wildfox Spring 19 Collection “Riot Girl,” fire dancers, Julia Bowerback and Chelsea Pacheco, and an inspiring performance by Los Angeles- based singer/songwriter, Taliwhoah and her band.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

To support Dream Foundation, or learn more, please visit DreamFoundation.org.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 3, 2018.

Dream Foundation Summer Dream Fashion Show

Aqualillies entertain at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Aqualillies entertain at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Dream Foundation—the Santa Barbara-based nonprofit is the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults—recently hosted its third annual Summer Dream fundraiser to benefit Dreamers ages 18 to 40. The stylish event included a fashion show, with designs from A Tropical Affair, Calypso St. Barth, K. Frank, Lolë, Miller’s Oath, UGG and local designers Catherine Gee and Danielle Rocha of Rocha Swim.

A model at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

A model at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

“Summer Dream is the perfect opportunity to introduce and educate our local community about Dream Foundation’s mission, what the future holds, and about the diverse Dreamers and Dreams that the organization serves,” says Dream Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Kisa Heyer. “Many are surprised to learn how many Dreamers are under the age of 40 and how seemingly simple yet incredibly prolific their Dreams can be.”

A model at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

A model at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

In addition to the fashion show, the fundraiser included performances by local singer/songwriter, Gabe Reali, DJ Qu1z0, and synchronized swimmers, Aqualillies.

Gabe Reali performs at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Gabe Reali performs at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Also on the menu was decadent food and drink from Heat Culinary, Patròn Tequila, Sun Potion, Summerland Winery, Topa Topa, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery and Green Star Coffee.

Held at the home of Ursula & Pat Nesbitt, additional guests included Daryl & John Stegall, Eva Guerrand-Hermès, Mireille Noone, Jelinda DeVorzon, Michelle Ebbin, Belle & Daniel Cohen, Jim Nigro, Belle Cohen, Summer Dream emcee and KEYT Channel 3’s Meteorologist, Alan Rose, second and third annual Summer Dream Committee Chair Arlene Montesano, and Dream Foundation board members Justine Roddick, Luke Ebbin and Board Chair Kenny Slaught, among others.

Arlene Montesano (Summer Dream Event Chair), Tom Parker, Karla Blackwell and Soogie and Don Kang (Golden Sponsors) at Dream Foundation's Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

Arlene Montesano (Summer Dream Event Chair), Tom Parker, Karla Blackwell and Soogie and Don Kang (Golden Sponsors) at Dream Foundation’s Summer Dream Event, photo by Lorraine A. DarConte.

“Dream Foundation believes that everyone deserves to have their final days filled with inspiration, comfort and closure. Receiving no state or federal funding, the organization and its Dreamers rely solely on private donations. One hundred percent of the proceeds of Summer Dream will be allocated to fulfill the Dreams of terminally-ill young adults, 18-40 years old,” say the organizers.

Luke Ebbin (Dream Foundation Board Vice Chair), Michelle Ebbin, & Justine Roddick (Dream Foundation Board Member), photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Luke Ebbin (Dream Foundation Board Vice Chair), Michelle Ebbin, & Justine Roddick (Dream Foundation Board Member), photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Over the past two decades, Dream Foundation has served more than 25,000 Dreams to terminally-ill adults, and they have never turned down a qualified Dream applicant.For more information about Dream Foundation, visit DreamFoundation.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 26, 2107.

Dream Foundation’s 7th Annual Flower Empower Luncheon

Guests at Dream Foundation's Flower Empower Luncheon, photo by Kiel Rucker Photography.

Guests at Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower Luncheon, photo by Kiel Rucker Photography.

Dream Foundation‘s Annual Flower Empower Luncheon is always a beautiful and heartwarming affair, and this year’s 7th annual event, held at the gorgeous Klentner Ranch near the polo fields in Carpinteria, was a particularly lovely gathering.

More than 200 local community members came together for this annual event, which not only raises funds but also acknowledges the volunteers, sponsors, and growers who make Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program a success.

The heart of the program is a simple but meaningful gesture, the gift of flowers to brighten the day of those that are in need.

Valerie Banks (Flower Empower Coordinator) and Sheri Parker (Volunteer of the Year), photo by Kiel Rucker Photography.

Valerie Banks (Flower Empower Coordinator) and Sheri Parker (Volunteer of the Year), photo by Kiel Rucker Photography.

Flower Empower is a completely volunteer-driven program that delivers hope and compassion—in the form of beautiful bouquets—to anyone who needs them. Several days each week, groups of volunteers prepare dozens of arrangements using donated flowers and make deliveries to hospitals, hospices, cancer centers and personal residences. In addition to abundant bouquets, flower recipients enjoy fresh-baked cookies (we even got samples made by volunteer Robin Himovitz, “the cookie lady”), fine chocolates from Chocolats du CaliBressan (whose lovely owner was at our table) and handmade cards from school-age artists.

“Flower Empower is an invaluable program to our community,” says Dream Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Kisa Heyer. “It reminds us that even the smallest gestures can make a lasting impression. We would love to see the program grow beyond Santa Barbara and bring happiness to others.”

Amanda & Justin Klentner (Klentner Ranch), Lynette Hall (Flower Empower Committee), Kisa Heyer (Dream Foundation CEO), photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Amanda & Justin Klentner (Klentner Ranch), Lynette Hall (Flower Empower Committee), Kisa Heyer (Dream Foundation CEO), photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Flower Empower receives no federal or state funding and relies solely on corporate and individual contributions and grants, so this luncheon was an important contributor to the cause.

KEYT Channel 3’s Alan Rose—a longtime Flower Empower program supporter and volunteer—served as MC, alongside his KEYT colleague and fellow Flower Empower volunteer Alys Martinez. Andrew Firestone led a short but entertaining and profitable live auction that included a private wine experience at Jaffurs Wine Cellars as well as a tropical getaway at the Sheraton Waikiki Resort and a visit to the set of CBS’ TV show, Hawaii Five-0.

Dream Foundation’s CEO Kisa Heyer and Flower Empower program coordinator, Valerie Banks honored and awarded the 2017 Flower Empower program sponsors: Laurel Barrack, Diane & Tim Brown, Kate & Arthur Coppola, Hollye & Jeff Jacobs, Nissrin Mahmoud & Bob Fuladi and Shelley & Paul Schulte, whose donations will help fund the program this year. Also acknowledged were Ed Van Wingerden, Grower of the Year and Steven Shulem and Sheri Parker, Volunteers of the Year. Honored in memoriam were William Pattis, Angie Redding and Michael Towbes who were staunch supporters of the Flower Empower program.

Dream Foundation volunteers lead the 50 Yard fundraising dash, photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Dream Foundation volunteers lead the 50 Yard fundraising dash, photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Dream Foundation is the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults.  With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 27,000 final Dreams over the past two decades and has never turned down a qualified applicant. For more information, visit www.dreamfoundation.org.

To volunteer for the Flower Empower Program or to refer a flower recipient, contact flowerempower@dreamfoundation.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 24, 2017.

Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower Luncheon Blooms With Goodwill

Enjoying the Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon (L-R): Bryce Corcoran; Stefani Canin-Mullen, Dream Foundation Events & Special Projects Director; Karen Kerns; Colleen Barnett-Taylor, Rose Sponsor; Jennifer Darling; Alisa Hall; Renee Grubb and Natalie Campbell. Photo: Kiel Rucker Photography.

Enjoying the Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon (L-R): Bryce Corcoran; Stefani Canin-Mullen, Dream Foundation Events & Special Projects Director; Karen Kerns; Colleen Barnett-Taylor, Rose Sponsor; Jennifer Darling; Alisa Hall; Renee Grubb and Natalie Campbell. Photo: Kiel Rucker Photography.

Celebrating a beautiful cause in a beautiful place has become a yearly tradition for Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower Luncheon, and the 6th annual gathering at the Historic Bates Ranch House overlooking Rincon Point was certainly something special. More than 200 local community members gathered on May 19 to support the volunteers who assemble and deliver more than 150 fresh bouquets each week throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

The fête raises funds and acknowledges the volunteers, sponsors and growers who make Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program possible and is always a joy to attend. Not only do guests make their own bouquets—which are delivered to hospitals, hospices, cancer centers, and personal residences later that week—this year we were also treated to tours of the of the historic Bates Ranch, which was originally part of a 1,200-acre Spanish land grant that included half of Rincon Point. Built in 1928, the charming, panoramic view ranch house is now available for vacation and event rentals.

Snippets of the historic Bates Ranch House and views, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

Snippets of the historic Bates Ranch House and views, photos by Leslie Dinaberg.

The luncheon, emceed by long-time Dream Foundation supporter, Ivana Firestone (whose adorable daughter Anja was seated near me on the bus that took us from the beach parking to the ranch) and KEYT Channel 3’s Alan Rose, featured an exquisite ocean view, silent auction, a raffle that included a 7-day Holland America Line Caribbean cruise, excellent cuisine from Rincon Catering, and a lively fundraising activity that garnered $15,000 worth of generous donations in just five minutes.

Dream Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Kisa Heyer honored and awarded the 2016 Flower Empower program sponsors: Diane & Tim Brown, Lisa & George Hagerman, Nissrin Mahmoud & Bob Fuladi and Alison Wrigley Rusack & Geoffrey Rusack, whose donations will fund the program throughout the year. Also honored were Yoze Van Wingerden, Grower of the Year; Jan & Jay Anderson, Volunteers of the Year; and Delaney Werner, Youth Volunteer of the Year.

Dream Foundation's Valerie Banks gives flowers to Yoze Van Wingerden, 2016 Grower of the Year. Photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Dream Foundation’s Valerie Banks gives flowers to Yoze Van Wingerden, 2016 Grower of the Year. Photo by Kelly Sweda Photography.

“Flower Empower enriches our entire community,” Heyer says. “A gorgeous bouquet of fresh flowers, artisanal chocolates, homemade cookies and a thoughtful card can make an enormous difference to our neighbors in need. This simple gesture makes an incredible impact not only on those we serve but also to those who help make this program possible. There is nothing more amazing than a community coming together to help one another.”

Flower Empower is a volunteer-driven program that delivers hope and compassion—in the form of beautiful bouquets—to those in need. Groups of volunteers prepare dozens of arrangements using donated flowers and make deliveries to hospitals, hospices, cancer centers, and personal residences. In addition to abundant bouquets, flower recipients enjoy fresh-baked cookies, fine chocolates, and cards hand made by local school children. For more information or to refer a flower recipient, contact flowerempower@dreamfoundation.org.

Guests prepare bouquets at the Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Guests prepare bouquets at the Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Dream Foundation is the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults. The organization fulfills final dreams that provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life.  For more information, please visit DreamFoundation.org.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Dream Foundation Flower Empower Luncheon by Kelly Sweda Photography.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on May 24, 2016.

Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower Luncheon

Kenny Slaught (Dream Foundation, Board Chairman & Peony Sponsor), Elizabeth Slaught (Peony Sponsor), Lynette Hall (Flower Empower Event Committee), Kisa Heyer (Dream Foundation, Executive Director) and Tristan Layton (Dream Foundation, Director of Corporate Sponsorships & Marketing). Photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

Kenny Slaught (Dream Foundation, Board Chairman & Peony Sponsor), Elizabeth Slaught (Peony Sponsor), Lynette Hall (Flower Empower Event Committee), Kisa Heyer (Dream Foundation, Executive Director) and Tristan Layton (Dream Foundation, Director of Corporate Sponsorships & Marketing). Photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

The Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program, like all of its programs, delivers kindness and compassion to those in need—but this particular act of kindness comes in the form of fresh bouquets, made and delivered with love to show people that the community cares about them, and that they’re not alone.

This simple yet power message was on full display at last week’s luncheon, held at Kevin and Christine Costner’s oceanfront meadow in Summerland and attended by approximately 225 supporters, including lucky me!

Waxing Poetic designed and donated these special one-of-a-kind charms for Flower Empower supporters. Photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

Waxing Poetic designed and donated these special one-of-a-kind charms for Flower Empower supporters. Photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

This unique spot, with a killer view, celebrated the dedicated band of volunteers (roughly 15 per week) who assemble and deliver 150 fresh bouquets a week to hospices, cancer centers, nursing homes and residences throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Flower Empower volunteers have made tens of thousands of flower deliveries in from Goleta to Ventura since the program began in June 1994.

To refer a flower recipient, contact Dream Foundation with your name and phone number, the name and address of the person you’re referring, and why you believe they need flowers. Perhaps he or she has lost a loved one, is recovering from surgery, has received a devastating diagnosis, is having a first or last chemo treatment, is in the hospital or a rehabilitation facility. These people will receive flowers every other week.

Farm-to-Table lunch set up, photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

Farm-to-Table lunch set up, photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

The program is made possible by the generosity of our community growers and retailers. It currently receives donated flowers from eight Carpinteria flower growers and distributors and is being sponsored by local residents Tim & Diane Brown and George & Lisa Hagerman.

Event hosts and Flower Empower volunteers Shirin Rajaee and Alan Rose of KEYT served as emcees. Nora McNeely-Hurley was the Flower Empower Luncheon Honorary Chair, and several supporters were honored at the event, including Special Volunteers of the Year, Roger & Robin Himovitz; Volunteers of the Year, William & Lauren Bonds; Youth Volunteer of the Year, Casey Slaught; and In-kind Donors of the Year, Jean-Michel & Jill Marie Carre, owners of Chocolats du Cali Bressan.

For more information about the Dream Foundation, click here.

Diane & Tim Brown (2015 Flower Empower Program Sponsors) with Valerie Banks (Flower Empower Coordinator). Photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

Diane & Tim Brown (2015 Flower Empower Program Sponsors) with Valerie Banks (Flower Empower Coordinator). Photo by Kacie Fowle (Portraits For Causes).

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on May 21, 2015.

 

National Charity League of Santa Barbara, Senior Presents Class of 2014

For more than 50 years, National Charity League of Santa Barbara (NCL) has brought mothers and daughters together working on philanthropic projects. This year’s NCL Senior Presents takes place on April 6 at 5:30 p.m. at The Fess Parker Resort.

The graduating seniors of 2014, along with their mothers, gave an impressive 5,856 volunteer hours over their six years in National Charity League to local nonprofits in Santa Barbara.  Nonprofits included Dream Foundation, Safety Town, Special Olympics, CADA, Storyteller Children’s Center, Children’s Creative Project, Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Ridley Tree Education Center and more.

National Charity League Senior Class of 2014 (courtesy photo)

National Charity League Senior Class of 2014 (courtesy photo)

The graduating senior girls, known as “Ticktockers”  pictured include: (Top row from left to right) Sara Ashlin Doyle, Grace Copeland, Emma Eccles, Grace Jordan Woolf, Britten Barbara Ann Vilander, Clara Mae Madsen, Julia Rene’e McClintock; (Middle row from left to right) Madeleine Wall, Milana Rose Skiff, Sammi Schurmer, Rachel Rene Fay, Susan Madeline Marquis, Nicole Kristine-Marie Larson, Brenna Claire Geiger; (Bottom row from left to right) Hannah Rose Brisby, Olivia Jane Pickett, Olivia Belle Caesar, Kayla Zola, Caterina Jacquelyn Lafitte and Madeline Grace Frohling.

Says Ticktocker, Milana Skiff,  who has volunteered an inspiring 921 hours, “the Oncology Department at Cottage Hospital is my favorite place to volunteer.  I love it and everyone there is so kind.  It’s a good experience for me and because of it I will pursue a career as an oncologist in college.  My mom and I have also volunteered in the pasta booth at the I Madonnari every year for the past six years and we really enjoy it.  It gives us the chance to participate in community service together.”

Ticktocker Kayla Zola and Patroness Belinda Zola enjoyed volunteering together making flower arrangements for the Dream Foundation.  Belinda shares, “it feels more like we are sharing a hobby than anything else.  Kayla is very creative, and I have learned so much from her about just letting go and having fun!  Not only are we able to bring some joy to terminally ill people, but we can also share the joy of our efforts with other volunteers, with each other and ourselves!  This is just one example of how NCL has helped teach our three daughters how to get involved and give back to their community while strengthening mother, daughter and sibling relationships”

The NCL Senior Presentation Event is an opportunity for the girls not only be recognized for their service, but it is also the chance for them to share how these experiences have shaped their lives.  “It has been an privilege to work with the Class of 2014 NCL Ticktockers to help them achieve these outstanding goals,” say Luann Caesar and Ann Marquis,  co-chairs for the event.  “It has been an honor to work alongside our daughters for the past six years, to see them grow and mature while giving back through volunteer work to the the Santa Barbara community.”

Founded in 1962, the Santa Barbara chapter of NCL currently supports the works of 19 local philanthropies, often providing a valuable volunteer workforce for local organizations such as Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Direct Relief International, Santa Barbara Public Library,Unity Shoppe, Cottage Hospital, McKinley School and many more.  The local chapter is an “hours only” chapter, meaning that members donate their time only, and do not raise funds to assist the charities.   Each mother and daughter member is required to fulfill a minimum of both league and philanthropy hours, or community service.  Each Ticktocker is part of an age-level class that conducts a monthly meeting, has guest speakers on various age-appropriate topics, and often does an off-site philanthropy project as a part of their meeting.   For more information click here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on March 20, 2014.

Best Dressed Monk Brings a Fresh New Style to Coast Village Road

Owners Kira and Allen Gold, courtesy Best Dressed Monk

Owners Kira and Allen Gold, courtesy Best Dressed Monk

Fashion-forward men have a new place to shop in Montecito with the opening of Best Dressed Monk last week (1275 Coast Village Rd., 805/324-4600, bestdressedmonk.com).

Santa Barbarans turned out in full force to welcome this dapper new addition to the chic Coast Village strip. Founded by owners Allen and Kira Gold, Best Dressed Monk is a premium men’s clothing line featuring organic fabrics, tailored tunic shirts not meant to be tucked in, luxurious textured scarves, and polished safari-style jackets. 

Allen conceived of the collection following a seven-month retreat at a Buddhist hermitage in the company of 15 monks and nuns. Upon returning stateside, he noticed that men like him, who don’t wear suits but still want to appear elegantly casual in their dress, were “majorly lacking” in options. After ten years of development with his partner Kira, a former costume designer, Gold launched Best Dressed Monk, which uses earth-friendly textiles and manufacturing processes, wherever possible. All manufacturing takes place  in Los Angeles.  The 850 sq. ft. retail space was designed by architect John Mike Cohen.

In a generous nod to the spirit of the season, the Golds donated 20% of the opening-night sales proceeds to the Dream Foundation.

Plans are underway for the line to launch an e-commerce site in January and add additional stores in other markets later in 2014.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Actor/local resident Billy Baldwin, courtesy Best Dressed Monk

Actor/local resident Billy Baldwin, courtesy Best Dressed Monk

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on December 10, 2103.

A Day to Dream

To help celebrate a decade of making dreams come true for terminally ill adults, the Dream Foundation invites the community to spend a whimsical day in Dreamland.

On July 24, the Santa Barbara Zoo will be transformed a fanciful getaway where families can spend quality time together while helping to support the foundation, a national nonprofit that is based in Santa Barbara.

Founder Thom Rollerson’s goal with this event was to do something kid-friendly, that’s very accessible for families and really directly reflects the mission of the Dream Foundation: to enhance the quality of life for individuals and families battling terminal illnesses. He had always wanted to do something that got those people together again with the people in Santa Barbara who made the Dream Foundation a reality, explained Rod Lathim, who is the event coordinator, artistic director and producer of A Day to Dream.

“When you enter Dreamland it’s kind of like going into Disneyland or some place where you can leave your daily worries outside the gate and come in. And when you’re in there you get to do fun things with your friends and your family and your kids,” said Lathim.

The first thing guests will see is a magical tree of dreams, where they can pick “fruit” containing inspirational quotes and action items. “I call them little mini random acts of kindness that you are encouraged to go do and set out and accomplish while you’re in Dreamland,” said Lathim.

They will also be encouraged to answer the question “What are your dreams and wishes for the community?” Selected answers will read on stage by the Youth Host Committee — William Bermant, Justin Bogart, Carly Burnell, Kelsey Cage, Samia Finnerty, Jennifer Gray, Ryan Halsey, Mackenzie McGonegel, Bridget Mitchell, Nathalie Mitchell, Avery Schwartz, Sara Weiner, Claudio Zungri and Jackie Zupsic — as well as sent to Santa Mayor Marty Blum and the City Council for review and hopefully, inspiration.

The youth hosts (ages 8 to 15) have helped shape the event and will act as Ambassadors to the dream recipient families and guests.

The new NBC series “Three Wishes,” hosted by Amy Grant, will also be there, filming a Dream Foundation recipient, a man with brain cancer from South Dakota who has always wanted to take his family to see the Pacific Ocean.

Other celebrity guests include host Brad Garrett, and Bruce Jenner, Elizabeth Peña, and Harry Shearer, among others.

In addition to “a feast of delectable food and sweets,” and a nonstop lineup of theatre and music from Porch Dogs, Dancing Drums and Boxtales Theatre Company, guests will also be able to visit “Swamette,” a seer and interpreter of dreams; the Flower Empower Emporium, which echoes the Dream Foundation’s volunteer program delivering donated flower bouquets to people battling catastrophic illnesses; a Haberdashery where guests can create fanciful hats; and the Dream Journey Pavilion, featuring massages and face painting; as well as learn hip hop moves with MTV choreographer and dancer Cris Judd.

“The cool thing is that once you’re in, the ticket price ($29.50/$15.50) includes everything,” said Lathim.

The sets, inspired in part by Dr. Seuss, also sound very cool.

“I wanted to do something where you walk in and you’re enchanted and enticed and there’s something fun for adults as well as kids,” said Lathim crediting his “great committee (co-chaired by Clay Dickens and Sara Lytle) for really rolling up their sleeves and getting paint under their fingernails.”

The results should be truly dreamy indeed.

Tickets for A Day to Dream, which takes place at the Santa Barbara Zoo on July 24 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., are $29.50 for adults and $15.50 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the Lobero Theatre Box Office, 963.0761, until July 23, and then in the lobby of the Mar Monte Hotel (across from the zoo) on the day of the event.

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on July 14, 2005.