Legacies: The Lasting Impact of Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain addresses UCSB Arts & Lectures supporters at the sold out benefit event at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Photo by Kathryn Grace.

Anthony Bourdain addresses UCSB Arts & Lectures supporters at the sold out benefit event at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Photo by Kathryn Grace.

The tragic death of Anthony Bourdain hit fans around the world like a shockwave, and particularly those in Santa Barbara, where just one month earlier he made one of his last public appearances at a sold-out benefit for UCSB Arts & Lectures to raise funds for core programs and educational outreach.

Without an inkling of how special the night would become in retrospect, I was honored to enjoy Bourdain’s raw and unfiltered presentation offering entertaining life lessons and anecdotes from the kitchen and on the road. The renowned food personality, award-winning journalist and internationally-acclaimed raconteur delighted all of us with a colorful discussion of his unlikely rise from being “42 years old, completely broke-ass, standing in a kitchen dunking French fries,” to doing what he considers the greatest job in the world, where “life does not suck.” 

 

Anthony Bourdain, photos by Kathryn Grace.

Anthony Bourdain, photos by Kathryn Grace.

The irony of his suicide was not lost on those who attended, but the legacy of his generosity, way with words and openness to new experiences also lives on. He inspired us to travel with passion, eat with gusto, drink with strangers and connect with our fellow human beings. In death, as in life, Anthony Bourdain brought us closer together.

 

Event Planner Tamara Jensen, Anthony Bourdain and A&L Ambassador Sherry Villanueva. Photo by David Bazemore, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Event Planner Tamara Jensen, Anthony Bourdain and A&L Ambassador Sherry Villanueva. Photo by David Bazemore, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s OK. The journey changes you; it should change you … You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” —Anthony Bourdain

 

A&L supporters Lynda Weinman & Bruce Heavin and Sara Miller McCune with Anthony Bourdain. Photo by David Bazemore, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

A&L supporters Lynda Weinman & Bruce Heavin and Sara Miller McCune with Anthony Bourdain. Photo by David Bazemore, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.” —Anthony Bourdain

Participating local chefs with Anthony Bourdain. Photo by David Bazemore, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Participating local chefs with Anthony Bourdain. Photo by David Bazemore, courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures.

“Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom … is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.” —Anthony Bourdain

 

Leslie Dinaberg

This story was originally published in the Fall 2018 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Legacies: Community Counseling & Education Center

Celebrating 25 Years of Service

By Leslie Dinaberg

 

What began in 1984 as the dream of two women—to provide very low cost counseling and education to needy individuals, couples, and families, and to create a state-of-the-art training environment for graduate students—now, 25 years later, a vibrant nonprofit, the Community Counseling & Education Center (CCEC).

 

When Patricia Cooper and Jaclyn Henretig first envisioned CCEC, there were only a handful of places where people with limited incomes could go for counseling. The Human Relations Institute (which later became Pacifica) had a counseling center in Isla Vista where Cooper was a graduate student training to be a counselor and Henretig was her supervisor. That center was slated to close and the women felt passionately that the community still needed its services.

 

“Our immediate response was ‘let’s do something to keep it going,’” says Henretig, who now serves as Clinical Director.

 

“We were seeing a lot more people coming into therapy and talking about things like divorce and separation. People were starting to talk about the impact of alcohol on the family. Many people were growing up in homes where there was sexual abuse. We saw an opportunity to not only provide those kinds of services, but also support a student body with trouble adjusting to being away from home and struggling with depression and anxiety,” explains Cooper, now the Executive Director.

 

Despite the fact that they had no funding and limited resources at their disposal, they set up shop in a small office in the Isla Vista Medical Center. They got to work quickly, painting the walls and sewing cushions for the floor so they could seat their first clients.

 

“We did not know anything about running an agency, obviously,” laughs Cooper, from the downtown Santa Barbara offices they now occupy. CCEC may have graduated from pillows on the floor to second-hand couches and chairs, but the spirit of rolling up your sleeves and doing what needs to be done remains strong.

 

“We stayed with our original desire, which was to provide psychological and educational programs that were pertinent to the Santa Barbara community at an affordable price, and at the same time to have a great training program to meet the needs of the interns going through,” says Henretig.

 

“If I were to encapsulate the journey of the center, I would say that in many ways we were learning as we went about how to run an agency. But we also were very proud of the clinical training and supervision that we were offering and the direct services that we were providing to low income families. … We always felt like we were excelling in those areas,” says Cooper.

 

Today CCEC provides about 7,500 hours a year of bilingual counseling services for individuals, couples, families, and children, as well as a variety of support groups for children (in conjunction with Boys and Girls Club), single parents, and Spanish speaking families. It also offers continuing education classes to the general public. All services are either free or on a sliding fee scale, which Cooper says is becoming more critical in these stressful economic times.

 

While not a crisis center, CCEC does have ability to react quickly to support the community’s needs. For example, it worked closely with the Red Cross and offered free counseling services to people affected by the Jesusita Fire and prior to that, the Tea Fire.

 

“To have somebody to listen to you is oftentimes such a gift, and to have somebody’s undivided attention, it’s a gift and it’s something that we all crave,” says Cooper. “None of us ever feel like we get enough of that.”

 

“It’s truly been a pleasure for us to do the center. When I think of the things that I’m proud of in my life, certainly having the center develop as it has brings me a lot of sense of peace,” says Henretig. “Private practice is wonderful, but there’s only a few people that can afford private practice fees. This makes me feel like it goes out into the community regardless of how much money people have, and that’s a good feeling.”

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For more information about the Community Counseling & Education Center, call 805/962-3363.

 Originally published in the Fall 2009 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine. To read the story as it appeared, click here for the first page, and here for the second page.

 

 

 

 

 

Legacies: Storyteller

storytellerThe infectious chirping of children’s laughter greets visitors. Pigtails fly as a little girl rounds the playground on a tricycle, her smile as bright as the sun. This scene could take place at any of Santa Barbara’s high quality preschool programs, with one exceptional difference–this is Storyteller Children’s Center and these children are homeless.

Founded in 1988 by volunteers who pushed aside cots at Transition House to make space for a small group of children, Storyteller has a come a long way from those humble beginnings.

“We started out as a half-day program for about ten kids,” says Executive Director Terri Allison, who co-wrote the initial proposal to fund a childcare center for homeless children when she worked for the Community Action Commission. The children thrived and the program grew, incorporating in 1991 and moving to First Congregational Church, then to a dedicated center in 1999.

As the program matured, so did its goals. “In the beginning, the group was very focused on providing a safe space for kids,” says board president Jon Clark. “Now we’re looking in a more focused way at the children and their families and what they need. … In particular because of the living situations these children are in, it really is on Storyteller to provide educational experiences, nutrition and all those things that will help them grow.”

Most families are referred through word-of-mouth or from other agencies such as Transition House, Domestic Violence Solutions, St. Vincent’s, Department of Social Services and Child Protective Services.

“A teacher sits down with every family for at least an hour … to establish a level of trust with them and also to figure how we can help,” Allison says. In addition to early childcare and education services, offerings include on-site counseling, family services and case management; parent support groups and education workshops; mental health and disability services; health, vision and dental screenings and nutrition services.

“The teacher helps set goals with the parents and we monitor them on a monthly basis,” Allison says. “We know that the best way to affect change is through the whole family, so parents to have the skills that they need, as well as the children.”

“Parents who leave their children with us are expressing tremendous trust in the people that work at Storyteller,” says Clark. “Once that trusting relationship is developed, there is so much that we can do to help them deal with their family issues and parenting issues. That was a real eye-opener when we realized that the relationship between the organization and the families and the trust that developed was such a huge asset.”

Studies of graduates and their families show a marked improvement in their social and economic status and Storyteller is working with UCSB to research the longer-term impact of its programs. “What we’re trying to do is to make meaningful changes in the lives of children and their families that are going to play out over time,” says Clark.

“There is so much scientific evidence about the huge differences that quality preschool education can make in later years,” says Allison. Experts agree that investment in high quality education for young children has substantial economic payoffs–for every $1 invested, $3 to $16 is returned from decreased jail time and increased physical and mental health.

One of the biggest challenges for Storyteller is trying to focus on the depth of services to individual families and still offer a breadth of services to the community. The waiting list for children continues to grow. Allison cites research that there is only one licensed childcare space for every three eligible children in Santa Barbara County–regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

Still, Storyteller is doing its best to help more children. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the organization opened a second facility, thanks in large part to the generosity of the Orfalea Foundation, who bought the building and is leasing it back to Storyteller rent-free for ten years, enabling Storyteller to mount a $3.2 million capital campaign for the expansion.

Last spring Storyteller was able to increase capacity from 29 to 50 children in the two preschools. By September of 2009 they expect to have 72 children enrolled.

“It’s really amazing to think of how far we’ve come,” says board member J.P. Sharp, a volunteer since 1994. “It was a real grassroots organization of helping children and helping parents and really teaching them how to parent. This is still a wonderful place to visit and volunteer.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine in Fall 2008.

Legacies: Hospice of Santa Barbara

“A PLACE WHERE COMPASSIONATE CARE is freely given”—that’s how retiring executive director Gail Rink describes Hospice of Santa Barbara, which officially opened its doors in 1974, making it the second-oldest hospice program in the United States.

Now tucked away on a serene Riviera hilltop, the nonprofit organization offers a wide array of supportive services—all 100 percent free of charge—for people diagnosed with terminal illness or facing the loss of a loved one.

Offerings include individual, couples, family and group counseling and support groups tailored to address specific circumstances such as organ transplant, suicide or the loss of a pet. Educational programs and complimentary health and wellness therapies are also included.

The 6,500-square-foot building—designed pro bono by local architect Barry Berkus as a testament to his late wife Gail and the comfort Hospice of Santa Barbara provided when she was dying—looks and feels more like a high-end health spa than a place designed to deal with death and grief.

In many ways, it is.

“This is part office, part spa, part chapel,” says Rink. Stressing humanistic rather than medical treatment, Hospice of Santa Barbara emphasizes the emotional, social and spiritual care needs of the terminally ill and their families. Stephen Jacobsen, former senior pastor of Goleta Presbyterian Church, took over the stewardship from Rink this fall, although she will stay on as a consultant until the end of the year.

“In my 30 years of work here, there has been a continuous stream of people saying how much Hospice meant to them,” says Jacobsen, who has served as a board member of Hospice of Santa Barbara, as well as Interfaith Initiative, Isla Vista Youth Project and La Casa de Maria Retreat Center. “For me, in this part of my professional life, it’s like a golden opportunity to take everything I’ve learned and learn a lot more.”

There’s a nice synergy in the relationship between Goleta Presbyterian Church and Hospice of Santa Barbara.

“When Hospice of Santa Barbara was founded in 1974, Goleta Presbyterian Church gave us the seed money to start it, and the pastor at that time, Don Hawthorne, became the board president,” says Rink.

From 1990 to 2001, Hospice of Santa Barbara partnered with Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care, which can sometimes be confusing. Explains Rink, “Hospice of Santa Barbara is a volunteer hospice that provides emotional, social and spiritual support for the terminally ill and the bereaved. The emphasis of a medical model hospice (such as Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care) is the nursing piece. They are covered through insurance and insurance defines their mission, whereas all of our services are free, and we receive no insurance reimbursement.”

“Yes, it is thanks to the generosity of people who support us that we have no billing department,” says Jacobsen.

“Historically that has really been important in this organization. Our board has always been committed to providing free services,” Rink adds.

Looking to the future, board president Roger Heroux says, “The vision is to grow because there is a lot of work to be done. Not only do we want to grow and expand the clinical aspects of this organization, we want to penetrate the Hispanic community in a big way…. (Also) we’ve got to make sure that our infrastructure is solid…to make sure that we’ve got the capability internally to deal with the growth. And finally we want to collaborate with a couple of like-minded organizations that will serve as a good referral source to us, but who also share our commitment to this process.”

“I think that it will be a different kind of leadership,” says Rink. “I’m a fundamental program person and have been in the business a long time (27 years as a hospice social worker/counselor) and Steve has been affiliated with the business for a long time. I built the fundamentals, he’ll build the future.”

To find out more about Hospice of Santa Barbara, call (805) 563-8820 or visit www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Winter 2008/09 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine. To read the story as it appeared, click here and here.