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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Treat Your Children Well

© Kornilovdream | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Kornilovdream | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

A Look at Some of the Nonprofits Serving Children

What could be a more universal cause than striving to give children a brighter tomorrow and a more fulfilling future? Literally hundreds of opportunities exist to give back to children in the community. Unfortunately, we can’t include them all. Here’s a look at just a few of the many organizations working to on behalf of children’s issues and the solutions to their problems in the areas of at-risk youth; education; arts; and medical, emotional and physical health and safety.

Family Service Agency is Santa Barbara County’s first and oldest non-profit human service agency, offering several programs, including Healthy Start, which connects at-risk families with existing community resources; the Family Build Project, which addresses the needs of families living in government subsidized housing; and a variety of counseling and child guidance programs.

Another veteran organization offering a variety of services to at-risk children and others is the United Boys and Girls Clubs. It has been working with young people in town since 1945, and now has four clubhouses that offer day care, summer camps, and a plethora of programs including sports, art, academics and leadership development. While the organization once emphasized servicing children from disadvantaged backgrounds, “today we’re open to everyone, because all children are at risk,” says Executive Director Sal Rodriguez.

Also serving both at-risk youth and the wider community is the Police Activity League (PAL), which offers opportunities for instruction in art, digital editing, hip hop dance, martial arts, and basketball, as well as a tutoring center and a teen youth leadership council that are open to all children. PAL also has a Campership Alliance Program that collaborates with a number of organizations–including the City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department, United Boys & Girls Clubs, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara YMCA, Santa Barbara Zoo, Refugio Junior Lifeguard Program, Elings Park Camps and Money Camp for Kids –to provide summer camp scholarships.

Endowment for Youth Committee is another broad-reaching organization, which provides a wide variety of educational, social, cultural and recreational achievement programs for children, with a special emphasis on assisting African American, Native American and Latino youth.

Girls Inc. also offers an expansive array of programs, but with an all-girl atmosphere that emphasizes learning to resist gender stereotypes and encouraging girls to take risks, acquire skills, gain confidence, become self-reliant, and practice leadership. Girls are also front and center for Affirm, another program that works only with girls, in this case focusing on empowerment, education, and identity for teenagers that are in the juvenile correction system.

Kids in trouble are also the focus for Noah’s Anchorage, operated by the YMCA. The group provides a Youth Crisis Shelter, which is the only program in Santa Barbara County that offers year-round 24-hour access to counseling, shelter, referrals, food and clothing for runaways, homeless youth and youth in crisis.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters program, run by Family Service Agency, also targets at risk youth, matching them up with adult mentors who provide positive role models and a one-on-one relationship. Another mentorship-based program is the Wilderness Youth Project, which offers after school, weekend and summer programs that utilize “nature-based mentoring,” where being out in nature facilitates crucial life lessons and connection with the natural world.

Working on the health and wellness front is CALM (Child Abuse Listening and Mediation), which acts to prevent child abuse from occurring and offers professional treatment for the entire family when abuse does occur. CALM works closely with police, the district attorney, child protective services and medical personnel to investigate alleged abuse in a supportive and child-friendly fashion.

The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation is another organization that works with entire families, endeavoring to ensure that children with cancer receive the undivided comfort of their parents during the treatment and recovery process. Teddy Bear provides financial aid for rent, mortgage, utilities, and car payments, as well as other supportive services, thereby allowing families to focus on their children. “Teddy Bear is unique in that it adapts to each family’s distinct needs. We don’t provide just one service–we do whatever’s needed to help,” said Founder/Executive Director Nikki Katz.

On the education front, the Children’s Project is focused on developing an innovative boarding school and college preparatory academy for foster children and selected youth with mental health or delinquency issues. “People often ask me, ‘Why foster children? So many kids need help.’ While that is true, there is one big difference that separates foster youth from others in need. That is that we not only have a moral obligation to help them…we have a legal obligation. …The moment the judge removes the child from a parent’s care, WE become the parents to that child. We, as the community, step into that role. And I am convinced we can do a better job,” says Founder and CEO Wendy Read.

Another education nonprofit, the Computers for Families program, seeks to eliminate the negative consequences of the Digital Divide by providing students from low-income families with refurbished computers, Internet access and training. Thanks to this innovative program, Santa Barbara will be the first community in the United States to ensure that every child from a low-income family, beginning in the fourth grade, has a computer with Internet access.

For more than 43 years, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara has helped local students pay for their higher education, giving out more than $7 million in student aid for the last school year.

Emphasizing the arts is Art Walk for Kids, an outreach program that focuses on benefiting special needs, developmentally disabled, at risk, terminally ill youth and adults in their positive environments through a specialized curriculum of art and vocational education. Art Walk projects have benefited a diverse group of nonprofits, including the United Nations, Summit for Danny, United Way, the Red Cross, Sarah House, the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Lobero Theatre, I Madonnari, the Multi-Cultural Dance and Music Festival, Vieja Valley School, Santa Barbara County Juvenile Hall, El Puente School, and Hillside House, among others. Its latest collaboration is with the Patricia Henley Foundation, a new nonprofit that offers unique, free opportunities for students to learn all aspects of theatre arts production and develop their creative talents.

The Family Therapy Institute’s Academy of Healing Arts for Teens (AHA!) also incorporates creative expression into its programs, which emphasize the development of character, imagination, emotional intelligence, and social conscience in teenagers, and helps them learn to set goals, stop bullying and hatred, support their peers, and serve their community.

These excellent organizations are but a small percentage of all of the nonprofits serving children in Santa Barbara. For a more comprehensive list visit the Family Service Agency referral service at www.211sbcounty.org/.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Magazine