Ladies, Let Your Inner Diva Shine for an Evening

The dazzling divas of Momentum 4 Life will be back kicking up their heels for a good cause at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort on Friday, May 16th. This year’s women only festivities will benefit Alpha Resource Center‘s Family First Program, a parent-directed program which assists parents of children with special needs to gain knowledge and skills to enable their children to be all they can be through parent support, information, referral, and educational workshops.

Momentum 4 Life Founder Dawn Schroeder said the training group voted to support the Family First Program after hearing firsthand stories from ten different members who have children with special needs that received services from the Family First Program. “The vote was overwhelming in favor of supporting the needs and wishes of our group and Family First it was. It is so nice to be able to help each other out,” she says.

Founded by Schroeder in Santa Barbara, Momentum 4 Life provides a structure for individuals to form training teams to challenge themselves, train for an athletic event and give back to the community. Teams may consist of groups of women, men, co-ed or children and may train for triathlons, biathlons, 5K, 10K, half or full marathons.

As with the two previous “Divas” events (which supported the Breast Resource Center the first year and the Cancer Center last year), this year’s festivities will be a fun opportunity for a ladies night out.

In addition to the philanthropic motivation, Schroeder says, “The Diva event was formed as a way for women only to get out for an evening of fun and celebrate being a woman with glamorous hair, make up, skin care, beautiful nails, a limo ride, a red carpet walk, and singing like a diva in the karaoke contest. If this does not sound like the perfect fit for you, then relax and enjoy some appetizers, wine tasting, a massage, chocolate goodies, and have your palm or tarot cards read–there is something for every woman.”

If you’re stuck on what to give for Mother’s Day–which is May 11th, the weekend before the event–tickets are still available for $75 before May 1 and $100 after that date. In addition, Tiffany & Co., who is sponsoring the event along with Mentor Corporation and Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, will have a special promotion: a $25 purchase of a key to Tiffany’s vault could yield exclusive “bling” items worth between $500 and $700.

” This event will help so many in many different ways,” says Schroeder. “First and most importantly it will benefit Family First and their excellent efforts and resources. And it will help every woman who attends to feel special, important and valued–especially the week after Mother’s Day–we want to honor the mothers of special needs children and extend the Mother’s Day weekend a little longer to all mothers who deserve more than just the one day a year. It is a feel good opportunity for everyone.”

For more information or to buy tickets online visit

Originally published in Noozhawk on April 25, 2008.

Leslie Dinaberg Sits Down With Janet Wolf

Janet Wolf, courtesy photo

Janet Wolf, courtesy photo

Issues like the environment, housing, transportation and social services usually top the agendas of county government, but women’s health is also high on the list of concerns for Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf, who celebrates her first year in office in January.

Leslie Dinaberg: I know health is a big concern of yours since you had a heart attack (in December of 2004). How do you manage to stay healthy with such a busy job?

Janet Wolf: I try to continue my daily exercise routine and eat healthy foods. I started a “walk and talk” program, so instead of meeting some people for lunch they would come and we would do a walk and talk downtown. I didn’t want to get into the habit of eating out all the time, so I kicked off this idea at the American Heart Association Wear Red Day last year.

LD: That’s a great idea.

JW: We’re going to do it again in February for the Heart Association.

LD: So you’ve become a heart health advocate partially in response to your own experiences.

JW: Yes. I went through a physical rehabilitation program and changed my diet. I went to a five-day program offered through the Mayo Clinic called Woman-Heart. Women who’ve experienced heart disease, not necessarily heart attacks but a whole myriad, were trained to become spokespersons for women and heart disease.

…I made a commitment that I was going to speak about it and talk about my experiences. They wanted women who did not have a medical background, so they could easily relate to other women about their experiences.

When I returned from the program I was incredibly motivated to get the word out because, as I’m sure you know, heart attacks are the number one killer of women.

… Lois Capps was the co-sponsor of a bill–Heart Disease Education, Research and Analysis, and Treatment (HEART) for Women Act–I was honored to be asked to go to Washington and testify for this bill. In a lot of ways it’s been a way for me to just speak out about something that I’m so passionate about. Talking to women who are moms about heart disease, diet and exercise can also have positive impacts on their children.

LD: Prior to your heart attack, had you ever been told to watch anything by your doctor?

JW: No. Everything was fine. …When this all happened, it just threw us all for a loop.

LD: I can imagine.

JW: I just felt extremely lucky to, first of all, live in Santa Barbara and get really top-notch care when I was in the hospital. But I think the thing and the message to women is prevention and then to know that when you feel that something is not right, don’t wait–take the initiative to get to the doctor or get to the emergency room.

LD: What did it feel like? It doesn’t sound like the dramatic thing that you see on TV.

JW: No. My husband said that, “you didn’t clench your heart and fall over.” It happened over time. I was having what felt like indigestion … (for several days) … I called my doctor… he prescribed medicine for indigestion, so I went and got the prescription filled and it didn’t help. … In the middle of the night I woke up and the pain was incredibly intense.

… By the time I got to the hospital I was having a massive heart attack. By that time the main artery was 100% occluded.

LD: I know this is a stereotype, but do you think that women are more likely to ignore their symptoms because they’re taking care of their families?

JW: I think that is partly true. When I was at the Mayo Clinic there was a woman who said she was having angina while she was at her son’s soccer game but she didn’t want to miss the soccer game. I am grateful that most women know about getting mammograms and colonoscopies … but we need to work harder about the letting people know about the increase of heart disease among women. We must be proactive.

LD: Switching gears a little bit, what’s like to be on the Board of Supervisors?

JW: It’s very exciting; it’s very challenging and rewarding.

LD: I know you served on the Goleta School Board for 12 years, how is it different?

JW: The obvious difference is that this is a full time job and the issues are broader, but I think a lot of the same skill set transfers over … For me it’s just really important to be prepared and on top of my game. And I find the meeting’s fascinating and engaging and it’s very interesting to deal with such a variety of issues. … Trying to have a really positive impact in our community. And that’s the rewarding part. And also meeting some incredible people. I’ve been very lucky to have a great staff.

… I think … we’ve taken care of outstanding issues that the county was dealing with like uniform rules, sphere of influence, and we have some issues that are coming before us like Goleta Beach and we’re also starting the Eastern Goleta PAC that’s going to be the planning document for our community. … I’ve got a great group of colleagues too to work with. Even though we certainly …don’t agree on everything and philosophically I have a point of view they may not share, but I think there is a mutual respect.

LD: That’s always good to hear. What do you think our biggest challenges are right now as a county?

JW: Right now I think it’s aligning our budget with our priorities or our fiscal challenges with our priorities.

LD: I keep hearing at the state level the budget is going to be so bad, how does it look in the county?

JW: There have been very conservative estimates on the impact on the county budget and because of the potential there’s been certain budget principles that have been put into place that are a little troubling to me. I think we will be impacted but there are also ways on the revenue side to try and enhance that. I have requested that the board hold a budget workshop in late February or early March to review the preliminary budget so that we can have input earlier on in the process.

… It’s certainly not a rosy picture but I also don’t think it’s total a bleak picture either. … If you have to make cuts, in my opinion, you look at the whole picture and you make them timely and wisely.

Vital Stats: Janet Wolf

Born: Los Angeles, May 17, 1954

Family: Husband Harvey, three daughters, Jessica (27), Stephanie (24), and Kim (20)

Civic Involvement: Alpha Resource Center, Planned Parenthood, National Charity League, League of Women Voters, Women’s Heart Health Advocate

Professional Accomplishments: Worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor for more than 20 years; served on the Goleta School Board for 12 years; current member of the County Board of Supervisors

Little-Known Fact: “I love making necklaces. It’s a new hobby. I just discovered it.”

Originally published in Noozhawk on December 31, 2007.