It feels grand to attend an event where guests feel so comfortable together, and that was the case Saturday at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission’s Back to the Bayou benefit event.
The annual fundraiser, now in its 10th year, attracted nearly 300 supporters united in their commitment to pledge and give of their time and treasure to the Santa Barbara-based residential drug and alcohol treatment program.
This year’s “Back to the Bayou: A Roundup at the Ranch” was an outdoor afternoon benefit event held at Rancho Dos Pueblos north of Goleta, with use of the venue donated by owners Henry and Dundie Schulte.
The event entrance was adorned with leather riding saddles and Western memorabilia, along with friendly greeters who lined the pathways to the exclusive oceanside estate.
Organized by the Women’s Auxiliary, proceeds will benefit the mission’s Homeless Guest Services and 12-month residential treatment programs.
The casual roundup featured a silent auction boutique, music by Steve Woods and a family-style dinner presented by Lorraine Lim Catering. Plates of mashed potatoes, steamed asparagus and barbecue steaks were shared around tables of 12. Emceeing the event was longtime Rescue Mission volunteer leader Gerd Jordano.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown was honored for his committed partnership to the work of recovery through his service as a founding member of the Santa Barbara County Re-entry Steering Committee and as a member of the Santa Barbara Fighting Back Task Force. The Brown family came out in full force to share the honor with the sheriff, including wife Donna, father Bill Sr., son Nick and Geraldine Brown.
During his remarks after receiving the honor, Brown credited his parents for his faith, noting that his father worked for the Billy Graham Crusade for five decades.
Program graduate Ashley, 28, talked about her life of addiction and ultimate recovery thanks to the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. At age 5, her parents divorced and she was raised by her mother. When she was a teen, she was raped at a party and, instead of receiving understanding and concern, her high school friends ridiculed her. She dropped out of high school her junior year.
“I used drugs to get rid of the heartache,” Ashley said.
After a decade of abuse of alcohol and methamphetamine plus petty crime, Ashley came to Bethel House, the mission’s Women’s Recovery Program. She went through the 12-step program at Bethel House, graduated after the year-long residential program, and said she has been clean and sober for more than five years. She is now working full time and strives to be a model parent to her daughter.
This year, the Bayou event raised $320,000 to assist people seeking recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. The mission has helped nearly 500 people achieve recovery during the past 13 years. It provides hot meals and overnight accommodations to homeless guests 365 days a year and offers a men’s and women’s 12-month residential recovery program. It receives no government funding.
“While only 21 percent of those completing treatment programs nationally maintain their sobriety beyond five years, we are proud that 52 percent of our graduates do so,” Rescue Mission President Rolf Geyling said.
For more information about the Rescue Mission, click here or call 805.966.1316.