Who: Storyteller’s Supper Club
What: A benefit for Storyteller Children’s Center
When: Friday, Oct. 11
Where: Bacara Resort & Spa
Storyteller Children’s Center celebrated its 25th anniversary in high style at Bacara Resort & Spa as guests donned gowns and tuxedos for the Supper Club honoring Kenny Slaught.
The ballroom was filled with elegance and hints of 1930s formal style, showcasing a theme of black, white and silver that was emblematic of the celebration and fit seamlessly with the supper club theme.
Slaught has been an integral member of the Storyteller Children's Center board since 1988, serving as treasurer for many years and also playing Santa Claus every December. His support served a key role in the organizations ability to open a second site.
The humble honoree spoke to Noozhawk about how the organization began in the parking lot of a homeless shelter and shared the satisfaction he feels for what Storyteller has grown into, with two schools that serve 100 children per year.
“The journey has been amazing. It’s been remarkable to go from pretty much nothing to having a world-class pre-K. These are homeless kids and there is no safety net for them — we’re it,” Slaught said. “So I get a lot of satisfaction of just going to the preschool and knowing that we’re making a difference in their lives and the community. We’re making a difference in those kid’s lives and the families.”
A founding principal and president of Investec Real Estate Companies, a full-service real estate management company focused on properties in coastal California, Slaught is Storyteller’s longest-serving board member who came to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles to attend UCSB and never left. His service to the community also includes the Dream Foundation board and as trustee of the UCSB Foundation.
The community’s most vulnerable children and families come from challenging circumstances, having been homeless, lived in shelters or in small apartments that house multiple families. Additionally, children are exposed to parents dealing with substance abuse, domestic violence or medical conditions.
All of these challenges directly affect sleep, healthy meals and ultimately education. Storyteller provides full-time, tuition-free preschool, healthy meals, on-site therapy, vision and dental screenings, parent education classes, home visits and case management to make a dramatic difference in the lives of children, families and the community.
“We really want children to have their basic needs met, and then we have three main goals,” Executive Director Terri Allison said. “Children leave our program ready to learn with solid, emotional health. Families build their capacity to support their children’s learning and to make good changes in their lives. And, teachers or therapeutic educators, where they can actually work with children and families to make sure that everyone’s working together. So it’s a three-pronged triangle of support services.”
This vital organization lost approximately $115,000 this year in critical Head Start funding, and the success of the gala raising $300,000 was a huge boost to the programs and success of the Storyteller experience.
Emcee Ricardo Calderon started the evening by welcoming the crowd of supporters and was joined by board president and gala co-chair, Tiffany Foster, to present a special evening with delicious food, including steak Diane with mushroom cognac sauce. The delectable menu fit the evening’s theme and was topped off by chocolate anniversary cakes created and donated by Fresco Five Points, Jeannine’s of Santa Barbara and The Solvang Bakery.
Storyteller Children's Center graciously thanks the sponsors of the Silver Celebration, including:
» Big Shot: Bacara Resort & Spa
» Top Dog: Elizabeth and Kenny Slaught, and US Bank
» Ring-a-Ding-Dinger: anonymous (two), I.D.O. Events Inc., and Ann and Jim Scarborough
— Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.