The Junior League of Santa Barbara will host its fifth annual Literacy Gala this Saturday at the Coral Casino in Montecito.

Tina McEnroe

Tina McEnroe

“A Seussical Ball” will benefit the Junior League and its efforts to improve youth literacy in the community. With its partner, the Santa Barbara Public Library, JLSB facilitates community literacy events and has been fundraising toward building a new Children’s Library space to be rich with programming.

This year, the Seussical Ball will celebrate two women as the Junior League’s Woman of the Year — Mindy Denson and Tina McEnroe. Both of these exceptional, local women will be recognized for their dedication and service to philanthropy in the community.

McEnroe is the head teacher at the Tina Hansen McEnroe and Paul V. McEnroe Reading and Language Arts Clinic at UCSB. The recently opened clinic offers special instruction to first-, second- and third-graders from the greater Santa Barbara community who need help in reading. The goal of the program is not only to help those in need, but, by using UCSB expertise, to develop improved methodologies and practices that will contribute to the “State of the Art” of teaching reading and language arts nationally and even internationally.

In 2006, McEnroe and her husband saved a dilapidated 1869 schoolhouse from the bulldozer, moving it onto their Santa Ynez Valley ranch and undertaking a major restoration project. The oldest one-room schoolhouse in the county, Pleasant Valley School is now a designated Santa Barbara County Building of Historic Merit.

Denson is a volunteer extraordinaire in the Santa Barbara community. She devotes her time and energy to a number of nonprofits and community organizations, including Girls Inc., the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Hospice of Santa Barbara.

She is the director of the Montecito Association, board chair of Beautification Day and emcee for the Village Fourth Parade. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Santa Barbara Zoo, on the Zoofari Ball Committee, on the Board of Directors for the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network and board chair of the Sanctuary Awards, as well as a board member for Santa Barbara TV.

“We are so thrilled to honor two fantastic women who speak loudly to our vision of women as catalysts for lasting community change,” Junior League President Erin Muslera said. “Like the ladies of the JLSB, these women set a standard of excellence and really make an impact in our community.”

Mindy Denson

Mindy Denson

The Literacy Gala will be hosted by local celebrity Andrew Firestone and will feature silent and live auctions, dinner, dancing and awards. Proceeds from the evening will support the Junior League of Santa Barbara and the many youth literacy projects it provides to the community.

Corporate sponsors of the Literacy Gala are Lindsey Communications, Cottage Children’s Hospital, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, Cox Communications, The Garage of Santa Barbara, Van Atta Associates/Blackbird Architects, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust and Mitch Stark/Prudential Realty.

The Junior League of Santa Barbara Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

To purchase tickets or for more information about the fifth annual Literacy Gala and the Junior League of Santa Barbara, click here or email

— Kielle Horton is the communications chair for the Junior League of Santa Barbara.