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Phoenix of Santa Barbara Names Fundraising Event Co-Chairs

J.T. Turner and Alex Smariga will lead the way for 'One Small Step!' set for July 21

J.T. Turner
J.T. Turner

J.T. Turner and Alex Smariga have been named co-chairs for “One Small Step!” a fundraising event for the mental health nonprofit agency Phoenix of Santa Barbara.

Billed as a non-walkathon, “Just One Small Step!” will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 21 at Alameda Park, at Micheltorena and Anacapa streets in downtown Santa Barbara.

Along with the event activities of live music, games, prizes and plenty of great food such as breakfast wraps from Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, there will be a sneaker-painting contest, a bounce house, green screen photos, raffles, face painting and test drives in a Toyota Sienna.

“The goal of ‘Just One Small Step!’ is to give individuals and families the opportunity to help raise funds for two new vans for Phoenix House and Mountain House, which are two residential treatment programs for mentally ill adults,” Turner said.

Previous to joining Phoenix of Santa Barbara in 1996 as executive director, Turner was director of a day treatment program for the mentally ill in Los Angeles. He holds a master’s degree from Cambridge University, a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Fielding Graduate University and is a licensed marriage family therapist.

His 60-minute documentary, Crazy Art, on the role of art in psychiatric recovery, won an Audience Choice Award at the 2010 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Alex Smariga
Alex Smariga

Turner has been a member of the Montecito Rotary Club since 2006.

Smariga serves as board treasurer for Phoenix of Santa Barbara. Using his background and expertise as a mathematician, software engineer and chief technology executive, he started his own IT management consulting firm in Los Angeles in the 1990s, which he later sold to Computer Associates. He “retired” in 2001 and has devoted his time to volunteer work since then.

He has served on the boards of a variety of nonprofits in Southern California and the Central Coast.

To learn about sponsorship opportunities, purchase $5 entrance tickets — which includes breakfast — or for more information about “Just One Small Step!” call Dinah Thompson at 805.965.3434 or click here.

— Jennifer Goddard is a publicist representing Phoenix of Santa Barbara.

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