Sunday, June 24 , 2018, 7:07 am | Overcast 63º


Girls Inc. of Carpinteria Provides a Gourmet Taste and a ‘Eureka’ Moment

15th annual benefit raises funds for programs, including implementation of three-year Eureka project

Girls Incorporated of Carpinteria recently hosted the 15th Annual “A Taste for Carpinteria” at its beautiful youth facility on Foothill Road.

The weather was perfect for the outdoor silent auction and gourmet food stations. Chef Michael Hutchings served as guest chef with assistance from members of the Culinary Arts team from nearby Carpinteria High School. Local restaurants and vendors contributed to the effort, including Cabo’s Cantina, Christine Dahl Pastries, Hollandia Produce, Oaxaca Fresh, Reynaldo’s Bakery, The Palms, Our Daily Bread, Rincon Beach Club & Catering, The Berry Man, Island Brewing Company and others.

Wine was donated by Sunstone Vineyards & Winery, Corktree Cellars, Brander Vineyard and Whitcraft Winery, as well as beer from Carpinteria’s own Island Brewing Company.

A Taste for Carpinteria is a major fundraising event for Girls Incorporated of Carpinteria. This year, more than 300 participants came together to celebrate and support “Strong, Smart and Bold” girls and young women of the Carpinteria Valley. This popular event provides funding for essential programs that empower local girls and young women, ages 5 to 19, to realize their potential, gain confidence, learn new skills and exchange ideas in a safe, friendly and fun environment.

Board members GeriAnn Carty and Diana Freeman co-chaired the event.

“I have worked on this event for many years,” Freeman said.

“I do it for the girls,” she continued with tears welling up in her eyes.

Carty said that the goal was to raise $50,000.

Committee members included Tracy Beard, Jaci Browdy, Mary Crowley, Donna Downs, Kiona Gross, Ericka Lopez, Bethel Mather and Gail Persoon, along with executive director Victoria Juarez.

Helping to reach the fundraising goal were sponsors Montecito Bank & Trust, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Affordable Housing Access, Griffith & Thornburgh LLP, HUB International/Ray Seider, Annie and Tony Thomas, Venoco Inc., the Zemeckis Charitable Foundation and others.

Emcee Jim Sirianni was busy opening and closing the silent auction sections. John Palminteri took the reins when the crowd moved into the gym for the live auction and deftly handled generous bids for jewelry, a Lions Club barbecue for 50, a Hearst Castle dinner, and two tickets to the finale of the American Idol television show.

“The importance of Girls Inc. today is that its after-school programs are linked to the school day and truly reinforce school curriculum,” said Craig Price, a five-year board member and now board president. “Our goal is to improve academic performance and give positive role models and career options for our girls.”

Girls Inc. members selling raffle tickets at the event included Ana Delgado, 12, Sarah Alpizar, 11, and Alisa Lemere, 12.

“I like Girls Inc. because I get to meet interesting people,” Ana said. “We met people who work for the Santa Barbara County Health Department. They trained us about anti-tobacco. Then we had a booth at the Avocado Festival and told people about the importance of not using tobacco.”

“We get to do a lot of projects, go on field trips and get help on our homework,” said Sarah.

“I have learned how to handle money and to do public speaking,” added Alisa.

Girls Inc. programs include Project BOLD, Friendly PEERsuasion, Media Literacy, Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy and Operation SMART.

This year, Girls Inc is looking to bring “Eureka” to Carpinteria. Eureka is a three-year program that takes the “whole girl” approach (strong, smart, bold) while expanding each participant’s sense of what is possible for the future. During the first two summers, girls spend four weeks on a college campus engaged in hands-on activities focused on math, science, technology, sports, personal development, college readiness and careers. During the third summer, girls participate in a four-week paid internship in a career field of their choice hosted by successful professional women.

Click here for more information on Girls Incorporated of Carpinteria, or call 805.684.6364.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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