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Devereux California Celebrates 71 Years with Fun in the Sun Festival

Crowd of more than 100 gathers at Isla Vista campus to mark success of behavioral health care programs

Members of Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health California hosted a community “Fun in the Sun” celebration to mark the organization’s 71st year in California. Click to view larger
Members of Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health California hosted a community “Fun in the Sun” celebration to mark the organization’s 71st year in California. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

The sun was shining, music was playing, and bright yellow, pink, orange and blue balloons dotted the campus of Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health California in Goleta on Saturday afternoon as the nonprofit organization marked its 71st year of service.

More than 100 Devereux residents, relatives, friends, community partners, staff members and volunteers celebrated at the facility nestled at the end of Storke Road off Old Slough Road at the west end of Isla Vista.

Hosted by members of Devereux California, the “Fun in the Sun” program provided a venue for the community to socialize, and enjoy its milestones of success.

“We are celebrating our years of service to adults with special needs in California,” said Cassi Noel, Devereux’s manager of external affairs. “This event is about bringing together our individuals with staff, friends and the community, and celebrating the good work that we do.”

Earlier in the day, The DeveRockers, which included members of the adult program, entertained guests with a sing-along under a white canopy near the eucalyptus grove. Additional festivities included outdoor games, souvenir photos, craft tables and face painting, along with artwork and plants for sale. Members of the Devereux greenhouse team grew and potted the plants.

A video produced by Adult Day Program administrator Marina Ross featured clips and photos of smiling Devereux students participating in community events and hobbies — to the background music of The Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun.”

Guests were treated to multiple hot dishes prepared by Rincon Catering of Carpinteria.

Gail Atkinson, vice president of operations and marketing at Devereux, traveled from her office in Philadelphia to celebrate the event.

After lunch, Atkinson and executive director Amy Evans provided an update on the State of Affairs with California and information about the national foundation.

Evans thanked volunteers, sponsors, employees and community members who have donated to the foundation.

“This annual event is about celebrating our hard-working staff and the people we serve,” she said. “It’s a place to come together, spend time and learn more as a community. The staff are the people who go the extra mile to make the transition into Devereux. They are the people who work with challenging people.”

Sixteen supporters, including La Bella Rosa Bakery owner Richard Guajardo and his wife, were recognized with “Winners’ Circle” appreciation for their donation to the foundation in the last year.

“We want to help and support what they are doing,” Guajardo said. “We are thankful for the opportunity to donate.”

Established by special education pioneer Helena Devereux in suburban Philadelphia in 1912, and in California in 1945, the organization provides programs for elders and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, emotional, mental health and behavioral disorders.

The Adult Day and Life Enrichment services are two residential programs on the Isla Vista campus. It also provides Independent Living Services and Supported Living to individuals in their own homes in the communities of Lompoc, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria.

Devereux is recognized as the largest national nonprofit provider of behavioral health care services in the country.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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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