Girls Inc. of Carpinteria rolled out the red carpet again this year for its largest annual fundraiser dubbed An Evening in Bloom. Over 270 supporters were literally surrounded by thousands of colorful blooming orchids as they bid on silent auction items and dined under the white canopy of the Westerlay Orchid working facility in Carpinteria.
Girls Inc. of Carpinteria currently serves more than 700 girls ages 6–18 each year through a variety of programs, motivating them to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges.
The third annual gala honored Sharon Organista, a travel consultant for Montecito Village Travel and longtime supporter of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria.
She served on the board for Girls Inc. for many years, chaired several events and has always lent a helping hand whether it’s selling t-shirts at a booth or making homemade tamales and avocado soup for the Carpinteria Avocado Festival.
Organista has been in the travel business for more than 20 years and, in addition to her passion for Girls Inc., she loves making people’s dreams come true through travel.
“Sharon's enthusiasm for Girls Inc.'s mission knows no boundaries,” said Stefanie Herrington, event co-chair. “She applies her diverse talents chairing our events, organizing auctions, hosting dinner parties, crafting jewelry and sharing her vast international travel connections to support our girls. We are proud to honor her.”
Herrington was joined by Gail Persoon as event co-chairs for this year’s gala, assisted by committee members Donna Baird, Tracy Beard, Board Chair Clyde Freeman, Diana Freeman, Executive Director Victoria Juarez, Ericka Loza-Lopez, Ed Van Wingerden and Win Van Wingerden.
Patty DeDominic and Santa Barbara County District Attorney, Joyce Dudley, served as honorary co-chairs. Board members also assisted the effort including President Clyde Freeman from Montecito Bank & Trust, Vice President Stefanie Herrington, Secretary Patricia Madrigal, Treasurer Cindy Halstead, John Cerda, Kiona Gross, Theresa Huerta, Amanda Kastelic, Tom Ligare, Bethel Mather, Nini Seaman and Cheryl Wright.
The title sponsors were Victor and Susan Schaff from S&S Seeds and All Around Landscape Supply. Other major sponsors included Westerlay Orchids, Montecito Bank & Trust, Mission Produce, Union Bank, Bob and Patti Bryant, and many others.
The elegant affair featured a red carpet and photo opportunity at the entrance, followed by cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a delicious dinner buffet prepared by Jack’s Bistro, a hosted bar, live and silent auctions, local art displays, live entertainment and dancing.
The state-of-the-art online bidding had everyone checking their smart phones for their bid status on their favorite auction items, including a wine cellar with 40 bottles of fine wine, a cabin stay in Big Bear, five days in Todos Santos, Mexico, and a Mexican feast for 30 prepared by the Cerda family.
“Each year, being surrounded by the stunning orchids at Westerlay reminds us that people, like flowers, need care, support and the right environment to bloom into something beautiful,” Juarez told Noozhawk, “That is what Girls Inc. of Carpinteria is here to do for our girls. Bloom is a special evening of fun and fundraising that brings the community together in honor of our mission to support girls as they bloom into strong, smart and bold young women.”
Girls Inc. of Carpinteria is a member of Girls Incorporated, a nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart and bold.
With local roots dating to 1864 and national status since 1945, Girls Inc. has responded to the changing needs of girls through research-based programs and public education efforts that empower girls to understand, value and assert their rights.
The organization provides programs for girls 6–18 years old that focus on science, math and technology; health and sexuality; economic and financial literacy; sports skills; leadership and advocacy; and media literacy.
To learn more, become a volunteer or offer support, please visit www.girlsinc-carp.org or phone 805.684.6364.
— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.