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Girls Inc. of Carpinteria to Honor Longtime Supporters at ‘An Evening in Bloom’ Gala

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria will host its second annual fall fundraiser "An Evening in Bloom" from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18 at Westerlay Orchids, 3504 Via Real in Carpinteria.

The highly-anticipated gala will honor local flower growers with deep roots in community involvement — Ed Van Wingerden, owner of Ever-Bloom, and Win Van Wingerden, owner of Maximum Nursery and an honorary member of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria’s Board of Trustees.

The honorees are both longtime supporters of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria and served as auctioneers at last year’s Evening in Bloom.

“An Evening in Bloom is a special event that demonstrates the community’s commitment to improving the lives of our girls and inspiring them to reach for the stars,” said Victoria Juarez, executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria. “Ed and Win are tremendous supporters that truly believe in the Girls Inc. mission, and we are proud to celebrate their continued generosity at this year’s fundraiser.”

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria serves more than 700 girls ages 5 to 18 each year through a variety of programs, motivating them to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges.

Bloom speaker Graciella Rodriguez, a Girls Inc. of Carpinteria alumna who has since graduated from UCSB with a double major in Spanish and sociology and earned her master in education credential at Azusa Pacific, will share her story of how Girls Inc. changed her life and helped her achieve success.

Rodriguez is currently a teacher at Adelante Charter School on the Franklin School campus. She has been teaching since age 15, when she began as an after-school program teacher at Girls Inc. In 2011, she was honored by Rotary Club of Santa Barbara with a Teacher Recognition Award for her unique efforts to inspire students.

“Graciella’s story exemplifies the impact that Girls Inc. has on the lives of so many girls in our community, which in turn has a positive impact on our futures, our children’s futures and society as a whole,” Juarez said. “Our girls can be tomorrow’s teachers, scientists or entrepreneurs … and our mission is to help them set and achieve those goals, while boldly confronting any challenges along the way.”

This year’s co-chairs for the event are Donna Baird of Baird Wealth Strategy Group and Stefanie Herrington, an estate planning attorney at Bartlett & Herrington in Carpinteria.

“Girls Inc. of Carpinteria is vital to our community because it provides an environment for girls to explore interests, develop passions, become adept at overcoming challenges and gain confidence in their ability to reach their goals,” Herrington said. “At Girls Inc., every girl is empowered to reach her full potential and be Strong, Smart, and Bold.”

The glamorous gala will feature a red carpet entrance, followed by cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a dinner buffet, a hosted bar, live and silent auctions, local art displays, and dancing to live entertainment.

Among the enticing selection of live auction items are a five-day vacation in Todos Santos, Mexico; a ride in a vintage WWII-era AT-6 airplane, and a trip to Italy.

Tickets to An Evening in Bloom are $100 with sponsorships beginning at $250 for two tickets and an early VIP reception. All proceeds will support the mission of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria to cultivate confident, successful girls, and help them navigate gender, economic and social barriers and grow into healthy, educated and independent adults.

For more information, sponsorship opportunities or to purchase tickets, please call 805.684.6364 or email [email protected].

Sponsors for this year’s An Evening in Bloom are Ed and Nadia Van Wingerden, Nini and Peter Seaman, Montecito Bank & Trust, Union Bank, Griffith & Thornburgh LLP, Westerlay Orchids, Mission Linen Supply and Sunburst Printers.

— Daniella Alkobi represents Girls Inc. of Carpinteria.

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