Tony Arroyo, owner and founder of Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant and Takeout, sponsored and hosted a kickoff party for the annual SBCC Foundation Campaign for Student Success at his Montecito eatery on Coast Village Road on a recent Monday evening.
With the restaurant closed from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., much to the chagrin of his regulars, the VIP event recognized the SBCC Foundation’s most vital heroes and the impact they have on the lives of the students to facilitate higher education and vocational training.
More than 70 of SBCC's major givers were in a festive mood as they munched on some of Arroyo’s favorite starter hors d'oeuvres and sipped on wines and margaritas. Invited guests even got in the spirit by participating in a chant with SBCC cheerleaders, who were on hand for the event.
As an alumnus of SBCC, Arroyo is one of the best examples of how SBCC partners with its students in ensuring student success. Coming to the United States from Mexico, he spoke no English and had to work his way up from the bottom. He started as a window washer at Moby Dicks and went on to become the manager. He opened his own (he now has four) restaurant on Figueroa Street in downtown Santa Barbara more than a decade ago.
Like many other alums, he is not only a great spokesman for the education he received, but he pays it forward by hiring other graduates to work for him.
Enthusiastic development chairwoman Robyn Freedman, outfitted in her campaign T-shirt, organized the event with SBCC Foundation board president Madeleine Jacobson and SBCC Foundation Executive Director Vanessa Bechtel. They are a repeat trio who championed last year’s smash fundraiser "Show Us your Love” at the SBCC Sports Pavilion. Last year, they raised $1.15 million in six weeks and increased their donor base by thousands.
The trio are set for the fourth Campaign for Student Success kickoff party open to the public from 5 to 6:30 p.m. April 4. This year’s theme is "Vaquero Square," and the entire Sports Pavilion will be transformed into a street scene with food, music and student program booths.
The Campaign for Student Success seeks to raise $2 million from 10,000 community members in just eight weeks.
"The campaign is about sharing the stories of the more than 27,000 students each year and providing hope and brighter future for so many," Jacobson said. "Through the campaign we are able to offer the life-changing transformation higher education brings.”
Only three years ago, the Foundation had 900 donors. Presently, they have 5,000. To reach their goal they need to double that in the next eight weeks. Students, alumni, parents, siblings and businesses like Los Arroyos will be partnering with the Foundation to help them raise the much needed funds.
The Mission of the SBCC Foundation is to provide scholarships, book grants, internships, tutoring, childcare, veteran support, support for the culinary school, math engineering, science academy, performing arts, The Luria Library, early child education lab program, art gallery ,the Center for Lifelong Learning, automotive, athletics and humanities departments.
There is not an area of the college the Campaign for Student Success does not touch. Last year, SBCC was recognized for its academic excellence as one of the best city colleges in the entire United States.
Click here for more information about or to contribute to the Campaign for Student Success.