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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 11:04 pm | Fair 53º

 
 
 
 

Junior League of Santa Barbara Honors Lisa Conn Akoni as Its Woman of the Year

Many guests dress to complement the theme of Black & White Ball for the Junior League's 12th annual gala

 

The Junior League of Santa Barbara celebrated its 12th annual gala, a Black & White Ball, on Saturday at the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara.

At the event, the Junior League honored Lisa Conn Akoni, MA, MFT and R.I.S.E. (Resiliency Interventions for Sexual Exploitation) program director, with its Woman of the Year Award for her service and commitment to the Santa Barbara community.

Akoni has worked in the field of family, child and adolescent behavioral health for more than 20 years, focusing on clinical psychology with specializations in gender-specific care, trauma-focused treatment and sexual exploitation.

Her primary passion is developing innovative supports for girls, young women and LGBT/GNC youths to promote restoration and reintegration through empowerment and resiliency.

“Sex trafficking and its related abuse is happening here; it is happening in every county," Akoni said in accepting the award. "I want to thank the survivors who have allowed me to work with them.”

Gala guests, many dressed in black and white to complement the event theme, enjoyed an evening including a Champagne reception on the wind-swept terrace, an elegant sit-down dinner, drinks and dancing, along with an outdoor silent auction, a wine raffle and casino tables.

Junior League of Santa Barbara gala
Black & White Ball Gala Committee members, from left, Aimee Johnson, Tiffany Thompson, co-chairs Michelle Trella and Renata Coimbra, Nichole LaViola, Kim Varga and Jacqueline Jimenez. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

Opening remarks were made by emcee and KEYT news anchor Beth Farnsworth, gala co-chairs Michelle Trella and Renata Coimbra, and Junior League President Kielle Horton.

“The Junior League is thrilled to celebrate a meaningful year of providing volunteer support to our local community, making a difference in the lives of our most at-risk youth, training our members to be effective leaders, and the successful opening of S.A.F.E. House Santa Barbara," Horton said.

She also reported on the progress of the Junior League's signature project, S.A.F.E. House Santa Barbara, and its community awareness campaign, traffikstopSB.

Sponsors included Joan and Jim Lindsay, Kielle and John Horton, Movegreen, Casa Dorinda, American Riviera Bank, the Campbell Family Fund, Santa Barbara Airbus, Buynak, Fauver, Archbald & Spray LLP, David Chandler, Suzanne Duca, the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, il Fustino, Pensionmark, Michelle and Bill Piotrowski, Blue Blossoms and Cruz Transport.

The Junior League of Santa Barbara is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

Chartered in 1924, JLSB has a local history rich with projects that have changed the lives of many community members. The JLSB recently facilitated the opening of S.A.F.E. House, a six-bed residential shelter in Santa Barbara County for girls who have been victims of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. Other notable contributions include the launch of the Sexual Assault Response Team Cottage (SART Cottage), bone marrow and blood drives, Eastside Library renovation, and Downtown Public Library programs to improve youth literacy.

Click here for more information about the Junior League of Santa Barbara, or call 805.963.2704.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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