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‘Afternoon Tea in the Garden’ Toasts The Key Class

Private home in Montecito serves as the backdrop for a fundraiser supporting the organization helping local young adults

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the event.]

Who: An Afternoon Tea in the Garden by Merryl Brown, Chris Emmons, Perri Harcourt, Chris Levine and Marybeth Carty

What: A benefit to support The Key Class

When: Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013

Where: Montecito home of Chris and Mark Levine

A warm and pleasant afternoon gathered staples of Santa Barbara’s fundraising society to the beautiful home of Chris and Mark Levine for "An Afternoon Tea in the Garden" supporting The Key Class, created by John Daly.

Supporters from local organizations, such as Partners in Education, the Daniel Bryant Youth Center, Macy’s at Paseo Nuevo, the William E. Weiss Foundation, Venoco Inc., Jill’s Place and the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, were joined by community members eager to assist local students who are struggling to obtain employment, advance in a current career or gain college entrance.  

In the past 3½ years, The Key Class has served 1,000 young adults in Santa Barbara County by teaching them a course in both social and business etiquette.

Following the tea, founder and president John Daly shared information about his community-based program for young people.

The program began in 2010, when Daly gained an awareness of the lack of proper manners and job readiness skills in local youth while working as a mentor with Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) of Santa Barbara County. These experiences grew into the realization that he was guiding students not only in life crises but life skills, too.

“What the Key Class does is it teaches self respect – the ability to respect others and appreciation for that and the courage to face your fears,” said event speaker and criminal defense attorney Neal Levinson.

The Key Class is a series of four classes that focus on proper etiquette for youth in both personal and professional life, for job readiness, interview techniques and retaining jobs.

Lectures, interactivity and role-playing provide students with the knowledge to succeed in a fun atmosphere at a cost of $200 for The Key Class Course No. 1.

Since 2011, six high schools throughout Santa Barbara County have been taught the course in relationship with Partners in Education and Daly has also been an instructor for the Partnership in Education Internship Program. Daly also teaches in United Way’s Fun in the Sun Program, at Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs, the Workforce Investment Bureau and at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara.

And, in addition to a column for Noozhawk, Daly writes a biweekly blog and his book, The Key Class – The Keys to Job Search Success, Volume 1, is available in Santa Barbara bookstores and online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other outlets.

The program is a joint project of the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and the Santa Barbara County Superior Court that is focused primarily on young people going through Santa Barbara County Teen Court.

Levinson summed up the impact of the day and the program on the lives of teens throughout the county and within the community.

“Of the hundreds of teenagers that I have represented in criminal cases over the years, I have no doubt that had they taken the Key Class many of them would have made a much better choice then the choice that they made,” Levinson said.      

An Afternoon Tea benefiting The Key Class was hosted by Merryl Brown, Chris Emmons, Perri Harcourt, Chris Levine and Marybeth Carty, with the support of Bryant & Sons Jewelers.


Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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