The Youth & Family Services Branch of the Channel Islands YMCA will honor Dana White at the ninth annual “Reaching for Stars” benefit on May 14.

For seven tireless years, White has served faithfully on the organization’s board of directors, bringing his wisdom and passion for troubled youth to bear on critical decisions and directions for YFS. His particular dedication to Noah’s Anchorage Youth Crisis Shelter was seen in his active involvement and also places him among the very highest level donors to YFS programs. White’s current commitment to ensuring a bright future for at-risk youth led him to make a significant dollar-for-dollar matching gift to the YFS inaugural 2008 annual fund campaign.

“These activities nourish my soul. I have been very fortunate in my life, and I can only hope that the work that I have done for Youth & Family Services over the years has helped to nourish the souls of some of our local youth who have had to struggle and cope with more than I can imagine” White said.

A longtime Santa Barbara resident, White’s day job is at Laguna Blanca School, where he has served as an English teacher and as an assistant to the college counselor since 1970. Born and raised in Connecticut, he holds a B.A. from Trinity College,  and master’s degrees from both the University of Connecticut and Pacifica Graduate Institute. In addition, White is a licensed MFT.

White is an avid traveler, art collector and lover of literature, and often can be found skiing, backpacking, fly fishing and hiking in the Sierra.

Open to the public, “Reaching for Stars” at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd., will feature wine tasting and casino tables followed by an evening of wonderful food created by five of Santa Barbara’s top chefs, paired with the region’s finest wine. Tickets are $250 per person.

All proceeds will benefit the youth served through YMCA Youth & Family Services programs, including Noah’s Anchorage, the Isla Vista Teen Center and Positive Youth Development Programs. Event sponsors are BB&H Benefit Designs, Marilyn and Steven Gutsche, the Hutton Foundation, The Ann Jackson Family Foundation, Lynn and Roger Karlson, and Venoco Inc.

Led by Chef Vincent Vanhecke of The Valley Club, this year’s event features Josh Brown, Bouchon;  Randy Bublitz, Culinary School of Arts, Santa Barbara City College; Christine Dahl, Christine Dahl Pastries; and private chef Michael Hutchings. Each of the chefs will create a culinary masterpiece to share with guests with a four-course meal plus appetizers. The perfect wine will compliment each of the courses providing an extraordinary dining experience.

Click here for more information and tickets, or call Teri Bradford Rouse at 805.569.1103 x32.

Susan Sawyer is communications and marketing director of the Channel Islands YMCA.