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Noozhawk: Hillside’s Sunset Soirée Honors Longtime Board Member Jim Wolfe

June 03, 2019

He receives the Person of Purpose Award, and Mary VanderVeen shares her perspective as a parent of a Hillside resident

Santa Barbara, California – Published 6/3/2019
By Rochelle Rose
Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart, left, and Hillside board chairman Brad Frohling. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara’s Hillside (formerly Hillside House) hosted its 16th annual Sunset Soirée on Saturday at its new venue, the Rockwood Woman’s Club in Mission Canyon.

Proceeds will benefit the 59 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who make their home at Hillside, located on Veronica Springs Road in Santa Barbara.

The late afternoon reception and dinner were met with a heavy drizzle that caused most of the nearly 200 guests to head indoors. Also, the iconic club lost electricity after a power pole was hit by a motorist earlier in the day. About an hour before the event began, generators were secured so that the attendees — and caterers — had electricity for lighting and food preparation.

Omni Catering presented a four-course gourmet dinner that was paired with premium wines donated by Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles. Executive winemaker and vineyard manager Neil Collins introduced the various wines, explained each pairing and shared his insights as a winemaker.

During the reception and silent auction bidding, the crowd was entertained by jazz performed by La Musique Unique. After the social hour, board member Jim Wolfe invited guests to the live auction and paddle raise that raised money to support Hillside residents and help fund their therapeutic care, skills development and life-enrichment activities.

Remarks also were made by 2018 awardee John Tilson, President/CEO Craig Olson and board chairman Brad Frohling. Frohling described Hillside’s need for new, state-of-the-art facilities on its 25-acre campus.

The evening included the presentation of the Person of Purpose Award to Jim Wolfe, a dedicated supporter and 16-year member of the Hillside Board of Directors who served as board chairman from 2010 to 2018.

“Jim has been a wonderful and faithful volunteer and leader at Hillside for decades,” event co-chair Norris Goss said.

Upon acceptance of the award, Wolfe said, “The residents of Hillside are the most wonderful people who are dealing well with the cards they have been dealt.”

Sharing her perspective as a parent of a Hillside resident was Mary VanderVeen, whose daughter, Erica, moved into the residential care facility in 2016. VanderVeen is a strong advocate of creating an environment that stimulates her daughter through physical activity using the premise of the MOVE (Mobility Opportunities Via Education/Experience) Program and Therapeutic Swim.

“I struggled to find consistent care for Erica,” VanderVeen said. “Hillside has been very positive for her.”

Erykah Guajardo, who attended the event with her father, Richard Guajardo, told Noozhawk: “My father and I are here to support Hillside. My brother, Joey, was diagnosed with severe autism at the age of 3 and has lived here for the past four years. Hillside is one of the best facilities in the U.S. and has been good for my brother, who is now 28.”

Major sponsors included Mary Jane and Gunther Baumgartner, Henry Bowis and Maureen Doherty Bowis, Susan and Brett Caine, Raymond and Susan Dingman, Easy Lift Transportation, Norris and Barry Goss, Jim and Chana Jackson, David and Judy Jones, Montecito Bank & Trust, Mullen & Henzell LLP, Romo & Associates, Tablas Creek Vineyard, John and Laurie Tilson, Jon and Mary Anne Valois, Nancy and Russell Werner, and Jim and Marcia Wolfe.

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