Children’s Resource & Referral of Santa Barbara County celebrates anniversary with party in Santa Maria
Children’s Resource & Referral of Santa Barbara County celebrated its 50th anniversary Friday with a big party that raised approximately $40,000.
The celebration was a 1970s-style birthday party — a fun-filled event, live auction and fundraiser at the historic Santa Maria Inn.
“It went well,” Jacqui Banta, CRR’s chief operating officer, told the News-Press Saturday. “We had about 100 people come including Supervisor Gregg Hart, Goleta City Councilman James Kyriaco, and other lovely community partners. The weather held out as well, which was great.”
“We were celebrating our 50th year in service to children and families in Santa Barbara County,” Ms. Banta said. “It was a full ’70s theme from gold glitter to disco balls and tie-dyed flower centerpieces. The night ended with a ’70s dance floor.
“Live auction items included: skydiving in Lompoc, wine tasting in Solvang and other lovely overnight auction packages,” said Ms. Banta.
CRR was incorporated in 1971, and the 50th anniversary celebration was originally planned for last year, but Ms. Banta said it had to be delayed because of COVID-19.
On Friday night, CRR celebrated a history of helping children.
For 50 years, CRR has served the most vulnerable, at-risk children and prioritizes such services to foster children and families with a vision that all children will have access to high-quality, safe, nurturing and inclusive environments.
CRR has stressed the importance of positive environments as a foundation for life-long learning.
And Ms. Banta noted how CRR has helped women in the county.
“There was a mass exodus of women in the workforce during COVID,” she said. “We want women back in the workforce, and we do that by providing reliable, safe childcare. We can help people with creating a safe space for child care or providing access to childcare for low-income families.”
Friday’s celebration raised approximately $20,000 for another way that CRR helps communities: the Heart to Home resource closet, a project that is not funded by state dollars.
“The closet is full of brand new, brand name clothes and items including diapers, wipes, booster seats, playpens and car seats,” Ms. Banta told the News-Press Saturday. “The closet is specifically for children placed in emergency foster care that don’t have much.”
At Friday night’s party, Ms. Banta and CRR Ceo Michelle Graham watched as a growing number of people at the party pledged to make donations for the closet. Standing before the crowd, Ms. Banta applauded, and Ms. Graham, standing next to her, wiped away tears of joy.
Ms. Banta said she was glad to meet in person the people who want to help CRR.
“We see a lot of community partners on Zoom,” she told the News-Press. “It was amazing to meet so many that have made a difference in our organization and in the lives of our children and families for so long. It was a true honor to be in the space with so many amazing people.”