May 9, 2013
A group of real estate agents from west Ventura County wanted to make the lives of youths brighter and more colorful at Camarillo’s Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families. So from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, 91 volunteers from Keller Williams Realty offices sported red shirts and — armed with paintbrushes, shovels and a heavy dose of community pride — renovated the nonprofit’s playfield and finished pathways leading to a garden and a labyrinth. It’s the third time the west Ventura County branch has participated in RED Day, for “renew, energize and donate,” joining about 70,000 fellow employees worldwide. Locally, the agents chose to lend a hand at Casa Pacifica, a home for abused and neglected children on South Lewis Road.
Cindy Dombrowski, Casa Pacifica’s executive assistant, said the nonprofit’s board of directors was inspired by the donors to come up with the projects. “We really rely on our community and our donors to help us through times like this and make a better place for our youth,” she said. Nancy Amorteguy, CEO for the local Keller Williams Realty branch, said a special committee of volunteers raised more than $2,000 to purchase paint, swing sets, tiles and construction materials for the project. “We chose Casa because of their amazing need in our community,” she said. “They just don’t have the funding or ability to do this type of work, and we knew we could make a big difference in just one day.”
Realtor Kathy Ramirez and lender Chad Cockerel set a new border along the garden where spring flowers are expected to bloom. “The great thing about this is that you’re not just donating money,” Ramirez said. “You’re working to see the end result and the smiles on the faces of those who benefit.”
May 9, 2013
We made it through the weekend in great shape. Friday was very smoky and staff took the kids off campus for the day. Same on Saturday, though, much less smoke. Our activities folks and behavior specialists did a superb job planning and implementing activities that would serve both as a distraction and as an opportunity to talk about managing in times of crisis and stress. And all of our staff was terrific throughout the weekend. Thanks to all of you for your good thoughts and prayers. Special thanks to Sheriff Geoff Dean who not only helped us in returning to campus Thursday night (instead of going to an emergency Red Cross shelter) by intervening and garnering accurate and actionable information for us, but also by taking a second look at the campus on Friday morning and suggesting some additional preventative steps we could take in case the fire turned toward us again. Also, thanks to CSU Channel Islands President Dick Rush for offering whatever support we needed during the fire. Dick had more than enough on his plate to think about, but that gesture of support was greatly appreciated and, I believe is reflective of the way the community responded throughout this ordeal.
I also wanted to share a couple of Facebook posts from our alumni – posted on Thursday during the height of the fire:
One youth wrote: “I hope we don’t lose Casa Pacifica. For some it’s the only home we’ve ever had.”
Another youth responded: “So true, that’s the only place that took us when we needed a home.”
Steven Elson, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families
1722 So. Lewis Road, Camarillo CA
May 5, 2013
(Published in Elegant Magazine Fall 2012)
Anthony didn’t realize his trip to his uncle’s house to play with his cousins wasn’t going to be a typical visit. His father, after dropping him off, never returned again to pick him up. The five-year-old, taken in by his uncle and his family, became a member of the family and was treated the same as the other children in the house. Unfortunately, that treatment included physical abuse. Anthony was placed at Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families and lived in the Pre-K Cottage. He was bright-eyed, smart, agreeable, and displayed no negative behaviors from the trauma he had experienced. He seemed adjusted to his new surroundings and happy. Anthony was placed in a foster home in the community after three months, but, it wasn’t too long into this placement that the negative effects of his abuse began to surface. Anthony became aggressive with the other children in the home, both verbally and physically. He changed preschools three times because he displayed the same behavior at school. Though the foster mother did everything she could to help Anthony with his aggression, he was eventually placed back at Casa Pacifica.
Upon his return, Anthony’s negative behaviors decreased due to a sense of feeling safe, but it was obvious he needed help. Anthony was having trouble in his Kindergarten classroom. He would poke, kick, bite, hit, and pinch his classmates. Anthony was enrolled in Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS), a community-based program that focuses on providing individualized behavioral interventions for at-risk children to keep them out of placement in a high level group home. Though Anthony was living at Casa Pacifica, it was clear that the TBS services would be a great benefit in helping Anthony’s behavior change, thereby increasing his chances of a successful foster home placement in the future and improving peer relationships at school. Anthony’s TBS staff worked with him four days a week. Two behavior goals were set for Anthony: 1) decrease verbal aggression, and 2) decrease physical aggression. Anthony was taught coping skills to achieve these goals. For example, if Anthony was angry he had a box full of Playdough balls, which he could squeeze and manipulate in order to calm himself, or he could ask to go for a walk with a staff member, or he could push against a wall until he felt the anger subside. For his verbal outbursts, a chart was hung in Anthony’s room that allowed him to indicate the level of anger he felt. It also had words for him to point at to identify the emotions he was feeling – sad, frustrated, hurt, etc. The chart helped Anthony begin to distinguish his emotions and be able to share them verbally. The TBS staff also worked with Anthony on his peer level interactions, helping him learn to share, play harmoniously, and ask for help when he was having a problem or felt angry.
After a four-and-a-half month stay at Casa Pacifica a new foster home was identified for Anthony. The foster parents came to visit Anthony for a month and soon Anthony was able to go offcampus with them for day trips, and eventually for overnight stays. Anthony now lives full-time with his new foster family and is reported to be doing very well. He still continues with his TBS services and there are plans for him and his foster parents to start in Casa Pacifica’s Parent-Child Interaction Therapy in the near future.
Note: Anthony’s name and photo have been changed to protect their privacy.
May 2, 2013
UPDATE by CEO Steven Elson, Ph.D. - We voluntarily evacuated the campus based on information about a potential hazmat burn near by. We moved to our Flynn Rd building and prepared to house the children/youth overnight at the Red Cross temporary shelter at Calvary Church in Camarillo.
Sheriff Geoff Dean (Casa Pacifica board member) to the rescue. The Sheriff informed us that the “hazmat” alarm was premature and that the best move for us would be to “shelter in place” on campus. Over the next couple of hours children will be returning from their outings and we anticipate a quiet night on campus. The photo attached was taken at 7:00 p.m.
May 2, 2013
About 50 young people at the Casa Pacifica shelter for abused or neglected children left at midmorning, although staff members remained and are working by window light because the power is out, CEO Steven Elson said. Officials evacuated the facility voluntarily, he said. “It was getting close and the flames were pretty dramatic and spectacular,” Elson said. “We are surrounded by agricultural fields, so we do have a kind of a natural fire break, but we have seen a tree line on the other side of the fields go up.” Elson said it marks the first time a fire has forced an evacuation of the center that opened almost 20 years ago near CSU Channel Islands.
“There were a few anxious kids, but there was no panic or anything like that.” About 30 children who attend a special education school on campus were sent home, while staff took another 25 who reside at the shelter to the movies, he said. Officials are still discussing where to take another 30 who attend regular public schools during the day and would be returning to campus at midafternoon.
April 19, 2013
A student club at Adolfo Camarillo High School wants local businesses to help in its efforts to provide athletic equipment for youngsters at Casa Pacifica, a Camarillo-based shelter for abused and neglected children. The Camarillo High student organization Teenage Endeavors Elevating Neighboring Students Club, also known as the TEENS Club, is the sponsor of the upcoming “Chasing the Sun” 5K, fun run and family expo. Proceeds from the event will go toward Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families in Camarillo, which provides emergency shelter and counseling services to families in crisis.
The club’s goal is to raise $1,500 to provide the shelter with athletic gear such as running shoes, pants and socks. “Our club has always been geared to support Casa Pacifica because it’s in our neighborhood,” said Leann Pham, a Camarillo student and club board member. “ Our board came up with the combined idea to provide running equipment because we wanted to see what the money is being used for and that it is being put to good use.” ACHS student E.J. Morera, a member of the TEENS Club and a varsity football player, said he wants to share the positive impact of sports with the residents of Casa Pacifica. “It’s great to have a place like Casa Pacifica because they help with the emotional support, but we felt they also needed something to help them lead a healthier life through physical activities,” said E.J., a Camarillo High senior. “Football has been a great experience for me. It created a constructive new hobby for me, and I met a lot of great friends.” Sponsors who donate $25 or more will have their logos printed on the runners’ T-shirts. Corporate sponsors are also needed to provide gift certificates, coupons and other small prizes for participant goody bags, which will be distributed on the day of the event.
The 5K run is slated for 9 a.m., Sat., June 8 at La Mariposa School, 4800 Corte Olivas, Camarillo. A 1-mile fun run for children age 12 and under is planned for 10:15 a.m. A family expo, which will feature live entertainment and kid-friendly activities, will open after the races. Sponsors who donate $150 or more to the event will be provided with a booth for the family expo. For more information, email the TEENS Club at teensclub_ email@example.com.
April 11, 2013
“Mental health professionals called to counsel people who threaten to commit suicide may recommend hospitalization” said Jody Kussin, Ph.D., director of community programs for Casa Pacifica in Ventura County and coordinator for the Children’s Intensive Response Team (CIRT). “Suicide is 100 percent preventable,” Kussin said. “(And yet) there are three times the number of suicides than deaths from HIV and AIDS (nationwide).” Kussin said the 10-person response team, which works 24 hours a day, seven days a week and fields about 400 calls a month, receives requests for help from law enforcement and hospital emergency room personnel as well as young people, their parents and teachers. “Anyone who is having a mental health problem at the level of crisis,” said Kussin, a clinical psychologist. Most calls, about 60 percent, can be handled over the phone with a long series of science-based questions, Kussin said. Among those questions: Are you thinking of killing or hurting yourself or others? Do you have family support right now? Has someone close to you committed suicide recently? If the answer to that question is yes, the risk for suicide is increased, Kussin said. Callers are also asked how they would kill themselves and if they have access to the method of suicide. “Direct questions are more helpful for people in pain,” the director said.
March 25, 2013
The Casa Pacifica Angels Wine and Food Festival - Ventura County’s Best Charity Event - will celebrate its 20th year on June 2nd, 2013, from 1:00PM to 5:00PM at California State University Channel Islands’ campus in Camarillo, CA. The annual event is one of the most popular festivals in the tri-county area, attracting thousands of food lovers, music aficionados, wine and beer connoisseurs, and raises money to benefit the programs and services of Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families. The finest local wineries and breweries pour wines and brews, while local restaurants and catering companies from Santa Barbara to Conejo Valley serve a sampling of their finest dishes.
The Casa Pacifica Angels Wine and Food Festival is hosted once again by the wonderful Zarley and Van Huisen Families and will offer continuous live entertainment, the largest silent auction in Ventura County, and mouth-watering food throughout the day. Last year, the Festival raised more than $368,000 (net). The fundraising goal for this 20th anniversary celebration is to break the $400,000 (net) mark! Casa Pacifica hopes to help fill the $2.6 million gap between its government service contract revenues and the actual costs to provide critical help for abused, neglected, or at-risk children and families in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
“The Wine & Food Festival has grown substantially from its humble beginnings at the Pierpont Inn in Ventura twenty years ago. Without the generous support of our sponsors, the wonderful participation of so many quality restaurants, wineries, breweries and other food and beverage vendors, and ultimately the enthusiastic attendance of the community over the years, the Wine & Food Festival could not have grown to be one of Ventura County’s premier community events,” said Carrie Hughes, Director of Development & Public Relations at Casa Pacifica. “We are deeply grateful for all the support, past and present, which has helped us reach our goal to abundantly benefit the programs and services that Casa Pacifica provides to our community’s most vulnerable children and families.”
General Admission and V.I.P tickets can be purchased online at http://www.cpwineandfoodfestival.com! General Admission tickets are on sale for $100 each thru April 30th, 2013 and $125 each thereafter until sold out. Food and beverages are included in the price of admission. V.I.P tickets are available for $200 each, allowing festival-goers an early Festival admission at 12:00PM noon. V.I.P. ticket holders will receive V.I.P parking, and exclusive access to the V.I.P. Lounge presented by Wells Fargo. The Lounge will feature the Anheuser Busch Belgium Beer Garden, Plated Events by Chef Jason, Malibu Family Wines and more! V.I.P. guests will enter through the beautiful and historic CSU CI bell tower while being catered to by the world class Mastro’s Steakhouse.
Connect your name or business to this “Can’t Miss” Event by taking advantage of some great sponsorship opportunities! For sponsorship information, contact Casa Pacifica Event Specialist, Kristin Palos at (805) 366-4014, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Festival sponsor page at http://www.cpwineandfoodfestival.com. Casa Pacifica encourages all festival-goers to participate responsibly. Roundtrip reservations are available thru the Roadrunner Safe Ride Program by calling (805) 389-8196, or visiting http://www.rrshuttle.com/casapacificawinefestival.
We need numerous student and adult volunteers to help us put on Ventura County’s premiere wine and food tasting event. Students are eligible to earn community service hours by working the day-of event. Adults are needed and encouraged to help with event set up as well as 1-hour shifts on Sunday, the day-of event. Please note that volunteers who also plan to attend the festival will need to purchase tickets. Please join us as we try to raise much needed funds to help abused, neglected and at-risk children and their families. For more information and to register: View Casa Pacifica’s Wine & Food Festival Volunteer Registration
March 22, 2013
“Emerge! The Art Show”: The show, a benefit for Casa Pacifica, features photography by Christine Stahr, paintings by Ryan McGeary and woodwork by Jeff Carmi. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. March 22-23, The Lakes, 2200 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. casapacifica.org.
March 2, 2013
From its humble beginnings in 1994 at the historic Pierpont Inn in Ventura to its beachside home at the Mandalay Beach Resort in Oxnard (2001 - 2006) to the present surrounds of the beautiful and spacious California State University’s Channel Islands campus in Camarillo, the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine & Food Festival has become the premiere wine and food event in Ventura County.
Voted both “Best Charity Event” and “Best Food & Drink Festival” of Ventura County in 2012, the Festival showcases delectable creations of the finest restaurants, caterers, bakeries and specialty shops from Santa Barbara to Conejo Valley. The event also features many renowned wineries and vineyards from throughout California’s rich wine-producing regions, as well as several awarded breweries.
General Admission tickets are now available for PURCHASE ONLINE. Ticket prices March 1st through March 17th are $85 each; March 18th through April 30th are $100 each and $125 each thereafter until sold out. VIP tickets are available for $200 each. We encourage early purchase as this is the 20th Anniversary and last year sold out! Tickets can be purchased at http://www.cpwineandfoodfestival.com/tickets
For more information contact Casa Pacifica at (805) 366-4014 or email email@example.com
February 15, 2013
Surrounded by miles of rural farmland and the rolling hills of Camarillo, Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families has given sanctuary and hope to at-risk children and adolescents since 1994. “The original vision was that Casa Pacifica would become a one-stop shop for abused and neglected kids entering the welfare system and removed from home by law enforcement or child protective services,” said Dr. Steven Elson, CEO of Casa Pacifica. The nonprofit organization’s main headquarters at 1722 S. Lewis Road in Camarillo is tucked into a sprawling 24-acre campus located five miles from the Pacific Ocean, including branches in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria that provide individual in-home crisis intervention and behavioral support services to more than 1,000 kids in Santa Barbara County and more than 4,000 clients annually. “One of our community outreach programs called Wraparound is fairly intensive,” Elson said. “A whole team of specialists comes together and works with a specific child and family, and the intent is to keep them together.”
The on-campus Emergency Shelter Care residential program is a safe refuse for children, and with 45 beds the shelter provides short-term housing for infants through age 18. Children at the shelter are evaluated by clinical staff to administer medical care and social and educational assessments aimed to assist Child Protective Services and dependency courts in Ventura and Santa Barbara County in steps determining the child’s future. On average, the length of stay at the shelter is 50 days, and most of the children at the shelter continue to attend school daily courtesy of Casa Pacifica shuttles. Once the term expires, about half of the children go home or to a relative’s home and a third will be placed in foster homes. Others with emotional, behavioral and social challenges or academic skill defects are transferred to the long-term Residential Treatment Services on campus with 28 beds. Under the 12-month experimental Residential Treatment program, adolescents ages 11 to 17 receive individualized, intensive therapeutic treatment by a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, teachers and nurses on staff.
Youths are taught cognitive development and social skills intended to help them build confidence and leadership skills in order to live fulfilling and productive lives at home and in the community. According to Elson, children in the program with health impairments and specific learning disabilities are referred by various school districts to attend Casa Pacifica’s on-campus, special-education Non Public School. “Our classrooms are very small,” Elson said. “We have about eight children in a classroom with a teacher and an aide, and there are behavioral specialists available.” The low student-to-staff ratio at the school ensures that students receive individualized instruction in various academic courses, including mathematics, reading, music, art, online courses, and vocational education and transition programs.There is also a primary care clinic on campus operated by physicians, nurses, kids residing on campus, and young adults who have emancipated out of the program. “We are now serving what we call the alumni kids,” Elson told Noozhawk. “Youths who have aged out of the program at 18 years old have come back to us, sometimes with their own children. So the clinic becomes a medical home for them and their family.”
Elson, the son of a missionary family, grew up in a foster home in Arkansas from fourth grade to high school, and explained that housing for emancipating foster youth is not only a national issue but also a local problem that is addressed daily at Casa Pacifica. Casa Pacifica’s Coaching Independence in Transitional Youth (CITY) program, coupled with the new housing facilities on the Camarillo campus, is structured to provide assistance to transitioning foster youths. The organization recently leased two acres of land adjacent to the Casa Pacifica campus and refurbished the three buildings on the property, with two of them having been converted to homes accommodating newly emancipated youth.
Stepping Stone housing is designed for newly emancipated 18- to 21-year-olds, including single mothers, who have left the program and are not yet ready to live on their own and require further development of independent living skills. During the 18-month residency, youths perform basic household chores as “rent” contributions and are encouraged and assisted with educational and employment goals. Casa Pacifica admits a child into one of the programs every three hours at the cost of $33 per day and child. “The public-sector funding we receive doesn’t cover the cost of services, especially on campus,” Elson said. “We rely heavily on private contributions to maintain the quality of care we provide to our kids, so every donation we receive helps to transform a child’s life.”
January 29, 2013
The sunshine coming through the skylights at Casa Pacifica’s gym picked up the flecks of lint coming off hundreds of blankets as more than 200 young women and their 40 chaperones prepared, designed and folded each one. Members of the National Charity League’s District No. 3, which includes Ventura County, were on hand preparing blankets for residents of Camarillo-based nonprofit Casa Pacifica and blankets and baby care bags for Operation Homefront, an organization that helps military families with young children. National Charity League’s Ticktockers, young women between ages 12 and 18, were on hand with their mothers or patronesses as part of a nationwide effort to perform service at the end of January. “This is the third annual event at Casa Pacifica,” said Stacey Stephens, District No. 3’s philanthropy specialist. “But this year, we’ve been able to add Operation Homefront as a beneficiary, and it’s a great opportunity for us to help.”
Jenn Madden, the league’s District No. 3 coordinator, said the organization is a group of mothers and their daughters who work together to strengthen their own ties and enhance the girls’ opportunities for leadership, culture and service. Pam Klieman, with Operation Homefront and the New Parent Support Program at Naval Base Ventura County, said the blankets and baby bags will come in handy for the families in the military with kids from birth to age 4. “What they’re all doing today will go a long way for these families and helps us reach out to them,” she said. Casa Pacifica volunteer coordinator Sara Hidalgo brought along Baker and Tess, Newfoundland therapy dogs. Both of the pups are related to Archie, the facility’s first dog, who has become famous since his arrival. “These blankets are so needed,” Hidalgo said as the dogs got to know the girls. “Most kids who come to us here do so at probably the worst times in their lives. The first thing they need is something warm and welcoming. Doing this shows that these ladies care about their community.”
January 19, 2013
Twenty tons of snow kept youngsters entertained Saturday at Three Springs Park in Westlake Village during the third annual Coats-for-Casa charity event. As the mercury climbed toward 80 degrees under sunny skies, there was a race against time to see how long the snow would last, but it added to the community feel of the donation drive that benefits children and families served by Casa Pacifica in Camarillo.
The event was organized by financial adviser Rick Winters and real estate agent Lydia Gable. From 10 a.m. onward, a steady stream of people came by the roadside collection point on Three Springs Drive to donate coats, jackets and other winter clothing.“We’re just thrilled,” said Gable, who’s with Prudential Realty. “The support from the community is growing every year.” Winters, the owner of Winters Financial Group, said the turnout was fantastic. “The first year, I think we collected 500 coats. Last year, it was about 600, and we’re easily over that now,” he said. “What we did differently this year is that for the past three or four weeks, we’ve had collection boxes out in about half a dozen different businesses in the area, and it’s just been creating some awareness and helped people who couldn’t make it to the event still be able to donate.”
Casa Pacifica serves abused, neglected and emotionally disturbed children and adolescents, offering emergency shelter care, residential programs, psychiatric and medical services, and community-based interventions and support for children and families. Sara Hidalgo serves as the nonprofit’s volunteer coordinator and was on hand to thank those who donated clothing. “It’s very heartwarming — it really is — just to see the community help the children and their families who so desperately need their help,” she said. “It’s so kind and so loving and we’re very, very happy to have such wonderful people in the community who care about Casa Pacifica.”
January 16, 2013
Casa Pacifica is proud to present the continuing education workshop “Core Psychotherapeutic Tasks of Working with “High-risk” Children, Adolescents and their Families” with nationally renown DR. DONALD MEICHENBAUM, Research Director of the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and author of “Roadmap to Resilience - A Guide for Military Trauma Victims and Their Families.” North American clinicians voted Dr. Meichenbaum “one of the 10 most influential psychotherapists of the 20th century.”
Held on Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 at Spanish Hills Country Club in Camarillo from 9am to 4pm, registration is $129.00 until January 25th ($159 after January 25) and includes lunch, materials and continuing education certificate. For information and to register please contact Darlene Navarro at (805) 366-4064 or DNavarro@casapacifica.org.
December 28, 2012
Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families’ website recently received the Best in Class Award in the charity category by Interactive Media Awards. The CPCCF website, www.casapacifica.org, was honored with IMA’s highest honor for effectively delivering Casa Pacifica’s mission to provide help for abused, neglected or at-risk children and their families.
The site achieved the highest marks for its design, content, feature functionality, usability, standards compliance and cross-browser compatibility. A collaboration between Casa Pacifica staff and the Web development agency Mineral, the site was also awarded Best Nonprofit Website by the Web Marketing Association in September. For more information, call (805) 445-7800.
December 27, 2012
Lydia Gable of Prudential Realty and Rick Winters of Winters Financial Group will host the third annual Coats for Casa charity event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat., Jan. 19 at Three Springs Park, 3000 Three Springs Drive, Westlake Village. The free family-oriented event will feature winter crafts, snow play, coffee and smoothies. Attendees are asked to bring gently used winter clothes of all sizes, including coats, sweaters, hoodies, mittens, gloves, winter hats and scarves, to benefit Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families in Camarillo. The centers provide emergency shelter, medical and other communitybased interventions for families in need. For information about Casa Pacifica, visit www.casapacifica.org. For information about Coats for Casa, call (818) 383-4335 or (805) 497-1717.
December 18, 2012
More than 200 teddy bears have been donated to children living at Casa Pacifica in Camarillo because of a holiday campaign led by Girl Scouts from Agoura Hills. Members of Cadette Troop 619 held a Build a Bear, Warm A Heart event Sunday at Build-A-Bear at The Oaks in Thousand Oaks, along with members of other troops from the Conejo Valley and western Los Angeles County. The girls also approached shoppers and invited them to donate to their efforts. By 4 p.m. Sunday, the Girl Scouts had collected 218 bears and 45 donated outfits for the soft toys. “People were extremely generous, and we had a lot more Girl Scout troops than ever,” said Troop 619 leader Dina Reisman. “I’m just very proud of my girls.”
Casa Pacifica provides residential care and services for abused, neglected and emotionally disturbed children and adolescents. As he stood in line clutching the “skin” for a bear and waiting for his turn at the stuffing machine, 5-year-old Charlie Cutting understood he was making a bear for children who didn’t have a loving home or toys of their own. He said he thought not to have bears or soft toys would be “kind of sad.” “We’re going to fill the bear with love,” said Charlie’s mother, Susan Emerson, a leader with Girl Scout Troop 60497 from Westlake Elementary School. About 12 fourth-graders from Girl Scout Troop 522 at White Oak Elementary School came to make bears, accompanied by Nicole Perry, of Westlake Village. “We told them it was for children who were displaced or didn’t have a family or had gone through a tragedy and they needed something to comfort them, something to show them people cared,” Perry said as the girls picked out bears.
December 5, 2012
Holiday ornaments for Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families kid wishes are available again this year at businesses, shopping centers and schools throughout Ventura County. To fulfill a child’s holiday wish this season, just select a Casa Pacifica Ornament and purchase that child’s wish or if you prefer, make an online donation at https://12732.thankyou4caring.org/casa-kids-holiday-wishes. Donation can be brought to the Casa Pacifica campus Monday through Friday between 9 am to 5:30 pm by Wed. December 12th, 2012 or call (877) 445-WISH (9474) to make other arrangements. For more information view the Casa Kids Wishes web site at www.casakidswishes.org.
Headquartered on a rural 24-acre campus in Camarillo, Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families serves abused and neglected children and adolescents, and those with severe emotional, social, behavioral, and mental health challenges. Our primary service area is California’s Central Coast, but referrals come from all over. We provide a comprehensive array of state of the art services to meet the varied and complex needs of children, youth and emerging adults in our care. Offices in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, and Camarillo house our community-based staff, who deliver services in-homes and in-the-community. We work with more than 4,000 of our region’s most vulnerable, yet valuable children and their families annually.
November 28, 2012
You can make holiday wishes come true for Children at Casa Pacifica. Casa Pacifica is a Camarillo based residential treatment facility for children separated from their parents due to neglect or abuse. The children have made a list. And Casa Pacifica has placed their names, ages and choices on white dove ornaments that decorate flocked trees. Two of the trees are in the towers at the Oxnard Financial Plaza off Esplanade Drive. All you have to do is a take a dove and return it with an unwrapped gift. Present requests include video games, comforters, gift cards and clothing. For more information log onto Casa Pacifica’s website.
November 12, 2012
Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families’ web site has been awarded The Best in Class Award in the category ‘Charity’, the highest honor bestowed by the Interactive Media Awards (IMA). The web site www.casapacifica.org, collaborated on by Casa Pacifica staff and web development agency Mineral, was honored with the IMA’s Best in Class Award after successfully passing a comprehensive judging process and achieving highest marks in each of the judging criteria: design, content, feature functionality, usability, standards compliance and cross-browser compatibility. Judged by The Interactive Media Council, a nonprofit organization of leading web designers, developers, programmers, advertisers and other web-related professionals, the Casa Pacifica web site was recognized for effectively delivering its mission to provide hope and help for abused, neglected, or at-risk children and their families. This is the second award www.casapacifica.org has been recently honored with. The site was also awarded Best Non-Profit Website by the Web Marketing Association in September.
November 8, 2012
On Saturday, November 17th, 2012 Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families will present the workshop “Jack’s Brain, Jill’s Brain: Gender Differences and Why They Matter”. Did you ever know deep down that your girls and your boys learned differently? Are you frustrated with traditional limitations and constraints and yearn to teach each gender in the most effective way possible?
· This workshop introduces participants to the rapidly emerging research on how the brains of females and males are developmentally, structurally and functionally different. Based on these differences, participants will learn academic approaches customized to the distinctly different learning styles of girls and boys.
· Participants will become acquainted with the practical application of gender research to behavioral and emotional interventions with a focus on helping both sexes avoid high risk activities such as drug use, alcohol abuse and sexual activity.
· Participants will receive tools to help children and adolescents overcome adversity, depression, anxiety and stress.
· Participants will learn to effectively utilize new scientific research on happiness and how to nurture the childhood roots of adult happiness in the children and youth you serve.
Presenter: Meredith Hoffman, Casa Pacifica Training Specialist
Date: Saturday, November 17, 2012
Registration Cost: $49.00
Location: Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, 975 Flynn Road, Camarillo, CA
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
November 4, 2012
Consumer’s Title Company gave back to the community Oct. 17 when its staff set up a full harvest festival for all of the residents of Casa Pacifica to participate. The kids were able to bounce around for hours in the giant castle jolly jumper and had their faces professionally painted by Camille. The children also were able to choose pumpkins to decorate at the arts and crafts table where there was all kinds of paints and stickers to choose from, and enjoyed carnival games set up for a chance to win prizes and candy. Consumer’s also provided dinner for the children and staff of Casa Pacifica at the end of the exciting day. “For the past few years we have fulfilled some children’s wish lists during the Christmas holiday season but this time we really wanted to interact with all of them and create some great memories that they will never forget,” said Scott Mazza, sales manager.
The staff at Casa Pacifica provides services for children and families during challenging times of their lives, helping them overcome some of life’s most difficult circumstances — abuse and neglect, complex emotional and behavioral issues and family crises. The organization helps to restore hope, helps children find joy in daily living, improve families chances at making a better life and finding a place in the community where they can be successful. For more information about Casa Pacifica, phone 445-7800 or visit the website, www.casapacifica.org.
Consumer’s Title Company would like to thank A & F Country Market in Ventura, Thumbprint Printing in Simi Valley and Underwood Family Farms for adding to the success of the event. In May, Consumer’s Title will be creating a Water Park Summer Picnic at Casa Pacifica. CTC is at 4035 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Suite 260, in Thousand Oaks. For more information, visit the website, www.CTCsocal.com.
October 18, 2012
Casa Pacifica is seeking approval to expand its center for abused or neglected children on South Lewis Road near Camarillo over the next 10 years. The nonprofit wants approval to modify its conditional-use permit to add 62,605 square feet of space to its property. The expansion includes constructing eight buildings, bringing the total number to 22 from 14, officials said. The organization must renew the permit every 10 years. The facility is on county land, and the renewal will have to go through a public hearing process through the Ventura County Planning Commission, which will make a decision. If another party appeals the permit, the issue would go to the county supervisors. “We’re including our hopes for what we would like to do, to get that on the record and approved, so we have the ability then to raise money and complete the build-out of the campus,” said Casa Pacifica CEO Stephen Elson. Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families, at 1722 S. Lewis Road, serves young people who have been abused or neglected or have severe emotional or behavioral health problems. Its 24-acre campus provides emergency shelter, residential treatment, mental health services, a primary care clinic, a school and other services.
If approved, the plans would allow the group to replace temporary buildings used as clinical offices for staff, group therapy rooms and an activities center with two permanent structures to house the existing programs. Also added would be two eight-bed cottages, a classroom building, a multipurpose building, an administrative center and two houses for transitional foster youths, according to the organization’s permit application. One of the houses would accommodate up to 10 children and a house mother. The second would house up to four children.
October 18, 2012
Casa Pacifica in Camarillo, a center for abused and neglected youths, has two additions to its family, and they’re big in both size and heart. Tess and Baker, 8-month-old Newfoundland puppies weighing in at 98 and 85 pounds, are bringing acceptance and love to youths, visitors and staff members at the center.
The mild-mannered puppies are the center’s newest therapy pets and help the children to cope as well as provide a sense of security, according to Vicki Murphy, the center’s chief advancement officer. “A lot of the kids here have experienced not the best touch,” Murphy said. “A dog’s touch is healing and gives them the sense of safety.”
October 12, 2012
Casa Pacifica was featured on KEYT Channel 3 Newscast on Friday, October 12th for the website award.
KEYT Website text: Casa Pacifica just won a prestigious award. Casa Pacifica provides hope and help to abused and neglected and at risk children and their families. Out of more than two thousand entries, The Web Marketing Association gave Casa Pacifica the best non-profit website award for engaging visitors and sharing its mission. Dr. Steve Elson, Casa Pacifica’s CEO calls the site a team effort. Casa Pacifica is located in Camarillo but serves the Central Coast. To learn more or donate log onto www.casapacifica.org.
October 11, 2012
“I really feel like I have a home and many people who stand behind me and who are always ready to help,” says Jessica Sims, 20, a resident of Ventura’s transitional youth home, Alice’s House. According to VC Children and Family Services, more than 40 female foster youth are in need of such housing each year. Alice’s House gives a home to three such girls, and Camarillo’s Casa Pacifica has also just welcomed three young women, as well as one young man, with its newly launched program, Stepping Stones. “It provides hope. We’re not going to forsake you, we’re going to help you,” says Vicki Murphy, the chief advancement officer and director of alumni services at Casa Pacifica.
Without Alice’s House and Stepping Stones, which practices its CITY program (Coaching Independence in Transitional Youth), with a central focus of creating a “self-sufficient path toward adulthood,” many children would become lost within the numbers and statistics, with a great chance of continuing the cycle of foster care and neglect with their own children as, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, one-third of all individuals who were abused or neglected as children will subject their own children to maltreatment. And with the organizations relying partly on “public support through donations, job opportunities and mentoring,” as Cromartie states, it is important that the community participate. “It’s going to make a profound difference,” Murphy says. “You are trying to change the trajectory of their lives, and even if it’s just by a degree today, it will be huge over time. And helping them helps out the community.”
October 10, 2012
On Saturday, October 6, 2012, about 100 Alcoa employees volunteered with family and friends to clean and weed the garden and paint garden stones for the transitional youth housing of Casa Pacifica, a children crises care center. This volunteer activity was part of Alcoa’s Global Month of Service, which is a month long event where each and every employee is encouraged to take an active role in making our communities safer and stronger.
Alcoans participated in the event with a high altruistic spirit and collaborated in all activities enthusiastically. AFS Newbury Park provided a tasty taco lunch for all employees and Casa Pacifica children and staff. Everyone enjoyed the lunch and Casa Pacifica children kindly expressed gratitude for the food provided. Giving back to the community is one of Alcoa’s core values, which is embraced by all employees with their continues participation in many community volunteer activities throughout the year. In addition to providing the hands-on help, Alcoa Foundation will give Casa Pacifica a $3,000 Action Grant. The grant will be presented by AFS Newbury Park Plant Managers, Kristin March and Ali Motamedi, who actively participated in the volunteer event. For more information on Alcoa’s Month of Service and community programs contact Maria Calderas, HR Manager at 805-262-4210.
September 28, 2012
(Charity Event & Food & Drink Festival were for the Casa Pacifica Angels Food & Wine Festival) Thank you so much to everyone who voted!
September 21, 2012
Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families has been honored with the Best Non-Profit Website Award by the Web Marketing Association in its 16th annual WebAward Competition. The web site www.casapacifica.org, collaborated on by Casa Pacifica staff and an outside web development agency, earned high marks from industry insiders for developing an engaging site that effectively delivers its mission to provide hope and help for abused, neglected, or at-risk children and their families. “It really was a team effort to create a site that would be visually appealing, but also have meaningful content that represents the wonderful work we do here at Casa Pacifica,” said Dr. Steve Elson, Casa Pacifica CEO. “We were very fortunate to work with a talented group of people at the web development agency Mineral.”
The website was submitted into the award competition after a digital remodel that focused on illustrating the purposes of Casa Pacifica’s organization: to provide safe shelter, educational programs, therapy sessions and mobile crises response services to children and families with urgent needs. Including a method for fast, easy online giving was also a priority. More than 2,000 entries from 42 countries were evaluated in 96 different industry categories for the 16th annual WebAward Competition. The competition was judged by a panel of representatives from disciplines in the website development arena and included media and advertising executives, site designers, creative directors, corporate marketing executives, content providers, and webmasters. Entries were judged in seven categories: design, copy writing, innovation, content, interactivity, navigation, and use of technology. Casa Pacifica received a score of 69 out of the 70 points possible. Casa Pacifica is also currently developing another remodeled web site that will honor the organization’s famous “therapy dog” Archie, a Newfoundland who is very popular with the children and staff at Casa Pacifica and within the Ventura County community. The new web site will offer an online store.
September 20, 2012
Allison Bravo doesn’t know who her parents are. Now 19, Bravo has spent her life alternating between living in a group home and staying with a foster family that was not a good match. When she aged out of foster care, she became homeless. Fortunately for Bravo, Casa Pacifica offered her a steppingstone into the future. The nonprofit, which serves Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, provides care for abused and neglected youths. Earlier this month, Casa Pacifica opened the Stepping Stones Transitional Housing program in two buildings next to its 23-acre campus on S. Lewis Road in Camarillo. The program is designed to help young adults such as Bravo, who, because of their age, are unable to stay at Casa Pacifica. “It’s really confusing to be in foster care,” said Bravo, who graduated from Rio Mesa High School. “You don’t ever know what’s going on.”
In addition to the Casa Pacifica campus, Bravo has had two homes. She was placed with an aunt when she was very young but had to be removed. She said she developed anemia from improper nourishment while in the care of her aunt. At age 6, she was placed with a family she lived with on and off for the next 12 years. Bravo called it an “unhealthy environment” and said she fought with her foster family constantly. She enrolled in Ventura College this year and is taking classes to become a social worker.“I just want to work with foster kids and make sure they don’t have to go through what I did,” Bravo said. The pursuit of higher education is something Vicki Murphy, the chief advancement officer at Casa Pacifica, strove for with the Stepping Stones program. “We’re helping them gain some of the skills they need to get on their feet and transition out into independence,” Murphy said. Some of the basic life skills she hopes the members of the program will gain include how to manage a bank account and how to interview for a job. Murphy said the new homes, which at this point are occupied by three women and one man, sit on county land and took more than 300 volunteers and $500,000 in donations to build. There is room for more young adults in the program, which renovated old buildings into homes for the members of the 18-month program. Bravo said she’s lucky Casa Pacifica accepted her application for the program. “Life used to be really negative for me,” Bravo said. “But they’re not going to set us up for failure, and I feel really good about that.” Both Bravo and Murphy said many young adults immediately fall to homelessness after leaving foster care. Bravo said she hopes this program will shed some light on that problem. “People need to hear about this,” she said. “It’s not fair that we have nowhere to go. What are we supposed to do? “A lot of us want to be successful and know what we want to do; we just don’t know how to get there.”
September 20, 2012
Casa Pacifica Angels will present the 11th annual “Spotlight on Style” fashion show fundraiser on Sat., Oct. 6 at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, Two Dole Drive. A champagne reception will open the festivities. Guests can visit boutiques to purchase accessories, clothing and gifts. Employees of Meathead Movers will greet and direct guests, and assist during the luncheon catered by the Four Seasons’ gourmet kitchen.
A runway fashion show produced by Carin Holmenas Productions will feature the latest styles from designers including Lourdes Chavez, Jessica Barkley and Edwards-Lowell Furs of Beverly Hills. A silent auction will offer baskets including a trip to a Princess Pelican beach home, Sunday brunch at the Ranch House Restaurant in Ojai Valley, a private wine tasting party for up to 15 guests at Vom Fass in Westlake Village and orchestra seating tickets to a New West Symphony performance.
This year’s “Spotlight on Style” honoree is the philanthropic group Girls on a Mission. The organization collects whatever is most needed by children at Casa Pacifica. All event proceeds will benefi t Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, crisiscare and residential treatment facilities for abused, neglected or at-risk children in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Tickets are $125 each in advance; no tickets will be sold at the door. For more information or tickets, call Kristin Palos at (805) 484-7144.
September 19, 2012
Runway style show, luncheon will be at Four Seasons Hotel, Westlake
A champagne reception will open the festivities. Guests can visit boutiques to purchase accessories, clothing and gifts.Employees of Meathead Movers will greet and direct guests, and assist during the luncheon catered by the Four Seasons’ gourmet kitchen. A runway fashion show produced by Carin Holmenas Productions will feature the latest styles from designers including Lourdes Chavez, Jessica Barkley and Edwards-Lowell Furs of Beverly Hills. A silent auction will offer baskets including a trip to a Princess Pelican beach home, Sunday brunch at the Ranch House Restaurant in Ojai Valley, a private wine tasting party for up to 15 guests at Vom Fass in Westlake Village and orchestra seating tickets to a New West Symphony performance.
This year’s “Spotlight on Style” honoree is the philanthropic group Girls on a Mission. The organization collects whatever is most needed by children at Casa Pacifica. All event proceeds will benefit Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, crisiscare and residential treatment facilities for abused, neglected or at-risk children in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. For more Casa Pacifica information, call (805) 445-7800 or visit www.casapacifica.org. Tickets are $125 each in advance; no tickets will be sold at the door. For more information or tickets, call Kristin Palos at (805) 484-7144.
September 5, 2012
Casa Pacifica held a ribbon cutting ceremony today. The non profit treatment center for abused, neglected and at-risk youth from Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties began a new chapter by opening Stepping Stone Houses. Thanks to donations of time and money, Casa Pacifica renovated two old buildings next to the Camarillo campus.
The buildings have been transformed into homes for former foster youth who are not ready to be out on their own. They are already providing a housing option for seven young women and one young man. It’s now part of Casa Pacifica’s Coaching Independence in Transitional Youth (CITY) Program.
September 5, 2012
Wednesday marked the official grand opening of the Casa Pacifica Transitional Living Center on Lewis Road in Camarillo. The center aims to give young people the skills and tools to thrive and lead a more self-sufficient path toward adulthood. At a ribbon-cutting, the center was named Vicki’s Place in honor of Casa Pacifica’s chief advancement officer, Vicki Murphy.
“Today, we get to celebrate permanence,” said David Wood, the nonprofit group’s board president. “We used to have to throw these kids into the deep end of the pool when they turned 18 and hope they learn to swim. Now we have a shallow end and a loving professional staff to teach them how to swim.”
September 1, 2012
At Casa Pacifica, she serves on the board of directors and as chairwoman of the Transition Age Youth Committee — a task force that unites nonprofits in helping young people in the foster care system transition successfully to adult life. “I love what I do at Casa Pacifica for foster kids,” said Warner.
August 15, 2012
Newbury Park’s Clean Up Comedy group performs with a promise to make you laugh right along with the rest of your family. “We want to spread the word that you don’t have to be vulgar to get a laugh,” said Tim Kanter, co-creator and creative director of Clean Up Comedy. The group’s mission is to perform comedy that is suitable for everyone. “There is so much to talk about that we can be funny with, we don’t have to resort to potty humor or foul language to get a laugh,” (creative director) Jeremy Zeller said. Community members who want to share laughs without vulgarity appreciate that. “It’s pretty hard to find clean comedy, especially to perform for our kids,” said Ingrid Cleffi, a recreation therapy supervisor at Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families in Camarillo. The center deals with abused and neglected children, many of whom haven’t had a lot of humor in their lives, Cleffi said.
August 7, 2012
About 200 foster youths from California and across the country gathered at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks to discuss the foster care system recommend policies they hope state legislatures will take seriously. The participants were California Youth Connection members representing 33 counties in the state and foster youths from states including Indiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Oregon. They were at the university for a leadership and policy conference.
“These are very complex issues that state legislatures have grappled with for years. You would be shocked by how simple some of these solutions are coming from a youth perspective,” said Jenny Vinopal, director of programs for the California Youth Connection. Ventura resident Dominique Martinez, 20, (Casa Pacifica Peer Advocate) is the co-chairwoman of the organization’s Ventura chapter and grew up in the foster care system. “I wasn’t happy with a lot of the experiences that I experienced through the foster care system, and I felt like this was a perfect organization to better the system for the youth that come after us,” said Martinez, who will present some of the recommendations to the state Legislature in January.
July 16, 2012
Watch as Casa Pacifica’s own Cristina Miranda, Youth Policy Advocate & Special Projects Liaison, is interviewed by NBC News during her internship at Capitol Hill!
View at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/shows/wednesdays-child/
July 12, 2012
Showcasing the culinary creations of restaurants and caterers from Santa Barbara to the Conejo Valley, as well as wineries, vineyards, and microbreweries from all over California, the 19th annual Festival raised money for Casa Pacifica, a Camarillo-based organization that provides help for abused, neglected, or at-risk children and families in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Each year, as part of its public/private partnership, Casa Pacifica must raise 10 to 12 percent of its budget to fill the gap between government funding and the actual cost of providing aid to neglected children.
July 6, 2012
Mary Kramer (center) celebrated her 70th birthday by throwing a party for residents at Casa Pacifica. The theme of the party was “Put a Smile on a Child’s Face.” When Mary Kramer recovered from a serious illness that left her in pain for three years, she decided she wanted to give back. The Camarillo woman celebrated her 70th birthday Friday by hosting a party for 45 children at Casa Pacifica in Camarillo in the hopes of bringing smiles to the faces of the youths who have been victims of abuse and abandonment. “I wanted to do something that the children wanted to do,” Kramer said. “I am all about fun and I want to see happy faces.” The children, who range in age from 4 to 18, requested McDonald’s Happy Meals for lunch, followed by entertainment from a Ronald McDonald clown.
Kramer also is raising money for the nonprofit’s summer camps, which allow children at the shelter to experience fun activities, such as going to the beach or an amusement park. “They get to do fun things that kids might normally do with their families in the summer,” said Ingrid Cleffi, Casa Pacifica’s recreation therapy supervisor. “We try to create memories for them, because a lot of our kids don’t have any good memories.” Children come to Casa Pacifica from the foster-care system, as well as juvenile hall and family homes. Many have lived through trauma and some have severe emotional, mental or behavioral issues. Kramer also solicited community donations to give the youths at the party a “lucky” penny, crayons, a stuffed bear and a backpack to hold their belongings.
June 23, 2012
Festival raises funds, brings together top area chefs
The 19th annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine & Food Festival drew more than 4,000 people and helped raise more than $300,000 for the center for abused children when it took place this month in Camarillo. “Top Chef” star Fabio Viviani was at the festival to help judge the Yummie Top Chef Awards and to unveil a line of bottled martini drinks that he and friend and business partner Jacopo Falleni plan to launch at the end of the year. Viviani, who already has restaurants in Moorpark (Café Firenze, 532-0048) and Toluca Lake (Firenze Osteria, 818-760-7081), confirmed plans to team with the owners of Public House and Bull & Bear to open a third location later this year in Chicago.
Accepting first place in the sweets category for their apple pie cupcake were Rhonda Santora and Lesley Bodwell of Frost It Cupcakery. Winner of second place with her “Three Meals a Day” collection of mini cupcakes was Missy Drayton-Bendado of Missy’s Cupcake Creations. Third place in the sweets category went to chef and stand-up comic Andres Fernandez and the cake bites he makes at Andy’s New York Deli.
In the savory-dish competition, Market Broiler of Simi Valley won third place with chef Robin Higa’s pairing of chipotle-mango caramelized Atlantic salmon with tropical salsa (1161 Simi Town Center Way, 210-7640). Second place went to Nic Manocchio, executive chef at The Tower Club, a members-only spot in Oxnard, for a dish featuring coconut-encrusted calamari with caramelized pineapple and a rum-and-chipotle spiked chutney (983-7777). And the big prize? That went to Luis Martinez, who holds Manocchio’s previous post as executive chef at C-Street Restaurant at Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach. His Kobe-style beef short ribs were braised in coffee and cabernet, topped with a mound of crispy leeks and served with garlic mashed potatoes infused with Maytag blue cheese.
June 6, 2012
A GOOD TIME — The 19th annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine and Food Festival drew a sold-out crowd of 4,000, including the dancers at left, to California State University Channel Islands for an afternoon of wine, food and music on June 3. Above, Peter and Kathleen Chmelir of Camarillo sample wine poured by Greg Moss of Woodland Hills and Weate Family Estates at the event, which raises money for Casa Pacifica, a Camarillo-based shelter serving children and families from throughout Ventura County.
June 6, 2012
Voted Best Cultural Festival in Ventura County for the last four years running, the annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine & Food Festival is one of the area’s premiere wine and food events, with all proceeds benefiting the Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families. The event features the finest restaurants, caterers, bakeries, and specialty shops from Santa Barbara to Conejo Valley and many renowned wineries and vineyards from throughout California’s rich wine-producing regions and award-winning breweries. Generously hosted by the Zarley and Van Huisen Families, the Festival was home to entertainment The Spazmatics and Professional Mobile Disc Jockey Bruce Barrios, 15-time winner of the Best Event DJ in Ventura County Award from VC Reporter. At the VIP Lounge presented by Wells Fargo, live entertainment included Sound Effect and Magic and Mayhem with Shawn McMaster.
Festival guests were also entertained by the Yummies culinary competition which showcased each chef’s entry which was judged based on flavor, presentation, innovation and quality. Entries were tasted by a panel of celebrity judges comprised of television and print media personalities, food and wine editors, and food and wine columnists based on which chef’s dish they feel is the “Yummiest.” The 2012 Yummie Top Chef Award Winners in the savory category include first place winner Executive Chef Luis Martinez of C-Street, Crowne Plaza Hotel with his Kobe style beef short ribs, and in second place was Executive Chef Nic Manocchio of the Tower Club with coconut encrusted calamari steak, caramelized pineapple, chipotle and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum chutney. Placing third in the savory category was Chef Robin Higa of Market Broiler with her fresh atlantic salmon caramelized with chipotle spices. The Yummie winners in the sweet category include first place winners Rhonda Santora and Lesley Bodwell of Frosted Cupcakery with their apple pie cupcake, and in second place was Chef Yvonne Drayton-Benado of Missy’s Cupcake Creations with her “3 Meals a Day” cupcake. Placing third in the sweet category was Chef Andres Fernandez of Andres Wine & Tapas Bar with his candy cakes cupcakes.
June 6, 2012
“Melt in your mouth” short ribs created by Luis Martinez, executive chef at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach, wowed the judges over the past weekend and took top honors at the 2012 Casa Pacifica Angels Wine and Food Festival’s culinary competition.
On Sunday, June 3, Martinez competed against chefs from 30 different central coast restaurants, caterers and bakeries in the festival’s annual “Yummies Competition.” In the end, a panel of celebrity judges that included “Top Chef” seasons five and eight participant Fabio Viviani and “MasterChef” season two runner-up Adrien Nieto deemed Martinez’s tender short ribs in a reduction of cabernet wine and natural juices to be the tastiest dish in the competition and awarded him the first place trophy.
“The Central Coast is home to so many wonderfully creative and talented chefs,” said Martinez. “It is especially gratifying to win the top prize when competing against such stiff competition.”
June 3, 2012
The festive atmosphere at the Casa Pacifica Wine and Food Festival on Sunday at CSU Channel Islands was a welcome respite for the staff and volunteers who work with broken families and abused and abandoned children. The agency’s biggest fundraiser has become a hallmark event for Ventura County, attracting about 4,000 people, some paying more than $100 to help fund Casa Pacifica services.
The residential program at Casa Pacifica has seen an increase in activity in the past year, with all 45 beds in the crisis care shelter full and most of the 28 beds in the long-term residential treatment facility full as well, according to Steve Elson, executive director. “This is our biggest fundraiser, during which we hope to raise about $300,000 toward out goal of $2.6 million in fundraising,” Elson said. “There are a lot of reasons why we’ve had the increase, including the economy. But we’ve been able so far to meet the needs of our clients, and that’s the ultimate goal.
June 1, 2012
The families of Leigh Jensen and Amy Van Wyngaarden know that, come April every year, the two women will retreat to the Jensen garage, subsist on candy and coffee from sunrise to sunset, and emerge in June with more than 200 baskets of items that will go up for bid at the annual Casa Pacifica Food and Wine Festival’s silent auction. The two women are part of more than 200 festival volunteers, some of whom begin working in October to prepare for the event that attracts thousands every year to California State University Channel Islands. “We are grateful for the time, treasure and talent of the dozens of volunteers that work to make this event possible,” said Carrie Hughes, assistant director of development for Casa Pacifica. “It’s inspiring to see them come together as a team to share their passion and love for the childen and families we serve.”
Proceeds from the food and wine festival, to be held this Sunday, help support the Camarillo based shelter for physically and emotionally abused children and families in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.The hope is to raise $300,000 at this year’s event, with $65,000 coming from the auction. For Jensen and Wyngaarden, putting the baskets together for the wine tasting event is a labor of love.
May 31, 2012
A woman calls the police for help with her boyfriend’s daughter. The woman has taken on the role of mother while her boyfriend is working as a trucker. The girl is 4 years old and the woman said the daughter is acting like a feral animal. The girl is physically aggressive, destroying objects and biting. Police arrive and contain the girl in the back seat of the woman’s car. The girl is biting and spitting on the officer. After they arrived at the hospital, a call was made to Casa Pacifica’s Children’s Intensive Response Team to do a mental health assessment of the girl and offer an array of supportive services to help the family. Casa Pacifica, a nonprofit based in Camarillo, provides shelter and services for abused and neglected children and adolescents, and those with severe emotional, social, behavioral and mental health challenges throughout Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.This is one of the hundreds of calls the Children’s Intensive Response Team receives throughout the year. It’s a sad story, but not a new one. And the number of mental health calls for children in crisis is rapidly on the rise in the county. “In the last six months, we have seen the biggest increase with the highest acuity,” said Jody Kussin, Ph.D., director of community programs for Ventura County.
The crisis team is only a small facet of all the services Casa Pacifica provides to the community. It has a residential treatment center and offers emergency shelter care. It has a therapeutic preschool, an on-campus non-public school for residents, and maintains school placement for students in the emergency shelter. It provides health services, parent-child interaction therapy, therapeutic behavioral services, supportive behavioral services and much more. Because of all of the services provided by Casa Pacifica, Chief Executive Officer Steve Elson, Ph.D. and his staff see Ventura County’s darker underbelly, where neglect and abuse remain common if not prevalent for many kids in the area. The shelter is almost at capacity, with 43 children currently versus around 30 kids in years past. The number of crisis calls is increasing. The severity of the crises is also on the rise. “Kids are just not being taken care of,” Elson said. “The family lost their home; they are living in a run-down apartment somewhere. A lot of it, drugs are involved…. It’s not an uncommon tale.” Elson also said everyone is being affected. “There are kids from every community, from the rich to the poor,” he said.
To continue to provide the same number of quality services, Casa Pacifica will be holding its annual Angels Food and Wine Festival on Sunday, June 3, 1-4 p.m. at the campus of California State University, Channel Islands, in Camarillo.
May 29, 2012
A Mix of Live Entertainment Including The Spazmatics will Perform at the 19th Annual Festival
The 2012 Casa Pacifica Angels Wine and Food Festival is proud to announce The Spazmatics will be returning to this year’s Festival main stage. DJ Bruce Barrios will also be returning as Master of Ceremonies. The exclusive VIP Lounge presented by Wells Fargo will feature Shawn McMaster of Magic and Mayhem and musical group, Sound Effect at the 19th Annual Casa Pacifica Angel’s Wine & Food Festival on Sunday, June 3, 2012 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Spazmatics, Bruce Barrios, and a special surprise guest will entertain Festival wine and food enthusiasts. The Spazmatics is a four man band and a tribute to 1980s “nerds that rock”. The Kevin, Syd Sonic, Donald Wilkinson, and Ruben make up this eclectic 1980s new wave band with a sense of humor unlike that of any other band. They have covered songs at Los Angeles clubs including Playhouse, The Key Club, and Rolling Stone’s Hollywood and Highland venue. Known for their synchronized choreography, mini-mashup moments infusing riffs from current hits, and a high level of audience participation, The Spazmatics bring a whole new meaning to “nerds” worldwide.
Professional Mobile Disc Jockey Bruce Barrios, 15-time winner of the Best Event DJ in Ventura County Award from VC Reporter, will be the Master of Ceremonies and DJ for the Wine and Food Festival. Alongside The Spazmatics, DJ Bruce Barrios will announce the special surprise guest during the event. At the VIP Lounge sponsored by Wells Fargo, live entertainment includes Magic and Mayhem with Shawn McMaster and Sound Effect. McMaster offers a sophisticated, high-energy interactive program punctuated with astonishment and hilarity. He has appeared in clubs, campuses, and theaters across the country including Las Vegas, off-Broadway, the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, and most recently on the Fox MyNetwork TV’s Masters of Illusion. In addition to Magic and Mayhem with Shawn McMaster, the funk, R&B, and soul band, Sound Effect will be providing live music at the VIP Lounge sponsored by Wells Fargo.
May 29, 2012
It’s ironic that Carrie Hughes hasn’t had much of a social life lately. She has been working weekends, holidays and nights getting ready for what she calls the social event of the year for Ventura County. The Casa Pacifica Angels Wine and Food Festival will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. at CSU Channel Islands. Hughes, wine and food festival director for Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families in Camarillo, is expecting about 4,000 to attend.
The event started in the backyard of Casa Pacifica volunteer Fran Elson, who thought it might work as a fundraiser, Hughes said. It quickly outgrew the yard and moved to the Pierpont Inn, then Capistrano’s restaurant at Ventura Harbor and then to (CSU) CI. Co-hosted by the Zarley and Van Huisen families, this year’s sponsors, the festival has grown as interest in wine and food has increased in the U.S. and the Food Network has become more popular. The festival attracts more than 200 vendors from wineries as far as Paso Robles as well as Ventura County wineries, restaurants and chefs whose names are familiar to guests.
May 26, 2012
Something happens when the kids at Casa Pacifica start taking pictures. The at-risk youths, many who arrive at the emergency shelter and treatment center after being neglected or abused, become calmer when they have cameras in hand, noted Kevin Charbonneau, an award-winning photographer who started a camera club in March at the Camarillo crisis center. “This really gives them a chance to have an avenue of expression and be able to develop their own creativity, if they feel so inspired,” he said. Since the club began, about a dozen teens and preteens have learned the basics of photography, completed monthly assignments and used the donated cameras during times of emotional upheaval.
“When I’m escalated, I sometimes ask staff if I can use my camera to take pictures,” said a 10-year-old boy who has been at Casa Pacifica since December. “I feel very calm when I’m taking pictures. I feel like it has helped me a lot.” The club is now part of the center’s therapy program, which also includes sports activities, recreation therapist Amanda Martinez said. “This gives them another way to manage their anxiety and stressors,” she said. “It also gives them a sense of accomplishment, a sense that they’re good at something, which gives them hope and a positive outlook.”
May 25, 2012
Casa Pacifica is excited to hold the 19th annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine & Food Festival on Sunday, June 3rd, 2012, from 1:00pm-4:00pm at California State University Channel Islands’ campus in Camarillo.Voted Best Cultural Festival in Ventura County for the last four years running, the annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine & Food Festival is one of the area’s premiere wine and food events, with all proceeds benefiting the Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families. Complete with continuous live entertainment and the largest silent auction in Ventura County, the Festival offers young and old alike the chance to taste their way through mouthwatering treats from the finest restaurants, caterers, bakeries, and specialty shops from Santa Barbara to Conejo Valley. The event also features many renowned wineries and vineyards from throughout California’s rich wine-producing regions, as well as several award-winning breweries.
Last year the Festival raised more than $300,000(net) to support the work of one of the community’s most dedicated charities. Thanks to the ongoing support of its gracious sponsors, the Casa Pacifica Festival is back again, this time with the ambitious goal of raising $375,000(net) to help fill the growing $2.6 million gap between government revenues and actual costs to provide critical help for abused, neglected, or at-risk children and families in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Generously hosted by the Zarley and Van Huisen Families, the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine & Food Festival will be revved up by Ventura County’s favorite emcee, Bruce Barrios as well as a strong lineup of celebrities. Sponsorship Opportunities are still available, ranging from $1,500 to $20,000. Visit the Festival website to sign up as a sponsor or Festival exhibitor or consider being part of this exciting event by donating an item to our silent auction. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to place your name in front of thousands of potential customers!
May 21, 2012
The 19th annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine & Food Festival welcomes Wells Fargo, the fourth largest bank in the United States, as the VIP Lounge sponsor! This year’s VIP lounge presented by Wells Fargo will include more gourmet food choices, signature drinks, and entertainment exclusive to Festival VIPs than in previous years. Famed Chef Jason Collis of Plated Events will serve specialty foods using fresh concepts to plate unique dishes. The gourmet fare will be complemented with music by the group Sound Effect, a seven-piece ensemble comprised of jazz and rock musicians with an eclectic sound. Beverages unique to the VIP Wells Fargo Lounge include Malibu Family Wines and the Anheuser Busch Belgium Beer Garden featuring Hoegaarden, Leffe, and Stella Artois.
The Festival raises substantial funding to support critical programs that help abused, neglected, or at-risk children and families in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
May 7, 2012
The Livingston Memorial Foundation presented $414,000 in grants to 30 Ventura County nonprofits for the 2011-12 year as the organization continues its mission of underwriting health care for poor and uninsured people in the area. The Livingston Memorial Foundation was formed in 1974 by Dr. Charles M. Hair and Ben E. Nordman with funds from the estate of Ruth Daily Livingston in memory of her husband, Dr. Robert R. Livingston. The foundation has donated more than $10.5 million in grants since 1976. Hair is the chairman of the foundation. Its mission is to provide support for medically related programs for Ventura County residents, said Laura McAvoy, who is on the board of the foundation and was named the chairwoman of the Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association after Hair stepped aside to become chairman emeritus of that organization. The association is the largest recipient of the foundation’s grants, but it still must apply for funding each year.
Arc of Ventura County and the Rescue Mission Alliance received awards of $8,500, the Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families got $8,000, and the Long Term Care Services of Ventura Inc. Ombudsman Program and Mary Health of the Sick Convalescent and Nursing Hospital Inc. received $7,000 each.
April 27, 2012
A variety of basic necessities were donated to local families through Adolfo Camarillo High School’s TEENS Club, or Teenage Endeavors Elevating Neighboring Students. The club works to assist students on campus who are in financial need and can’t afford everyday items. “Camarillo is a nice area, but most people don’t realize there are a lot of families struggling here,” said club co-president Akemi Levine. “We want to educate everyone else in Camarillo and raise awareness.”
The 35 club members have raised money through food sales and classroom donations and plan to hold a car wash. They have held donation drives for toiletries, school supplies and canned goods. In addition to helping the school’s students, the club members volunteer once a month to feed the homeless with the Many Meals nonprofit at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Camarillo. The club members have also organized donation drives for toiletries, Christmas presents, backpacks and Halloween costumes for Casa Pacifica, a Camarillo based nonprofit that aids abused, neglected and at-risk children. “It’s just a really rewarding feeling that just a little group of people can make a big difference in peoples’ lives,” Akemi said.
April 23, 2012
The pups were lovingly donated by the Tesoro Family (who also donated Archie The Casa Pacifica Therapy Dog). The nine week old Newfoundland siblings have been named Tess and Baker after long time Casa Pacifica benefactors. Their official names are Tesoro “Tess” Broome and “Baker” Claeyssens. The pups will be attending therapeutic ‘boot camp’ in the coming weeks in preparation for in-home living. View arrival video on You Tube
April 13, 2012
The 16 second graders were shopping for 16 other seven and eight year-old girls who live at Casa Pacifica, a Camarillo nonprofit that aids abused, neglected or at-risk children. The girls used $500 they’d raised through nut and cookie sales to buy clothes, coloring books, crayons and baking products for the girls at Casa Pacifica.
April 10, 2012
Wraparound Connections Newsletter April 2012 - It’s amazing to see how Wraparound Services are truly changing lives… one family at a time! “It’s been a wild ride.” That’s how Christina described the family’s journey over the past 10 years. Her daughter, Katherine, now 17, and two other daughters, Jordan and Cami, agree. Wraparound came into their lives two times and they describe both of the experiences as important and unique. The Child and Family Team provided a sense of structure and hope for the family. Christina was surprised to learn how flexible Wraparound was - someone was there whenever the family needed them. The team came to the family home and that was “huge” for Christina, who often could not get Katherine out of the house for services.
Katherine said she felt more prepared the second time and knew how Wraparound could help her. Because of Wraparound, she was able to pick up where she left off in residential treatment. With the help of her youth partner, support from her family and employing her new coping skills, Katherine relayed a list of achievements since her return a short time ago. To date, the list includes: completing job applications, getting a job and making her own money; volunteering in the community; getting her service dog, Liberty; developing healthy relationships with peers and boyfriend; finding positive role models; getting her driver’s license; achieving advanced placement in school, making good grades and being on track to graduate high school. That’s quite a list!
“A family has to have an open heart for Wraparound,” Christina said. “They start as strangers but become part of your lives. The family has to be a partner with Wraparound. It’s like making a quilt - Wraparound helps you find some of the pieces to put them together.”
April 9, 2012
The sounds of clear voices and guitars hung in the cool, crisp air Thursday evening while about 100 people gathered at the Camarillo Ranch for the Camarillo High School National Honor Society’s acoustic fundraiser. There was no charge to attend the event, but guests were asked to bring toys, school supplies and children’s books to be donated to Casa Pacifica, the residential center for neglected or abused children.
April 4, 2012
Jemma Wildermuth, owner of CReATE STUDIO on Village Center Road, and Thousand Oaks artist Michelle Garcia will host Style Your Sole on Saturday, April 28. Working in partnership with TOMS shoes, the pair are asking people to use a discount code provided by the art studio to prepurchase a plain pair of shoes from TOMS.com and buy an additional pair of child-sized TOMS that will be decorated and donated to a local child. Buyers can bring the shoes in between noon and 4 p.m. April 28 and local artists can decorate them, Garcia said. The child-sized shoes will be donated to Casa Pacifica in Camarillo.
April 2, 2012
Come make a difference in a Child’s life and enjoy a fun night out with family & friends this Thurs.April 5th, 6-9 pm at the Camarillo Ranch House! Local businesses’ Jersey Mike’s, Coffee Bean, Nothing Bundt Cake’s and many other vendors will be available to those who make a minimum donation of $2. All Proceeds Will Be Donated To Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families. Bring a blanket to sit on the lawn and enjoy the live music and festivities! Admission: New School Supplies, Book, or Toy. Where: Camarillo Ranch House @ 201 Camarillo Ranch Rd, 93012. When: Thursday, April 5th 2012 from 6:00 - 9:00 pm. Many local artists will be showcased, such as: Austin Palmer & Jasmine Garcia, Willy and The Poor Boys, Jazemin Raigoza and Josh Ditto, John Ponce, Monique Carpio. A raffle and silent auction will be held, prizes include: Gift certificates to restaurants and shops (Lure, Peking Inn, Hunan Garden, Harley’s Bowling Alley, etc.), Gift baskets from Lassen’s and Trader Joes, Fine jewelry from local jewelry stores, Original Art from local artist Peri Gutierrez.
March 21, 2012
Percentages to charities including Casa Pacifica
A pro surfer is testing the waters of another career.Tim Curran and his business partner and surfing buddy Dylan McLaughlin just opened an office in Ventura and launched TheProPost.com. Curran says they created the site to help people find pros for home improvement and other services.Pro-post takes a small finders fee from professionals who get hired and then gives a percentage to charities including Casa Pacifica and Foodshare. But don’t expect to find Curran behind a desk all day. His other office is the ocean.Curran is training for upcoming surf competitions.
Feb. 16, 2012
As she dashed through the lobby to a board of directors meeting at Casa Pacifica in Camarillo, Keets Cassar encountered a 14-year-old boy who, unprompted, wished her a nice day. “I stopped in my tracks,” Cassar said. The 73 children who live at Casa Pacifica, a provider of children’s mental health services in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, have suffered extreme trauma at home. “Most of the time these children . . . are so wounded that it’s hard to get them to look you in the eye, much less say anything to you,” Cassar said. “You kind of learn not to expect to get any feedback. . . . It’s beyond comprehension what some of these kids have been through.”
Thousand Oaks resident Cassar and her husband of 30 years, Hugh Cassar, have supported Casa Pacifica for the past five years. In addition to giving thousand of dollars in financial support, Keets Cassar also serves on the organization’s board of directors and assists as a volunteer in various capacities. The mother of six has helped organize the annual Angels Ball - one of Casa Pacifica’s largest fundraisers - makes decorations for different events and works on fundraising committees.“It is such a great organization,” Cassar said. “In their field, they’re very highly thought of and very respected. It’s also a model in some cases on how to run such an organization.”
Casa Pacifica spokesperson Carrie Hughes credits Hugh Cassar with referring Casa Pacifica for a November 2011 $25,000 grant awarded by UCLA Foundation’s Dream Fund. “We’re very grateful and fortunate to have such compassionate, dedicated, loving and generous partners and friends,” Hughes said of the Cassars. “They’re really wonderful people.”
Feb. 16, 2012
Casa Pacifica Angels will hold its 23rd annual Angels Ball at 6 p.m. Sat., Feb. 25 at the Sherwood Country Club, 320 W. Stafford Road, Thousand Oaks. Hosts of the 23rd annual Angels Ball for the fifth year in a row, the Cassar family will present a cocktail hour, gourmet dining, dancing to a live orchestra and a live auction. The ball will raise funds to support Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families and its therapeutic programs and services. The ball will raise funds to support Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families and its therapeutic programs and services.
David Wood, president of Casa Pacifica’s board of directors will be the guest presenter. The recipient of the 2011 Guardian Angel Award, which honors a Casa Pacifica supporter, will be presented by the 2010 recipient, Keets Cassar. Live auction items will include a trip to Chicago with tickets to a Cubs game in Wrigley Field’s rooftop seats, and a Napa Valley wine tasting trip. A landscape portrait of Casa Pacifica created by photographer Mark Brandes and his wife, April, of Brandes Portraiture will also be auctioned. The winning bidder’s name will be displayed on the portrait, which will hang at Casa Pacifica. For more information, call the development department at (805) 445-7800 or visit www.casapacifica.org.
Jan. 28, 2012
On Saturday, Jan. 28th, more than 200 girls and about 75 of their mothers filled an assembly hall at Casa Pacifica to make more than 400 fleece blankets for the facility’s residents. It was the third annual blanket-making event at Casa Pacifica, and the girls, collectively known as the Ticktockers, had come to help those in need while meeting counterparts from throughout the National Charity League’s District 3, which stretches from Santa Monica to Santa Ynez. “These blankets are like gold,” Ingrid Cleffi, recreational therapy supervisor at Casa Pacifica, told a group of girls as they toured the facility’s small store, where residents can buy modest items like toys, toiletries or snacks as a reward for good behavior. “We use them all through the year.” Photo: Juan Carlo, VC Star
Jan. 22, 2012
Meredith Scott is currently working on behalf of foster youth with The Children’s Project Academy. “It was a population that I really had no experience with,” she says. “It was heartbreaking because they hadn’t done anything to be in this awful situation.” Scott also serves on the advisory board of Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families in Camarillo and Mock City is modeled after one of its programs called “The Road to Independence.” Photo: Garrett Geyer / Noozhawk photo
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Sat. Jan. 21, 2012
Lydia Gable of Prudential Realty and Rick Winters of Winters Financial Group hosted the the second annual Winter Wonderland charity event on Saturday. About 600 coats were collected this year for Casa Pacifica in Camarillo, which provides an array of services to families in need. “We picked Casa Pacifica because it is a wonderful organization,” Gable said. “We brought the snow, we have the coffee and smoothie truck, glitter tattoos, prizes, and people have come from all over to support us. We got lucky that the weather cooperated and it’s cool, so the snow won’t melt.”
“Based on how the community responded last year, it was motivation to do it again,” Winters said. “It’s a nice way for the community to support a local organization like Casa Pacifica, and this time the City allowed us to bring in the snow. Obviously, as you can see, the kids are enjoying themselves.” Pictured: Abby Carter of Westlake Village throws a snowball at her mother, Patty, during the Winter Wonderland charity event Saturday in Westlake Village. Photo: Joe Lumaya, Special to The Star
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Jan. 15, 2012
For the children and families served by Casa Pacifica, the holidays are vivid reminders of the difficulties they face. The children often spend Christmas separated from family and friends and there is very little money for presents.
Consumer’s Title & Escrow employees eased the pain a little bit this year when they descended on Casa Pacifica on Dec. 21 with Santa bags filled with toys. Every employee of Consumer’s donated money and gifts to fulfill the wish-lists of eight children.
“This is our third year supporting the kids of Casa Pacifica and as always we really enjoy coming together as a company to give the children a little brighter holiday season,” said Scott Mazza, company sales manager.
Casa Pacifica meets kids and families at the most challenging times of their lives and helps them overcome some of life’s most difficult circumstances — abuse and neglect, complex emotional and behavioral issues, family crises. It restores hope, helps children find joy in daily living and improves families’ chances at making a better life and at finding a place in their community where they can be successful. Pictured: Consumer’s Title & Escrow employees from left, are Josh Dodson, Scott Mazza, Roxanne Danielsen, Dee Johnson and Darlene King with Casa Pacifica’s Archie the Therapy Dog.
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Jan. 12, 2012
Cristy Molter delivers a box of toothbrushes to Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families in Camarillo Tuesday. Molter started the charity Toothbrushes for Toddlers and has sent donated toothbrushes throughout the world.
Photo: VC Star, Troy Harvey
Jan. 5. 2012
Sure, it was a big deal for a local photographer to achieve international acclaim for his work in 2011. But for Kevin Charbonneau, his work has only just begun… “The purpose of these pictures (for Casa Pacifica) is that it is for the kids to have,” said Charbonneau. “When we grew up, parents took pictures of us to have, but these kids don’t have that.”
Along with the Casa Pacifica Amigos, a group that sponsors events and activities for the children at the center, Charbonneau is also zooming in on setting up a Casa Pacifica camera club. It would be the same concept as Ventura County Camera Club, with professional photographers making monthly appearances, teaching technique while offering critiques of participants’ work and sharing photography excursions.
“We did something like this before with disposable cameras, but not with digital,” said Dennis Murphy, founder of the Casa Pacifica Amigos. Murphy said the results were striking because it opened a new form of expression for the children. “They are getting a chance to see the world differently, and now we can see the world through their eyes. With digital, they can take that even further.” But in order for the Amigos and Charbonneau to introduce the camera club, they will, of course, need some cameras. They are asking the public to donate compact digital cameras to Casa Pacifica Amigos, 1722 S. Lewis Road, Camarillo 93012.
Dec. 22, 2011
‘TIS THE SEASON - Mothers from Oak Park, Agoura Hills and other nearby neighborhoods baked up a storm to brighten the lives of foster children living in residential homes. Baking cookies, cakes and other homemade goodies during the holidays has always been a sure-fire way for Oak Park residents Sandy Phillips and Bev Futterman to show their love to families and friends.
Phillips contacted three foster care facilities - Casa Pacifica in Ventura, Five Acres in Alta Dena and Maryvale in Rosemead - to determine whether children would enjoy receiving their own plate of homemade holiday desserts. “Each one was really excited about it,” Phillips said. The idea, though simple and endearing, was novel. The children had never received dessert packages before. The ladies figured that nothing says “‘tis the season” as well as a plate of homemade treats, especially if they could bake enough goodies for each child to have his or her own, special package… At first she assumed that each child would receive five or six cookies, but the response from volunteer bakers was so overwhelming, there were enough treats to fill each box to the brim… This week, another hundred boxes will be delivered to Casa Pacifica.
Pictured: Front row from left: Sandy Phillips, who cooked up the idea with Bev Futterman, with Lena Tucker, Nina Larkins, Tanya Tong, Cherie Nelson and Donna Lamm. Back row: Futterman, Susan Kane, Cheryl Green, Brenda Pestano, Kim Garfinkel and Sandy Pedefluous. Left, helpers Elisha and Alina Tong have fun helping with baking and packaging the cookies. Photo: Acorn Newspapers / By Stephanie Bertholdo
Dec. 20, 2011
In conjunction with their 10 year anniversary, AlmaVia of Camarillo generated a drive to collect brand new toys to benefit disadvantaged youth at Casa Pacifica. Residents, staff, and visitors collectively donated over $2,000 worth of toys. Several kids assisted with the effort.
About Casa Pacifica
Casa Pacifica’s mission is to provide hope and help abused, neglected or at-risk children and their families. Casa Pacifica helps provide youth with the best chance at life by safeguarding and nurturing the most vulnerable youth and fostering the development and healing by providing shelter, evaluation, education and treatment programs through public and private collaboration.
Pictured: From left to right, back row are: Luke Masyr, Wyatt Larson, Lorelei Larson and Faith Masyr. Noah Masyr is shown in front. Photo: AlmaVia of Camarillo
Dec. 19, 2011
Redwood Middle School Seventh-graders Madelyn Paley, 12, and Hayley Minassian, 13, are working with two others on Helping Hats, making about 50 to 60 hats for children at Casa Pacifica. “Our original idea was to help orphanages, but there aren’t a lot of orphanages in the area,” Minassian said. “Then I found Casa Pacifica online, and it seemed perfect for what we were doing.” She called Casa Pacifica to explain the idea and got the green light.
“Helping these children makes me feel really good because I know they probably haven’t had the best life, so it’s good that somebody is out there thinking about them,” Minassian said. Madelyn said: “We’re learning to help about giving and not getting in return. These kids really need us.”
Dec. 13, 2011
Girl Scouts from the Conejo Valley spent a recent afternoon at Build-A-Bear in Thousand Oaks making teddy bears to give to children living at Casa Pacifica in Camarillo. Members of Girl Scout Cadette Troop 619 from Agoura Hills hosted the event Sunday at The Oaks mall and were joined by members of other troops from the area, including Daisies and Brownies.
The Girl Scouts last year made 136 bears for children at the facility. With help from shoppers’ donations, they made 156 this year. They also were (able) to buy outfits for 30 bears, and people donated an additional 30 outfits.
Pictured: A teddy bear is sewn together by a Build-A-Bear employee during the Girl Scouts event for Casa Pacifica at The Oaks mall. Photo by David Yamamoto, Special to The Star
Dec. 12, 2011
For most of Natasha Borelis’ life, the holiday season was spent with strangers. “I wanted to spend it with family, but I spent it in group homes,” she said. “I was there by myself during Christmas. They gave me more medication then because my anxiety was horrible.” Borelis, of Ventura, is among the foster youth at Casa Pacifica who have been helped by a program called Kindle Family Connections. Casa Pacifica in Camarillo serves abused and neglected children. The program is designed to help young adults in Ventura County find relatives.
The woman who runs Kindle Family Connections out of an office at Casa Pacifica is social worker Jill Borgeson, who ran another family-finding organization, Kids & Families Together, for about five years. “It’s important because we know that children who emancipate from foster care at age 18 without lasting emotional connections are at great risk of a variety of really destructive outcomes such as incarceration and homelessness,” Borgeson said. “Many of them don’t graduate from high school or college. Many deal with substance abuse. ... They need role models, someone with whom they have a sense of connection and belonging.”
Since launching Kindle Family Connections in 2010, Borgeson has helped about 140 young people who have aged out of foster care or are still at Casa Pacifica. Kindle Family Connections is funded through a private donor to Casa Pacifica and gets some funding from the county, but is always in need of donations. To donate or learn more about Kindle Family Connections, click on http://www.kindlefamily.org or call (805) 914-1221.
Pictured: Kindle Family Connections’ Jill Borgeson poses with Natasha Borelis in her office at the Casa Pacifica offices on Flynn Road in Camarillo. Borgeson has a “family tree” with each Casa Pacifica child’s name that she has connected with their family this past year written on the leaves. Photo: Rob Varela/The Star
Dec. 7, 2011
Casa Pacifica is happy to announce that it has launched its newly revamped, redesigned website, still found at www.casapacifica.org.
With its updated, fresh look, the website is an excellent way to learn about Casa Pacifica and its myriad programs and services, Angels & Amigos auxiliaries, volunteer opportunities, special events, important emergency numbers, and of course all the ways you can make online contributions for our children’s and agency’s needs.
You will also find special links to the Casa Pacifica’s kids’ holiday wish lists, to Archie’s website (yes, Archie has his own website!), and the Angels Wine & Food Festival’s website as well as many other interesting and helpful pages of information.
Check out our new website and spread the word to your friends and family that everything you could ever want to know about Casa Pacifica is there!
November 30, 2011
In 1989, the couple began their involvement with Casa Pacifica, on whose board Bill Kearney served for 10 years. For his support, specifically in times of struggles with funding, he received a frame with a plaque with the years of his time on the board, a drawing from a child at Casa Pacifica and a poem the child wrote.
Last December, Bill and Elise Kearney picked out a Christmas tree at Green Thumb Nursery in Ventura. A young man working there helped secure it to the top of their car. They thought he was very kind. Bill Kearney asked him about his background. He said he had been removed from his home when he was young, gone through several foster home placements and moved to Casa Pacifica, whose mission is to help families and individuals with crisis support and offer aid to those who have experienced abuse and neglect. The man told the Ventura couple how grateful he was to the Casa Pacifica staff for helping him get the job at Green Thumb. The Kearneys were amazed at how far he seemed to have come but were familiar with the story.
November 22, 2011
The Council on Accreditation (COA) is delighted to inform you that Casa Pacifica has been reaccredited. COA’s commitment to maintaining the highest level of standards and quality improvement is designed to identify providers that have set high performance standards for themselves and have made a commitment to their constituents to deliver the highest quality services. COA is proud to recognize Casa Pacifica as one of these outstanding providers.
COA reaccreditation is an objective and reliable verification that provides confidence and support to an organization’s service recipients, board members, staff and community partners. The COA reaccreditation process involves a detailed review and analysis of both an organization’s administrative operations and its service delivery practices. These standards emphasize services that are accessible, appropriate, culturally responsive, evidence based, and outcomes-oriented, In addition, they confirm that the services are provided by a skilled and supported workforce and that all individuals are treated with dignity and respect. COA congratulates Casa Pacifica for their hard work and wonderful achievement and is proud to have it as part of COA’s Community of Excellence.
November 1, 2011
Casa Pacifica is an amazing place, not only because of what they do to impact the life of children and youth, but because of who they are. The board, its staff and volunteers are deeply committed to helping their youth succeed in school and in life.
Pictured: Young Leaders Society (YLS) Chair David Perez presented a check to Raymond Franco in support of the Road to Independence, an organization that provides foster youth ages 14-18 the opportunity to experience real life through workshops topics such as Dress for Success, Buying a Car, Housing and Responsibilities, Financial Literacy and Interview Tips.
October 15, 2011
Last year Joe Kennelty and his wife, Sarah, opened Human Clothing Company. The skateboard competition was a fundraiser for Casa Pacifica as well as a chance to get his company’s name out in public. A total of 10 percent of proceeds from Human Clothing Company sales at the competition were slated for Casa Pacifica, a Camarillo shelter for abused, neglected or emotionally troubled children. Some 30 Casa Pacifica residents were on hand to watch and to skate.
“I love coming out to events like this,” said professional skateboarder Neal Mims of San Diego, who served as a judge for the competition. “I like giving back to communities, and Casa Pacifica is such a great cause. People everywhere can use a little love and extra help and I wanted to do that,” he said.
Pictured: Skateboarder Feeney competes in the 18 and older division at the For the Humans skateboard competition on Saturday at Camarillo skate park. Photo by Rob Varela, Ventura County Star.
August 10, 2011
Teenagers leaving the foster care system will soon get homes to call their own in an expansion at the Casa Pacifica shelter and treatment center near Camarillo. Under a deal approved this week, the nonprofit agency will renovate a trio of buildings that have stood vacant for at least 15 years on a lot adjoining the center, officials said.
Pictured: Vicki Murphy, chief advancement officer and director of alumni services at Casa Pacifica, takes a tour with Raquel Montes, 26, on the site where three buildings will be turned into transitional housing for emancipated foster children.
July 28, 2011
Foster children in San Diego County have Rady Children’s Hospital to help keep track of their health records and maintain quality medical care, but many others elsewhere in California are not as fortunate. Foster youths are frequently moved from home to home. That usually involves a change in physicians and dentists that can increase the chances of their records, called “health passports,” being left incomplete especially when a child is moved from one county to another, according to child welfare advocates.
For example, at Ventura County’s Casa Pacifica, a center for abused, neglected and severely disturbed youths, pediatrician Catherine M. Sever and resident nurse practitioner Maryellen Dyer-Parziale recite a litany of examples in which they say spotty record-keeping contributed to foster children not receiving proper medical treatment before and after being admitted to their facility.
June 28, 2011
There will be many more young people at Camarillo’s Casa Pacifica with the opportunity to play music, thanks to Agoura High School student James Bedford’s brainchild, the Let’s Share the Music program. The idea for the program struck Bedford, 17, when he came across an old drum set to donate. He decided to collect used musical instruments and financial contributions to benefit the abused or abandoned children of Casa Pacifica so they may play music, just as he does.
“The goals of the project are to provide Casa Pacifica with at least one of every wind instrument and as many other instruments as possible, to get corporate sponsorships to provide funding for the program, and to build awareness in the community of the kids at Casa Pacifica,” Bedford said.
The Casa Pacifica music program serves students in Casa Pacifica’s nonpublic school, some who live in Casa Pacifica’s residential program, and some who live in the community. The school serves on the average of 45 to 50 students, and all have the option of participating in the music program. Music classes are offered for all grade levels, including an elementary music program, as well as music electives for the middle and high school students, including music instrument classes, choir and musical theater.
Pictured: Tom Ball raises the hand of James Bedford in celebration of his work in bringing donated, musical instruments to Casa Pacifica. The donation is part of Bedford’s program called Let’s Share the Music, which benefits the children of Casa Pacifica. Photo by David Yamamoto.
May 28, 2011
Samuels was invited to the agency by the Casa Pacifica director of development and operations, Vicki Murphy who met Samuels when she was part of a panel last October and visited him in Washington, D.C., to discuss national policy on the issue of foster care. Samuels met with representatives of Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties during his visit, discussing trends in foster care at the federal level and answering questions in an open dialogue. Obama’s 2012 budget increases funding for child welfare, but Samuels has the task of convincing Congress to pass that increase.
Pictured: Bryan Samuels, second from left, federal commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Health and Human Services, recently toured Casa Pacifica, a Camarillo-based shelter for physically and emotionally abused children. Joining Samuels are Casa Pacifica youth advocates, from left, Cristina Miranda, Raquel Montes and Tyrone Blackman.
May 27, 2011
Casa Pacifica is a nonprofit started in 1994 that helps abused, neglected and emotionally disturbed children and adolescents. The agency offers residential treatment, emergency shelter and educational services at its 23-acre Camarillo campus. It also provides therapeutic treatment and family support services in communities in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
Foster-care teens and young adults are benefiting from a new program at Casa Pacifica - the transitional youth program is preparing them for adulthood by teaching life skills, such as how to write a resume, balance a checkbook and find housing. The free service is available to foster youth age 16 through 25. Also available to all families on MediCal having parenting issues is Casa Pacifica’s Parent-Child Interaction program. The parent, wearing an earpiece, is given advice from a therapist who observes through a oneway window the parent play with their child. MediCal is the state’s healthcare program for low-income residents. Kyra Requiestas, 22, who graduated this month from CLU with a degree in criminal justice, said the victimization workshop was motivating. “It helped open my eyes to the realities at-risk youth face before they get help and after they get help,” said Requiestas, who plans to volunteer at Casa Pacifica and pursue a career helping troubled youth.
March 3, 2010
Miss California Nicole Johnson of Westlake Village, left, Casa Pacifica director of operations Vicki Murphy, Casa Pacifica CEO Steve Elson and Miss Teen California International Dedria Brunett, a former Casa Pacifica resident and the evening’s featured speaker, attend last Saturday’s Casa Pacifica Angels Ball at Lake Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks. Johnson will compete in the Miss USA pageant later this spring.