In the News

Get the latest news from Casa Pacifica – including highlights from our Camarillo Headquarters, Santa Barbara office, and Santa Maria office.

Every year, Casa Pacifica works with 2,100 of Ventura and Santa Barbara County’s most vulnerable children and their families through a full spectrum of on-campus and community-based programs. Learn below how we’re helping improve lives and heal families, along with what’s new. For tips on how to identify and cope with behavioral issues in children and adolescents be sure to visit our blog.

Casa Pacifica awarded grant from The Foster Family Foundation

August 26, 2020

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from The Foster Family Foundation to be used for the core support of their services. The Foundation describes themselves as a family foundation first established in 1998 in Southern California. Camille Davenport, President of The Foster Family Foundation said this of the grant, “The Foster Family Foundation has a heart for children. We appreciate Casa Pacifica for their work with a broad scope of struggling youth in our community. It is a privilege to be able to contribute to their mission.”

Casa Pacifica relies on grantors, event revenue, and corporate and individual donors to keep their doors open. Each year Casa Pacifica must fundraise between 10% and 13% of its $30 million budget, about $3.9 million last year. The dollars raised fill the gap that exists between the money they receive through government contracts and the actual cost of caring for the children receiving their services.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Casa Pacifica receives $140,000 in emergency grants

August 17, 2020

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families received $140,000 in emergency grants for costs related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Grantors included: Gene Haas ($100,000), Ventura County Community Foundation ($30,000), Montecito Bank & Trust ($5,000), and The Towbes Foundation ($5,000).

The COVID-19 pandemic has strict requirements for residential facilities like Casa Pacifica. These new protocols and requirements were designed to prevent and prepare the campus if a youth does contact the virus, as well as a change in the delivery of both their campus and community-based services. The changes have resulted in unbudgeted costs for Casa Pacifica.

Local grantors like Ventura County Community Foundation began the Ventura County Rapid Response Fund shortly after the shelter-in-place order began due to the ongoing pandemic. According to VCCF’s website, the purpose of the Fund is to “support those organizations providing basic human needs to individuals, families, and small business in Ventura County.”  Other grantors like the Gene Haas Foundation and Montecito Bank & Trust give to Casa Pacifica annually to support general operating costs. The Towbes Foundation has been a supporter of Casa Pacifica’s mobile crisis response SAFTY Program in Santa Barbara County in the past.

In addition to the unbudgeted costs of implementing pandemic related safety measures, Casa Pacifica is dealing with the lost event revenue from the Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival and the Yummie Top Chef Dinner, originally scheduled for early June. The Festival, in its 27th year, netted over half a million dollars last year.

Casa Pacifica relies on grantors, event revenue, and corporate and individual donors to keep their doors open. Each year Casa Pacifica must fundraise between 10% and 13% of its $30 million budget, about $3.9 million last year. The dollars raised fill the gap that exists between the money they receive through government contracts and the actual cost of caring for the children receiving their services.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Blackbaud Breach

August 17, 2020

Casa Pacifica recently received notice of a security breach from Blackbaud, a third-party technology software and cloud hosting solutions provider. Blackbaud provides constituent relationship management software to Casa Pacifica as well as many nonprofits, universities and schools to support their fundraising and community engagement efforts.

Casa Pacifica does not store credit card data, bank account information or social security numbers in Blackbaud. Information we do store includes contact information (name, address, etc.) and philanthropic activity with Casa Pacifica.

You are an important member of the Casa Pacifica family. The security of our database and donor management system is a top priority. Blackbaud has implemented several changes to protect our data and your information from future incidents. For a full summary of the incident and steps Blackbaud has taken to mitigate the breach, you can visit their website HERE.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact Madeline Sattler, Donor Relations Officer at (805) 366-4422 or msattler@casapacifica.org.

From the county’s farms to locals’ tables

August 14, 2020

The Berry Man Inc. donated 100, 38-pound boxes of fresh produce to Casa Pacifica over the span of eight weeks. The Berry Man, a Santa Barbara-based wholesale produce distributor, successfully bid on a contract to be part of the USDA Farms to Families Food Box Program.

Every Tuesday, The Berry Man drops off the boxes at Casa Pacifica’s Camarillo campus, where community-based Casa staff distribute the boxes to families across the county. The weekly boxes contain fresh produce from local farms: apples, pears, blackberries, celery, romaine lettuce, onions, potatoes, cauliflower and oranges.

The Berry Man normally supports Casa Pacifica through a donation of their refrigeration trucks for use during the Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival.

The USDA enacted the Farms to Families Food Box Program because of the breakdown in the supply chain between farmers and distributors due to the pandemic. With restaurants closed during the early part of the shelter in place order, much of the mass grown produce was going to waste. Distributors like The Berry Man found their business down by about 80% during the shelter in place order.

The goal of the food box program was to reconnect distributors and farmers to get the food to families in need. With their bid on food box program, The Berry Man has been connecting with food banks and other nonprofits to deliver boxes.

Source: Acorn Moorpark

Classic cars cruise for cool kids

August 13, 2020

The owners of over a hundred cars from across Ventura County put on a car show Aug. 8 for the children living at Casa Pacifica’s Steven E. Elson Campus in Camarillo.

Individual owners participated as well as following car clubs: Conejo Valley Model A Ford Club, Coachmen Car Club, Oxnard Police Department and DRAGG, Ventura Classic Car Club, Ventura Classics Car Club, Murphy Auto Museum, Conejo Valley Cars and Coffee, Barris Kustoms, and Europa Products.

Youth played car bingo as the cars drove by, including Model As, muscle cars, Ferraris, Porsches, a Lamborghini, a custom school bus, other vintage cars, and motorcycles.

Taco Bell of Newbury Park donated lunch for the youth after the car show.

Longtime volunteer Roger Brooks, who was instrumental in rallying community participation for the car show, estimated there was at least $6 to $8 million worth of cars in the Saturday parade.

“We were hoping for 30 cars. What a fantastic turn out! Almost guaranteed we will be doing something similar next year, and if allowed, a static show also,” said Brooks of the inaugural event.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, youth living on campus have been unable to go on most of their normal off-campus outings.

“We’ve been brainstorming ways to bring the fun safely to campus. The car show was the perfect weekend event. The youth and staff had a great time watching the fleet of gorgeous cars parade through campus. Many youths had never had this experience before and were amazed by all the different types of cars,” said Amanda Martinez, Casa Pacifica recreation therapy supervisor.

Source: The Acorn

Community shows up to put on car show for the children of Casa Pacifica

August 11, 2020

Saturday, August 8th, over a hundred cars from all over the county showed up to Casa Pacifica’s Steven E. Elson Campus in Camarillo off Lewis Rd to put on a car show for the children living there. Individuals, as well as car clubs showed up including: Conejo Valley Model A Ford Club, Coachmen Car Club, Oxnard Police Department and DRAGG, Ventura Classic Car Club, Ventura Classics Car Club, Murphy Auto Museum, Conejo Valley Cars and Coffee, Barris Kustoms, and Europa Products. Youth played car bingo as the cars drove by – Model A’s, muscle cars, Ferraris, Porsches, a Lamborghini, a custom school bus, other vintage cars, and even motorcycles were among the participants on Saturday. Taco Bell of Newbury Park donated lunch for the youth to enjoy after the car show.

Longtime volunteer Roger Brooks, was instrumental in rallying community participation for the car show and he voiced his amazement at the turnout. “Just to see so many car owners jump at the chance to make the kids happy, that’s what was great.” By Brooks estimate, there was at least $6 – $8 million dollars worth of cars that attended the parade on Saturday. “We were hoping for 30 cars – what a fantastic turn out! Almost guaranteed we will be doing something similar next year, and if allowed, a static show also,” said Brooks of the successful inaugural event.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to minimize risk of exposure for both youth and staff, youth living on campus have been unable to go on most of their normal off-campus outings. Recreation Therapy Supervisor, Amanda Martinez, “We’ve been brainstorming ways to bring the fun safely to campus. The car show was the perfect weekend event. The youth and staff had a great time watching the fleet of gorgeous cars parade through campus. Many youth had never had this experience before and were amazed by all the different types of cars.”

Source: Citizen's Journal

Casa Pacifica Board of Directors Renames Camarillo Campus After Retired Longtime CEO

August 6, 2020

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families main campus off Lewis Road in Camarillo has been renamed the Steven E. Elson Campus after retired and longtime Chief Executive Officer Dr. Steve Elson. Casa Pacifica’s Board of Directors voted on the resolution and revealed the surprise at their virtual board meeting on Wednesday, August 5th. Board President Bill Powell said the Board put a lot of thought into the perfect way to honor Elson’s legacy. “Steve has been Casa Pacifica’s only CEO since we opened our doors 26 years ago, this has been a big part of his life’s work of bringing people home. His vision and leadership has seen us through some tough times and has also helped us reach admirable heights – we thought naming the Camarillo campus after him was an appropriate way to honor his legacy of healing.”

Shawna Morris, Casa Pacifica’s new Chief Executive Officer commented on the name change saying, “Naming the campus the Steven E. Elson campus is a wonderful way to remind each of us every day the reason we work at Casa Pacifica as Steve embodied the hope and help that we provide for abused, neglected or at-risk youth and their families.”

Elson recently retired on July 17th, stepping down after 26 years at the helm. Throughout his tenure, Casa Pacifica has seen massive growth from an original four core programs in 1994 to 14 campus and community-based programs in 2020 that are recognized throughout the state and the nation for their high quality and effective methods. Since opening their doors in 1994, Casa Pacifica has helped 42,687 children and youth, and their families under Elson’s leadership.

Elson also guided Casa Pacifica through the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) a “once in a generation” child welfare reform implemented in 2017. Casa Pacifica was the third agency in the state and the first in Southern California to be STRTP (Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program) licensed.

In addition to serving as Casa Pacifica’s CEO for the last 26 years, Elson has given his time to many state and national organizations fighting for the same advances, serving in several officer capacities for many of them. The organizations include the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, the American Association of Children’s Residential Centers, California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth, California Association of Services for Children, California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies, California Coalition of Mental Health, and the Los Angeles Associations of both Children’s Services and Community Mental Health. Elson has been involved in every major public policy initiative involving children and youth in the last 35 years.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Paycheck program brings at least $1 billion to save jobs, pay overhead at area businesses

July 17, 2020

Ventura County employers received a minimum of roughly $1 billion in forgivable loans from a federal program aimed at keeping workers on the payroll during the coronavirus pandemic, government reports show. 

The loans came through the Paycheck Protection Program operated by the U.S. Small Business Administration, which so far has awarded the cash to around 11,000 businesses, nonprofits, churches and schools in the county. The loans were expected to save more than 123,000 jobs, according to a review by The Star.

Recipients included big-name agricultural corporations, medical and dental offices, construction companies, charities, law firms, sports academies, car dealers and tech firms. Among the well-known names were Boskovich Farms, Casa Pacifica, the Sherwood Country Club and the Rubicon Theatre Co.

Authorized through the CARES relief act signed into law by President Trump in March, the loans vary from a couple hundred bucks up to the top range of $5 million to $10 million, the SBA’s records show.  Businesses that receive the loans can have them forgiven if they use the money to retain their workforce and to pay for rent, utilities and interest on mortgage.

Seven county businesses received between $5 million and $10 million, the SBA report shows. Listed were Hi-Temp Insulation and defense contractor Saalex Corp. in Camarillo, West Coast Berry Farms in Oxnard, hotel manager Pleasant Travel Service in Newbury Park and Taft Electric Co., juice processor Ventura Coastal LLC and technology firm VSolvit in Ventura.

Brian Borck, general manager of Hi-Temp, said the company’s loan of $5 million to $6 million allowed the maker of airplane insulation to retain 600 jobs. The number of workers has dropped to 580 through attrition, but no one was laid off or placed on furlough as airline traffic plummeted, he said. “We kept them on the payroll,” he said. “They still have benefits.”

A number of loans went to nonprofit organizations, including Arc of Ventura County, the Ventura County Community Foundation, the Cabrillo Economic Development Corp., and Girl Scout and Boy Scout organizations.

CEO Steve Elson said Casa Pacifica, which aids troubled children and families, was awarded about $4 million. That saved officials from dramatically cutting programs and the staff of more than 300, he said.

The agency incurred extra expenses for staff and protective equipment, plus it had to cancel its two largest fundraisers, including a 25th anniversary gala, Elson said.

Religious institutions, including churches and private schools such as Oaks Christian School, LaReina High School and Thomas Aquinas College, also benefited.  All faith-based organizations impacted by the virus were eligible for the loans as long as they met other requirements, the SBA said in April.

Grace Church of Simi Valley received $1 million to $2 million, contributing to the saving of 160 jobs at the church and a pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade school, records show.

Senior Pastor Jordan Bakker doubted that the religious institution would be getting government money under normal circumstances, but said the virus changed the landscape.

“This was a precedent,” he said. “Normally, it would not even be a possibility.”

Sherwood Country Club received a loan of $1 million to $2 million, allowing the private club to retain 233 jobs, the database shows. Numerous country clubs in California received loans to retain employees as golf courses were closed to stem the pandemic.

Management at the Thousand Oaks venue declined to answer questions on the types of jobs that were at stake, the specific amount of the loan or why the club pursued a government loan.

But General Manager Rob Oosterhuis released this statement: “Sherwood Country Club is pleased that we were able to keep our entire team of more than 230 dedicated employees retained and employed during this pandemic by qualifying for the loan through the SBA that was provided for small businesses such as ours and utilizing it in full compliance.”

The SBA disclosed the names of employers receiving loans from $150,000 to the maximum of $10 million, but not those under $150,000. The recipients of the large loans are shown in this database https://bit.ly/2WwtGJb.

They are shown in ranges and not specific amounts: $150,000 to $350,000; $350,000 to $1 million; $1 million to $2 million; $2 million to $5 million and $5 million to $10 million.

Based on those loans and small ones running from a few hundred bucks to $150,000, the total dollars flowing into Ventura County equal at least $1.02 billion and at most $2.3 billion, according to the Economic Development Collaborative, a business advisory group.

Of the 11,420 loans issued to applicants in Ventura County, 84% were for less than $150,000 and 16% for more, said Ray Bowman, director of the collaborative’s Small Business Development Center. “For those who got the loans, it was very necessary, but I see gaps,” Bowman said. Bowman said sole proprietorships, which contribute heavily to the job base, accounted for just 19% of the loans while corporations received 42%. Sole proprietorships and self-employed individuals account for most of the jobs in Ventura County, he said.

Still, the number of businesses receiving loans is close to 12% of all 91,000 businesses in the county, based on 2017 census figures that Bowman provided. Businesses with a small number of employees are heavily represented in the list of loans for less than $150,000.

Among them is Pete’s Breakfast House in Ventura. Co-owner Lyndsay Timpson said the restaurant was able to cover two and a half months of payroll with a loan that was far under $150,000. That allowed the popular eatery to bring back 24 staff members on limited hours in mid-May, she said.

The restaurant like many other small businesses did not get any money in the first round of funding, which was quickly depleted. That fed complaints that big employers were getting an unfair share, but many who were turned away got loans in the second go-around.

Timpson said she was exhausted by the time the loan materialized. Family members who weren’t paid kept the business going while they waited for the funding. Without the loan, she would have thrown in the towel, she said.

“My daughter and I worked so many hours,” she said. “We would have crashed.”

Source: VC Star

The Berry Man delivers 30,000 pounds of food

July 16, 2020

Over a span of eight weeks, The Berry Man, a local wholesale food distributor has donated more than 30,000 lbs. of fresh produce to Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families. 

The Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families is a crisis-care and residential-treatment facility for foster or at-risk children in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

According to the press release, “It’s mission is to restore hope, enhance resilience, and strengthen community connections for children, young adults and families at the most challenging times of their lives. The agency is the largest non-profit provider of children’s mental health services in both counties, and administers 10 community-based programs designed to strengthen families and keep children in their homes and communities.”

So far, The Berry Man has donated 100, 38-pound boxes of fresh produce every Tuesday to Casa Pacifica’s Camarillo campus. From there, Casa Pacifica’s community-based staff has distributed the boxes all over the county.

According to the press release, “The weekly boxes contain fresh produce, straight from our local farms – apples, pears, blackberries, celery, romaine lettuce, onions, potatoes, cauliflower and oranges. The Berry Man normally supports Casa Pacifica through a donation of its refrigeration trucks for use during the Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival.”

The release states the boxes are a part of The Berry Man’s successful bid on a contract to be a part of USDA’s Farms to Families Food Box Program.

The goal of the Farms to Families Food Box Program is to reconnect distributors and farmers so that families can get the food that they need. Fortunately, The Berry Man has been able to use its successful bid on Food Box Program to connect food banks and other nonprofits to deliver boxes.

According to the press release, “The USDA enacted the Farms to Families Food Box Program because of the breakdown in the supply chain between farmers and distributors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With restaurants closed during the early part of the shelter-in-place order, much of the mass-grown produce was going to waste. Even distributors like The Berry Man found their business down by about 80% during the shelter-in-place order.”

Les Clark, president of The Berry Man, said in the release that they are potentially able to extend their contract with the program if needed.

“It has been our pleasure to be able to set this up. It was a win-win for everyone – the farmers, us, and people in need in the community. Everyone has been so grateful and we’re just happy to be a part of it.” Mr. Clark said in a statement.

Source: Santa Barbara News Press

The Berry Man donates weekly fresh produce to Casa Pacifica in Camarillo

July 15, 2020

The Berry Man will donate a hundred 38 pound boxes of fresh produce to Casa Pacifica, an program that helps at-risk children in Camarillo on Wednesday. The donation is estimated to cover the span of eight weeks.

This comes after the Berry Man successfully bid on a contract to be part of the USDA Farms to Families Food Box Program. The USDA enacted the Farms to Families Food Box Program because of the breakdown in the supply chain between farmers and distributors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Due to restuarants being closed during the early part of the shelter-in-place order, much of the mass grown produce was going to waste.

Distributors like The Berry Man found their business down by about 80% during the shelter-in-place order. The goal was to reconnect distributors and farmers in order to get the food to families in need. With their successful bid on Food Box Program, The Berry Man has been connecting with food banks and other nonprofits to deliver boxes.

Les Clark, the President of The Berry Man said, “It has been our pleasure to be able to set this up. It was a win-win for everyone – the farmers, us, and people in need in the community. Everyone has been so grateful and we’re just happy to be a part of it.”

Every Tuesday, The Berry Man will drop off the boxes at Casa Pacifica’s Camarillo campus and the organization’s community based staff members will distribute the boxes to families all over Santa Barabra County. The weekly boxes contain fresh produce including apples, pears, blackberries, celery, romaine lettuce, onions, potatoes, cauliflower and oranges.

The Berry Man normally supports Casa Pacifica through a donation of their refrigeration trucks for use during Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival.

“We were delivering boxes the first day we were able to and we’ve been delivering ever since.” Clark says there is potential to extend their contract and they hope to do so.

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families is a crisis care and residential treatment facility for foster or at-risk children in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The agency is the largest non-profit provider of children’s mental health services in both counties.

Source: KEYT

New CEO at Casa Pacifica

June 19, 2020

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, which serves vulnerable children in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, recently announced a transition in leadership. CEO Steve Elson, Ph.D., who served at Casa Pacifica while it was under construction in 1994, will retire after 25 years.

On announcing his intention to retire to the board of directors and staff last year, the board hired the firm of Morris & Berger, an executive recruitment firm, to conduct a national search for his replacement.

Elson will stay on at Casa Pacifica for a year on a part-time basis to participate in the transition.

The board of directors has hired Shawna Morris, president and CEO of Phoenix House of California and Texas, as the new CEO at Casa Pacifica. She will take over in mid-July. Morris is a native of Kansas. She earned her MPA at the University of Kansas.She was senior vice president and chief operating officer at the Menninger Clinic for 18 years before taking over as president and CEO of the Phoenix House California and Texas.

The Menninger Clinic is an internationally known psychiatric hospital that treats adults and adolescents with complex mental illnesses. Phoenix House is a nonprofit that specializes in the treatment and prevention of substance use disorders, co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.

During her time at Phoenix House, Morris was overseeing a chain of six in-patient facilities along with a number of outpatient addiction and mental health treatment programs. She improved financial performance, reduced staff turnover and developed a positive corporate culture.

She also led an effort to separate the Texas and California “branches” of Phoenix House from the national Phoenix House Foundation in New York City. Phoenix House California and Texas is now established as an independent corporation.

Over 17 years at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, she worked her way up to become senior vice president and chief operating officer. She managed a successful merger with Baylor University College of Medicine, relocating the Menniger Clinic to Houston in 2003. Amid the economic downturn in 2008, she led a team to complete a $ 50- million capital campaign to build the Menninger Clinic’s current 50-acre campus.

Her husband, Andrew Morris, moved to Simi Valley when he was 7 and grew up in the city, attending Simi Valley High School.

Source: The Acorn

Women in Business 2020

June 30, 2020

Shawna Morris
Chief Executive Officer

Shawna Morris brings her passion and dedication to serve some of our area’s most vulnerable youth as the new CEO of Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. She previously worked as president and CEO of Phoenix House of California and Texas, which focuses on the treatment and prevention of substance abuse and mental health disorders.

A native of Kansas, who earned her MPA degree at the University of Kansas, Shawna also spent 18 years as senior vice president and CEO at the Menninger Clinic, a renowned psychiatric hospital in Houston, Texas. In her spare time, the Simi Valley resident runs marathons and halfmarathons. Shawna truly understands what it takes to remain in the race for the long run. 1722 South Lewis Rd., Camarillo. 805.366.4040. casaspacifica.org.

Source: Calabasas Style

Conejo Chamber names latest 40 Under Forty class

June 11, 2020

The Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce announced this year’s 40 Under Forty honorees during a virtual breakfast event June 5. The following list comprises the 40 young professionals and their businesses. They are all being recognized as leaders in both their professions and their community.

Amanda Gordon, Tribe Fitness
Andrea Stanley, Ventura County Fire Department
Annie Diaz, Hampton Inn and Suites Thousand Oaks
Bryan Rupley, Cal Lutheran University
Brynn Hutchison, Conejo Valley Unified School District
Crista Hermance, Hermance Law
Dane Zabel, IEI Brokers
Deanne Bostrom, Las Virgenes Unified School District
Deborah Horan, Wink Optometry of Westlake
Rabbi Eli Laber, Conejo Valley Friendship Circle
Emma Frawley, Mustang Marketing
Dr. Hamed Nayeb-Hashemi, UCLA Health
Jacob Flame, Jacob Flame’s Tang Soo Do University
James Shipe, Edward Jones
Jennifer Caldwell, FOOD Share Ventura County
Josh Damigo, Influence Ecology
Dep. Josh Richter, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office
Julie Spivack, CRPD Conejo Senior Volunteer Program
Justin Barkhuff, ROQlogic Inc.
Katie Pfeiffer Polen, Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families
Katie Rhew-Lindelof, acRhew Accounting
Dep. Sheriff Kevin Alldredge, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office
Kira Krukowski, Conejo Valley Unified School District
Kyle Rohrbach, The Normal Company
Laura Eelkema, Logix Federal Credit Union
Lauren Lerch, Your CBD Store
Lieya Mariano, Dance Masters Ballroom/Hh Life and Wellness.
Lisa Lopez, RN, Los Robles Health System
Massimo Cibelli, CaliNetworks
Megan Merino, Los Robles Health System
Murtaza Mogri, V Wave Medical
Natalie Dianati, Smile Bright Periodontics/M. Natalie Dianati DDS Inc.
Ross and Michelle Liddell, American Trophies and Awards
Sam Prapaniku, U.S. Bancorp Investments
Sarah Williams, Thousand Oaks Pathology Associates
Sean and Amber McCarthy, The Five07
Steve Scifres, Las Virgenes Unified School District
Timmy Heague, Arsenal Comics and Games
Toni Anita Hull, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Zach Kinkeade, Los Angeles Rams.

Source: Acorn Thousand Oaks

Longtime executive in social work named Casa Pacifica CEO

June 5, 2020

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, which serves vulnerable children in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, recently announced a transition in leadership. CEO Steve Elson, who served at Casa Pacifica while it was under construction in 1994, will retire after 25 years. On announcing his intention to retire to the board of directors and staff last year, the board hired the firm of Morris & Berger, an executive recruitment firm, to conduct a national search for his replacement. Elson will stay on at Casa Pacifica for a year on a part-time basis to participate in the transition.

The board of directors has hired Shawna Morris, president and CEO of Phoenix House of California and Texas, as the new CEO at Casa Pacifica. She will take over in mid-July. Morris is a native of Kansas. She earned her MPA at the University of Kansas. She was senior vice president and chief operating officer at the Menninger Clinic for 18 years before taking over as president and CEO of the Phoenix House California and Texas. The Menninger Clinic is an internationally known psychiatric hospital that treats adults and adolescents with complex mental illnesses. Phoenix House California is a nonprofit that specializes in the treatment and prevention of substance use disorders, co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.

During her time at Phoenix House, Morris was overseeing a chain of six in-patient facilities along with a number of outpatient addiction and mental health treatment programs. During her tenure with Phoenix House she improved financial performance, reduced staff turnover and developed a positive corporate culture.
She also lead an effort to separate from the national Phoenix House Foundation based in New York City, the Texas and California “branches,” now established as an independent corporation.

Over 17 years at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, she worked her way up to become senior vice president and Chief Operating Officer. She managed a successful merger with Baylor University College of Medicine, relocating the Menniger Clinic to Houston in 2003. Amid the economic downturn in 2008, she led a team to complete a $50-million capital campaign to build the current Menninger Clinic 50-acre campus.

Her husband, Andrew Morris, moved to Simi Valley when he was 7 and grew up in the city, attending Simi Valley High School.

Source: The Acorn

Silent auction for Casa Pacifica

June 4, 2020

Casa Pacifica will host an online silent auction on what would have been the weekend of the 27th annual Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival and seventh annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner. The auction will run live from 9 a.m. Fri., June 5 through 4 p.m. Sun. June 7.

The auction offers a wide range of items donated by community supporters: private in-home dinners with Ventura County chefs, spa and golf packages, weekend getaways and vacation rentals, private wine tastings, private baking classes, fine and casual dining, outings and unique experiences.

All proceeds will directly support Casa Pacifica’s programs and services for children and families.

The festival traditionally offered a large silent auction for festival-goers to bid on. This year all the bidding will be done online. The canceled events have left a shortfall in the nonprofit’s annual fundraising goal of $3.8 million. The yearly goal makes up about 12% of the nonprofit’s annual budget.

Source: Agoura Acorn

FOOD, WINE AND BREW – SILENT AUCTION

June 3, 2020

This fundraising event for Casa Pacifica will help the nonprofit organization continue it’s mission of offering adolescent and family services designed to treat victims of abuse and neglect, substance abuse, homelessness, and other behavioral and mental health issues. This auction includes private dinners with top chefs, spa and golf packages, getaways, vacation rentals and more. Register and bid online at www.hope4kids.givesmart.com. Questions? Contact Anna Coulson 805-366-4023 acoulson@casapacifica.org.

Source: VC Reporter

Canceled by COVID-19, Casa Pacifica food fest moves its fundraising efforts online

June 3, 2020

An online silent auction will take place June 5-7 to benefit Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families. The virtual event replaces the bidding wars that would have broken out this weekend at the 27th annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival and the corresponding seventh annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner. Both events were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The auction will go live at 9 a.m. June 5 and close at 4 p.m. June 7. To register and/or to preview auction items, click on www.hope4kids.givesmart.com. The website also gives visitors a way to make donations in any amount.

The auction offers a range of items donated by community supporters. They include private in-home dinners with Ventura County chefs, private wine tastings, private baking classes, fine and casual dining experiences, spa and golf packages, weekend getaways and vacation rentals, outings and other experiences.

All proceeds will directly support Casa Pacifica’s programs as a crisis-care and residential treatment facility for foster and/or at-risk children in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

The Yummie Top Chef dinner traditionally includes a raucous live auction with retired Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean as celebrity emcee.

The festival itself has featured in-person browsing of silent-auction items displayed in a tent at the center of the CSU Channel Islands quad. Bidding for that auction moved online five years ago, said Anna Coulson, special events manager for Casa Pacifica.

“We are happy that we are able to continue to have this in lieu of the event. The auction is a fun way to incorporate other businesses and vendors in the community to support not only them, but our youth and families,” Coulson said in a media release.

The festival and dinner netted the agency around $650,000 last year, according to the release. Cancellation of the two events leaves the agency “potentially short” of this year’s fundraising goal of $3.8 million. The yearly goal makes up about 12% of the nonprofit’s annual budget. The money raised through events, grants, and individual donors fill the gap that exists between what Casa Pacifica receives in government contracts and how much it actually costs to care children in its programs, according to the release.

Source: VC Star

Casa Pacifica hosts online fundraiser to fill gap left by canceled festival

June 1, 2020

Casa Pacifica will host an online silent auction fundraiser to make up for the cancellation of their 27th Annual Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival and 7th Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner. The nonprofit relies on this event to meet its annual fundraising goal of $3.8 million.

Anna Coulson, Casa Pacifica’s Special Events Manager said, “We’ve been offering an online silent auction for the past five years and we are happy that we are able to continue to have this in lieu of the event. The auction is a fun way to incorporate other businesses and vendors in the community to support not only them, but our youth and families.”

All proceeds of the online auction will directly support Casa Pacifica’s programs and services for children and families.

The auction offers a wide range of items all donated by community supporters, including private in-home dinners with Ventura County’s top chefs, spa and golf packages and weekend getaways. Other highlights include private wine tastings, private baking classes and a variety of fun outings and unique experiences.

The auction will go live on Friday, June 5th at 9am and close Sunday, June 7th at 4pm.

Source: KEYT

Casa Pacifica Announces New CEO

May 20, 2020

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, Ventura and Santa Barbara County’s premiere institution for serving the area’s most vulnerable children, today announced a transition in its leadership.

Chief Executive Officer Steve Elson, Ph.D., a fixture at Casa Pacific even while it was under construction in 1994, will retire after 25 years at the helm. Last year, Elson had announced his intention to retire to the board of directors and staff, and the board hired the firm of Morris & Berger, an executive recruitment firm, to perform an exhaustive national search for his replacement.

The board of directors has hired Shawna Morris, President and CEO of Phoenix House of California and Texas, as the new CEO at Casa Pacifica. She will take over in mid-July.

“We are confident we have picked a talented leader in Shawna Morris for our next chapter. Shawna is the ideal person to take over the reins from Steve,” said Board President William Powell.  “We searched the nation for the best CEO and found her right here in our own backyard.”

Elson will stay on at Casa Pacifica for a year on a part-time basis to participate in the transition.  “We are so grateful to have had the leadership and vision of Steve Elson for our first 25 years and we will have opportunity to celebrate his legacy when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted,” said President Powell.

“I am quite humbled and blessed to be taking over from Steve,” said Morris, a resident of Simi Valley.  “When I Interviewed for the job with board members, I asked each one of them a question: ‘Why are you here?’ All of them said we are here to advance the well-being of our youth. Every single board director said, ‘I am here for the kids.’ I said, that’s where I want to be.”

Elson described his successor as “bringing with her the kind of passion, commitment and heart we need and that has been characteristic of our leadership team over the years.”

Morris is a native of Kansas who earned her MPA at the University of Kansas. She was senior vice president and chief operating officer at the Menninger Clinic for 18 years before taking over as president and CEO of the Phoenix House California and Texas. The Menninger Clinic is an internationally known psychiatric hospital that treats adults and adolescents with complex mental illnesses, and Phoenix House California is a non-profit that is a nationally recognized and accredited behavioral healthcare provider, specializing in the treatment and prevention of substance use disorders and co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.

During her time at Phoenix House she was overseeing a chain of six in-patient facilities along with a number of outpatient addiction and mental health treatment programs.  During her tenure with Phoenix House she improved financial performance dramatically, reduced staff turnover and developed a strong, positive corporate culture.  She also lead an effort to separate from the national Phoenix House Foundation based in New York City, the Texas and California “branches,” now established as an independent corporation.

Over 17 years at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, KS, she worked her way up to become Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer.  She managed a successful merger with Baylor University College of Medicine, relocating the Menniger Clinic to Houston, Texas, in 2003.  Amid the economic downturn in 2008, she led a team to complete a $50M capital campaign to build the current Menninger Clinic 50-acre campus.

She is a half-marathon and marathon runner.  Her husband, Andrew Morris, moved to Simi Valley when he was 7 and grew up in the city attending Simi Valley High School.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Casa Pacifica Appoints Shawna Morris as Chief Executive

May 19, 2020

Camarillo-based Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, a crisis-care and residential treatment facility for foster or at-risk children, announced Tuesday a transition in its leadership.

The board has hired Shawna Morris as the new chief executive. She will take over from Chief Executive Steve Elson — who has served Casa Pacifica since its nascent days in 1994 — in mid-July.

Currently, Morris is chief executive at Phoenix House of California and Texas.

“We are confident we have picked a talented leader in Shawna Morris for our next chapter. Shawna is the ideal person to take over the reins from Steve,” said Board President William Powell. “We searched the nation for the best CEO and found her right here in our own backyard.”

“I am quite humbled and blessed to be taking over from Steve,” Morris, a resident of Simi Valley, said in a statement. “When I interviewed for the job with board members, I asked each one of them a question: ‘Why are you here?’ All of them said we are here to advance the well-being of our youth.’”

Elson will stay on at Casa Pacifica for a year on a part-time basis to participate in the transition.

“We are so grateful to have had the leadership and vision of Steve Elson for our first 25 years and we will have opportunity to celebrate his legacy when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted,” Powell said.

During her time at Phoenix House, Morris oversaw a chain of six in-patient facilities along with a number of outpatient addiction and mental health treatment programs. At Phoenix House, she has been credited with improving the facility’s financial performance, reducing staff turnover and developing a strong, positive corporate culture. She also led the charge to separate the California and Texas branches from the national Phoenix House Foundation in New York City into independent corporations.

Source: San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Casa Pacifica hires new CEO

May 19, 2020

Camarillo-based Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families has hired Shawna Morris, president and CEO of Phoenix House of California and Texas, as the new CEO at Casa Pacifica starting in mid-July.

Current CEO Steve Elson will retire after 25 years at the helm of Casa Pacifica, a crisis care and residential treatment facility for foster or at-risk children in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

Elson announced his plan to retire last year to the board of directors and staff, and the board hired the firm of Morris & Berger to perform a national search for his replacement.

“We are confident we have picked a talented leader in Shawna Morris for our next chapter. Shawna is the ideal person to take over the reins from Steve,” said board President William Powell in a news release. “We searched the nation for the best CEO and found her right here in our own backyard.” 

Elson will stay on at Casa Pacifica for a year on a part-time basis to participate in the transition.

“We are so grateful to have had the leadership and vision of Steve Elson for our first 25 years and we will have opportunity to celebrate his legacy when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted,” said Powell. 

Morris, a Simi Valley resident, said she is proud to be taking the reins after Elson.

“I am quite humbled and blessed to be taking over from Steve,” said. “When I Interviewed for the job with board members, I asked each one of them a question: ‘Why are you here?’ All of them said we are here to advance the well-being of our youth. Every single board director said, ‘I am here for the kids.’ I said, that’s where I want to be.”

Morris, who has a master’s degree from the University of Kansas, was senior vice president and chief operating officer at the Menninger Clinic for 18 years before taking over as president and CEO of the Phoenix House California and Texas.

Source: Pacific Coast Business Times

SLATE Bistro + Craft Bar donates hundreds of meals to families of Casa Pacifica

May 15, 2020

Vince Pillard, owner of SLATE Bistro + Craft Bar in Camarillo teamed up with his bartender and owner of Sweetwater Outpost, Justyn Varvais to deliver more than 900 individual meals to Casa Pacifica families in need. Families from Casa Pacifica’s Wraparound Program, Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS), Foster Families Programs, and Nonpublic School all received meals. “We want to make sure that we’re able to help others who are suffering if we’re doing okay,” said Pillard.

Pillard was one of many local business owners who found themselves scrambling to adjust in the face of COVID-19. “We’ve been pretty quick to adapt and be proactive,” he said of the recent shift. Varvais started a “Community Meal Fund” on GoFundMe with the goal of raising $2,500 to distribute meals to those in need, no questions asked. Pillard called longtime friend Carrie Hughes, Chief Development Officer of Casa Pacifica, to see if there were any families in need of meals. Casa Pacifica serves 500 children and families daily, most of whom are in the community.

“Initially, we were going to provide one take-and-bake meal for four people, but then we decided to do three meals. Since we’re doing it, we might as well do more,” said Vince about the plan to give meals out. Each meal is different and is ready to put in the oven. Chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes, chicken curry and rice – these dishes and more were on the menu for the thankful families. Vince’s staff, including Justyn and his mother, along with volunteers took routes to drop off the food. Don Harper, owner of Sessions at The Loft in Camarillo was among the volunteers. Casa Pacifica’s Nonpublic School staff added the meals to their weekly deliveries of school work and supplies to the kids. The special deliveries were received by thankful families and their children, eager for the treat of restaurant meal.

At the end of the day, several meals were not delivered because of wrong addresses – worried about the families who didn’t receive their anticipated meals, Vince and Carrie tracked down the correct addresses and Vince delivered the meals himself. “I ended up at a house in Fillmore and rang the doorbell. The woman who answered was so grateful and as she turned to go back inside, a little girl ran out the door, hugged my legs, and said ‘thank you,’ – that was probably the best moment of all of this. If I can put a smile on someone’s face, that’s all that matters,” said Vince.

One TBS family said, “Thank you so much for thinking of us and providing us with the resource. We are so grateful to Slate for being so generous during this time. There was so much food and we loved all of it.” Another child’s grandmother said she “really appreciated the meal and was touched that someone thought of her.” There was such an abundance of food she was able to freeze some for another day. And yet another family was thankful just for the relief from coming home and not having to cook after a long day of work.

The children and families of Casa Pacifica are just some of the many struggling with financial, food, and job insecurity during this difficult time. Community members like Vince and Justyn, who give generously even during uncertain times, make us proud to call Ventura County home.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Four recognized by Casa Pacifica during National Volunteer Appreciation Week

May 6, 2020

Four were recognized by Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families during National Volunteer Appreciation Week. Tamiann Cook received the Angel of the Year award. Sonny Grenier received the Seraphim Award and Stefanie Wennes received the Amigo of the Year award. PODS Tri-Counties received the Community Volunteer of the Year award. Casa Pacifica acknowledged the award recipients with special deliveries in lieu of the annual award luncheon.

Source: VC Reporter

TURNING THE TABLES | Local restaurants look for new business models to survive the lockdown

May 6, 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry can’t be overstated. With no dining onsite allowed for the time being, eateries are struggling to find some way to keep the doors open until they can get back to business as usual — which may ultimately look dramatically different from what it was before the pandemic. Pared-down menus, reduced staff, discounts and specials have been the key to survival for many local institutions. We look at the strategies some Ventura County restaurateurs are using to stay in the game while everyone tries to stay safe at home.

Capriccio Inc. owners Jojo Ramirez and Justin Ramirez wanted to do the right thing. After a meeting with the Downtown Ventura Organization back in mid-March, the duo decided to temporarily close the Italian restaurant they have owned for two years. “It was best to close for a while to show the community that the money didn’t matter the most, it was for the safety of our customers and employees,” Jojo Ramirez said.

On April 12, the restaurant reopened for takeout business with six employees; 18 more are on unemployment. According to Jojo, there has been a huge decrease in service, averaging about 15 to-go meals per day.

“There are a lot of the loyal customers who have stepped forward to make an effort,” Jojo said. “I constantly get from them, ‘we are doing this [to-go orders] because we want to continue to see you stay open.’ I thank the loyal customers who continue to support us.”

With a variety of starters, pizzas, pastas and specialty dishes, prices range between $7 to $20. Purchase two meals to receive 20 percent off a bottle of wine. Capriccio currently offers a 20 percent discount for healthcare workers, which makes sense for many reasons — not least of which is that both Justin and Jojo are nurses as well as restaurateurs. Jojo works for a primary care physician clinic in Oxnard; Justin is in administration at Community Memorial Hospital.

“We are prepared to deal with anything,” Jojo said.

Owner Lorenzo Nicola has been open about a year and said business has stayed the same since the public health order, averaging 100 to 120 orders per day. “I’ve been here banging it out with my staff,” Nicola said. “We started off slow but it’s been pretty consistent since day one.”

Specials are posted on Instagram, and run around $16 for items such as rotisserie pork shoulder or Lebanese chicken. “It’s really important that we do this right now; we have a concept that’s good with to-go food,” Nicola said. “It’s a Lebanese-French picnic.”

Ojai Rôtie also offers a variety of soups, plus chicken and beef bone broth. Customers can receive a 20 percent discount off a bottle of wine with a food purchase.

“Right now I’m trying to give people value and good food; keep it fresh,” Nicola said.

Nicola is able to staff eight to nine employees out of the previous 25 to 30. “Most are kids from the neighborhood and it’s their first job, they all have families,” Nicola said. “I am still able to pay the [working] employees.”

He’s also teamed up with the World Central Kitchen (WCK), a nonprofit that provides meals during natural disasters, by supplying 100 meals every day to nurses and doctors at the Ojai Valley Community Hospital. “I always wanted to be a part of that organization,” Nicola said. “[Celebrity chef and WCK founder José Andrés] is my hero. I mix it up so they [frontline workers] have a variety.”

Ojai Rotie also aims to help people in Ojai facing food insecurity by allowing customers to easily purchase menu items for donation to HELP of Ojai, a nonprofit that supports vulnerable residents with healthcare, food and housing. To date, Ojai Rôtie has donated more than 100 rotisserie chickens and 150 loaves of bread. “We receive donations for HELP of Ojai every day,” Nicola said. “We are all giving back to the community.”

Nicola encourages residents to continue supporting local businesses, farmers and community members during the pandemic. “Let’s rock through this thing and get to the other side!”

The Camarillo-based Basil and Mint, perhaps best known for its pho, is offering (in addition to its regular menu) a one-stop package of food and drink. The Friday Happy Hour Basket is $48 and includes three appetizers (various options to choose from) and one cocktail: old fashioned, whiskey smash, Paloma, sidecar or Southside.

“Throughout the course, we’ve stayed steady thanks to our regular customers and solid local following,” said Daniel Kelley, general manager. “Our food is pretty to-go friendly from the beginning and people have us in mind already.”

Kelley said the eight-year-old café averages 60 to 100 meals per day. He is also operating with 10 people on staff; the rest are collecting unemployment.

“We are providing meals to the staff at half price so that they can come in and pick it up,” Kelley said. “I told them, if you’re in a situation, just call me and we will do everything to take care of you.”

Kelley is another restaurateur working with WCK, providing 200 meals per day to healthcare workers in local hospitals. He credits his chef, Jerry Santos, for helping prepare the meals.

“They [hospitals] don’t have emergency funding to feed themselves,” Kelley said. “The goal is to provide them with a hot, homey and healthy meal. They are the frontline to COVID-19.”

Kelley said safety protocols will be intense when the café reopens its doors to the public. “Everyone will get masks, gloves, temperature checks and wash their hands constantly,” Kelly said. “There was a curve to understanding how extreme we had to be with sanitation that everyone is going to have to learn when we get back into business.”

Owner Makis Mikelatos said he has seen a dramatic decrease in business since the public health order, estimating that the Mediterranean institution at Ventura Harbor is currently averaging 10 to 25 orders per day. “I would say 10 percent [decrease],” Mikelatos said. “Customers support us as much as they can.”

To encourage business, The Greek provides a 20 percent discount for online alcohol and food orders, with dishes such as gyro pita, Greek salad, souvlaki kabobs, moussaka and baklava. Prices range from $2.50 to $39.

With 25 employees all on unemployment, Mikelatos is mostly a one-man show, save for one employee who carries food to customers’ vehicles.

“Nothing can get paid like the rent or taxes, it’s very minimal,” Mikelatos said. “I pay some bills but it’s not enough.”

Mikelatos said when the public health order gets lifted, reopening the business will be different. “With new regulations, it will be interesting on what the county will tell us to do and what’s enforced between customers and servers,” Mikelatos said. “All of those questions come to my mind.”

“It’s a family affair,” said Joby Yobe, who owns Barrelhouse 101 and 2686 Kitchen in Ventura and Ojai Beverage Company with his father, Jose, and cousin, Jorge Alem.

Yobe decided to close Barrelhouse 101 due to health concerns for his staff and customers. Forty-eight of his employees are currently on unemployment.

“It’s such a social and gathering place that takeout didn’t make sense,” Yobe said. “There wasn’t enough money to keep it running and it wasn’t going to add up.”

He is waiting to hear back from the Payroll Protection Program regarding loans to help re-open the restaurant.

2686 Kitchen, however, is open, with Yobe and his cook running the show while 18 staff members are unemployed. A limited menu is currently being offered, which includes Naan grilled cheese, a variety of pizzas, loaded lasagna and a dozen chicken or beef empanadas. Prices range from $5 to $29.99.

“We’re working on family-style food,” Yobe said. The two-year-old restaurant averages about 10 to 30 meals per day and is seeing an increase with third party delivery businesses.

“It’s an impersonal way of doing business but it’s the new way of doing it,” Yobe said. “Takeout is a great way to support everyone and that’s all we can offer; we appreciate that.”

Yobe is also participating with WCK and has made 1,200 meals for frontline workers.

At the Ojai Beverage Company, orders are even higher, averaging between 20 to 40 per day. Food items include the tri tip panini, Western drunk burger, Baja fish tacos and pulled pork sandwiches. Prices range from $5 to $15. Alem and a cook run OBC alone; 20 staff members are unemployed.
“We just recently started doing food to go and margaritas and cocktails,” Yobe said. “There’s an unlimited menu with a lot of favorites and you can pick up supplies at the front to go.”

Yobe is looking forward to the day he can see his restaurants full of customers, but wants to do it at the right capacity. “I feel conflicted because I want things to get back to normal but don’t want us to rush,” he explained. “My businesses are dependent on people socializing and depending on happy hour.”

Yobe also has a lasting message for Ventura County residents. “Please be good now so we can have fun again,” Yobe said.

For those who own a boat, Waterside offers dockside service, where customers can park their boats in guest docks and pick up their food. An interesting concept, to be sure, but not wildly popular.

“We’ve had below 10 orders like that, most people come in the door,” said Tony Dybeku, partner and general manager. Generally, the Channel Islands Harbor restaurant averages 10-30 orders per day.

Waterside has bumped up its to-go specials with roasted chicken, chicken Marsala, pasta, fish and chips and more. Dinner and Docktails for two goes for $50 and features four options (New York steak, lasagna, grilled salmon or chicken Marsala), mashed potatoes and vegetables on the side plus tiramisu for dessert and a bottle of red or white wine.

Dybeku said he has been able to employ two of his staff while the remaining 34 are on unemployment. “They can come in and pick up a meal like pasta or sandwiches for them,” Dybeku said. “I keep in touch to make sure they are okay.”

Waterside is also focusing on catering to local businesses, along with donating meals to local nonprofits such as Casa Pacifica (75 meals every Friday) and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme, for whom the restaurant has prepared 500 meals.

“We would host the fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club at the end of April and because we closed, we couldn’t host it,” Dybeku said. “This was a way for us to say, here is something to help the families and the kids.”
Dybeku recently purchased Honey Cup Coffee and Kitchen next door.

“Breakfast items are made daily,” Dybeku said. “There are going to be many surprising changes and we invite the locals to check it out.”

Source: VC Reporter

Angels fest is canceled

April 23, 2020

For the first time in 27 years, Casa Pacifica will not hold the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival nor its companion event, The Yummie Top Chef Dinner, due to the pandemic.

The dinner was scheduled for June 5, and the festival for June 7, both to take place on the Cal State Channel Islands campus. All proceeds raised at the event go to operating funding to support the programs and services for the children, young adults, and families Casa Pacifica serves.

To support the local exhibitors— restaurants, bakeries, caterers, wineries, breweries and specialty shops—that have contributed to previous festivals, find a listing of the vendors at www.cpwinefoodbrewfest.com.

The 2021 Wine, Food and Brew Festival is scheduled for Sun., June 6, and the Yummie Top Chef Dinner on Fri., June 4, both at CSUCI in Camarillo.

Casa Pacifica is working with Eventbrite to contact all early ticket purchasers to discuss refund or donation options.

Source: The Acorn

Longtime Venturan, Casa Pacifica supporter Greg Finnerty dies at 56

April 23, 2020

Greg Finnerty, a longtime Ventura resident who turned working at his family’s lighting business as a teenager into a career in the special-events industry, died unexpectedly at his home on April 17. He was 56.

The cause was a heart attack, said Finnerty’s sister, Linda Finnerty.

Born in Van Nuys, Finnerty was about 6 years old when he and his family moved to Ventura in 1970. He graduated from Buena High School in 1981 and went on to launch Premier Event Productions, which he ran for more than two decades. He also worked for his parents’ business, Variety Lighting Supply, from the time he was about 15 until December 2018.

In recent years, Finnerty specialized in creating special themes and decorations for the VIP tent at the Casa Pacifica Angels Food, Wine & Brew Festival and the Yummie Top Chef Dinner that precedes the gala fundraiser. The events are presented annually as benefits for the Camarillo-based Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families. For a Hollywood Glam theme in 2016, Finnerty covered the Yummie Top Chef Dinner tables with glittering runners and framed movie-star photos, adding Hollywood Walk of Fame-inspired cookies as place cards for the 100 or so guests. Last year’s Elegant Evening in the Garden theme included green-and-white patterned linens on the tables with floral chandeliers and hundreds of Edison light pendants hanging overhead.

The 2020 festival and dinner scheduled for June 7 and June 5, respectively, have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Finnerty was saddened by the circumstances of the cancellation, which was announced about a week before his death, said Carrie Hughes, chief development officer for Casa Pacifica.

“Greg had a tremendous spirit of creativity and hospitality. He could take a blank canvas and turn it into something sensational,” Hughes said. “His vision, imagination, laughter and kind and generous heart will be greatly missed.”

Heidi Whitcomb met Finnerty in high school and remained friends with him through adulthood. His work as an events planner and her role as a second-generation owner of Ventura Rental Party & Events put them in frequent contact. Whitcomb described Finnerty as kind, outspoken and fiercely loyal to his friends.

“Anything I asked, Greg had my back,” said Whitcomb, recalling the time she told Finnerty her son needed a costume for a Halloween party in just a couple of days. “Less than 24 hours later, Greg shows up with this boat costume that Ryan could step into, with two straps hanging off his shoulders and a steam pipe for a hat,” Whitcomb said, laughing. “He would always, always give to others,” she added. “And it was always so fabulously extra.”

Casa Pacifica Adds Melissa Livingston from Ventura’s Human Services Agency to Board of Directors

April 15, 2020

Casa Pacifica is proud to announce and welcome Melissa Livingston to its Board of Directors. Melissa Livingston is the Acting Director of the County of Ventura’s Human Services Agency. The Board is comprised of 23 individuals bringing together various fields of expertise – including legal, financial, insurance, education, business, and community advocates.

Melissa Livingston began her career as a public servant in 1980 and has since grown into her role with the Ventura County Human Services Agency. She oversees social services, support services, administrative services, and eligibility program operations and service delivery – in directly alignment with the Agency’s mission to strengthen the health, safety, and well-being of the community. Melissa is also very active with other community organizations including Red Cross Ventura Chapter, Ventura County Community Health Center, Food Share, and Habitat for Humanity, among others. In her free time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, volunteering and cooking.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Casa Pacifica Cancels 2020 Annual Festival Due to COVID-19 Crisis – New Date in June 2021

April 12, 2020

Casa Pacifica is sad to announce that for the first time in 27 years, the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival – the premier wine, food and brew event in Ventura County – will not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns for the health and safety of our community. Along with the Festival, its companion intimate event – The Yummie Top Chef Dinner – will not take place as well. The Dinner was scheduled for Friday, June 5th, and the Festival for Sunday, June 7th, both to be held on the California State University Channel Islands’ campus. The Festival has been voted “Best Charity Event” and “Best Food & Drink Festival” by VC Reporter readers for the past eight years.

Casa Pacifica has been indebted to the amazing, talented, and generous restaurants, bakeries, caterers, wineries, breweries, specialty shops – all the wonderful and integral-to-the-day exhibitors, along with our dedicated sponsors, selfless volunteers, incredible entertainers, and eager fun-loving attendees who make the Festival the wonderful and unforgettable experience it is each year. With their kindness, enthusiasm, and most of all passion for the cause the Festival benefits – Casa Pacifica – 100% of the day’s proceeds raise significant and essential operating funding to support the vital programs and services that bringing life-changing healing to the children, young adults, and families Casa Pacifica serves. We are grateful to our sponsors, many of whom have chosen to shift their sponsorship funds to vitally needed operating support as Casa Pacifica addresses this difficult time.

Our exhibitors have been there for us for more than a quarter century, and now we ask that the community support them – our valued friends – during this difficult COVID-19 crisis. Visit our Festival website at www.cpwinefoodbrewfest.com to find a listing of our terrific vendors, who you can return the favor of ensuring a great Festival each year, through a take-out order, or two, or ten.

Carrie Hughes, Casa Pacifica’s Chief Development Officer explains, “It was such a hard decision to cancel the Festival this year. But with the financial hardships placed on our friends – the restaurants, bakeries, wineries, breweries and all the exhibitors due to the COVID-19 “Social Distancing” and “Safer at Home” restrictions, as well as the general safety and wellbeing of our attendees – it was just the right thing to do. We are grateful for all our special Wine, Food & Brew Festival family and pray they all stay safe and healthy. We look forward to seeing everyone again at next year’s event!” The 2021 Wine, Food & Brew Festival will take place on Sunday, June 6th, and the Yummie Top Chef Dinner on Friday, June 4th, both at CSUCI.

In the meantime, Casa Pacifica is excited to be planning some special offers and unique experiences in the upcoming months.

Source: Citizen's Journal

How Casa Pacifica is helping Ventura County’s most vulnerable in the age of coronavirus

April 12, 2020

Sheltering in place at home with a family is difficult enough as it is, but what do you do when you can’t stay with a family? At Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, the youth residents are finding out every day.

The Camarillo nonprofit, which works as part foster care program, part residential treatment facility, assists an estimated 45 juveniles at its residential campus on Lewis Road. It is the largest provider of children’s mental health services in the Ventura County. As the coronavirus spreads, group homes such as Casa Pacifica can become a nexus of infection because of the close living quarters, putting the lives of both the residents and staff at risk. Casa Pacifica President and CEO Steve Elson said the organization has scrambled to shift its practices to accommodate the public health orders.

“We’re working really hard not to cause any spread. We want to be very careful to keep the virus off campus,” Elson said.

Body temperature is now checked twice a day for every resident and staff member who steps foot on campus. All staff members are required to wear masks, which Elson said are well stocked at the organization despite shortages elsewhere. However, some of the transition factors have proved harder to acclimate to than others.

“A big adjustment certainly for the kids has been eliminating visitation,” Elson said.

Fortunately, many rooms on the campus have been equipped with video chat technology which has allowed the residents to keep in touch with those who would visit them.

“I would say that clients and families and youth are receptive and appreciative of the services that we can provide,” Elson said.

Beside the estimated 45 residents on the campus, the organization serves roughly 400 cases a day in the community throughout the Southern California region. With at-home visits no longer allowed by the state, the organization has had to switch completely to a telehealth operation outside of emergency situations.

Fundraising has also taken a hit as a result of the pandemic. Before the stay-at-home orders from the state and Ventura County, the organization was going to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a major fundraising gala at the Four Seasons in Westlake Village. It also had the annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival lined up to take place at CSU Channel Islands in June. Both events have since been canceled.

Despite the circumstances, admission to Casa Pacifica remains open on a case-by-case basis and includes a screening process.

“We are an essential service provider and will keep meeting the needs of the community while keeping our kids and staff safe,” Elson said.

Although no youth has come down with symptoms yet, plans have been made to deal with it should the issue arise, according to Elson. A cottage on the campus has already been deemed the quarantine cottage.

“So far, we feel we’re very lucky and trying to get everything in place for when we have a youth who is positive,” Elson said.

Source: VC Star

Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival canceled

April 10, 2020

The Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival will not be held this year for the first time in 27 years, organizers announced April 10. The annual charity fundraiser on the California State University Channel Islands’ campus in Camarillo had been slated for June 7 but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A companion event — the Yummie Top Chef Dinner — was also cancelled. The dinner was scheduled for June 5.

The 2021 Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival will take place on June 6, and the Yummie Top Chef Dinner on June 4, both at CSUCI. All festival proceeds go toward funding programs and services for children, young adults and families Casa Pacifica serves.

Source: Pacific Coast Business Times

Carrie Hughes Named Top 50 Women in Business

March 27, 2020

From her first part-time volunteer role in the Casa Pacifica Angels 21 years ago, Carrie Hughes has risen to become Chief Development Officer for the children and family services non-profit, which is celebrating its 25 anniversary.

That’s meant growing the organization’s signature Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival from a few hundred attendees to more than 4,500, with 150 vendors, and closing a $16.6 million capital campaign to construct two new buildings to expand its programs. The five-year campaign funded the expansion of the Casa Pacifica campus to include residential cottages for youth in therapy and a new vocational education center.

“I have a strong belief in the value and importance of building relationships with people,” Hughes said.

Since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, maintaining those relationships has become even more critical, she said, including frequent check-ins with donors and community partners, running errands for them and staying connected on social media.

It’s also meant some differences in the day-to-day services Casa Pacifica is able to deliver.

“It’s a big change on campus, because normally we take the kids out into the community,” Hughes said. With the restrictions, the organization has had to switch gears, including bringing an ice cream truck, activities and a movie night to them.

The job has given her a chance to mentor kids she has worked with, including a brother and sister, Blake and Mary, who are living with cystic fibrosis. “From the moment I met them, they tugged at my heart in a way I’d never experienced before,” she said. With the help of donors she was able to grant them their last wishes before they died, including attending a Lakers game and taking a flight in an airplane.

“I think the point of this is to encourage people to take a chance and be there for these youth,” Hughes said. “They need so much, but you receive so much more in return.”

Source: Pacific Coast Business Times

Longtime Casa Pacifica executive retires from nonprofit

March 27, 2020

It’s hard to say goodbye to something you love. Vicki Murphy is heartbroken about leaving her job as chief operating officer of Casa Pacifica, a nonprofit treatment program for at-risk youths in Camarillo.

“It’s bittersweet. It’s ‘bru-tiful,’” Murphy said while on a short medical leave. Her retirement is happening earlier than she had planned due to a chronic medical condition that flared up. Her doctor told her to slow down.

“I’m retiring because I’m well,” Murphy said, adding that she and her husband, Dennis, have bought a ranch near Bishop that they are considering turning into some kind of retreat for at-risk youths. For now, the Murphys are traveling between their Westlake Village home and their ranch as they firm up plans for the future, which will include Casa Pacifica, she said.

Murphy became involved with Casa Pacifica as a volunteer in 1999. Previously, she had taught second grade for 10 years in Bel Air, where the students were from affluent families.

The kids were so radically different and yet so radically the same because they’re kids,” Murphy said. “I have come to learn neglect isn’t economically based. Some of these kids had luxurious lives. Their nannies would come to parent conferences or show and tell. The kids at Casa have a different experience but the same problem. (The parents are) working two jobs so they can eat, and their kids are running wild. It’s never good if anyone has too much time on their hands.”

While volunteering, Murphy started speaking at various events and fundraisers at the behest of Casa Pacifica CEO Steven Elson.

Elson, who is planning to retire June 30, has nothing but the highest praise for Murphy, who was hired full time as development director and chief advancement officer in 2001. In 2017, she was named COO of Casa Pacifica, which offers services to more than 2,100 children and families at offices in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Camarillo.

“I would say Vicki has had the most impact on our agency and culture of any staff since we opened almost 26 years ago. No one has impacted our agency and culture as she has,” Elson said. “She, in many ways, was sort of a mom figure to many of the youth who came through our doors. She launched, advocated for and developed a program for transition-age youth—the 18- to 21-year-olds, which we have due to her efforts.

“She brought us a therapy dog, Archie, who was world famous in his lifetime. She has made great community connections and helped to highlight the Casa Pacifica profile in the community. Generally, her spirit, enthusiasm and faith in what we do has been inspirational for staff and kids.”

While losing two top executives at once can be daunting for an organization, Elson said he thinks the staff is prepared.

“I announced my retirement a year ago. We have had a long transition opportunity,” Elson said. “The board has asked me to stay on half-time for a year. And I think Vicki has developed a strong team. We’ve got some really great next-generation leaders ready to step in and take on this really amazing task.”

Murphy said she will miss working with the young people who come to stay at the Casa Pacifica facility on Lewis Road. The youths who come to stay at the facility, which houses about 70 kids in cottages at any given time, are usually in the foster care system or other difficult situations.

She acknowledged that dealing with troubled youths can be a challenge. But it’s a challenge she faces head-on. “It requires trust. These kids have been let down by all the adults in their lives who claimed to love them. It’s no wonder they’re a little crabby. We build relations with them. It is not the programs, it’s the people. It’s the no-matter-what-ness,” said Murphy, who describes her work with kids as a calling she has no plans to leave behind.

She will also be kept busy by her family, which includes her husband’s three children, her three children, two adopted children and nine grandchildren.

Casa Pacifica is well-equipped to face the future in Ventura County as it continues to support families in crisis, Murphy said. “Casa Pacifica is very nimble for such a big organization. We’re able to keep pace with the counties and their needs as we learn how we can be of service. We’re the best provider for mental health services that I’ve experienced. And this is all due to the dedication and love of the people who work there.”

Source: Acorn Camarillo

Please help us support those, that have always supported us.

March 24, 2020

Over the past 27 years, we have been blessed by a huge community of supporters, some of the most dedicated being the vendors that attend our annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival. With their generous participation, these amazing restaurants, wineries, breweries, and specialty shops make Casa Pacifica’s largest fundraiser possible each year. All proceeds of the Festival directly impact our communities’ most vulnerable youth and their families and enables us to continue to provide much needed high-quality programs and services.

They have always supported us.
And now, we are asking you to join us in supporting them.

During this challenging time, please consider patronizing these wonderful businesses. Their support has benefited Casa Pacifica in so many ways, and now we’d like to return the favor. We encourage you to place an order over the phone or via their website. Many offer delivery or pick-up. Buying a gift card to use later, purchasing a bottle or case of wine online, or joining a wine club would also help our friends through a difficult time.

As we come together as a community, we want to say THANK YOU to our sponsors, donors, and volunteers who continue to support Casa Pacifica and the Festival – especially our family of vendors. We look forward to coming out on the other side of this challenging time a stronger and even more tightly-knit community.

We hope you and your families appreciate this time to spend together as we all stay safe and healthy.

With gratitude,
Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival Team and Committee

Click HERE for a full list of Festival vendors.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Casa Pacifica adds new members to the Board of Directors – representative from Union Bank and former

March 17, 2020

Casa Pacifica is proud to welcome Patrick Nygren and Brad “Brick” Conners to its Board of Directors this year. Comprised of 22 individuals, Casa Pacifica’s board members offer a wealth of experience and expertise in a wide range of areas, such as the legal field with several lawyers; in financial services with representatives from a number of banks, investment, and insurance services; in business with a variety of industries from the medical field to construction to agricultural management to equipment rentals; in the field of education with the retired superintendent of the Moorpark Unified School District; as well as several community advocates.

Patrick Nygren – Union Bank Regional President, Los Angeles and Central Coast. Nygren joined Union Bank in 2018, overseeing branch banking activities of 87 branches, which includes branches in Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Monterey counties. Patrick has more than 17 years of experience in consumer and small business banking. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from UC San Diego, and received his Graduate Level certificate in banking from the Pacific Coast Banking School at University of Washington, Seattle. Patrick enjoys traveling with his wife and two children.

Brad “Brick” Conners – Chief Executive and Owner of Pharos Leadership, a veteran-owned leadership consulting business. Conners is also the author of Fighter Pilot Parent, a leadership guide for both parents and managers. Conners brings his leadership experience from being a commanding officer in one of the U.S. Navy’s largest and most strategic bases which included: two airports, three runways, a deep-water port, an island, retail stores and 17,000 employees. Most recently, Conners became the City Manager for Port Hueneme.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Casa Pacifica hosts gala

March 13, 2020

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families’ 25th anniversary Hope Gala is slated for Sat., March 14 at the Four Seasons Westlake Village. The formal event will celebrate alumni transformations and successes from Casa Pacifica’s last 25 years of service and usher in the next 25 years of hope for children and youth. The gala will also include a VIP reception for sponsors, a live auction and a performance by The Company Men.

Casa Pacifica was started in the late 1980s to address a lack of services in Ventura County for children entering the foster care system. Without these services, children were often cared for outside the county, far away from family and school.

Tickets are on sale. For more information or tickets, visit 12732.thankyou4caring.org/events/25th-anniversary.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

Tickets on sale for wine, food, brew festival

February 28, 2020

Tickets are on sale for the 27th annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival on Sun., June 7 at California State University Channel Islands in Camarillo. The all-inclusive festival was voted Best Charity Event and Best Food and Drink Festival by VC Reporter eight years running.

All proceeds from the festival benefit Casa Pacifica, which provides programs and services to the community’s foster and atrisk children and their families.

Guests can sample food and drinks from over 150 exhibitors including restaurants, caterers, bakeries, specialty shops, wineries and breweries. A large online silent auction offers guests and people not able to attend the chance to bid on baskets and experiences.

The Best in Fest competition winners will show off their winning recipes, and the Yummie Top Chef competition will crown winners in two categories: best savory creation and best sweet creation. The main stage will host live entertainment throughout the day.

A new ticket level this year, Admission Plus, grants early admission to the general festival area at noon. If you want to get a start on sipping and supping, this is, literally, just the ticket. Admission, Admission Plus and VIP tickets are available at cpwinefoodbrewfest.com.

Source: Acorn Moorpark

Casa Pacifica Promotes Carrie Hughes to Chief Development Officer

February 27, 2020

Casa Pacifica is proud to announce the promotion of Carrie Hughes to Chief Development Officer. Ms. Hughes has been with Casa Pacifica since 1999, with all her 21 years spent as a member of the Development Department. She has held several key positions over the years, each with increasing leadership responsibilities. Since 2013 she has served as the Director of Development & Public Relations.

Ms. Hughes contributions to Casa Pacifica over the years have been many. Her leadership has blossomed the annual Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival into a premier event in our region – from a few hundred attendees and a handful of exhibitors in its early years to 4,500 guests and over 150 vendors in its most recent iteration – supported by her composition of a strong events team. The Festival raises important and significant funding each year to support Casa Pacifica’s programs and services.

Ms. Hughes was an integral part of the planning and completion (2018) of the agency’s $16.6 million “Building New Foundations of Hope” Capital Campaign which expanded Casa Pacifica’s facilities to accommodate new programs and serve more youth and families.

Ms. Hughes has also been a leader in helping the Development team grow over the years – putting together an excellent, dedicated, and highly capable team – along with its success in meeting its fundraising targets each year. Because of her accomplishments in Casa Pacifica’s fundraising strategy, she was named the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Santa Barbara/Ventura Chapter’s 2018 “Fundraising Professional of the Year.” She served on the Board of the AFP chapter for 10 years, including as its President in 2015. Under her presidency, the chapter was awarded the “Diversity and Inclusion” designation and the chapter’s first-time Ten Star Gold Award. Ms. Hughes is also a member of the Camarillo Rotary Club, a graduate of the Ventura County Leadership Academy, and was named a Top 50 Woman in Business by the Pacific Coast Business Times in 2019.

A sincere and true passion for caring for and helping kids was Ms. Hughes original motivation for seeking employment at Casa Pacifica 21 years ago, and it continues to be so.  In her position as Chief Development Officer, Ms. Hughes will lead the strategic direction of fundraising for the agency, with the goal to cultivate and instill a culture of philanthropy with current and prospective donors, as well as ensure the Development team continues to thrive and succeed in furtherance of Casa Pacifica’s important mission to meet the vital needs of our community’s most vulnerable children, young adults, and families. Ms. Hughes shares, “I am honored to fill this important role at Casa Pacifica and inspired by all the opportunities ahead. I look forward to continuing to build important relationships with members of our community, to cultivating a passion for philanthropy in support of Casa Pacifica’s important mission, and to help lead and ensure Casa Pacifica’s success for the next 25 years in healing and changing for the better the lives of those in our community in the greatest need.”

Source: Citizen's Journal

Tickets On Sale for Casa Pacifica’s Award-Winning Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival

February 9, 2020

Tickets are now on sale for the 27th Annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival which will be held on Sunday, June 7th, 2020, at CSU Channel Islands! Voted Best Charity Event and Best Food & Drink Festival by VC Reporter eight years running, the all-inclusive Festival is a County favorite. All proceeds from the Festival benefit Casa Pacifica – Casa Pacifica provides vital programs and services to the community’s most vulnerable children and their families. The Festival always sells out so get your tickets early for best pricing – a new ticket level on sale this year, Admission Plus, offers guests the chance to make the most of their afternoon by granting early admission to the general Festival area at noon, creating an enhanced Festival experience. Admission, Admission Plus, and VIP tickets are available at www.cpwinefoodbrewfest.com          

Casa Pacifica is excited to welcome back to their generous hosts: Conico Oil/MacValley Oil; Mission Produce; Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth & Wynner, PC; SDI Industries; The Van Huisen Family; and The Zarley Family. The Festival offers a chance for guests to sample food and drinks from over 150 exhibitors including: restaurants, caterers, bakeries, specialty shops, wineries, breweries, and specialty beverages. A large online silent auction offers guests and people not able to attend the chance to bid on must-have baskets and experiences. The “Best in Fest” competition winners will show off their winning creations, and the Yummie Top Chef competition will crown winners for the best “Savory” and the best “Sweet” chef’s masterpiece among the participating exhibitors. Live entertainment throughout the day on the main stage will keep the festival-goers dancing all afternoon.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Eat, drink, be festive

February 07, 2020

Tickets are on sale for the 27th annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival on Sun., June 7 at Cal State University Channel Islands in Camarillo. All proceeds will benefit Casa Pacifica, which provides programs and services to the community’s foster and at-risk children and their families.

Guests can sample goodies from over 150 exhibitors including restaurants, caterers, bakeries, specialty shops, wineries, breweries, and specialty beverages. A large online silent auction offers guests and people not able to attend the chance to bid on baskets and experiences.

The Best in Fest competition champs will show off their winning creations, and the Yummie Top Chef competition will crown winners for best Savory and best Sweet chef’s masterpieces among the participating exhibitors. The main stage will host live entertainment throughout the day.

The festival always sells out. A new ticket level for this year, Admission Plus, grants early entry to the general festival area at noon. All tickets (general admission, Admission Plus and VIP) are available at the website cpwinefoodbrewfest.com.

Source: Acorn Simi Valley

Tickets On Sale for Casa Pacifica’s Award-Winning Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival

February 06, 2020

Tickets are now on sale for the 27th Annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival which will be held on Sunday, June 7th, 2020, at CSU Channel Islands! Voted Best Charity Event and Best Food & Drink Festival by VC Reporter eight years running, the all-inclusive festival is a county favorite.

All proceeds from the festival benefit Casa Pacifica, which provides vital programs and services to the community’s most vulnerable children and their families. The festival always sells out so get your tickets early for best pricing. This year, a new ticket level, Admission Plus, is on sale, offering guests the chance to make the most of their afternoon by granting early admission to the general festival area at noon and creating an enhanced festival experience. Admission, Admission Plus, and VIP tickets are available at http://www.cpwinefoodbrewfest.com.

Casa Pacifica is excited to welcome back to their generous hosts: Conico Oil/MacValley Oil; Mission Produce; Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth & Wynner, PC; SDI Industries; The Van Huisen Family; and The Zarley Family. The festival offers a chance for guests to sample food and drinks from over 150 exhibitors including: restaurants, caterers, bakeries, specialty shops, wineries, breweries, and specialty beverages. A large online silent auction offers guests and people not able to attend the chance to bid on must-have baskets and experiences.

The “Best in Fest” competition winners will show off their winning creations, and the Yummie Top Chef competition will crown winners for the best “Savory” and the best “Sweet” chef’s masterpiece among the participating exhibitors. Live entertainment throughout the day on the main stage will keep the festival-goers dancing all afternoon.

Source: Benzinga

Celebrating 25 years of Changing Lives

February 2, 2020

Tickets are now on sale for Casa Pacifica’s 25th Anniversary Hope Gala slated for Saturday, March 14th, 2020 at the Four Seasons Westlake Village. For tickets and sponsorship information visit https://12732.thankyou4caring.org/events/25th-anniversary – ticket prices go up February 8th. The formal event will focus on alumni transformations and successes from Casa Pacifica’s last 25 years of service and excitedly usher in the next 25 years of hope for children and youth to come. The Gala will also include a VIP reception for sponsors, a live auction, and a performance by The Company Men.

Top level cash sponsors for Casa Pacifica’s 25th Anniversary events (as of January) include: Dreamer: Susan Burgos; Inspirers: Al Lowe Construction, The Cassar Family, and Shealen & Rob Wynner; Believers: Stefanie & Timothy Wennes and Elise & Bill Kearney; Encouragers: Heidi & Mike Whitcomb, Coast General Insurance Brokers, Barbara Meister, Bill & Jewell Gerald Powell, The Hainer Foundation, Clay & June Paschen, The Tesoro Family, Community Memorial Health Systems, Steve Elson, Ph.D., Harrison Industries, Michael Hogan, M.D. & Rosalind Warner, M.D., Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, and Montecito Bank & Trust; Supporters: Enterprise Holdings Foundations, Patricia Cordover & Richard Thomas, Ventura County Community Foundation, Oilfield Electric & Motor, The Hopps Group at Morgan Stanley, Nancy Pidduck, Terri & Dick Goodrich, and BB&H Benefit Designs; Helpers: Madeline & Marc Sattler, Carrie Hughes & David Paneiko, Susan & Ken Bauer, Michelle & Greg Paschen, Cheryl & John Broome, Terri & Tim Wolfe, Patricia & George Jones, Monette & Richard Stevens, Barbara & Wayne Davey, Monetta & Mark Williams, Five Star Bookkeeping, Cohen Begun & Deck, LLP, and Lori & Bryan Silvey.

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families was conceived of in the late 1980s in direct response to a lack of services in Ventura County for children entering the foster care system – the lack of local services was resulting in out-of-county placements, far away from family, school, and all that was familiar. A public/private sector steering committee formed which raised the $10 million needed to build Casa Pacifica, which opened in 1994. Since then, Casa Pacifica has expanded its services, now serving both Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Their 15 nationally-accredited programs serve approximately 400 children and families daily and encompass everything from intensive residential treatment to in-home services in schools and the community.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Cedar Financial ‘Collects’ Wishes for Kids in Need

January 23, 2020

For the last three years, employees at ACA International member company Cedar Financial’s offices in Calabasas, California, have ended the year by giving back to the local community, helping children and families in need through a nonprofit organization, Casa Pacifica. Cedar sponsored a family of five in 2018, providing them with needed items such as clothes and toiletries. In 2019, the agency elected to fulfill individual kids’ wishes, donating a total of 65 gifts for boys and girls, ages 8-18.

“This cause is dear to my heart. Every community needs a safe and prosperous home to protect children from neglect and abuse and provide them a transition place to a brighter future,” said Cedar Financial CEO Amir Erez. “Casa Pacifica has been committed to that cause and is local to our community. We are happy to help.”

In line with its mission to build open, honest and positive relationships, Cedar Financial regularly participates in company-led community charity events. Earlier in April 2019, the Cedar raised money for Strength United in the LA Big 5K Marathon. Employees also pooled their resources to donate clothes and other needed items in November 2019, when the family of an employee’s friend lost their home and all their possessions in the Simi Valley Easy Fire.

“It’s great to have a work family that cares,” said Kaitlin Lindros, who works in public relations at Cedar Financial. “I know that if something happened to me, my coworkers would be there to help until I got back on my feet. And that means a lot.”

Source: ACA International

10th and final Casa Pacifica winter clothes drive set for Saturday

The 10th and final Coats for Casa Pacifica charity event will be held Saturday in Westlake Village. The annual event collects winter clothing for Camarillo-based nonprofit Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families and offers family activities such as sledding and playing in 30 tons of vendor-supplied snow.

Casa Pacifica provides adolescent and family services in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The services are designed to treat youths who are victims of abuse and neglect, substance abuse, homelessness, and other behavioral and mental health issues.

Saturday’s event will be held at Three Springs Park, 3000 Three Springs Drive, Westlake Village, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., said the event’s hosts, the Lydia Gable Realty Group and the Winters Financial Group. Attendees are asked to donate new or slightly used winter clothes of all sizes, including coats, sweaters, hoodies, gloves, hats and scarves, to benefit Casa Pacifica’s youths.

At last year’s drive, more than 5,000 winter clothing articles were donated, up from 3,000 the year before, the hosts said. More than 20,000 items have been donated since the event began in 2010, they said.

Saturday’s event will also feature complimentary coffee, smoothies and kids’ crafts.

“Coats for Casa Pacifica has definitely grown over the years compared to when we first started 10 years ago,” hosts Lydia Gable and Rick Winters said in a news release. “This event continues to be about helping local children in need and their families so that each and every one of them has a warm coat this winter,” they said. “We are so thankful to our amazing community for their generosity during the last 10 years.”

“We feel 10 years is a long time to produce this event, which is very costly to put on,” she said. “It’s been an amazing run and we’re very pleased and we want to go out on top.
“We also think that maybe now it’s time for us to find other charities to support,” she said.

The drive is planned as a rain-or-shine event, but if weather conditions threaten, updates will be posted at coatsforcasapacifica.com and https://www.facebook.com/CoatsforCasa.

Source: VC Star

It’s a wrap with Coats for Casa

January 02, 2020

Lydia Gable Realty Group with Compass and Rick Winters of Winters Financial Group Inc. will host the 10th annual Coats for Casa Pacifica charity event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat., Jan. 11 at Three Springs Park in Westlake Village.

This will be the final year of the popular community event.

The coat drive will also have 30 tons of snow for sledding and playing, as well as complimentary coffee, smoothies and kids’ crafts.

Participants are asked to bring and donate new or gently used winter clothes of all sizes, including coats, sweaters, hoodies, mittens, gloves, winter hats and scarves. The donations will benefit the children and youth of Casa Pacifica in Camarillo, a facility that offers residential treatment, medical and psychological assessments and services, and other programs to foster youth removed from their homes.

The agency also provides community based interventions for youth struggling with mental health challenges and their families.

Last year, over 5,000 articles of winter clothing were donated, up from 3,000 the year before. In total, over 20,000 items have been donated and distributed since the Coats for Casa Pacifica event started in 2010.

The event will run rain or shine. If weather conditions are threatening, updates will be posted at coatsforcasapacifica.com.

Source: The Acorn

People to Watch in 2020, Carrie Hughes

January/February

Carrie L. Hughes
Director of Development and Public Relations
Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families

An immense passion for children first drew Carrie Hughes to Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families 20 years ago. She felt completely aligned with its mission to serve the most vulnerable children and youth in our community. After two decades, this dedicated director of development and public relations continues to promote the agency’s powerful work with foster and at-risk youth.

Hughes currently oversees all of Casa Pacifica’s fundraising efforts, from donor and community relations to public relations and marketing. The ability to forge relationships with staff, donors, youth, and volunteers is key to her success. She recounts one of her most meaningful relationships. “I mentored two youth who Casa Pacifica cared for, a brother and sister who both had cystic fibrosis. From the moment I met them, they tugged at my heart in a way I’d never experienced before. I loved them both as my own.” While their lives ended way too soon, they taught her, and hopefully others, to “always take a chance and be there for these youth. They need so much, but you receive so much more in return. It is priceless.”

Another highlight of her career at Casa Pacifica is growing the Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival from a small event at the Pierpont Inn to an incredible community affair with 4,500 guests, 150 vendors, and an all-day lineup of entertainment. All the proceeds support their programs and services, helping to fill the immense annual gap between revenue and actual costs.

Hughes was also instrumental in the planning and execution of Casa Pacifica’s $16.6 million “Building New Foundations of Hope” capital campaign, completed in 2018. This enabled them to expand programs and serve more youth and families. Hughes adds, “I am also proud to have been a part of growing our development department over the years, helping it achieve its annual fundraising goal each year I have been here. In my 20-year tenure with Casa Pacifica, over $60 million has been raised by the development team, an amazing feat which has benefited the lives of well over 40,000 youth and their families.”

Named 2018 “Fundraising Professional of the Year” by the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Santa Barbara/ Ventura Counties Chapter, Hughes also served on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for Santa Barbara/Ventura Counties Chapter for 10 years and as president in 2015. She is a member of the Camarillo Rotary Club, and also named Top 50 Women in Business in 2018.

Source: Calabasas Style

Mentorship turns teen’s life around

December 26, 2019

When Brandy Olalia arrived at Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families eight years ago she was 15 years old and struggling with depression and anxiety after staying at 10 foster care placements over the span of three years.

Now 23, Olalia said she was “shut off to everyone and everything.” She had behavioral problems, breaking windows and furniture out of frustration and anger. But things started to turn around when she met Robert Van Gundy, Casa Pacifica’s facility manager. The 25-year employee offered her an internship to repair the damage she had done.

“It started out as restitution for some of the damages she did, but her work ethic was amazing,” Van Gundy said. “We just had an instant rapport and got along great.” Olalia said the internship gave her the freedom to feel like a normal teenager as Van Gundy gave her more responsibility. “It showed me that he trusted me and I learned to trust him. I realized that I wouldn’t want to do things that would make him not trust me anymore,” Olalia said.

After graduating from Adolfo Camarillo High School, Olalia went to college to study for a degree in psychology, but she knew it wasn’t her passion. “I realized I wanted to pursue doing hair and makeup and beauty. . . .” she said. “Because I was in the program with so many girls, I got the experience of doing makeup on so many different faces, and that’s when I started doing people’s hair and styling it.”

Olalia graduated from Paul Mitchell’s cosmetology school in September and is waiting to take her final licensing exam. She hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to school to finish a psychology degree. “I would love to somehow fuse therapy with beauty and have a practice where I can have an hourlong therapy session where I do their hair and makeup,” Olalia said.

She is still in touch with Van Gundy, who she talks to regularly and sees on holidays.

Source: Acorn Thousand Oaks

Residents gather to sing holiday favorites

December 05, 2019

The City of Westlake Village will host its fourth annual Holiday Sing-along from 3 to 6 p.m. Sun., Dec. 8 at The Shoppes at Westlake Village, in the Fountain Courtyard next to Tifa. The event will also have an unwrapped toy drive for Casa Pacifica along with a canned food drive for Manna Food Bank. Drop-offs are welcome throughout the event.

Free activities, while supplies last, include a cookie and cupcake decorating area, craft and tattoo station, ornament making station, braid bar and special giveaways from participating shops. Families can take pictures with Santa and Disney’s “Frozen” sisters, Anna and Elsa. The sing-along will feature the Lindero Canyon Middle School Jazz Band, Agoura High School Choir and Westlake High School Choir.

A different community group or organization, including the Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, Yarrow Family YMCA and Westlake Village City Council, will each lead a song. The event will occur rain or shine.

Source: The Acorn

Casa Pacifica Center for at-risk youth welcomes a Newfoundland dog

December 2, 2019

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families welcomed a new canine staff member to help reach the foster and at-risk youths who get crisis care through the Camarillo-based nonprofit. Intake Supervisor Kelly Myers picked up the fluffy Newfoundland therapy dog named Pearl on Oct. 28.

“She just fits right in. It’s like she’s always been here – she’s doing great,” Myers said. “We are excited to introduce Pearl to the team at Casa Pacifica.”

Pearl is the fifth Newfoundland to come to the program, said Clinical Director Dr. Josh Lepore. The center began using therapy dogs when it received another Newfoundland, Archie, who was donated by Mary and Tony Tesoro in 2007. Archie was eventually joined by Baker, donated in 2011 by Dianna and Sean Baker, and Tess, donated that same year by Cheryl and John Broome.

Archie and Baker have since died, so the center was short on canines to help youths suffering from anxiety, depression and trauma, Lepore said. The Perlman Family Foundation recently granted Casa Pacifica with a fund to help individuals struggling to overcome life’s obstacles. In honor of the foundation, Casa Pacifica named the canine newcomer for the Perlman Family.

As the Casa Pacifica staff members continue to use therapy dogs, they aim to boost the human-animal bond and promote resilience and healing, according to Lepore. Nicknamed gentle giants, Newfoundlands are not only used as working dogs but also as rescue dogs who can latch onto someone’s jacket and pull to them to safety. More importantly, they’re good with small children and have a very gentle disposition, Lepore said.

The canines can be used in a crisis situation when someone is having a tough day or feeling suicidal or like hurting themselves. Pearl can help bring down a youth’s arousal level and take them to an emotional state where they can think or talk about what they are feeling, Lepore said. “I have had clients who have had depression. They wake up in the morning and we set up a plan to groom the dog,” he said. “It is getting them up in the morning and activating them.” This helps bring the youth to experience empathy to help end the depression, Lepore said.

Source: VC Star

Casa Pacifica welcomes new puppy

November 15, 2019

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families recently welcomed Pearl to the family, continuing the tradition of using Newfoundland dogs as therapy dogs on campus. Pearl arrived at Casa Pacific at 10 weeks old and weighing 23 pounds. She is adjusting to her new surroundings, primarily living in the intake department with her handler, intake supervisor Kelly Myers. Pearl will greet and provide kids with comfort as they enter and leave campus, both residential youths and students of Casa Pacifica’s nonpublic school, and she will provide therapeutic support for the kids.

“Pearl is the fifth Newfoundland to come to Casa Pacifica to carry on our tradition of offering animal-assisted therapy. As we continue to bring Newfoundlands onto campus to work with our youth, we strive to learn new ways to increase the human-animal bond and promote resilience and healing in nontraditional formats,” said Dr. Josh Lepore, clinical director and handler of Otis, Casa Pacifica’s other Newfoundland therapy dog.

Casa Pacifica’s tradition of using Newfies started with the original therapy dog, Archie, who was donated by Mary and Tony Tesoro in 2007. Archie was joined by Baker and Tess, donated in 2011 by Dianna and Sean Baker and Cheryl and John Broome, respectively.Longtime Casa Pacifica supporter Bettina Chandler gave the nonprofit Otis Chandler Bing in 2014. Archie died in 2015. Earlier this year, Baker died due to health complications. With Otis’ full schedule of meetings and therapy sessions, another dog was needed.

The Perlman Family Foundation recently granted Casa Pacifica with the Perlman Angel Fund to help individuals who are struggling to overcome obstacles with targeted interventions. Casa Pacifica named Pearl after the Perlman family.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

In style for youth services

November 14, 2019

The Casa Pacifica Angels Spotlight on Style Fashion Show will return Sat., Nov. 23 to the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, Two Dole Drive. The 18th edition of the runway fashion show will feature high-style fashions from the collections of Kevan Hall. A champagne reception will open the festivities as guests peruse a variety of boutiques selling unique accessories, clothing and gifts. A silent auction will have baskets filled with entertainment packages and personal pampering opportunities. Auction items include: at-home car detailing, tickets to “The Nutcracker,” a baking class with baker Allison Kenis of Sugar Lab Bake Shop and a local helicopter tour for two. Lori Silvey and Elsa Phillip are the chairpersons of the 2019 Spotlight on Style.

All proceeds from the event support Casa Pacifica’s therapeutic programs and services for children and youth struggling with mental health issues due circumstances that placed them into foster care, and youth whose mental health challenges are disrupting their family homes. Fashion show tickets are advanced purchase only; no tickets will be sold at the door.

Source: The Acorn

Casa Pacifica welcomes Pearl the puppy

November 13, 2019

Meet Pearl, a 10-week-old Newfoundland puppy who is joining Camarillo-based Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families as a trainee in its therapy dog program. Currently she weighs about 23 pounds but when fully grown will be 100-120 pounds.

Known as “gentle giants”, these large, usually black dogs have a calm nature and were originally bred for water rescues and other work requiring swimming in the icy waters surrounding Newfoundland, a large island off the East Coast of Canada.

Pearl is spending the first part of her training with handler Kelly Myers in the center’s intake area, greeting kids as they come and go and providing therapeutic support as needed. Myers said Pearl is settling in well, “It’s like she’s always been here.” Pearl is the fifth Newfoundland at Casa Pacifica, a trend that started in 2007 when Mary and Tony Tesoro donated the first therapy dog, a “Newfie” named Archie.

“As we continue to bring Newfoundlands onto campus to work with our youth, we strive to learn new ways to increase the human-animal bond and promote resilience and healing in non-traditional formats,” said Dr. Josh Lepore, clinical director.

Pearl is named after The Perlman Family Foundation, which recently provided funds to Casa Pacifica, some of which were used to purchase Pearl.

Source: VC Reporter

Casa Pacifica Announces Dates for Award Winning Festival and Yummie Top Chef Dinner

November 12, 2019

The 27th Annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival will be held on Sunday, June 7th, 2020, at CSU Channel Islands! Voted Best Charity Event and Best Food & Drink Festival by VC Reporter eight years running, the all-inclusive Festival is a county favorite. All proceeds from the Festival benefit Casa Pacifica – which was also a VC Reporter winner of Best Non-Profit for the past eight years. Casa Pacifica provides vital programs and services to the community’s most vulnerable children and their families. Tickets for the Festival will go on sale early 2020.

Casa Pacifica is excited to welcome back to their generous hosts: Conico Oil/MacValley Oil; Mission Produce; Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth & Wynner, PC; SDI Industries; The Van Huisen Family; and The Zarley Family. The Festival will once again offer an unbeatable array of exhibitors presenting delicious food samples from restaurants, caterers, bakeries, and specialty shops, to the palette-pleasing tastes of fine wines, smooth brews, spirits, and specialty beverages from throughout the region and California. A large online silent auction offers guests and people not able to attend the chance to bid on must-have baskets and experiences. The “Best in Fest” brewery competition winner will show off their winning creation, and the Yummie Top Chef competition will crown winners for the best “Savory” and the best “Sweet” chef’s masterpiece among the participating exhibitors. Live entertainment throughout the day on the main stage will keep the festival-goers dancing all afternoon.

The 7th Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner will be held the same weekend on Friday evening June 5th, 2020. The intimate dinner features past Yummie Culinary Competition winners from the Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival who create a special seven-course dinner for the guests with wine pairings and the 2020 champion “Best in Fest” Brew. Dinner tickets will also be on sale early 2020.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Casa Pacifica Welcomes New Therapy Dog Pearl

November 9, 2019

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families excitedly welcomed Pearl to the family – continuing their tradition of using Newfoundland dogs as therapy dogs on campus. Pearl arrived on campus at 10 weeks old and weighing 23 pounds. Pearl is happily adjusting to her new surroundings, primarily residing in the Intake Department with her handler Kelly Myers, Intake Supervisor. Pearl will not only be greeting and providing kids comfort as they enter and leave campus – both residential youth and students of Casa Pacifica’s Nonpublic School – but providing therapeutic support for the kids.

She just fits right in. It’s like she’s always been here – she’s doing great,” says Myers. “We are excited to introduce you to Pearl, our newest addition to the team at Casa Pacifica. Pearl is the 5th Newfoundland to come to Casa Pacifica to carry on our tradition of offering animal assisted therapy. As we continue to bring Newfoundland’s on to campus to work with our youth, we strive to learn new ways to increase the human-animal bond and promote resilience and healing in non-traditional formats,” says Dr. Josh Lepore, Clinical Director and handler of Otis, Casa Pacifica’s other Newfoundland therapy dog.

“Casa Pacifica’s tradition of using “Newfies” started with their original therapy dog Archie who was donated by Mary and Tony Tesoro in 2007. Archie was joined by Baker and Tess, donated in 2011 by Dianna and Sean Baker and Cheryl and John Broome respectively. Longtime Casa Pacifica supporter Bettina Chandler gifted the nonprofit Otis Chandler Bing in 2014. Archie passed away in 2015 and earlier this year, Baker also passed away due to health complications. With Otis’s schedule full of meetings and therapy sessions, the need for another dog was apparent. The Perlman Family Foundation recently granted Casa Pacifica with a generous ‘Perlman Angel Fund’ to help individuals who are struggling to overcome life’s obstacles with targeted interventions. Casa Pacifica was honored to name Pearl after the Perlman Family. She will bring joy and comfort to the kids of Casa Pacifica for years to come.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Four individuals were added to the Casa Pacifica Board of Directors

November 6, 2019

Four individuals were added to the Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families board of directors. Gary Gorian is the president and founder of Colton Lee Communities, LLC; the company focuses on developing all facets of housing stock including affordable housing, master planned communities, apartments, and self-storage. Narimon Honarpour, M.D., Ph.D., is board certified in internal and cardiovascular medicine and serves as the translational medicine head at Amgen, Inc. John W. Mallett is the president and co-founder of MainStreet Mortgage in Westlake which specializes in residential lending. Adam Thunell is the senior vice president and chief operation officer at Community Memorial Health System in Ventura.

Source: VC Reporter

Yuri Gomez & her Lompoc Youth Connections group are 7th nominee for Valley of Flowers Peace Prize

November 2, 2019

Yuri Gomez and her classmates, known collectively as Lompoc Youth Connections, are the seventh nominee for the 2019 Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.

Gomez and her colleagues were spending their Saturdays in Ventura taking classes for their master’s degrees in social work. All five of them worked in Lompoc for different nonprofit agencies and they had seen a lot — too much. A graduation project loomed. “You know what, [the project] is not just for school,” the friends said they began to think. “It has to be sustainable. It has to be a community movement, and we want this movement to be infectious.”

So the final report morphed into a blueprint for action that Gomez remembers well. “As human beings, we all need social connections to thrive,” she said. “If we can connect young people to people who care, they won’t be lonely and fall into the wrong hands.” The movement would be led by the youth themselves. “These kids have the energy and the hope,” Gomez said. “They just don‘t have the channels to guide them.”

Gomez and her group knew of opportunities, so it became LYC’s plan to link youth to them. “From our work we knew what was missing, so we developed a schedule for the spring,” she said. In April 2019, LYC teamed with In His Hands Ministries, Lompoc food trucks, and nonprofit agencies such as Goodwill Workforce Services and Casa Pacifica to support a vigil for Lompoc youth who died due to violence or just too soon. At the Spring Arts Festival, LYC offered free carnival games, prizes, and community resources. In May, LYC, Goodwill and In His Hands Ministries joined forces to sponsor an ice cream social with games and prizes, along with mental health awareness exercises and resources.

Suddenly, Lompoc Youth Connections seemed to be everywhere. Yuri Gomez’s Peace Prize nomination was preceded by those of immigration counselor Guadalupe Perez; restaurant owner Jose Trejo; Yasmin Dawson, who spurred a Sept. 20 community march and vigil; AAUW coordinator Pam Buchanan; 8-year-old philanthropist Boss Brockett; and pastor Eric De La Cruz.

Source: Lompoc Record

Fashion show supports foster youths

November 1, 2019

The Casa Pacifica Angels Spotlight on Style Fashion Show will return Sat., Nov. 23 to the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, Two Dole Drive. The 18th edition of the runway fashion show will feature high-style fashions from the collections of Kevan Hall. A champagne reception will open the festivities as guests shop a variety of boutiques offering unique accessories, clothing and gifts. A silent auction will have baskets filled with entertainment packages and personal pampering opportunities. Auction items include athome car detailing, tickets to “The Nutcracker,” a baking class with baker Allison Kenis of Sugar Lab Bake Shop and a local helicopter tour for two. Lori Silvey and Elsa Phillip are the chairs of the 2019 Spotlight on Style.

All proceeds from the event support Casa Pacifica’s therapeutic programs and services for children and youths struggling with mental health issues due circumstances that placed them into foster care, and youths whose mental health challenges are disrupting their family homes. Fashion show tickets are advanced purchase only; no tickets will be sold at the door. For more information or to buy tickets, call Anna Coulson, Casa Pacifica special events manager, at (805) 366-4023 or email acoulson@casapacifica.org.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

‘Peaceful House’ celebrates expansion

November 1, 2019

California law requires facilities serving juveniles who have mental health issues to have 24- hour security and each bedroom to have a window in the door and a lock that bolts from the outside. While they had to comply with the state’s institutional mandates, officials at Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families also made sure the agency’s two newest housing units for foster children had comfortable central living spaces with leather chairs and shuffleboard courts.

Both of the new 10-room cottages that recently opened at Casa Pacifica’s 25-acre campus just outside city limits will house children from Ventura and Santa Barbara counties who are at risk of or are returning from psychiatric hospitalization because of mental illness and substance use issues.

Each cottage has a communal kitchen and dining area, and furniture can be pushed back to allow space for yoga classes and group therapy. Halloween decorations hang from the white walls.

“We wanted to give it a hometype feeling,” Casa Pacifica spokesperson Karisa Lim said last week. Linked to the nonprofit agency’s mental health treatment program Camino a Casa, the new cottages are unique not only in the county but also in California, county Supervisor Linda Parks said at a ribbon-cutting on Oct. 24.

“These extra 20 beds you have added to your capacity, unfortunately, they will be filled,” she said. “This is one of the only places in the state . . . for children with co-occurring disorders. Not only are they having substance abuse issues but also mental illness, and to be able to serve them is excellent.”

After the ribbon-cutting, Lim and other Casa Pacifica officials led visitors on tours through the new residential cottages and Founder’s Building. The buildings were funded by a $16.6-million expansion campaign called Building New Foundations of Hope. Officials broke ground on the projects in 2017.

The Founder’s Building includes a training center for foster care professionals and children’s mental health workers who come to the agency from throughout the county, state and nation to continue their education, Lim said.

The new building also provides more room for Casa Pacifica to expand its vocational center for older youths who are aging out of foster care and into the adult world. With the addition, the 25-year-old nonprofit foster care agency will close its second administrative center in Camarillo and move those operations into the Founder’s Building, she said.

Both projects represent the first major expansion at Casa Pacifica since the nonprofit opened in 1994. Residents and the county provided $10 million in donations and funding to build Casa Pacifica, which sees over 400 children walk through its doors daily.

Steve Elson, the agency’s CEO, recalled the first day Casa Pacifica opened.

“The first kids that came through the door went, ‘Wow, is all this for me? You mean the community cared enough to build all of this for me?’ That’s what they would say, and that’s what they continue to say,” Elson said.

Today, the residential facility is the central service provider in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties for foster children whose behavioral problems make it difficult to place them with relatives or foster families.

With the addition of housing for children with mental health and substance use problems, the agency has taken an even bigger role as a key provider of foster services, Elson said.

“We think this campus has been a wonderful gift from the community and such a wonderful tool to provide the kind of therapies and interventions that the youth that we serve need,” he said.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

Casa Pacifica Youth Services To Unveil New Building, Cottages

October 24, 2019

Nonprofit Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, a crisis-care facility for foster and at-risk youth, will formally unveil a new multi-purpose building and two new residential cottages at its Camarillo campus Thursday. The ribbon-cutting, which will also include the official unveiling of an existing, repurposed building, will be from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 1722 S. Lewis Road. The new building and cottages, which cost about $16.6 million to construct, actually opened their doors earlier this year, Casa Pacifica officials said. But their formal unveiling wasn’t scheduled until now, the officials said. (Harris, 10/23)

Source: California Healthline

Casa Pacifica youth services to unveil new multi-purpose building, residential cottages

October 23, 2019

Nonprofit Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, a crisis-care facility for foster and at-risk youth, will formally unveil a new multi-purpose building and two new residential cottages at its Camarillo campus Thursday. The ribbon-cutting, which will also include the official unveiling of an existing, repurposed building, will be from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 1722 S. Lewis Road. The new building and cottages, which cost about $16.6 million to construct, actually opened their doors earlier this year, Casa Pacifica officials said. But their formal unveiling wasn’t scheduled until now, the officials said.

“Twenty-five years ago we began an incredible journey that has reached more than 40,000 of our region’s most vulnerable, yet valuable, children and their families,” Casa Pacifica CEO Steve Elson said in a statement. Casa Pacifica, which opened in 1994, offers adolescent and family services in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Those services are designed to treat youths who are victims of abuse and neglect, substance abuse, homelessness and other behavioral and mental health issues. Casa Pacifica is also a foster family agency, which recruits and trains families for potential placement with a foster youth.

Elson said Casa Pacifica is “pleased and proud to thank the original ‘prime movers’ who made Casa Pacifica possible by naming the new 24,000-square-foot building ... The Founders’ Building.” It houses vocational educational programs, Casa Pacifica’s training institute and conferencing and (administrative) office space, he said. The two new cottages house the residential treatment component of Casa Pacifica’s Camino a Casa program, which treats youth at risk of or who are returning from a psychiatric hospitalization. Each cottage can accommodate 10 youths.

The $16.6 million to construct the new building and cottages, plus pay for related expenses, was raised through Casa Pacifica’s Building New Foundations of Hope Capital Campaign, which was completed in 2017, the nonprofit’s officials said.

Also to be formally unveiled Thursday is an existing building that has been repurposed. The building previously housed Casa Pacifica’s administrative offices and now houses a health clinic, family therapy meeting space, clinical offices, intake, family visiting rooms and more. The structure is named after Dr. William and Susan Burgos, who Elson thanked for their long-time financial support of Casa Pacifica. William Burgos died in 2016.

Elson also thanked the Otis & Bettina Chandler Foundationfor its financial support.

“We are also grateful to Wells Fargo for their significant contribution to this campaign and are naming one of the two new cottagesthe Wells Fargo Cottage,” Elson said. “The other cottage is named for Archie, our famous therapy dog” who died a few years ago.

The Founders Building opened in January, while the cottages opened in April, said Morgan Piehn, Casa Pacifica’s Community Engagement Coordinator. So why is the ribbon-cutting happening only now? “We have been working on different signage and slowly moving in, and now we’re in a place where it’s looking good and we’re ready for our donors to come and see it,” Piehn said.

Source: VC Star

Casa Pacifica Spotlight on Style Runway Fashion Show Set for November 23rd

October 14, 2019

One of the finest fashion events in Ventura County, the Casa Pacifica Angels Spotlight on Style Fashion Show, will return to the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village on Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, for another afternoon of fabulous fashion, fine dining, and unique boutique shopping. The hosts of the 18th edition of the runway fashion show, Susan & Ken Bauer, and the Casa Pacifica Angels are excited to be back at the Four Seasons and partnering with Carin Holmenas Productions, who will produce the runway fashion show featuring high-style fashions from the collections of Kevan Hall.

A champagne reception will open the festivities as guests peruse a variety of fabulous boutiques offering a wonderful collection of unique accessories, clothing, and gifts to satisfy their own desires, or provide the perfect one-of-a-kind gifts for their friends and family for the holidays.

A wonderful silent auction will offer baskets filled with amazing entertainment packages and personal pampering opportunities. Your time is precious! Bid on an at-home car detailing and take the hassle out of your weekend! Enjoy a night at the theatre and bid on tickets to the holiday classic The Nutcracker. Savor a one-of-a-kind experience in a baking class with Sugar Lab Bake Shop’s talented baker, Allison Kenis. Fly high with the helicopter tour for two, see Ventura County’s coast or in-land and grab a delicious lunch at Waypoint Café. These and many more great opportunities will be up for grabs!

Lori Silvey and Elsa Phillip, chairpersons of the 2019 Spotlight on Style, and their Spotlight on Style Committee have worked diligently to create another fantastic fashion show and boutique event at the Four Seasons Hotel. Top level fashion show sponsors include:  Hosts – Susan & Ken Bauer;  Spotlight Sponsors – The Cassar Family and Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village;  Haute Couture Sponsors – Susan Burgos, Bill & Jewell Gerald Powell, Porta-Stor, Frank & Betty Hiji, and Procter & Gamble; Couture Sponsors – Michael W. McCarthy, D.D.S., City National Bank; Designer Sponsors – Lori & Bryan Silvey, The Hopps Group at Morgan Stanley, Oksana & Kim Zussman DDS, Traci & Ron Salter, Bonnie & Don Carlton, Tamiann & Chris Cook, and Beach, Cowdrey & Jenkins, LLP.

All proceeds from the Spotlight on Style Fashion Show support Casa Pacifica’s therapeutic programs and services that bring healing and hope to vulnerable children and youth struggling with complex mental health issues due circumstances that placed them into foster care, and youth whose mental health challenges are disrupting and destabilizing their family homes.

Fashion Show tickets are advanced purchase only – no tickets will be sold at the door. For more information about the Spotlight on Style Fashion Show, contact Casa Pacifica Special Events Manager, Anna Coulson, at 805-366-4023 or acoulson@casapacifica.org.

Casa Pacifica Welcomes New Members to Board of Directors

October 10, 2019

Casa Pacifica is proud to welcome Gary Gorian, Narimon Honarpour, M.D., Ph.D., John Mallett, and Adam Thunell, to its Board of Directors this year. Comprised of 24 individuals, Casa Pacifica’s board members offer a wealth of experience and expertise in a wide range of areas, such as the legal field with several lawyers; in financial services with representatives from a number of banks, investment, and insurance services; in business with a variety of industries from the medical field to construction to agricultural management to equipment rentals; in the field of education with the retired superintendent of the Moorpark Unified School District; as well as several community advocates.

Gary Gorian– Gary Gorian is the President and Founder of Colton Lee Communities, LLC – a company focused on developing all facets of housing stock including Affordable Housing, Master Planned Communities, Apartments, and Self-Storage. Prior to starting Colton Lee Communities in 1998, Gary served as Vice President for Dale Poe Development Corporation, one of the largest privately held real development firms in California. Gary is a lifelong resident of Ventura County and holds a double major in both Urban and Regional Planning, as well as in Public Administration from University of Southern California. Gary was previously on the Casa Pacifica Board of Directors from 2004-2010.

Narimon Honarpour, M.D., Ph.D. – Narimon Honarpour is the Translational Medicine Head at Amgen, Inc. – board certified in Internal and Cardiovascular Medicine. Over his 8 years at Amgen, Narimon has held various positions: Senior Medical Scientist, Clinical Research Medical Director, Global Development Lead and Executive Medical Director, and Global Product General Manger. Prior to joining Amgen in 2011, Narimon was a clinical instructor at UCLA’s Division of Cardiology, the same place he did his Residency in Internal Medicine as well as his Clinical Fellowship in Cardiology. Narimon obtained his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas in 1996.

John W. Mallett – John Mallett is the President and Co-Founder of MainStreet Mortgage in Westlake Village which specializes in residential lending. Prior to co-founding MainStreet Mortgage in 1997, John was a loan officer at Five Star Financial where he excelled and was the top selling agent in loan production for four years running. John brings strong entrepreneurial and strategic skills to the table, along with skills in feasibility analysis and leadership. He obtained his MBA from USC in 1999 with an emphasis in finance and entrepreneurship. His book, “Buy Your First Home Today!” is available on Amazon.

Adam Thunell – Adam Thunell is the Senior Vice President and Chief Operation Officer at Community Memorial Health System in Ventura. Thunell’s focus at the Health System includes long-term strategic planning, daily operations, physician relations, community interaction, as well as oversight for the System’s building projects which encompass the construction of a new hospital in Ventura and the modernization of another in Ojai. Adam received his B.A. in Business Management at Brigham Young University and his M.H.A. in Hospital Administration from the University of Minnesota. He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a current board member of Health Executives Association of Southern California.

Source: Citizen's Journal

A Family of 4 Became a Family of 9!

October 6, 2019

Every year, Casa Pacifica’s Wraparound Program hosts Strengthening Families – a seven-week curriculum geared at helping families in the community gain skills needed to successfully navigate life with children who have experienced complex trauma. The course is offered to all families participating in the Wraparound Program, a community-based service whose goal is to keep children in their home and communities by building on the family’s strengths and utilizing natural and community connections for support.

This year, we had three families complete the program, one of whom never missed a session. This particular family was a young couple with two small children – overnight they became a blended family of NINE by taking in a cousin’s five children ranging from toddler to teenager. The children were placed in the care of their cousins after they witnessed their father shoot and kill their mother. These young parents felt compelled to step in and care for the family; however, as you can imagine they also felt very overwhelmed.

Wraparound was introduced to help the instant family of nine ensure they could get the support they needed. The family quickly jumped on board, loading up their family of nine every week and making the 30-minute trek to our Flynn Rd. office. Together, family and staff ate dinner together and built rapport. Following dinnertime, childcare was provided by staff for the young children and the teens were invited into their own teen group led by staff. Meanwhile, the parents separated into their own group, learning new parenting skills in a session designed just for them.

The dedication of this truly marvelous and loving couple is underscored by their sincerity in participating and learning all they could to help their now very complex, very large family. The teens took a bit more time to open up, taking several sessions before they were willing to participate and engage, which they finally did over a few games of table tennis. Watching this new family grow and bond together over the 7-week process was amazing. With hungry, motivated caretakers and the reluctant but willing seven children in tow, the family built new skills, the caretakers got ideas from other families and from staff and practicum students leading the sessions.

At the end of the program the youth left feeling more supported and the caretakers left filled with hope. Mom expressed she had learned skills to help her stay calm even when she was upset, which allowed her to make better decisions and communicate better with the family. Dad expressed that he learned how to communicate with the children, and how he could change his communication style to help meet the needs of all the children better. In the end, the family was grateful for all the support they had received, they thanked all the staff who kept late work days to make it happen. When we asked them for feedback on what we could do to improve, they said to simply keep offering the program.  After 12 years of working for the agency it is still humbling, an honor, and a privilege to watch families put in the work day in and day out to come together and better themselves…it is also my privilege to watch as our team of staff graciously come along side those families and give them their all, so they might have all the tools they would ever need to be successful.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Goleta Lemon Festival Heading to Girsh Park for 28th Year Celebrating Citrus

September 24, 2019

The Goleta Valley’s largest community event is returning over the weekend.

The 28th annual Goleta Lemon Festival, hosted by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, will offer plenty of citrus-y fun in Girsh Park Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It celebrates the region’s agricultural heritage, which dates back to when Sherman Stow — builder of Goleta’s Stow House — planted about 600 acres of lemon orchards on his ranch in 1875. The gathering offers live entertainment from local performers and bands, people-powered activities in the kids’ zone, lemon pie eating contests, merchandise vendors and lots of treats.

If life gives you lemons, use it in absolutely every dish possible. This year’s festival will include offerings of lemon cotton candy, lemon meringue pie, lemon bars and lemonade with chia seeds. Carnival food favorites like hot dogs, funnel cake, kettle corn, popcorn, churros, fries, ice cream and more will also be sold.

​“People love the tradition of it and the community feeling,” said Kristen Miller, president and CEO of the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce. The Goleta Lemon Festival is the only time some of the local lemony confections are available, she noted. Admission to the festival is free, and pre-sale wristbands for unlimited access to children’s activities are available online for $25. Advance wristband sales end Friday. Guests 21-and-over can sip refreshing ale brewed by Hollister Brewing Company and Santa Barbara Cider Company. The outdoor “Lemon Lounge” is a spot for adults to relax in a shaded area with chairs and tables.

The Goleta Fall Classic Car show takes place 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Vintage automobiles and motorcycles will be on display. Safety Street will display Santa Barbara County fire, law enforcement and emergency service vehicles.

New this year is the Sheriff’s Mounted Enforcement Unit and the Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 unit. Chop, a 2-year-old male shepherd, and his handler, Deputy Shane Moore, a six-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, will be in attendance. “Safety Street is always popular,” Miller said. “Everybody likes to walk through it.”

Other booths at Safety Street include the American Red Cross, Casa Pacifica, California Highway Patrol, Goleta’s Community Emergency Response Team, Goleta Police Department, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, Goleta Prepare Now, Immigrant Hope Santa Barbara, Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County, LISTOS, Santa Barbara Response Network and the U.S. Forest Service.

Source: Noozhawk

RECREATION | Best of Ventura County 2019

September 19, 2019

CHARITY EVENT

1st Place: CASA PACIFICA ANGELS WINE, FOOD & BREW FESTIVAL, 1 University Drive, CSU, Channel Islands, Camarillo, 805-366-4011

2nd Place: VENTURA MUSIC FESTIVAL, venturamusicfestival.org

3rd Place: AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY, RELAY FOR LIFE OF VENTURA, relay4lifeventura@gmail.com

Source: VC Reporter

Teen Chefs Compete at Maritime Museum Sustainable Seafood Cookoff

September 15, 2019

In recognition of the growing interest in sustainable seafood, cooking shows, and competitions, as well as the emphasis on skills-based programs for teens, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum (SBMM) invited two top teen chefs to compete in a locally sourced seafood cookoff which was performed in front of a live audience. Cookoff teen chefs were Carson Peterson of Ventura and Rogers Mathews, Jr. of Corona, both 14 years old who have competed on Top Chef Junior.  The event was held on Sunday, Sept. 8, at SBMM, 113 Harbor Way at the Santa Barbara Harbor and was sold out immediately. Over 110 guests, including the families of the competing chefs, enjoyed beautifully presented appetizers from C’est Cheese with beverages prior to the start of the Chef Cookoff.

Competitor Carson Peterson, a 14-year-old freshman at Ventura High School, started cooking with Nonna, his Italian grandmother when he was about 5 years old. “I remember making pasta dough with her and making our family’s pasta sauce that takes all day,” he recalled this inspired his love for cooking, which got more serious when he was 11. “I started spending most of my free time in the kitchen, and I’ve just been getting better and more knowledgeable every day.”

Upon studying the careers of chefs such as Curtis Stone, Julia Child, Alton Brown, and Thomas Keller, Peterson gravitated toward French cuisine. “French techniques and flavors can be found all over Europe and northern Africa,” explained Peterson, who enjoys making poisson en papillote, coq au vin, and croque madame. “French food has implemented itself into many cuisines, and I really find that interesting.”

Peterson, who hopes to attend Stanford for college says “there is always an unknown, whether it’s an unfamiliar pantry, an unfamiliar kitchen appliance, or a wacky challenge, Top Chef Junior was definitely no walk in the park. While being hard, it brought out the best in me as a chef and as a person. Not only was I able to improve my culinary skills, but I was also able to create relationships I will keep forever.” Carson Peterson is a professional chef known for his take on classic French cuisine. He appeared on Top Chef Junior Season 2, was featured on the Today Show, competed in the 2019 Strawberry SmackDown and judged the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival. His signature dishes include Poisson en Papillote, Coq Au Vin and Croquembouche.

Rogers Mathews, Jr. is a very charming little guy known for making it all the way to the semi-finals and taking third place in this season’s Top Chef Junior competition. In his freshman year at Santiago High in Corona, Mathews was introduced to cooking when his family decided to make homemade pizza and let him pick the toppings. “After that I was hooked,” he explained. “Cooking was so much fun!” By age 10, he was learning techniques and flavor profiles and looking up to chefs like Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Curtis Stone.

Though challenging, his experience on Top Chef Junior taught valuable lessons. “In the beginning, it was very stressful to have to cook with a time constraint,” said Mathews. “As a result, I learned to be very efficient in managing my time in the kitchen.” He dreams of writing his own cookbook one day and opening a small restaurant. “My restaurant would focus on the artistic side of cooking and showcase food seasonality,” said Mathews, “or maybe utilizing forgotten parts of vegetables like stems and leaves in a creative way.”

The judges panel including Bonnie Carroll, founder, and editor-in-chief, Bonnie Carroll’s Life Bites News; Emily Cosentino, marketing and promotions manager, Santa Barbara Independent; Jake Hagen, assistant pastry chef, Newhall Refinery; Krista Harris, editor/co-publisher, Edible Magazine; Chef Kayla Norton, pastry chef, Old Town Junction, Newhall; and Chef Daniel Palaima, Tyger Tyger had a difficult time determining the winner. The plates prepared by both chefs were outstanding. Rogers Mathews, Jr. won 1st place prize, but It was very close. Both Carson and Masters did an amazing job, answered questions and shared detailed information on each step of their preparation and presentation.

Sustainable seafood is seafood that is either caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term vitality of harvested species and the well-being of the oceans, as well as the livelihoods of fisheries-dependent communities. It was first promoted through the sustainable seafood movement which began in the 1990s. This operation highlights overfishing and environmentally destructive fishing methods. Through a number of initiatives, the movement has increased awareness and raised concerns over the way our seafood is obtained.

Congratulations to Maritime Museum and Museum Deputy Director & Curator Emily Falke on this inspiring and educational event on sustainable seafood, and congratulations to two great teen chef competitors. Each guest was given a Monterey Bay Aquarium Seawatch Watch Westcoast Consumer Guide as a gift to take home. For upcoming Maritime Museum event or membership information visit Visit sbmm.org.

Source: edhat Santa Barbara

Local PODS® Announces Winner of Tools for School Drive

September 10, 2019

The first ever Tools for School drive along with local PODS® moving and storage, Cumulus Media and General Mills has awarded a fourth grade class at Rio Del Norte school as the winner of school supplies that were collected over the course of a month.

The drive was an effort to provide local classrooms with much needed school supplies for the upcoming year. Individual classrooms were nominated for the chance to receive a full school years’ worth of supplies. In addition, PODS donated $1 for every PODS® container rented through during the duration of the drive.

“School supplies are such a critical piece to an education, and we are just delighted to help the class at Rio Del Norte get these much-needed school supplies, and we look forward to working with the radio stations of Cumulus for this to be an every year drive.” says Steve Yapp, owner of local PODS® moving and storage.

Steve Yapp is the owner of three Tri-Counties PODS® franchises that serve residents and businesses in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.

Dedicated to the local community, Yapp’s franchises have donated over 1,500 PODS containers to nonprofit and charitable organizations throughout Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, San Diego and Los Angeles counties since opening their doors in 2005.

A partial list of recipients include: Boys & Girls Clubs, FOOD Share of Ventura County, Casa Pacifica, Toys 4 Tots, California Strawberry Festival, Ojai Music Festival, Relay for Life, C.H.P. Holiday Toy Drive, Salvation Army, Santa Maria Good Samaritan, Oxnard Downtown Management District, Boy Scouts of Ventura County, California Visitors Center, Simi Valley Days, the Oxnard Salsa Festival, and Catholic Charities.

PODS® offers moving and storage the way you need it done, with unlimited time, space, and control. When PODS® pioneered portable storage in 1998, they introduced the world to a brand new, flexible way to move and store. Now an industry leader, PODS® currently provides residential and commercial services in 46 U.S. states, Canada, Australia, and the UK. To date, the PODS® network has completed more than one million long-distance moves, has nearly four million initial deliveries, and has over 220,000 PODS containers in service.

For more information, go to: www.mylocalpods.com.

Source: Patch

Ventura swimmer to take on Lake Tahoe to raise funds for nonprofit Casa Pacifica

September 4, 2019

Thomas Ball describes his attempt to swim the 21 miles across Lake Tahoe a “12-hour tightrope.” Nevertheless, he has challenged himself to make the swim for his 60th birthday as a way to raise $8,000 for Camarillo-based Casa Pacifica’s non-public special education school. The school serves children from first to 12th grades dealing with complicated issues, such as emotional disturbance, health impairment and specific learning disabilities.

“The fundraiser for Casa Pacifica is specifically to purchase multimedia access devices for the education department,” said Ball who teaches music and history at the school. “It’s a variety of apparatus and hardware that allows us to present curriculum in multimedia form.”

The Lake Tahoe swim is the third of three marathon swims known as the California Triple Crown, an open water swimming competition. On Friday, Ball will take on Lake Tahoe, “the most difficult of three swims.” Ball, 59, of Ventura, has already finished the two other swims, which are sanctioned by the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association. “I’ve done Catalina, which is 21 miles. I’ve done Anacapa to the mainland, which is 12.5 miles,” he said.

The Lake Tahoe swim is the most challenging, he said, because it’s in fresh water with less buoyancy, at a high altitude of 6,200 feet, and the water is chilly at around 60 degrees, meaning he must swim at an aerobic rate so he doesn’t suffer hypothermia. He’s not allowed to stop as part of the rules of the swim, which he hopes to finish in around 12 hours, “give or take.”

“It’s going to be a 12-hour tightrope walk,” he said. “It’s nonstop marathon swim. I can only wear a cap, Speedo and goggles. I may not touch any human or boat during the swim. All I can do is stop and catch a bottle thrown at me that has carbohydrates to drink.”

Ball has worked at Casa Pacifica for 21 years, specializing in music instruction and history. The nonprofit helps children of abuse and neglect and more. “The kids I work with are the last in line to receive this developing technology…and if I can expedite that through my swimming, to me that’s the perfect goal,” the educator said. Ball said he believes the lessons learned through both music and history benefit children through the process of self-examination, genuine ownership of actions and a realistic sense of timeline of and for the human experience.

“The challenges facing many of our at-risk students make the goal of graduation and the development of coping strategies…much like a cold and dark channel swim,” said Ball. “The student faces uncertainty, fear, fatigue and often doubt along the way.”

Ball was a competitive swimmer who reaped some success in high school and college. He later worked as a lifeguard for Santa Barbara County for a decade, and through that experience, dabbled in the sport of open water swimming. At age 48, he underwent reconstructive back surgery and started to reengage in open water competition as a way to recuperate.

Since then, he has completed the Santa Barbara Semana Nautica 10K ocean swim competition four times and was a member of a six-man team that set a world record for the longest non-stop ocean relay of 202 miles along the coast from Ventura to San Diego. In other swimming accomplishments, he completed solo swims across the Anacapa Channel four times, finished a solo swim across the Catalina Channel and was a member of a record-setting relay that swam from San Nicholas Island to the mainland.

Ball currently coaches the Ventura County Masters under the auspices of Buenaventura Swim Club and serves as the assistant coach for girls’ water polo at Ventura High School.

When he swims 21 miles at Lake Tahoe, his position will be fixed on the lake through SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger. “You can log in and follow my progress to see where I’m at on the swim,” he said, adding that the public can make donations to his cause on Casa Pacifica’s Facebook. He has currently raised $5,260 of his $8,000 goal. “I hope people tune into SPOT Tracker and feel motivated to donate,” Ball said. “That’s my big hope.” To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/casapacifica.

Source: VC Star

Casa Pacifica kids & Board President cook gourmet lunch for live auction winner of “Yummie Top Chef

July 16, 2019

For the past two months, the youth of Casa Pacifica have been taking an Italian themed cooking class taught by Casa Pacifica Board President William Powell – affectionately known by the kids as “Chef Willy.” This weekly cooking class is part of Casa Pacifica’s Vocational Education Program, which includes the use of the brand-new Bauer Teaching Kitchen. The “final exam” of the class was to cook a gourmet four-course meal. The lucky recipients of the gourmet Italian feast was Sean Leonard and 10 guests. Leonard was the generous bidder and winner of the “Yummie Top Chef Jr.” luncheon which was auctioned off at Casa Pacifica’s 6th Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner on Friday, May 31st. “We were so impressed with the entire event – from the enthusiastic youth that greeted us with hors d’oeuvres to the fantastic environment and meal they prepared and served us,” raved Leonard of the experience.

Leonard is President and CEO of S.L. Leonard & Associates, Inc., an Owner’s Representation, Project and Construction Management firm in Camarillo. Leonard and his company recently assisted Casa Pacifica in the management of the construction of their new Training Institute and Archie & Wells Fargo Co-Occurring Cottage on the Camarillo campus. Casa Pacifica’s new Career Technical Education (CTE) Program was created when Casa Pacifica identified a need for a quality college/career readiness program within a therapeutic environment for the foster and at-risk youth it serves. The CTE Program will have two programs – digital arts and culinary arts, which will help students, up to 150 youth annually, develop entry level occupational skills. Students will also develop increased self-esteem and confidence in their future, another important component for their success.


The menu for the luncheon included bruschetta, breaded swordfish medallions, duck with fig sauce and mushroom risotto, and homemade biscotti and ice cream. Powell’s interest in the culinary arts started at an early age after learning basic homestyle cooking techniques from his mother. After retiring in 2006, he decided he wanted to improve his skills to the level of advanced amateur. He attended the Enthusiast’s Program at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. “My experience with the youth at Casa Pacifica was great fun!” said Powell of his recent cooking venture. “The funniest line of the course was when one of the students was whisking Caesar salad dressing when she looked up and said, ‘This is very therapeutic!’ This led to a broader discussion between the kids and I about how cooking can be a creative endeavor, much like any other form of art. And it is, in fact, very therapeutic when we create things from our combination of skills and imagination.”

Source: Citizen's Journal

Café Society – Let’s do brunch

July 4, 2019

SLATE BISTRO + BAR in Camarillo: Unveiled by local restaurateur Vince Pillard in early December, Slate will introduce Sunday brunch on July 14, with service from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pillard promises three flavors of endless mimosas, including a pomegranate, lime, elderflower and rosemary combination he’s calling Boujee Behavior. (For more about boujee as the intentional misspelling of bougie, which in turn is slang for bourgeois, go to https://bit.ly/2Xqej7L.)

Fresh from a first-place win in the savory category of last month’s Yummie Top Chef culinary competition at the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival, executive chef Abdu Romero is planning an a la carte menu that starts with complimentary beignets. Diners can then choose from a range of dishes that include pecan-crusted French toast with maple-bourbon glaze and orange whipped cream and pork belly eggs Benedict with chipotle Hollandaise.

Brunch will be served in the lounge area and on the dog-friendly patio.

Source: VC Star

Biz Buzz – Casa Pacifica Received full re-accreditation

July 2, 2019

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families received full re-accreditation for 10 years from the American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation for its Psychology Internship program. The program focuses on residential treated with foster youth. Casa Pacifica first received APA accreditation for its internship program in 2006; the 10-year term is the maximum length of time obtainable. … CURE Pharmaceutical will collaborate with Canopy Growth Corporation to develop a new low-dose cannabidiol (CBD) oral thin film using CURE’s patented CUREfilm technology for global distribution. With CUREfilm, the delivery of CBD is easier and more effective because it offers increased bioavailability, ease and precision of dosing and greater palatability. CURE is registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to develop and manufacture cannabis-derived and synthetic cannabinoid-based products.

Source: VC Reporter

Open and shut

June 28, 2019

Missy’s Cupcake Creations wrapped up its move from Oxnard to Ventura in just over a week – a real feat considering owner Missy Drayton also added doughnuts to the menu before officially opening the doors Monday at 2950 Johnson Drive, Suite 119.

Drayton’s cupcake bakery previously operated for about seven years at Fisherman’s Wharf at Channel Islands Harbor.

Worried by the uncertainty of oft-delayed plans to redevelop the waterfront property, Drayton went looking for a new home for her business. She found it at the Northbank Plaza & Cafes, in a space previously occupied by a nutritional shakes business and a doughnut shop before that.

“There wasn’t a place to get coffee and a doughnut here anymore,” she said of the inspiration to add apple fritters, maple bars and glazed buttermilk treats ($1 and up) to the lineup.

Her daily offerings include vegan doughnuts, available in cake and raised forms. They are a surprise hit, Drayton said. The cupcake case features more than a dozen flavors daily, sold in miniature and regular sizes ($1.65 and $3). Gluten-free options are available.

Drayton and her cupcakes won first and second place in the sweet category of the Yummie Top Chef competition presented at the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Look for the sauté-pan trophies on the wall at her new place. Hours are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (2950 Johnson Drive, Suite 119, 805-382-4852).

Source: VC Star

Cafe Society: YES, CHEF

June 27, 2019

Ventura County-based chef Alex Montoya has worked both the sweet and savory sides of menus during his recent post as executive chef under chef/owner Aaron Duncan at Fluid State Beer Garden in downtown Ventura, and as executive chef at The Cave inside Ventura Wine Co. just before that.

But his brand-new gig as executive pastry chef at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu gives him a chance to focus on the sweet stuff.

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Montoya said his initial duties include creating desserts for events at the resort and for its on-site restaurant, The Malibu Café (327 Latigo Canyon Road, 818-540-2400, https://www.themalibucafe.com).

Those menus will eventually feature some of the same frozen-custard creations that have helped Montoya win awards at the Fork It Over contest organized by Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast and the Yummie Top Chef competition presented by the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival.

“As I grow my team we can branch out and do the desserts for the other restaurants that are part of the group,” Montoya said. “It’s a large project with lots of creativity and upside for growth. Ultimately, it puts me on a better path to accomplish my goal of my own restaurant.”

The Fluid State crew wishes Montoya well as he embarks on this new chapter, said Duncan, who is reassuming the role of chef. Fluid State’s menu includes charcuterie boards, salads, pizza fries and pizzas made with dough from Duncan’s own sourdough starter (692 E. Main St., 805-628-3107, http://www.fluidstatebeer.com).

Source: VC Star

Foundation rewards healthcare nonprofits with grants

June 20, 2019

During the Livingston Memorial Foundation’s 2018-19 grant year ending April 30, grants totaling $411,500 were presented to 19 Ventura County nonprofit organizations for medical and health-related purposes benefiting residents of Ventura County.

The organizations include Cancer Support Community, Casa Pacifica, Catholic Charities, Conejo Free Clinic, Free Clinic of Simi Valley, Hospice of the Conejo Inc., Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association, Mary Health of the Sick Convalescent and Nursing Hospital, St. John’s Healthcare Foundation and Westminster Free Clinic.

The nonprofit foundation is in its 42nd year of awarding grants.

The foundation was formed in 1974 by the late Ben E. Nordman and Dr. Charles M. Hair and was established with funds from the estate of Ruth Daily Livingston in honor of her late husband, Dr. William R. Livingston.

Source: Acorn Thousand Oaks

Cafe Society: Chefs share details of Casa Pacifica’s Yummie award-winning dishes

June 6, 2019

As a competitor in the Yummie Top Chef culinary throwdown organized as part of the 26th annual Casa Pacifica Angels Food, Wine & Brew Festival on Sunday, Abdu Romero had a single directive: Win.

Mission accomplished.

Romero, who is executive chef at Slate Bistro & Craft Bar in Camarillo, took the top prize in the “savory” category on his and Slate’s first try (the restaurant opened in December). The dish was a whole-coconut-on-a-plate showstopper inspired not just by the competitive nature of Slate’s owner, Vince Pillard, but by the latter’s amazement over the purple Okinawan potatoes he saw Romero preparing as a special one day.

“He was ‘Holy ——! What is that? Dude! You gotta do something with that!”  Romero said, laughing.

The resulting entry arrived at judges’ table in the aforementioned coconut, carefully sawed in half to create a serving vessel with its own lid. Inside, a single coconut shrimp rested atop a kelp bed of scallions, with a whitecap of ginger-coconut cream and a pineapple-studded wave of purple potatoes — thickened with a dash of agar-agar — below.

“I knew it was a beautiful dish, and that it was tasty, too, which is more important. But I had no idea if we would win,” said Romero, who prepared more than 1,000 shrimp and three cases of Okinawan potatoes for the festival’s 4,000 attendees.

By the time the Yummie awards ceremony took place, Romero was ready to let off some steam. He celebrated the win by pretending to use his sauté-pan trophy to hit one out of the CSU Channel Islands quad.

Pastry chef Julia San Bartolome of Sweet Arleen’s in the Westlake Plaza also hit a culinary home run with her Mexican Hot Leche cake, the first-place entry in the “sweet” category.

The dessert featured tequila-infused chocolate cake sprinkled with micro churros and served atop a swoosh of jalapeño-lime sour cream sauce. Each slice arrived at the Yummies judging table with its own tiny squeeze bottle of warm condensed milk — a wink at the piping bag that accompanied San Bartolome’s second-place entry last year, when she competed for the first time.

“I’ve been a pastry chef for 20 years, and putting the final touch on a dessert never gets old. I like to give the judges and people the opportunity to do the fun part of the job,” San Bartolome said of adding the DIY flourishes.

More than 25 restaurants, caterers and other food purveyors entered the blind-tasting competition, five of them deciding to do so on the morning of the festival. The welcome additions had the eight-member judges’ panel creating scoresheets from scratch paper when the supply of official forms ran out during the second round of tasting.

Swapping tales of cooking under pressure were two judges with reality-TV experience: “Top Chef Jr.” season-two competitor Carson Peterson, 14, of Ventura, and “MasterChef” season-six contestant Olivia Crouppen, who graduated from Oak Park High School and now works as a holistic chef and culinary producer in Los Angeles.

Along with Carson, who was accompanied by parents Calvin and Kristine Peterson, first-time judges included Billy Koskoff of The Moveable Feast, which catered events ranging from the Emmy Awards to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Denise Boutté — actor, “Southern Modified” cookbook co-author and CEO of the Weeziana Girl line of spices — wrapped up her inaugural stint as a Yummie judge before jumping onto the dance floor to participate in the men’s hula-hoop contest.

“I missed the ladies’,” she said.

Returning judges were Eric Kopelow, corporate executive chef for NBC Universal Studios Hollywood; former Yummie winner Nic Manocchio, now executive chef for University Auxiliary Services at CSUCI, Masa Shimakawa, chef de cuisine at ONYX at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, and yours truly.

Oded Fehr, the Ojai-based star of the current CBS series “Blood & Treasure,” returned as emcee for the competition, which debuted in 2009. It has taken place annually since 2011.

Awards this year were given to a mix of new and repeat winners.

Second place “savory” went to Jeff Downey, executive chef at The Saticoy Club in Somis. His first Yummie win was for a Mediterranean salad of marinated and grilled octopus sautéed with garlic, Kalamata olives and heirloom tomatoes. The dish was topped with feta and basil and served with warm flatbread.

When Fehr joked that members of the non-golfing public wouldn’t be able to order it at the club’s private restaurant, Downey was quick to respond.

“We accept social memberships,” he said with a laugh.

Second place “sweet” was won by Anastashia Chavez, pastry chef for The 2686 Kitchen in Ventura and the Ojai Beverage Co. A past Yummie winner, Chavez competed this year with a lemon verbena-flecked cheesecake with mascarpone custard, citrus graham crust, salted honeycomb crunch and blueberry-ale compote.

The latter was made with Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s SLOambic Wild Ale, a berry-infused sour aged on French oak at the brewery’s Barrelworks facility in Buellton. It won the festival’s annual Best in Fest Brewery Competition back in April, but the presentation of the trophy — a nameplate-style necklace with a hip hop-worthy heavy gold chain — took place Sunday on the festival stage.

After a three-year run as the savory-category champ, Alex Castillo, executive chef at Twenty88 in Camarillo, came in third with a combination of mashed fried plantain cake with chicharron and slow-cooked pork belly topped with blood orange-quince glaze. A small tower of pickled veggies wrapped in a cucumber ribbon separated the two, with drizzles of lemon grass-ginger pesto oil adding to the colors and flavors.

With previous Yummie wins to his credit, chef Alex Montoya returned to the competition this year to represent Fluid State Beer Garden in downtown Ventura, where he started working in January. He nabbed third place “sweet” for bourbon-butterscotch-oolong frozen custard “pops” dipped in gold-swirl chocolate and dusted with pecan and speck salt.

According to a post-festival media release, the event netted more than $550,000 toward the $4.1 million budget gap Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families must raise each year to support its programs for foster and at-risk youth and their families in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. For information, go to https://www.casapacifica.org.

The 27th annual festival will take place June 7, 2020. But first, look for winning chefs from this and previous years to participate in the Yummie Top Chef Dinner, which also benefits Casa Pacifica. It is scheduled for June 5, 2020. For tickets, menu details and other updates, check the website at https://www.cpwineandfoodfestival.com.

Source: VC Star

Casa Pacifica RFP-FSMC Contract 2019

June 5, 2019

Thousands Come to Support and Enjoy Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival

June 05, 2019

On Sunday, June 2nd, Casa Pacifica hosted its 26th Annual Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival. The sold-out Festival has established itself as Ventura County’s premiere Wine & Food event. Though the final numbers are still being determined, it is estimated that the Festival raised over $550,000 (net) toward the $4.1 million budget-gap Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families must raise each year to support its valuable programs serving Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties’ foster and at-risk youth and their families.

As always, the Festival offered an unbeatable array of exhibitors offering delicious food samples, sips of fine wines, and smooth brews. Over 160 vendors came to donate their food, wine, and brews to the cause. This year’s “Best in Fest” brew – SLOambic Wild Ale by Firestone Walker Brewing Company was on hand and available for attendees to sample. “Best in Fest” honorable mentions: MadeWest and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. were also in attendance. The Festival main stage, emceed by DJ Bruce Barrios, featured live music throughout the day by Benise’s Band of Gypsies and N’Demand which kept the dance floor packed.

VIP guests were welcomed with champagne and small bites from Mastro’s Steakhouse. The garden themed VIP Lounge featured Magnavino Cellars, Plated Events by Chef Jason, The Anheuser-Busch Belgium Beer Garden, and The Cave who poured craft cocktails featuring Tito’s Handmade Vodka from the bar as well as their new Rocks & Drams vintage inspired trailer. Guests danced the afternoon away to music by Sound Effect and enjoyed photobooth fun by Conejo Photobooth.

Actor Oded Fehr returned as the emcee of the 9th Annual Yummie Culinary Competition, which showcased participating Festival exhibiting chefs’ dishes. The battle for the top prize was a delicious one – with over 20 exhibitors competing. Judges eventually crowned winners for the best “Savory” and the best “Sweet” chef’s masterpiece based on flavor, presentation, innovation, and quality. A wonderful Yummie panel of judges included Celebrity Chef Eric Kopelow; along with Chef Masa Shimakawa, Chef de Cuisine of ONYX at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village; Master Chef competitor, fashion stylist, and creative consultant, Olivia Crouppen; Lisa McKinnon, food columnist for the Ventura County Star; Chef Nic Manocchio of University Auxiliary Services – California State University Channel Islands; Actress Denise Boutte, co-author of Southern Modified and CEO of Weeziana Girl Spices; Chef Carson Peterson, Top Chef Jr. Season 2 contestant; and Billy Koskoff.

The 2019 Yummie Top Chef Award Winners in the Savory category were 1st place – Chef Abdu Romero of SLATE Bistro for his Coconut Shrimp on Okinawan potato, ginger coconut cream, pineapple, Thai chili, and scallions; 2nd place winner, Chef Jeff Downey of The Saticoy Club for his marinated and grilled octopus lightly sautéed with garlic, heirloom cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, fresh lemon juice and basil served with warm flat bread; and placing 3rd in the Savory category was Chef Alex Castillo of Twenty88 Bistro for his mashed fried plantain cake with chicharron topped with slow cooked pork belly, blood orange & quince glaze, pickled seasonal veggies, and lemon grass ginger pesto oil.

The Yummie winners in the Sweet category included 1st place to Chef Julia San Bartolome of Sweet Arleen’s for her Mexican Hot Leche cake – a tequila infused chocolate cake served on a jalapeno & lime sour cream sauce, drenched with a homemade Hot Leche over cinnamon sugar crunch.; 2nd place was Chef Anastasia Chavez of The 2686 Kitchen/Ojai Beverage Company for her Lemon Verbena Cheesecake with Mascarpone custard, citrus graham crust, Blueberry ale compote, and salted honeycomb crunch; and placing 3rd in the Sweet category was Chef Alex Montoya of Fluid State Beer Garden for his Bourbon Butterscotch Oolong Frozen Custard, gold chocolate hardshell, pecans, sprinkled with salt. All the Yummie winners, and the “Best in Fest” brewery winner – Firestone Walker Brewing Company were awarded their prizes on the main stage. 

Casa Pacifica and the Angels want to extend their gratitude to their generous Hosts, The Zarley Family; The Van Huisen Family; Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth & Wynner, PC; Conico Oil/MacValley Oil, Mission Produce, SDI, and Trans-Pro Logistics. And a huge thank you to everyone who attended, we appreciate your support - because of you we are able to help change the trajectory of children’s lives.

Source: Benzinga

Sold Out Casa Pacifica 5th Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner Kicks off Big Weekend

June 03, 2019

‘An Elegant Evening in the Garden’ kicked off Casa Pacifica’s big weekend of events. The sold out dinner on Friday, May 31st, served as a lively prelude to the highly anticipated 26th Annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival on Sunday, June 2nd. The Dinner, set in the Festival’s VIP tent, brought together some of Casa Pacifica’s previous Yummie Culinary Competition winners to create an unforgettable epicurean event. Retired Sheriff Geoff Dean returned as emcee of the Yummie Top Chef Dinner, always a crowd favorite with his humor and passion for Casa Pacifica’s cause of helping foster and at-risk youth.

The showcased chefs cooked up some of their best dishes for more than 220 guests to enjoy. Yummie Top Chef Dinner chefs and Mark and Nicole Valdivia from The Cave, exclusive providers of the Dinner’s wine, were a highlight of the event when they joined the guests to share special insights and details of their contributions. Live music by Jack Benny was sprinkled throughout the night and kept the atmosphere lively.

A crisp evening provided the perfect backdrop as guests started arriving to the Yummie Top Chef Dinner. They were greeted with delicious lamb tartare hors d’oeuvres from Chef Tim Kilcoyne of World Central Kitchen. The hors d’oeuvres complemented the libations provided by The Cave. The cocktails were poured out of The Cave’s recently debuted vintage-inspired Rocks & Drams trailer: a delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Mule and a Blood Orange Spritz both featuring Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s SLOambic Wild Ale, winner of Casa Pacifica’s 2019 “Best in Fest” Brewery Competition was also on tap for guests to enjoy.

The garden area featured a silent auction including a gallery of kids art – all pieces done by kids at Casa Pacifica. All proceeds from the art went directly to Casa Pacifica’s recreation therapy department.

To kick-off the sit-down portion of the dinner, hosts Hugh and Keets Cassar of The Cassar Family, gave a warm welcome and led guests in a cheerful toast to Casa Pacifica.

The tasty appetizer led perfectly into the first course, which was a beautifully prepared Jasmine Brined Jidori Chicken presented by Chef Nic Mannocchio of University Auxiliary Services – CSUCI. The dish featured a sesame sticky rice crisp and lotus root slaw, ginger avocado coulis, and a sambal yuzu balsamic glaze. The Chicken was paired with J. Wilkes Pinot Blanc. Chef Ricardo T. Carreto of Water’s Edge created the second course, which was paired with Sbragia’s Home Ranch Chardonnay. The dish featured a perfectly Pan Seared Diver Scallop laid over a crispy seasonal polenta cake finished with a refreshing chimichurri sauce.

A quick intermezzo of lemon sorbet with a key lime and mint simple syrup by Chef Nic Manocchio gave guests a refreshing palette cleanser while participating in a lively live auction and listening to an update on Casa Pacifica given by Casa Pacifica CEO Dr. Steve Elson. The live auction gave guests the chance to bid on unique experiences like a Staples Center luxury suite, in-home dinners prepared by professional chefs, and the opportunity to the Rocks & Drams cocktail trailer come to your at-home party.

The third course was prepared by Chef Jason Collis of Plated Events by Chef Jason which highlighted a delicious Cioppino with a crushed garlic spread topped crustini. Curran’s Grenache Rose perfectly complemented the savory dish. The fourth course showcased Chef Alex Montoya of Fluid State Beer Garden who presented a honey-sesame peppered pork medallion, Shishito risotto, charred cherry gastrique, scallions, and microgreens. Ventura Wine Company’s Pinot Noir complemented the pork medallion flawlessly. The last of the savory courses, number five, featured a beautiful Beef Wellington by 3-time champion and reigning Yummie Culinary Competition winner Chef Alex Castillo of Twenty88 Bistro. The Beef Wellington featured a perfect piece of Filet Mignon and mushrooms wrapped in a puff pastry and baked, topped with a tri-color creamy peppercorn sauce, celery root mashed, and seasonal vegetables. This final savory dish was paired with Robert Mondavi’s Maestro Red.

The night ended with a sweet dessert duo; one dish by Chef Amanda Pritchett of Ragamuffin Coffee Roasters and another by the team of Chef Julia San Bartolome of Sweet Arleen’s and Chef Anastashia Chavez of The 2686 Kitchen & Ojai Beverage Company. The dessert duo included a Gluten-Free chocolate cake with strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting. The other part of the duo, by Chef Amanda Pritchett and Chef Anastashia Chavez featured an herbed cornmeal cake made with the 2019 “Best in Fest” beer, Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s SLOambic Wild Ale and citrus fruit caramel.

The Cassar Family hosted the Dinner for the sixth year running, and were joined by other Yummie Top Chef Dinner sponsors including Ventura Rental Party & Events; Roz Warner, M.D. & Michael Hogan, M.D.; Bill & Jewell Gerald Powell, Timothy Bradley & Kelli Stephens; Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth & Wynner PC; PODS; and Procter & Gamble.

All proceeds from the Yummie Top Chef Dinner directly support Casa Pacifica’s vital programs and services serving vulnerable children, youth, and their families.

Source: Benzinga

Raise a glass and toast this fundraiser

May 31, 2019

Local nonprofit Casa Pacifica is gearing up for its biggest fundraiser of the year, the 26th annual Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival from 1 to 5 p.m. Sun., June 2 at California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo.

The festival has grown into one of the largest food and drink events in California and has been voted Best Charity Event and Best Food and Drink Festival by VC Reporter seven years running. The event will offer an array of exhibitors presenting food samples from restaurants, caterers, bakeries and specialty shops, including fine wines, brews and specialty beverages from throughout California.

VIP guests will be welcomed with champagne and small bites from Mastro’s Steakhouse. A large online silent auction will have vacations, dining experiences, wine tastings and jewelry. The event will have entertainment onthe main stage throughout the day and a dance floor.

Guests will have an opportunity to sample the winning Best in Fest brew. The competition winner will be crowned on the main stage during the festival.

The Yummie Culinary Competition will crown winners for the best savory and the best sweet chef’s masterpiece among the participating exhibitors.

Actor Oded Fehr will return to emcee the culinary competition. All proceeds from the festival benefit Casa Pacifica and their programs and services for children and families. Attendees must be age 21 or older.

Source: Acorn Moorpark

Cafe Society: Casa Pacifica’s Yummie dinner offers behind-the-scenes fun for diners, chefs

May 23, 2019

When the Yummie Top Chef Dinner takes place in a tent erected on the CSU Channel Islands campus in Camarillo, ticket-holding guests will be treated to fine wines, an appearance by retired Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean as emcee and decor in keeping with the event’s “Elegant Evening in the Garden” theme.

But for foodies, the real party will be in the back. That’s where diners will find at least 10 previous winners of the Yummie Top Chef Culinary Competition and their crews working together to produce the dinner’s seven-course menu on May 31 – a day and a half before the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival. (Both events benefit Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families.)

“It’s fun for us as chefs, because it gives us a chance to catch up, to help plate and to taste each other’s food,” said Tim Kilcoyne, who took top honors during the festival’s first competition in 2009. He was co-owner and executive chef of the late SideCar Restaurant in midtown Ventura at the time, and “Leave it to Beaver” star Jerry Mathers and yours truly were among the judges who couldn’t get enough of his crispy Niman Ranch pork belly with blueberry-chipotle barbecue sauce and Tamai Family Farms creamed corn.

Kilcoyne now travels the globe as director of chef operations for World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization launched by Nobel Peace Prize-nominated chef José Andrés. He first became involved with WCK as a volunteer just days after the Thomas Fire ripped through Ventura County.

There are parallels between some WCK missions and the Yummie dinner, which comes together in a temporary kitchen equipped with stoves and prep tables just behind the main tent.“It might be a little more luxurious, but it has the same feel: a tent with a lot of chefs working together to feed people,” said Kilcoyne. He plans to make the evening’s appetizer course.

Joining in will be Jason Collis, a fellow World Central Kitchen volunteer turned disaster-relief operations lead who also co-owns the Ventura County-based catering company Plated Events by Chef Jason. His course will feature cioppino and white-bean-and-crushed-garlic crostini.

With three years of back-to-back wins in the competition’s savory category, reigning Yummie champion Alex Castillo, executive chef at Twenty88 in Camarillo, said this week that his course will include medallions of beef Wellington with roasted baby carrots, celery-root mash and peppercorn sauce.

Also making a triumphant return will be baker Amanda Pritchett of Ragamuffin Coffee Roasters in Oxnard and Newbury Park. She won first place in the sweet category last year with a cold-brew-and-chocolate-brownie dessert that made competition history as the first vegan dish to take top honors in either category.

For the May 31 dinner, Pritchett and Jess Loose plan to serve a gluten-free chocolate cake layered with strawberry mousse, strawberry jam and fluffy cream cheese frosting. And that’s just one of the desserts.

Repeat Yummie winners Julia San Bartolome, pastry chef and co-owner of Sweet Arleen’s in the Westlake Plaza shopping center (more about her in a minute) and Anastashia Chavez, now the pastry chef for Ojai Beverage Co. and The 2686 Kitchen in Ventura, are collaborating on a dish that will showcase Firestone Walker Brewing Co.‘s SLOambic Wild Ale. The beer fermented with blackberries won the festival’s sixth annual Best in Fest Brewery Competition in April.

“We’re trying to keep everything local with this dessert, from the beer, to the produce to even the type of cake,” Chavez said. It will feature an herbed cornmeal cake with citrus caramel and SLOambic preserves made with herbs, flowers and fruits from King & King Ranch in Fillmore.

“That’s our basic description, but we’re going to use our crazy pastry brains and get very creative and artsy with the plating, textures (and) color,” she added.

Other participating chefs include Alex Montoya, a Yummie finalist in sweet and savory categories who in January moved to a new post as executive chef under chef/owner Aaron Duncan at Fluid State Beer Garden in Ventura. For the dinner, Montoya plans to serve honey-sesame peppered pork medallions with shishito risotto and charred cherry gastrique.

Nic Manocchio, who nabbed his first Yummie award a decade ago while working as executive chef at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel, will be back as chef de cuisine for University Auxiliary Services at CSUCI, where he’s been part of the culinary team since 2014.

And Ricardo T. Carreto, executive chef at Water’s Edge Restaurant & Bar in Ventura, is taking part after winning third place in the Yummie’s savory category last year, when the restaurant was known as Rhumb Line. His course will feature crispy polenta cakes topped with seared diver scallops and chimichurri.

The dinner will include the event debut of Rocks & Drams, a custom-built mobile craft-cocktail bar launched in April as the catering extension of The Cave at Ventura Wine Co. Tickets for the dinner, $250 per person, are available at https://bit.ly/2JY7hyU.

The 26th annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival will take place from 1-5 p.m. June 2. General admission tickets are $150 in advance or $175 at the door. VIP tickets, $275, include entry at noon and access to the VIP Lounge, which will offer food by Mastro’s Steakhouse and Plated Events by Chef Jason, plus a beer garden and craft cocktails from Rocks & Drams.

Source: VC Star

Wine, beer and food make fest a must

May 17, 2019

Local nonprofit Casa Pacifica will host its biggest fundraiser of the year, the 26th annual Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival from 1 to 5 p.m. Sun., June 2 at Cal State Channel Islands, Camarillo.
The festival has grown into one of the largest food and drink events in California and has been voted Best Charity Event and Best Food and Drink Festival by VC Reporter seven years running.

Exhibitors will offer food samples from restaurants, caterers, bakeries and specialty shops, including fine wines, brews and specialty beverages from throughout California. VIP guests will receive champagne and small bites from Mastro’s Steakhouse. A large online silent auction will have vacations, dining experiences, wine tastings and jewelry. The event will have live entertainment from the main stage all day and a dance floor.

The Yummie Culinary Competition will crown winners for the best savory and the best sweet chef’s masterpiece among the participating exhibitors. All proceeds from the festival will benefit Casa Pacifica and their services for children and families. Attendees must be age 21 or older. Tickets are $150 general admission and $275 VIP. Admission includes all food and drink. Online tickets are charged a service fee.

Source: Acorn Moorpark

One of the Biggest Festivals in the Tri-Counties is Almost Sold Out

May 17, 2019

Local nonprofit Casa Pacifica’s biggest fundraiser of the year is almost here – and it’s almost sold out. The 26th annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival still has tickets available but not for long! This local festival sells out every year and this year will be no different. The Festival will be taking place on Sunday, June 2nd at CSU Channel Islands. Get your tickets today at cpwinefoodbrewfest.com before they sell out –  $150/Admission Tickets; $175/At-the-door Admission Tickets; $275/VIP Tickets (all prices subject to availability). All proceeds from the Festival benefit Casa Pacifica and their vital programs and services for foster and at-risk youth and their families.

The Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival has grown into one of the largest food and drink events in California and has been voted Best Charity Event and Best Food & Drink Festival by VC Reporter seven years running. This year’s Festival will offer an unbeatable array of over 150 exhibitors presenting delicious food samples from fabulous restaurants, caterers, bakeries, and specialty shops, to the palette-pleasing tastes of fine wines, smooth brews, and specialty beverages from throughout the region and California. Live entertainment throughout the day will feature DJ and Master of Ceremonies Bruce Barrios, Benise’s Band of Gypsies, and N’Demand. 

VIP guests will be welcomed with champagne and small bites from Mastro’s Steakhouse. The always popular VIP Lounge will feature Magnavino Cellars, Plated Events by Chef Jason, The Anheuser-Busch Belgium Beer Garden, and The Cave who will be pouring craft cocktails from the VIP bar as well as their new Rocks & Drams vintage inspired trailer. VIP guests will also enjoy live music by Sound Effect, photobooth fun by Conejo Photobooth, and cocktails featuring The Bloody Cure and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

Other highlights of the Festival include an opportunity to sample the 2019 “Best in Fest” Brew – Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s SLOambic Wild Ale. Honorable Mentions MadeWest’s Prospect Porter and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.’s Point Conception West Coast IPA will also be available for tasting. Firestone Walker will be officially crowned “Best in Fest” on the main stage during the Festival. The Yummie Culinary Competition will also crown winners for the best “Savory” and the best “Sweet” chef’s masterpiece among the participating exhibitors. The Competition is expected to be fierce this year with returning Savory champion Chef Alex Castillo of Twenty88 defending his title for the fourth year in a row. The panel of esteemed Yummie Culinary Competiton judges will include: Olivia Crouppen, food stylist and culinary producer; Chef Masa Shimakawa, Chef de Cuisine of ONYX at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village; Celebrity Chef Eric Kopelow; Chef Nic Manocchio, University Auxilary Services at CSU Channel Islands; Lisa McKinnon, food columnist at the Ventura County Star; Chef Carson Peterson, Top Chef Jr. Season 2 contestant; and Actress Denise Boutte, Co-Author of Southern Modified and CEO of Weeziana Girl Spices. Actor and Ojai local, Oded Fehr will be returning to emcee the culinary competition.

Can’t make it to the Festival? You can still join in the fun and support Casa Pacifica by browsing and bidding at their large online silent auction! Shoppers will be tempted with must-have vacations, dining experiences, wine tastings, jewelry, and more. Check out the silent auction and start bidding today by visiting hope4kids.givesmart.com. You don’t need to be at the Festival to bid or win!

Casa Pacifica is humbled to have the generous support of their Festival hosts: The Van Huisen Family; The Zarley Family; Conico Oil/MacValley Oil; Mission Produce; Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth & Wynner, PC; SDI Industries; and Trans-Pro Logistics. If you are interested in supporting Casa Pacifica by sponsoring or being an exhibitor at the festival, please visit www.cpwinefoodbrewfest.com. For further questions please contact Anna Coulson, Special Events Manager for Casa Pacifica at (805) 366-4023, or by email at acoulson@casapacifica.org.

Source: Citizen's Journal

A delicious fundraising fest for Casa Pacifica

May 16, 2019

Local nonprofit Casa Pacifica is gearing up for its biggest fundraiser of the year, the 26th annual Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival from 1 to 5 p.m. Sun., June 2 at Cal State Channel Islands, Camarillo.

The festival has grown into one of the largest food and drink events in California and has been voted Best Charity Event and Best Food and Drink Festival by VC Reporter seven years running.

The event will offer an array of exhibitors presenting food samples from restaurants, caterers, bakeries and specialty shops, including fine wines, brews and specialty beverages from throughout California.

VIP guests will receive champagne and small bites from Mastro’s Steakhouse. A large online silent auction will have vacations, dining experiences, wine tastings and jewelry.

The event will have live entertainment from the main stage throughout the day and a dance floor. Guests will have an opportunity to sample the winning Best in Fest brew. The competition winner will be crowned on the main stage during the festival.

The Yummie Culinary Competition will crown winners for the best savory and the best sweet chef’s masterpiece among the participating exhibitors. Returning savory champion Chef Alex Castillo of Twenty88 defending his title for the fourth year in a row. Actor Oded Fehr will return to emcee the culinary competition.

All proceeds from the festival will benefit Casa Pacifica and their programs and services for children and families. Attendees must be age 21 or older. Tickets are $150 general admission and $275 VIP. Admission includes all food and drink. Online tickets are charged an additional service fee.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

Casa Pacifica honors volunteers at appreciation luncheon

May 10, 2019

In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Week in April, Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families dedicated a luncheon to its volunteers. In addition to thanking all the volunteers and contributing organizations, Casa Pacifica singled out four for special recognition: Kevin Nunn, Volunteer of the Year; Mamba Sports Academy, Community Volunteer of the Year; Susan Bauer, Angel of the Year; and Julia Brankovic, Amigo of the Year.

Nunn is a longtime, active member of the Camarillo Noontime Rotary, and currently serves as co-chair of the Care for Kids Golf Tournament, one of the longest running local charity golf tournaments that benefits Casa Pacifica, among other local charities.

Over the last few years, Mamba Sports Academy has developed and implemented a weekly program for Casa Pacifica youth. Sports training, both at its facility and on Casa Pacifica’s campus, has offered youth an opportunity to work on not only physical fitness, but develop life skills like teamwork, patience, mindfulness and communication.

Mamba Sports has also hosted Casa Pacifica youth in its Full Circle Athlete Development Program, giving youth the opportunity for individual training sessions, coaching and mindset development.

Bauer has been involved with Casa Pacifica for more than 12 years. She has served on the Angels board, hosted Casa Pacifica’s Spotlight on Style fundraiser, worked on planning committees and hosted retreats.

In addition to being longtime supporters of Casa Pacifica, Bauer and her husband, Ken, were major contributors to Casa Pacifica’s recent capital campaign for a new training institute and co-occurring cottages. The Bauer Teaching Kitchen in the new Training Institute now offers youth the opportunity to learn important life skills.

Brankovic serves as the Amigos membership chair but is involved in all aspects of the auxiliary group. She spearheaded the revival of the Amigos newsletter, an important part of keeping the Amigos connected as a group. She also connects Casa Pacifica to her contacts in the community, spreading the word about its programs and services.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

Casa Pacifica picks county’s best brew…and the winner is…

May 03, 2019

Raise a pint and toast Firestone Walker Brewing Company, winner of the top prize at Casa Pacifica’s Best in Fest Brewery Competition. Firestone Walker, which is based in Paso Robles, was crowned Best in Fest thanks to its blackberry-infused SLOambic Wild Ale. According to the brewery, the beer’s fruity taste “gives way to a rustic funk and soft oak flavors, finishing with a mouth-watering acidity.”

MadeWest’s Prospect Porter and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.’s Point Conception West Coast IPA earned honorable mentions at the competition, which was held April 28 at Bottle & Pint in The Annex at Oxnard’s Collection RiverPark shopping center. This was the second year the Best in Fest judging was open to the public.

The breweries vying for the title also included: 14 Cannons Brewery, Concrete Jungle Brewing Project, Enegren Brewing Company, Flat Fish Brewing Co., Ojai Valley Brewery, Poseidon Brewing Company, Red Tandem Brewery, Rincon Brewery, Seaward Brewing, Third Window Brewing, Topa Topa Brewing Co., Twisted Oak Tavern and Brewery and Ventura Coast Brewing Co. All 16 brews from this competition will also be available for tasting at the 26th annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival on Sun., June 2 at California State University Channel Islands.

Proceeds from the Best in Fest Brewery Competition and the Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival support Casa Pacifica and the services for foster and at-risk youth and their families that it provides.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

Out of 16 beers, this Firestone Walker brew came out on top in Casa Pacifica competition

May 3, 2019

The winner of a local beer competition is a brew you probably haven’t tried before.

Firestone Walker’s SLOambic Wild Ale, a brew fermented with blackberries, nabbed the top prize at Casa Pacifica’s “Best in Fest” event earlier this week. The two beers that received honorable mention were MadeWest’s Prospect Porter and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.‘s Point Conception West Coast IPA.

The beer competition, in its sixth year, was held at Oxnard’s Bottle and Pint, located in The Annex at The Collection. Proceeds of the event, which was open to the public, will go toward foster and at-risk youth services for Casa Pacifica.

Sixteen breweries, most of them based in Ventura County, competed for the top prize.

Contestants were: 14 Cannons Brewery, Concrete Jungle Brewing Project, Enegren Brewing Company, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Flat Fish Brewing Co., MadeWest Brewing Company, Ojai Valley Brewery, Poseidon Brewing Company, Red Tandem Brewery, Rincon Brewery, Seaward Brewing, Third Window Brewing, Topa Topa Brewing Co., Twisted Oak Tavern & Brewery and Ventura Coast Brewing Co.

Last year, Topa Topa’s Chief Peak IPA took home the top prize.

A team of beer aficionados and cicerones judged the competition, including Jorge Alem, owner of the Ojai Beverage Company and Jason Hendricks, general manager of Barrelhouse 101.

The beers featured in the competition will all be poured at the next Casa Pacifica event, the Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival on June 2. At the CSU Channel Islands event, the winning beer from Firestone Walker will be officially crowned.

SLOambic is part of Firestone Walker’s Barrelworks series, or barrel-aged beers brewed in small batches. This beer that took the top prize is their Sour Opal brewed with marionberries and boysenberries and aged in French oak barrels. According to the Firestone Walker website, bottles of SLOambic are extremely limited but it is offered on draft at the brewery’s Buellton and Venice locations.

For more information about the next food and brew festival, visit www.cpwinefoodbrewfest.com.

Source: VC Star

Biz Buzz - Casa Pacifica rebrands START Program

May 2, 2019

Casa Pacifica rebranded its START program, now Camino a Casa, which means Way Home. The program offers therapeutic intervention for youth heading into or being discharged from psychiatric hospitalization. It provides access to Casa Pacifica’s cutting-edge mental health services through private insurance/private pay.

Source: VC Reporter

Café Society – Yummie Dinner

April 25, 2019

The Yummie Top Chef Dinner, a seven-course meal prepared by previous winners of the Yummie Top Chef contest, will be served from 6-10 p.m. in the VIP tent erected on the CSU Channel Islands campus in Camarillo in anticipation of the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival on June 2.

The May 31 dinner will be paired with wines and the 2019 Best in Fest Brewery Competition-winning beer, which will be selected during a ticketed event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28 at Bottle & Pint in Oxnard. Proceeds from each event will benefit Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families. For dinner tickets, $250, go to https://www.cpwineandfoodfestival.com.

Source: VC Star

Happenings – Best in Fest

April 24, 2019

CASA PACIFICA’S “BEST IN FEST” BREWERY COMPETITION 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The Best in Fest Brewery Competition 1st Place award goes to the best beer being poured during the Casa Pacifica Wine, Food and Beer festival, and guests will be able to sample beer alongside professional judges at this event. $50. Bottle & Pint, 550 Collection Blvd #160, Oxnard, www.cpwineandfoodfestival.com.

Source: VC Reporter

Arbys Sign Demolished Without Warning (Best in Fest)

April 18, 2019

More than a dozen craft breweries from Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties are expected to vie for votes when the ticketed Best in Fest Brewery Competition is tapped from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28 at Bottle & Pint in Oxnard.

Members of the public can taste along with a judge’s panel of experts during the event, which is presented as a fundraiser for Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families. The winning brew will be featured during the Yummie Top Chef Dinner on May 31. The winning brewer will be awarded a wrestling championship-style belt trophy on stage during the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival on June 2.

For Best in Fest Brewery Competition tickets, $50, click on http://www.cpwinefoodbrewfest.com.

Source: VC Star

Enjoy Tastings from the Best Local Breweries at Casa Pacifica’s “Best in Fest” Brewery Competition

April 15, 2019

The ultimate battle of the beers is almost here! Tickets are on sale now for Casa Pacifica’s 6th annual “Best in Fest” Brewery Competition held Sunday, April 28th at Bottle & Pint in The Annex at The Collection RiverPark. Get your tickets today at cpwinefoodbrewfest.com. The Competition has been a welcome addition to Casa Pacifica’s award-winning Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival – delighting beer lovers and local breweries alike. The top prize has become coveted among the breweries, along with the bragging rights that come with the victory.

The “Best in Fest” Brewery Competition is a more recent addition to the Casa Pacifica events mix, open to the public for only the second year even though the competition has been crowning a winning brew for the past six years. Last year, Topa Topa Brewing Co. took home the top prize with their Chief Peak IPA. Institution Ale’s Rx Pils and MadeWest’s Red Rye earned honorable mentions. At this year’s “Best in Fest” competition, guests will get to sample the brews alongside the judges and enjoy small bites from other Annex tenants: Seoul Sausage, Taqueria El Tapatio, and The Blend Superfood Bar.

Breweries in the running for this year’s Best in Fest title are: 14 Cannons Brewery, Concrete Jungle Brewing Project, Enegren Brewing Company, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Flat Fish Brewing Co., Institution Ale Company, Madewest Brewing Company, Ojai Valley Brewery, Red Tandem Brewery, Rincon Brewery, Seaward Brewing, Third Window Brewing, Topa Topa Brewing Co., Twisted Oak Tavern & Brewery, and Ventura Coast Brewing Co.

The judges charged with the task of determining which brew is “best in fest” are: Kevin Pratt, the nation’s second highest ranked beer judge; Erin Peters, also known as “The Beer Goddess”; Monie Wickenden, Beer rep for Wine Warehouse; Bec O’Neal, Sales Rep for Stone Distribution Company; and Zach Rosen, Certified Cicerone.

All proceeds from the “Best in Fest” Brewery Competition directly support Casa Pacifica and its vital services for foster and at-risk youth. For tickets and sponsorship information on the “Best in Fest” Brewery Competition, please visit http://www.cpwinefoodbrewfest.com. For further questions please contact Anna Coulson, Special Events Manager for Casa Pacifica at (805) 366-4023, or by email at acoulson@casapacifica.org.

Source: PR Web

Casa Pacifica Prepares for Biggest Fundraiser of the Year - The Award Winning Angels Wine, Food & Br

April 8, 2019

Local nonprofit Casa Pacifica is gearing up for their biggest fundraiser of the year – their annual Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival. Tickets are on sale now for the 26th Annual Festival which will be held on Sunday, June 2nd at CSU Channel Islands. Get your tickets today at cpwinefoodbrewfest.com. All proceeds from the Festival benefit Casa Pacifica and their vital programs and services for children and families.

The Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival has grown into one of the largest food and drink events in California and has been voted Best Charity Event and Best Food & Drink Festival by VC Reporter seven years running. This year’s Festival will once again offer an unbeatable array of exhibitors presenting delicious food samples from fabulous restaurants, caterers, bakeries, and specialty shops, to the palette-pleasing tastes of fine wines, smooth brews, and specialty beverages from throughout the region and California. VIP guests will be welcomed with champagne and small bites from Mastro’s Steakhouse. A large online silent auction will tempt festival-goers with must-have vacations, dining experiences, wine tastings, and jewelry. Live entertainment from the main stage throughout the day will keep the festival-goers rocking out and crowding the festival’s dance floor. 

Highlights of the Festival will include an opportunity to sample the winning “Best in Fest” brew - the competition winner will be crowned on the main stage during the Festival. The Yummie Culinary Competition will also crown winners for the best “Savory” and the best “Sweet” chef’s masterpiece among the participating exhibitors. The Competition is expected to be fierce this year with returning savory champion Chef Alex Castillo of Twenty88 defending his title for the fourth year in a row. The panel of esteemed Yummie Culinary Competiton judges will include: Olivia Crouppen, food stylist and culinary producer; Chef Masa Shimakawa, Chef de Cuisine of ONYX at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village; Celebrity Chef Eric Kopelow; Chef Nic Manocchio, University Auxilary Services at CSU Channel Islands; Lisa McKinnon, food columnist at the Ventura County Star; Chef Carson Peterson, Top Chef Jr. Season 2 contestant; and Actress Denise Boutte, Co-Author of Southern Modified and CEO of Weeziana Girl Spices. Actor and Ojai local, Oded Fehr will be returning to emcee the culinary competition.

Casa Pacifica is humbled to have the generous support of their Festival hosts: Conico Oil/MacValley Oil; Mission Produce; Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth & Wynner, PC; SDI Industries; Trans-Pro Logistics; The Van Huisen Family; and The Zarley Family. If you are interested in supporting Casa Pacifica by sponsoring or being an exhibitor at the festival, please visit http://www.cpwinefoodbrewfest.com. For further questions please contact Anna Coulson, Special Events Manager for Casa Pacifica at (805) 366-4023, or by email at acoulson@casapacifica.org.

Source: PR Web

Tickets On Sale Now for Casa Pacifica’s Award Winning Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival

February 18, 2019


Tickets for three highly-anticipated Casa Pacifica events are on sale now. The “Best in Fest” Brewery Competition will pick its winner on Sunday, April 28th; the 6thAnnual Yummie Top Chef Dinner will take place on Friday, May 31st; and the 26th Annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival will be held on Sunday, June 2nd. Visit www.cpwinefoodbrewfest.com for tickets and more information.

The “Best in Fest” Brewery Competition is a more recent addition to the Casa Pacifica events mix, open to the public for only the second year even though the competition has been crowning a winning brew for the past six years. The ticketed event will be held at Bottle & Pint in The Annex at The Collection RiverPark in Oxnard. Guests will get to sample the brews alongside the judges and enjoy small bites from other Annex tenants.

The 6th Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner will be held on Friday evening May 31st. The intimate dinner features past Yummie Culinary Competition winners from the Wine, Food & Brew Festival who create a special seven-course dinner for the guests, paired with award-winning wines and the 2019 champion “Best in Fest” Brew.

The Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival has grown into one of the largest food and drink events in California and has been voted Best Charity Event and Best Food & Drink Festival by VC Reporter seven years running. The “Best in Fest” brewery competition winner will be crowned and show off their winning creation, and the Yummie Culinary Competition will also crown winners for the best “Savory” and the best “Sweet” chef’s masterpiece among the participating exhibitors. All proceeds from the Wine, Food & Brew Festival will benefit the vital programs and services Casa Pacifica provides to the community’s most vulnerable children and their families.

Casa Pacifica is excited to welcome back their generous Festival hosts: Conico Oil/MacValley Oil; Mission Produce; Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth & Wynner, PC; SDI Industries; Trans-Pro Logistics; The Van Huisen Family; and The Zarley Family. The Festival will once again offer an unbeatable array of exhibitors presenting delicious food samples from fabulous restaurants, caterers, bakeries, and specialty shops, to the palette-pleasing tastes of fine wines, smooth brews, and specialty beverages from throughout the region and California. A large online silent auction will tempt festival-goers with must-have, one-of-a-kind, and fun-focused baskets. Live entertainment from the main stage throughout the day will keep the festival-goers rocking out and crowding the festival’s dance floor.

Source: Citizen's Journal

Cafe Society: Scratch chef Tim Kilcoyne closes restaurant to focus on disaster-relief work

February 14, 2019

For the first time in 15 years, chef Tim Kilcoyne doesn’t have a restaurant, cafe, food truck or sandwich counter in Ventura County. In another first, he has no plans to open something new. “It came down to not being able to give 100 percent to so many different things,” Kilcoyne said Tuesday of his decision to close Scratch Sandwich Counter, the Oxnard bricks-and-mortar version of his former food truck of a similar name. 

Kilcoyne will instead focus on his work with World Central Kitchen, the disaster-relief organization founded in 2010 by James Beard Award-winning chef – and current Nobel Peace Prize nominee – José Andrés as a way to help feed people during natural and man-made disasters. The nonprofit has activated temporary kitchens across the globe, including a stint in Ventura after the Thomas Fire swept through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in December 2017. Kilcoyne joined fellow Ventura County chef Jason Collis, of the catering company Plated Events, in spearheading the Thomas Fire response, which saw hundreds of local volunteers working in the San Buenaventura Mission kitchen to create thousands of hot meals for evacuees and first responders.

Kilcoyne and Collis went on to oversee WCK efforts in Hawaii and Guatemala and, during the Woolsey and Hill fires, the kitchen at Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families in Camarillo. In November, they helped prepare 15,000 Thanksgiving dinners in Chico for survivors of the Camp Fire. Last month, they traveled to Washington D.C. to join Andrés and a cavalcade of local and visiting celebrity chefs to feed workers furloughed during the government shutdown. “In a single day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., we served 11,500 people. There was a line down the side and around the building and down the next block – on a day when it was, like, 7 degrees and snowing,” Kilcoyne recalled. “If you are willing to go through that to get a sandwich, you really need that sandwich.”

Kilcoyne acknowledged that his work with WCK hasn’t left much time for Scratch Sandwich Counter. The restaurant had been open for less than a month when the Thomas Fire struck the region, forcing Kilcoyne, wife Lisa Kilcoyne and son Arlo, then 6 months, to flee their home. On Tuesday, Kilcoyne said that, due to WCK commitments, he has spent fewer than 10 days total in Ventura County since the first of the year. “I’d hoped to be more hands-off with Scratch, because as I get older, it’s harder to stand in front of the stove for hours and hours. That turned out to be more difficult than I’d thought because I’ve always been so hands-on,” said Kilcoyne, who turns 41 next month.

In contrast, his duties with WCK are more clearly focused on his organizational skills. Kilcoyne travels to trouble spots to coordinate chefs, suppliers, volunteers and delivery teams, often working in tandem with local first responders. As the son of a retired Los Angeles Police detective who headed a task force to successfully capture a serial killer known as the Grim Sleeper, Kilcoyne said he feels a special kinship with those in law enforcement. “I care about people and I want to take care of them. Cooking is one way to do that. So is law enforcement. What I do now with World Central Kitchen melds those two worlds together,” he said.

The public announcement that Scratch Sandwich Counter was closing came after the fact, in a Feb. 9 post to the business’ Facebook and Instagram accounts declaring the date as its final day of service. In the post, Kilcoyne thanked staff and patrons alike, adding that he planned to “step forward in pursuit of crafting a life that is more thoughtful, healthy and sustainable for myself and my family.” Scratch is the third restaurant to close at The Annex since the public-market style complex debuted at The Collection at RiverPark in November 2017. Gasolina Tapas and Pancake, both operated by Woodland Hills chef Sandra Cordero, closed in May and September, respectively. Kilcoyne said he was not present for Scratch’s final day. As of Wednesday, would-be patrons were still greeted by a sign that read “Sorry we are closed. Please come back and try us tomorrow.”

Bags of sandwich buns could be seen atop a shelving unit near the grill, and cans from local breweries remained in a refrigerated display case. Pre-portioned containers of Scratch ketchup and ranch dressing were stacked in bins next to the paper-lined orange trays on which the restaurant once served its vegetarian-friendly Sabbich pita sandwiches and Smoked Pork PB&Js made with local strawberry jam. “I haven’t decided yet what to do with the space. We may sublet it, or do something like monthly guest-chef appearances. But I’m trying to make things simpler in my life, and organizing a schedule of chefs doesn’t sound all that simple,” Kilcoyne said.

He previously co-owned, and was executive chef for, The SideCar Restaurant, which opened in 2003 in a Pullman railway car parked at 3029 E. Main St. in midtown Ventura. The full-service restaurant known for its local, seasonal fare and Grilled Cheese and Jazz nights closed a decade later, when the Kilcoynes were unable to obtain a new lease from the landlord. (The building remains empty, with dueling “for lease” and “limited occupancy” signs posted near the front entrance by a commercial real estate firm and the City of Ventura’s Building and Safety Department, respectively.) Kilcoyne also championed seasonal ingredients at The Local Cafe, which he and Lisa opened at 1751 E. Main St. in 2010. It closed a year and a half later when the building was sold and turned into Palermo Italian. It is now undergoing extensive remodeling for future use by Native Pizza.

After hitting the road in July 2013, Kilcoyne’s Scratch food truck had essentially rolled into retirement by the time Scratch Sandwich Counter opened nearly four years later. The truck was destroyed by fire in August. (The Scratch-branded ketchup it helped inspire is still being made by Red Hot Foods in Santa Paula according to Kilcoyne’s recipe. Look for bottles at SpiceTopia in Ventura and Whole Foods Market in Oxnard.) “We’re not leaving Ventura County, and I may one day open something else,” Kilcoyne said this week. “It feels strange not to have a restaurant after all of this time, but, at the same time, World Central Kitchen is keeping me pretty occupied.”

Source: VC Star

Tickets On Sale Now for Casa Pacifica’s Award Winning Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival

February 13, 2019

Tickets for three highly-anticipated Casa Pacifica events are on sale now. The “Best in Fest” Brewery Competition will pick its winner on Sunday, April 28th; the 6th Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner will take place on Friday, May 31st; and the 26th Annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival will be held on Sunday, June 2nd. Visit http://www.cpwinefoodbrewfest.com for tickets and more information.

The “Best in Fest” Brewery Competition is a more recent addition to the Casa Pacifica events mix, open to the public for only the second year even though the competition has been crowning a winning brew for the past six years. The ticketed event will be held at Bottle & Pint in The Annex at The Collection RiverPark in Oxnard. Guests will get to sample the brews alongside the judges and enjoy small bites from other Annex tenants.

The 6th Annual Yummie Top Chef Dinner will be held on Friday evening May 31st. The intimate dinner features past Yummie Culinary Competition winners from the Wine, Food & Brew Festival who create a special seven-course dinner for the guests, paired with award-winning wines and the 2019 champion “Best in Fest” Brew.

The Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival has grown into one of the largest food and drink events in California and has been voted Best Charity Event and Best Food & Drink Festival by VC Reporter seven years running. The “Best in Fest” brewery competition winner will be crowned and show off their winning creation, and the Yummie Culinary Competition will also crown winners for the best “Savory” and the best “Sweet” chef’s masterpiece among the participating exhibitors. All proceeds from the Wine, Food & Brew Festival will benefit the vital programs and services Casa Pacifica provides to the community’s most vulnerable children and their families.

Casa Pacifica is excited to welcome back their generous Festival hosts: Conico Oil/MacValley Oil; Mission Produce; Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth & Wynner, PC; SDI Industries; Trans-Pro Logistics; The Van Huisen Family; and The Zarley Family. The Festival will once again offer an unbeatable array of exhibitors presenting delicious food samples from fabulous restaurants, caterers, bakeries, and specialty shops, to the palette-pleasing tastes of fine wines, smooth brews, and specialty beverages from throughout the region and California. A large online silent auction will tempt festival-goers with must-have, one-of-a-kind, and fun-focused baskets. Live entertainment from the main stage throughout the day will keep the festival-goers rocking out and crowding the festival’s dance floor.

Source: Broadway World

Fire-scarred Ventura psych hospital opens more beds; need for additional care continues

February 11, 2019

A Ventura psychiatric hospital closed by the Thomas Fire opened 28 more beds Monday afternoon in a move observers say will address but not come close to ending a crisis-level need for in-patient psych care in Ventura County. Before flames raced across Ventura County in a December 2017 fire that was then the state’s largest ever wildfire, Vista del Mar Hospital operated 87 psychiatric beds. As many as 34 beds were available for adolescents 12 and older — the only such beds in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The fire destroyed two of the hospital’s five buildings and triggered a last-minute evacuation of staff and 67 patients. The closure of the entire campus exacerbated an already severe shortage for psychiatric beds in Ventura County with only one other available hospital, a 30-bed unit at Ventura County Medical Center that accepts only adult patients.

Some adolescent patients with psychiatric needs have received care at a county crisis stabilization unit and a related short-term care unit. Others were transported to facilities outside of Ventura County or stayed in emergency rooms until beds were found. “We may have to be searching throughout Southern California and sometimes throughout the state,” said Steve Elson, CEO of Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, which offers residential programs but not hospital care for youths. He said kids younger than 12 were hit harder because of the lack of in-patient programs aimed at them.

In the fire’s aftermath, Vista del Mar staff immediately launched efforts to reopen beds in the buildings that escaped severe fire damage, projecting some beds could be available within six months. But the flames unearthed a Pandora’s box of needs, many involving identifying and replacing a myriad of damaged water pipes. “We had a best-case scenario and a worst-case scenario,” said Jenifer Nyhuis, CEO of Vista del Mar, noting the latter situation is the one that emerged. Hospital leaders opened 27 beds in October and focused on building up a staff that was laid off after the fire. As of Monday, the nursing staff was at 80 people and the total staff at 150. About one-third of the workers were employed at Vista del Mar before the hire.

The hiring boost enabled the opening of a second patient building at 1 p.m. Monday, bringing total beds at the hospital to 55. The care includes 12 beds designated for veterans or people currently in the military. All of the 28 beds available Monday are targeted for adults but allowed other beds to be opened for youths. Across the hospital, the capacity for adolescents rises from 10 patients to 17. “It’s an impact,” said Nyhuis, noting the new beds more than double the hospital’s capacity. “Is it enough? No.” Leaders hope to expand to 120 beds.

Plans to rebuild the entire hospital continue with leaders hoping to expand care to 120 beds. That construction project is in the design stage and even on an expedited track won’t be finished until 2021 at the earliest. Observers say the beds opened Monday will make a difference. “The fact that there’s going to be a reopening is news to my ears,” said Dr. Bryan Wong, chief medical officer of a Ventura County Medical Center that hopes to expand its psychiatric hospital from 30 to 42 beds. “We’re constantly at capacity… This was a problem even before the Thomas Fire.”

Wong and others said the shortage means adolescent patients end up in hospital emergency rooms because there’s no where else to go. “We have people who are sitting in emergency rooms literally for days,” said Jeff McGreevy, crisis intervention training coordinator at the Oxnard Police Department. “It’s really a sad situation when it’s juveniles.” The shortage also means people may not get the level of care they need. Nyhuis said she’s been told of an increase in suicides during Vista del Mar’s closure. “It’s devastating,” she said, noting the hospital is designed as part of a safety net. It’s a private, for-profit facility but Nyhuis said its patient mix is split evenly between people covered by private insurers and those in government programs like Medi-Cal and Medicare.

Ventura County Behavioral Health operates a four-bed crisis unit in Oxnard that often has space and can provide care for up to a day. Longer but still short-term stabilization services are provided in a related two-bed county residential program. Wong said the Ventura County Medical Center also has plans to start a 12-bed crisis stablization unit that would be dedicated to adults. Others push for more state funding for psychiatric care and cite a new California law that provides a licensing category to allow residential facilities to provide crisis stabilization treatment beds. “Any increase in capacity locally is going to have a significant impact,” said Elson, citing the new beds at Vista del Mar. “It’s a good thing.”

Source: VC Star

Facing new world in foster care, Casa Pacifica retooling to survive and thrive

January 31, 2019

The Casa Pacifica residential center for troubled children is facing some of the stiffest financial and operating challenges in its 25-year history, buffeted by changes in foster care, mental health funding and the increasingly intense needs of youths admitted to the facility. “These have been the most dramatic changes we’ve had to deal with since we opened,” CEO Steve Elson said. The unlocked center near Camarillo was established in the mid-1990s to provide state-of-the-art care, assessment and treatment for abused and neglected children from Ventura County. An estimated 6,000 children were admitted over two decades. Many spent a large part of their childhoods at the complex of buildings off Lewis Road, bouncing back to the 45-bed shelter between foster home placements. Others stayed in a 28-bed high-level group home on the 25-acre campus for a year or more.

That world has faded away in the wake of a state overhaul of foster care enacted by the California Legislature. Called the Continuum of Care Reform, the legislation emphasizes home-based care and seeks to end long stays in congregate residential centers. Casa Pacifica has adapted by opening a short-term treatment center for adolescents in foster care. Such programs are a key part of the state foster care reforms, but the one at Casa Pacifica is running at a loss. The program was expected to lose money in its early phases because of the time needed to get staff trained and clients enrolled, Elson said. By law, the lengths of stay are supposed to be capped at six months, which lowers revenues, and the youths are reportedly tougher and more expensive to treat. Elson doubts it’s feasible to run the program at the full capacity of 42 beds, which would generate a profit. Three dozen are enrolled now, which he considers a good spot. “How many challenging kids can we handle at one time?” he asked.

Bill Powell, president of Casa Pacifica’s board, said the state funding is insufficient for the seriously troubled kids coming to the facility now. “It is much more expensive to treat them properly and much more challenging for the staff,” he said. Casa Pacifica’s shelter closed at the end of 2017. The group home was converted into two programs: one was the short-term treatment center and the other a 20-bed mental health program for privately insured youths. More beds will be added after a program for substance-abusing youth is licensed, probably this spring.

Casa Pacifica leaders are analyzing their options in concert with Ventura County officials. Late last year, managers from the agency and Ventura County government formed a committee to review Casa Pacifica’s fiscal condition and performance. “The need for this joint financial committee is due to a downturn in Casa Pacifica’s financial outlook over the past few years,” County Executive Officer Mike Powers said in a Dec. 4 letter to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. “While we recognize Casa Pacifica’s efforts to dutifully work to reduce costs and expand revenues, this joint financial committee will assist Casa Pacifica in the goal of making Casa Pacifica financially sustainable looking forward.”

Ventura County Human Services Director Barry Zimmerman, a member of the financial oversight committee, said he’s “not negative” about the organization’s future. He sees Casa Pacifica as being in transition from a residential center to one offering short-term treatment. “I think there’s a pathway to stability,” he said.

The county and Casa Pacifica have partnered over more than two decades to provide services to abused children and their families. They also share financial and property interests: Casa Pacifica’s residential campus lies on county land and the agency has received more than $7 million in county funds for capital improvements. The financial committee is charged with reviewing all of Casa Pacifica’s contracts, developing scenarios for residential treatment programs that could be offered, benchmarking costs against those from other providers, and identifying cost-saving or revenue-generating options.

Elson said the agency is retooling and will be around for another 25 years. “We are responding to all the changes and the impacts of those changes that are coming down the pike,”  he said. Officially named Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families, the agency finished the last two fiscal years with deficits of $700,000 on annual budgets of $30 million. Those figures reflect spending for both the residential campus in Ventura County and the community-based services in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. That’s off 2 percent as deficits for residential services ran at historic highs over the past two to three years, officials said.

Under the Continuum of Care Reform, the goal is to place all foster children in homes with committed, permanent families. If youngsters’ behaviors are too extreme to safely place them with families, they can be placed in a short-term treatment program like the one Casa Pacifica started. It was the first such program to be licensed in Southern California, opening in the summer of 2017. It mainly serves seriously traumatized children from outside Ventura County. Officials speculate that has happened because Casa Pacifica has a statewide reputation. It also may be an indication of the slow rate at which other programs are being licensed, said Carroll Schroeder, executive director of the California Alliance of Child and Family Services. He said 2,767 licensed beds for the new offering — officially called a short-term residential therapeutic program — exist in California. But counties need at least 600 more, he said. Under an unintended consequence of state law, Ventura County is billed for the costs of the mental health treatment for the out-of-county youths. That is projected to cost an additional $500,000 in the current fiscal year, but officials said they expect the problem to be corrected.

Clinical Services Director Kelsie Tatum says these counties are turning to Casa Pacifica because they don’t have short-term treatment programs up and running, the youths have floundered in programs in their home counties, a family member may live in Ventura County or the youths may need some distance from home because of gang affiliations or sexual exploitation. By the time the short-term treatment program was licensed a year and a half ago, Ventura County social workers had already sharply reduced referrals to group care facilities. Only about a quarter of the 36 youths in Casa Pacifica’s short-term treatment program are from the county, a figure that includes both foster children and youths on probation.
The remaining 75 percent are from other California counties. Included are Sacramento, San Bernardino and Riverside counties and a number of small counties. The agency is getting 100 referrals a month from 40 counties, Elson said. These youths are a more diverse, older and needier group than the largely local group of youths who stayed in the shelter that closed a couple years ago. The shelter once served infants to 18-year-olds; the youths in the new treatment program are ages 12 to 19. Tatum said the youths often have been abused and neglected repeatedly and been in multiple foster home placements. They have histories of injuring themselves and being extremely physically aggressive, suicidal, abusing substances and running away. Residential care offers the advantages of safety, supervision and security around the clock, she said. That may have eluded them in home-based settings where the foster parents could not manage them or they represented a threat to other children living in the home, she said.

“They feel out of control,” she said. “They need space to express all the pain and hurt.” Casa Pacifica officials say relationships between staff and youths are a key part of their program. They use the PersonBrain Model, substituting a negative experience with a positive one to help the child heal. If a child has had repeated negative experiences with men, for example, that is replaced with a positive relationship with a man, Tatum said.

A 16-year-old girl from Northern California said in an interview that she has made progress that wasn’t possible in the foster home where she was living. The youth who has lost both parents said she became deeply depressed after her mother died of cancer when she was 14. “I was really sad,” said the girl, who is not being identified by The Star to protect her privacy. “I didn’t know what to do anymore.” She said the caregivers in the foster home where she was living couldn’t deal with her problems. But the clinical staff at Casa Pacifica helped her develop coping skills and focus on things she likes doing, she said. That’s “anything that helps you,” she said. “I like reading and hanging out with my friends.” She goes to high school off-site and expects to be transferred to a foster home soon.  The aspiring police officer has a modest goal. “To live my life, to be the person I needed when I was younger,” she said.

In the past, residents of Casa Pacifica were generally from Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and had less intense problems, said Tone Reyes, director of residential services. Reyes said it’s hard on the out-of-county kids to be so far from home plus staff cannot make the usual connections because they don’t know about the places where the youths live.
“They are coming in with a lot more trust issues because they’re in a new environment,” he said. He said it’s still too early to know how well the program that just opened 18 months ago will do. “We are experiencing growing pains: how do we make this work, how do we best serve kids who need intensive treatment?”

Powell said failure is not an option. “If this were the for-profit world we might really be vulnerable, but we don’t have a choice,” he said. “Who is going to take care of these kids if we don’t?”

Source: VC Star

Casa Pacifica welcomes new board member

January 25, 2019

Attorney Daniel Friedlander has been appointed to the 24-member board of directors for Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families in Camarillo. Friedlander is the principal attorney and mediator of his own law office in Westlake Village. His primary areas of practice include civil litigation, land use, real estate, usury, environmental, landlord-tenant, commercial and business law, mediation and alternative dispute resolution.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

Westlake Village attorney joins Casa Pacifica board

January 23, 2019

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Attorney Daniel Friedlander has joined the board of the nonprofit Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families.

Friedlander has his own law office in Westlake Village. His primary areas of practice include civil litigation, land use, real estate, usury, environmental, landlord-tenant, commercial and business law, mediation, and alternative dispute resolution.

The board of Casa, a Camarillo-based crisis-care and residential treatment facility for foster or at-risk children, is comprised of 24 people representing a variety of industries.

Winter wear comes to Westlake Village for Casa Pacifica kids

January 13, 2019

Two years ago, about 2,500 items of winter clothing — coats, hats, scarves and gloves —  were donated to foster and at-risk children and teens living at the Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families in Camarillo. Last year, it was 3,000 items.

In fact, over the past eight years, more than 13,000 items have been donated and distributed — and it all continued on Saturday as cold weather made its way to Ventura County. Organized by Lydia Gable and Rick Winters, the ninth annual Coats for Casa Pacifica event took place at Three Springs Park in Westlake Village. In addition to being the drop-off spot for winter clothing, the park took on a decidedly winter atmosphere, with 30 tons of snow hauled in for sledding and playing.

Source: VC Star

Happenings – Annual Winter Festival and Coat Drive

January 9, 2019

ANNUAL WINTER FESTIVAL AND COAT DRIVE Saturday, Jan. 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. With 30-tons of snow for sledding and playing, family fun will be had by all, with complimentary coffee and smoothies and kid’s crafts. In exchange for the free activities, participants are asked to bring new or gently used winter clothes of all sizes, including coats, sweaters, hoodies, mittens/gloves, winter hats and scarves, to benefit the foster and at-risk youth of Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, a facility that offers a host of programs to foster youth removed from their homes. Three Springs Park, 3000 Three Springs Drive, Westlake Village, www.coatsforcasapacifica.com.

Source: VC Reporter



© 2020 Casa Pacifica, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in 1988. Tax ID #77-0195022. info
Casa Pacifica is a center for adolescent and youth, offering programs and services to treat the symptoms arising from abuse and neglect
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