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.

Latino Business Awards - Engineer turned CFO found his fix in finance

June 25, 2021

Richard Gutierrez is Casa Pacifica’s new CFO, a 180-degree difference from where he started his professional career, working at a Fortune 500 manufacturing company as an engineer.

Gutierrez said he made the jump from engineering to finance because he’s always been multifaceted in his career interests and wanted to broaden his professional skills. He was able to work as an internal auditor with the same manufacturing company he worked for as an engineer. He said the company was happy to sign him on to the new role since it was looking for an auditor who knew how industrial plants worked.

Gutierrez earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering but received additional schooling when he started his pursuit in finance, earning another master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Chicago.

Born and raised in Milwaukee, it was there Gutierrez got a chance to run the finances for a nonprofit organization, a sector Gutierrez said he fell in love with because of its willingness to cross train its employees across different departments in order to maximize scarce amount of resources.

“What I really like about working at nonprofits is that they are resource starved, and they let you do lots of different things,” Gutierrez said, adding that he also meddled in other aspects of the organization such as running its gift shop, or maintaining the parking structure.

After growing up in Milwaukee, in addition to spending time there academically and professionally, Gutierrez said he accumulated 40 years in his home state of Wisconsin, finally got sick and tired of the cold weather, and accepted a finance position with a nonprofit in San Diego. It was there when he found out about the CFO opportunity with Casa Pacifica.

Gutierrez said in his position, you frequently see recruitment flyers pass along your desk, to see if anyone in your particular business connections seemed like a good fit for the open position. But when Casa’s flyer came across his desk, he read about the organization and liked what it was offering, reached out personally to the recruiters to let them know he was interested, and took over the role in November 2020.

After taking over the CFO duties, Gutierrez was put to work early. His first few months on the job, the world was still in the middle of the pandemic, and financial projections made the year prior were miscalculated, due to the unprecedented financial impact left from the virus. After navigating his way through last year’s budget, Gutierrez just recently wrapped up the organization’s financial projections for the upcoming fiscal year, something he said is still tough to gauge giving the uncertainties that still loam.
But nonetheless, Gutierrez is loving his new role in Ventura County, and said Casa, like other nonprofits he’s worked with in the past, allows him to venture outside of strictly finances. For instance, he oversees Casa’s IT department.

Source: Pacific Coast Business Times

Assembly approves Ramos bill to close gap on children’s crisis residential services

June 3, 2021

Since 2008, mental health needs have accounted for the largest share of hospital admissions of children up to age 17 in California. California is ill-prepared to care for the increasing number of pediatric mental health crises. A measure by Assemblyman James C. Ramos that aims to address this crisis was approved today by the Assembly on a bipartisan vote of 78-0.
“California still lacks a complete and adequate mental health service system, especially for children, and the result is a shameful and preventable tragedy,” said Ramos, a Democrat from Highland. He noted that little, if anything, has changed since 2013, when a public radio station broadcast a story about children’s psychiatric hospital beds. Ramos said the news outlet reported to its listeners, “In the entire state there are now fewer than 100 beds reserved for children 12 and under . . . and the overwhelming majority of California’s 58 counties have no beds at all for your children experiencing a psychiatric emergency.”

Only 11 of California’s 58 counties have child psychiatric hospital inpatient beds for children 12 and younger. Fewer than 70 such beds exist statewide. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness approximately 20% of youth between the ages of 13 and 18 live with a mental health condition. Ramos said an estimated three out of four children in the United States do not receive the mental health services they need, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents.

“Our children’s needs are only increasing,” Ramos said. “The Centers for Disease Control reported that starting in April 2020, the proportion of children’s mental health–related emergency department visits among all pediatric emergency visits increased and remained elevated through October. Compared with 2019, the proportion of mental health–related visits for children 5 to 11 and 12 to 17 years old increased approximately 24% and 31%, respectively.”

AB 226 would add a new licensing category in state statute, the Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility. This legislation would ensure that counties and their community-based providers have the ability to develop crisis residential programs with an appropriate licensing category, and to ensure children and youth have access to mental health services that are responsive to their individual needs and strengths in a timely manner. Ramos’s measure would also require that regulations and certification align with federal Medicaid provisions to maximize federal financing. If enacted, the new licensing process would begin no later than Jan. 1. “The California Alliance of Child and Family Services is thrilled that AB 226 has passed out of the Assembly unanimously today,” said Christine Stoner-Mertz, CEO of the CA Alliance. “Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we put youth first and this critical piece of legislation will do so much to improve the lives of children in crisis and fill a gap in the continuum of care in California.” AB 226 is sponsored by the California Alliance of Child and Family Services. It is also supported by the California Children’s Hospital Association, the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California, the California State Association of Counties, Casa Pacifica, Hathaway-Sycamores, and Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services.

Source: Redlands Community News

Child Mental Health Advocates Say Demand For Care Is Up During the Pandemic But Services Are Lacking

June 1, 2021

A budget revision released in May by Gov. Gavin Newsom could put more than $4 billion toward home visiting programs, school counselors, childhood trauma screenings and better Medi-Cal coverage for psychiatric care. Advocates say this is a substantial increase in funding for child mental health, and clinicians say it’s needed, especially given stresses that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The California Children’s Hospital Association found that two thirds of children with mental health needs don’t receive care, due in part to a lack of available providers. There are only 13 certified child and adolescent psychiatrists for every 100,000 children in the state, according to the group’s report. At a recent forum about the proposal, Marika Collins with Casa Pacifica Centers For Children and Families on the central coast said that funding challenges make it difficult to hire and train people who can provide on-the-ground mental health services. “We’ve got all of this energy and attention and yet we have a woefully inadequate workforce,” she said. “We’re really in a conundrum, but we’re ready to do the work … to be in the home before school, after school, three in the morning.”

The funding Newsom wants to set aside would expand coverage for one-on-one and group counseling for children on Medi-Cal, the state’s low-income health plan. It would also go toward training more health workers in underserved communities and helping schools hire more nurses, counselors and psychologists. The money could expand home visiting programs, and early childhood trauma screenings. “This will have a significant interaction with schools in creating the infrastructure, as part of what we do to make sure schools are equipped to be there for their students around emotional and social wellbeing,” said state health and human services secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly at the forum. Ghaly said California childrens’ hospitals have seen a 35% increase in young people seeking emergency treatment for mental health conditions during the pandemic.

Tam Nguyen, a Sutter Health psychologist who sees both youth and adults, says she’s watched her youngest patients grow more distressed over the course of the pandemic. She says they’re having trouble sleeping, and that they miss their friends and extended family. “That sort of progressively got worse through the wintertime,” she said. She says depending on what stage of brain development a child or teen is in, it can be difficult to navigate changes and interpersonal relationships even in a normal year. “And now we have this national crisis that’s completely turned around the way that they live, work and play,” she said. “It was particularly difficult for many of them to make that real-time adjustment. So what you saw were sometimes impulsive reactions.” She says that includes children becoming verbally aggressive or withdrawing into isolation.

The Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency, hosted the forum on the proposal last week to assess the governor’s plan, and the lack of child mental health services statewide. The commission is calling for “more coherent and more cohesive state leadership” over mental health care, including for the state’s youngest residents. “This proposal has the potential to fundamentally transform California’s child mental health system,” said commision chairman Pedro Nava of the new proposal. At the commission hearing, attendees from child care centers and other community groups said they’re concerned about suicide risk, and also about the likelihood that children with undiagnosed developmental disorders aren’t getting the help they need. Speakers raised concerns about children who are undocumented or who live in mixed-status homes being less likely to receive care.

Source: CapRadio

The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara Awards Casa Pacifica Grant For SAFTY Mobile Crisis Counselor

May 26, 2021

The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara awarded Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families a grant for $80,000 to fund an additional mobile crisis counselor for their Safe Alternatives for Treating Youth (SAFTY) Program to respond to children and youth experiencing mental health emergencies in Santa Barbara County. An additional nine nonprofits received 2020-2021 grants from the Women’s Fund, a volunteer-led collective donor organization that enables women to combine their charitable dollars into significant grants addressing the needs of women, children, and families. The Women’s Fund awarded a record-breaking $750,000 in grants, announced in Spring 2021. Christina Lombard, Casa Pacifica’s SAFTY Program Manager spoke about the recent grant, “We are honored and grateful to the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara for choosing us to be among their grant recipients providing critical services for Santa Barbara County. An additional crisis care specialist ultimately increases the number of kids we will be able to serve; we are passionate about making an impact in our community and are thrilled to partner with an organization who clearly feels the same.”

Casa Pacifica’s SAFTY Program is a mobile crisis response team serving Santa Barbara County children and youth in crisis, often suicidal or violent, that provides families quick and accessible specialized crisis intervention, in-home support, and linkage to county mental health services. The SAFTY Program receives approximately 1,900 crisis calls annually with approximately 1,000 of the children and youth requiring services beyond the initial call. Since opening in 2005, the SAFTY Program has served more than 12,800 children and youth in crisis.

Since 2004, the Women’s Fund has awarded more than $8.6 million in grants to local nonprofit programs impacting more than 100,000 local women, children, and families in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria. Their goal is to educate and inspire women to engage in making lasting change in their community.

Source: Citizens Journal

Casa Pacifica Receives $80,000 Grant for Mobile Crisis Counselor

May 25, 2021

The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara has awarded Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families an $80,000 grant to fund an additional mobile crisis counselor for its Safe Alternatives for Treating Youth (SAFTY) Program. SAFTY responds to children and youth experiencing mental health emergencies in Santa Barbara County.

An additional nine nonprofits received 2020-21 grants from the Women’s Fund, a volunteer-led collective donor organization that enables women to combine their charitable dollars into significant grants addressing the needs of women, children and families.

The Women’s Fund awarded a record-breaking $750,000 in grants, announced in the spring.

“We are honored and grateful to the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara for choosing us to be among their grant recipients providing critical services for Santa Barbara County,” said Christina Lombard, Casa Pacifica’s SAFTY Program manager. “An additional crisis care specialist ultimately increases the number of kids we will be able to serve,” she said. “We are passionate about making an impact in our community and are thrilled to partner with an organization who clearly feels the same.”

Casa Pacifica’s SAFTY Program is a mobile crisis response team serving Santa Barbara County children and youth in crisis — often suicidal or violent — that provides families quick, accessible specialized crisis intervention, in-home support, and links to county mental health services. SAFTY receives some 1,900 crisis calls annually with about 1,000 of the children and youth requiring services beyond the initial call. Since opening in 2005, SAFTY has served more than 12,800 children and youth in crisis.

Since 2004, the Women’s Fund has awarded $8.6 million in grants to local nonprofit programs impacting more than 100,000 local women, children and families in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria. Their goal is to educate and inspire women to engage in making lasting change in their community.

Source: Noozhawk

Casa Pacifica celebrates its volunteers

May 14, 2021

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families celebrated National Volunteer Appreciation Week in April with special deliveries to its 2020 volunteer award winners. These annual awards are usually presented at an employee town hall luncheon, but due to the COVID-19 crisis the in-person event was canceled.


Those receiving deliveries from Casa Pacifica staff included Laurie Bennett, vice president of Fence Factory, Community Volunteer of the Year; Patty Turnage, Angel of the Year; and Jewell Gerald Powell, On Campus Volunteer of the Year. Also honored was recently retired Lizanne Nanez of Procter & Gamble who was recognized for her 42 years of service to the community.

Fence Factory supports Casa Pacifica through sponsorships of fundraising events. The company also provides fencing for the annual wine festival. Bennett is a member of the Camarillo Rotary Club and advocates for Casa Pacifica and other local charities.

Turnage is the treasurer for the Casa Pacifica Angels, a volunteer organization serving the center, and has worked on many fundraisers for the center, bringing in sponsors and volunteering her time.

Powell is a longtime member of the Angels. Her nonprofit, Dancing With Our Future Stars, provides Latin dance classes on Casa Pacifica’s campus. When the pandemic hit, the classes were offered virtually.

Nanez and Procter & Gamble have supported Casa Pacifica for many years through event sponsorships, program support and product donations.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

Rotary hosts tourney for charity

May 14, 2021

The Camarillo Rotary Club will present the 29th annual Care for Kids Golf Classic on Mon., July 26 at the Spanish Hills Country Club in Camarillo. Funds raised will benefit Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families and its programs serving foster and at-risk youths, along with other Rotary Foundation charities.
Limited spots are available for the event.

Out of an abundance of caution, tournament organizers will proceed with the modified schedule of events as follows: registration and check-in will be at 8:30 a.m., followed by the shotgun start at 11 a.m. and the Facebook Live Awards Ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

Forgoing the formal cocktail hour and the traditional sit-down dinner after the round of golf, there will instead be a take-home-dinner option and an online silent auction during the awards ceremony.

Non-golfers can support the tournament through bidding on auction items at hope4kids. givesmart.com. The auction will be live Fri., July 23 through 5 p.m. Mon., July 26.

This year’s tournament will honor title sponsors Felicia and Daniel Schoenewald of Advanced Motion Control.

The Care for Kids Golf Classic is one of Ventura County’s longest running charity golf tournaments and has raised more than $1.6 million for Casa Pacifica and other local charities during its 29-year run. The tournament will be a modified Texas Scramble format and will crown winners in gross and low-net flights. Several on-course competitions, like longest drive and closest to the hole contests, will offer prizes, including cars and cash. Tournament favorite Demolition Derby has golfers all putting at the same time for a position closest to the hole; the winner receives a pair of tickets to the 29th annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival on June 5, 2022. The tournament is known for its plentiful food and drinks available throughout the course, including margaritas, shaved ice and draft beer.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

The Camarillo Rotary Clubs’ Host 29th Annual Care for Kids Golf Classic Benefiting Casa Pacifica

May 13, 2021

The 29th Annual Care for Kids Golf Classic will take place on Monday, July 26th at Spanish Hills Country Club in Camarillo. Limited spots available – to register or sponsor visit casapacifica.org. Funds raised benefit Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families and its programs serving foster and at-risk youth, along with other Rotary Foundation charities.

Out of an abundance of caution and the continued tournament success shown last year, tournament organizers will proceed with the modified the schedule of events, foregoing the formal cocktail hour and the traditional sit-down dinner following the round of golf – exchanging it for a take home dinner option, online silent auction, and handing out awards over Facebook live.

Non-golfers can support the tournament through browsing and bidding on their online silent auction at www.hope4kids.givesmart.com. The auction will be live Friday, July 23rd through Monday, July 26th at 5 PM.

This year’s tournament, hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Camarillo, will be honoring Felicia and Daniel Schoenewald of Advanced Motion Control, the tournament’s returning Title Sponsor.  “Our community is important to us. Giving back is important to us. The kids need a nurturing hand and we want to be there side by side with Casa Pacifica,” said Daniel Schoenewald on why they give back.

Alongside returning Title Sponsor Advanced Motion Controls, other tournament sponsors include: Cocktail Reception Sponsor: Fence Factory; Benefactor: Real Estate Tesoro; Patrons: Coastal Embroidery, Ford of Ventura, Harrison Industries, Potts Dental, Store Safe, Trophies Etc., and Winters Financial Group; Friends: 8th Devil Distributing, Applebee’s, California Door and Hardware, Canteen Vending, Churchill & Valencia, Firestone Walker, Elise and Bill Kearney, Old Oaks Cigar Company, Opolo, McDonald’s, The Sleep Shoppe, and Valenzano Insurance Services.

The Care for Kids Golf Classic is one of Ventura County’s longest running charity golf tournaments and has raised more than $1.6 million for Casa Pacifica and other local charities during its 29-year run

Tournament Co-chair Kevin Nunn commented on the importance of the tournament, “The Rotary Clubs of Camarillo look forward to hosting this tournament every year. Many of the players return year after year. We’re all here to support a great cause – the children and youth of Casa Pacifica and other local charities. To be able to give back and enjoy a fun day of golf is a win-win for everyone involved.”

The tournament will be a modified Texas Scramble format and will crown winners in gross and low-net flights via Facebook live immediately following the golfing. Several on-course competitions including longest drive and closest to the hole contests boast fabulous prizes – including cars and cash. Tournament favorite “Demolition Derby” pits golfers against each other – all putting at the same time for a position closest to the hole, the winner receives a coveted pair of tickets to the 29th Annual Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival on June 5th, 2022. The tournament, known for its plentiful food and drinks sprinkled throughout the course – margaritas, shaved ice, and draft beer, will keep players happily golfing through the afternoon.

Source: Citizens Journal

Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara Awards $750,000 to 10 Nonprofits

May 12, 2021

At its May 5 virtual Celebration of Grants event, the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara awarded a record $750,000 to 10 local nonprofits. Members tuned in to see which of the organizations on the ballots they cast received the funds and to learn more about the work of these organizations. As in prior years, the grants were targeted at the critical needs of women, children, and families in south Santa Barbara County.

Board Chair Lynn Karlson welcomed the 355 members and other guests to the virtual presentation, sharing how during COVID, the Women’s Fund stayed connected to each other, to the community, and to those it serves. Thanks to the generosity of the 1,100 members, she related, “we’ve helped turn a year marked by turmoil, confusion, and hardship into a year of real commitment to community, clarity of purpose, and compassionate response.”

Since 2004, this volunteer-led collective donor organization has pooled its members donations each year to make grants, which in recent years have been in the range of $50,000-$100,000 per grantee. COVID increased the needs of area nonprofits, and the Women’s Fund members stepped up with a record-size grant pool.

The Research Committee, which presents the ballot to members each year for voting, probed deeply to understand the effects of COVID in South County. Through various subcommittees, it reached out to 40 community leaders for input and surveyed members on areas of priority funding.

While the pandemic lent complexity to the research process this year, the Women’s Fund historically is known for the rigorousness of its research, which it conducts over 10 months. Generally, nonprofits focused on education, health care, food insecurity, and homelessness are considered, and application is by invite only.

At the virtual event, Research Committee Co-chair Sabina White related how many nonprofits face financial uncertainties because of the cancellation of fundraisers and the reallocation of private and public funds. Accordingly, screening for financial viability was part of the process. Three grants provide gap funding, five expand services, one funds a new program, and one is for a capital program. White referenced how the $750,000 in grants this year truly puts into action the Women’s Fund’s motto — Changing Lives Together. Leaders of each of the 10 grantees then explained how the grants would further the nonprofit’s work.

In non-pandemic times, members gather in the fall to hear presentations from grant recipients on the impacts of their grants. Small group visits are offered to recipients’ sites, where members see firsthand the work of the organization and the impact of their grants. With COVID, members participated in virtual site visits.

The Women’s Fund also holds educational forums with community leaders and subject matter experts on issues that the organization’s grants address. These too went virtual with COVID. Among the topics forums have covered are issues facing immigrants, the challenges of aging in place, and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

Here are this year’s grant recipients: CALM (Child Abuse Listening Mediation): $75,000 to help sustain school-based mental health services for students, families, and educators; Carpinteria Children’s Project: $90,000 to sustain operations of the preschool serving low-wage working families; Casa Pacifica: $80,000 for an additional mobile crisis counselor to respond to youth experiencing mental-health emergencies; the Cecilia Fund: $50,000 for dental and medical costs of low-income residents; Children & Family Resource Services: $100,000 for training and support of volunteer Promotores to serve as certified Family Health Navigators; Children’s Resource & Referral of Santa Barbara County: $100,000 for training of and assistance to childcare providers; Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine: $60,000 to sustain the daytime outreach specialist providing medical and mental-health services to homeless people; New Beginnings Counseling Center: $75,000 to expand the Safe Parking program providing protected space and support for people living in their cars; PATH Santa Barbara (People Assisting the Homeless): $50,000 to replace its cargo van for collecting and distributing donated food to nonprofits that feed homeless people; and United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County: $70,000 to provide scholarships for low-income youth to attend educational summer camp.

The Women’s Fund has no paid staff, holds no fundraisers, and donates nearly 92 percent of all funds raised. Most women’s commitment is limited to writing a check, but many volunteer opportunities exist for those who want to be involved. Membership is open to any woman at the individual level ($2,750 or more) or group level ($2,750 or more collectively from a group of any size). For more info, go to womensfundsb.org.

Source: Santa Barbara Independent

Foundation gives $75K to Casa Pacifica

May 07, 2021

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families recently received a check for $75,000 from the Gene Haas Foundation to help launch Casa Pacifica’s vocational education program, including a “trades” unit. The trades unit includes boxes containing all the supplies needed for a student to learn a certain trade, such as metal or wood working, construction, plumbing and electrical.

In addition, vocational education will offer programs in technical computer and digital arts, culinary arts and business enterprise. The vocational program is intended to provide students with the basic skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a variety of entry-level positions throughout various industries.

The grant will help cover general operating and COVID-related expenses at the agency.

For more information, email Carrie Hughes, chief development officer, at chughes@casapacifica.org or call (805) 366-4011.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara Names 10 Nonprofits to Share Record $750,000 Grants Pool

May 06, 2021

Ten local nonprofit agencies were awarded grants totaling $750,000 from a record-breaking pool of member donations collected by the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara during 2020. The recipients were announced at the Annual Women’s Fund Celebration of Grants event held virtually on May 5.

The new grants bring the total amount awarded to local organizations to more than $8.6 million since the Women’s Fund was founded in 2004. Grants are targeted to address the critical needs of local women, children and families in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria.

This year’s recipients will do the following:

Provide mental health support in schools and to youth in crisis.
Expand the reach of medical services for families, low-income, and homeless people.
Sustain a successful preschool and expand childcare capacity for working families.
Distribute food to people experiencing homelessness.
Provide educational support to close the achievement gap.
Support homeless people living in their cars.

The agencies that received 2020-21 grants are:

» CALM - Child Abuse Listening Mediation: $75,000 to help sustain school-based mental health services for students, families and educators.

» Carpinteria Children’s Project: $90,000 to sustain operations of the Carpinteria preschool serving low-wage working families.

» Casa Pacifica: $80,000 to fund an additional SAFTY mobile crisis counselor to respond to youth experiencing mental health emergencies.

» The Cecilia Fund: $50,000 to expand coverage of medical and dental costs for patients who have no other way to pay for needed care.

» Children & Family Resource Services: $100,000 to provide training and support for volunteer Promotores to become certified Family Health Navigators.

» Children’s Resource & Referral of Santa Barbara County: $100,000 to expand child care capacity by supporting more women to become licensed child care providers.

» Doctors Without Walls - Santa Barbara Street Medicine: $60,000 to sustain the daytime outreach specialist providing medical and mental health services to the homeless.

» New Beginnings Counseling Center: $75,000 to expand the Safe Parking program providing protected space and support for people living in their cars while seeking stable housing.

» PATH Santa Barbara - People Assisting the Homeless: $50,000 to replace the cargo van used for collecting and distributing donated food to agencies that feed the homeless.

» United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County: $70,000 to provide scholarships for low-income youth to attend educational summer camp.

For more about each agency and grant purpose, visit https://www.womensfundsb.org/gifts.html. For on the Women’s Fund, visit www.womensfundsb.org.

Source: Noozhawk

Casa Pacifica funds vocational ed program

April 30, 2021

CASA PACIFICA TO TEACH TRADES

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, a Camarillo-based nonprofit that supports and educates foster youth and other at-risk children, will be launching a vocational education program with a $75,000 donation from the Gene Haas Foundation.

Students will be able to learn trades such as woodworking, construction and plumbing, as well as culinary arts and computer and digital arts. There will also be a Business Enterprise program.

The Haas Foundation, founded and funded by the founder of Haas Automation, will cover the new program’s general operating expenses as well as those related to COVID-19 prevention, Casa Pacifica said in an April 22 news release.

Source: Pacific Coast Business Times

Gene Haas Foundation Grants $75,000 to Casa Pacifica for Vocational Education Programs

April 22, 2021

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families has received a check for $75,000 from the Gene Haas Foundation to help launch Casa Pacifica’s Vocational Education Program, including a Trades Unit Program.

The trade units are boxes containing all the supplies for a student to learn a certain trade: metal and wood-working, construction, plumbing, electrical. Along with the Trades Unit Program, Casa Pacifica’s Vocational Education Program will offer a Technical Computer & Digital Arts Program, Culinary Arts Program, and a Business Enterprise Program.

The vocational education program is designed to provide students the basic skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a variety of entry-level positions throughout various industries. The grant will also help cover general operating and Covid-related expenses at the agency.

“We look forward to getting our vocational education program off the ground and giving our kids life skills that can carry them into a successful future,” said Carrie Hughes, chief development officer for Casa Pacifica.

“We are grateful to the Gene Haas Foundation for seeing the value in the vocational education program and providing generous support,” she said.

Source: Noozhawk

Casa Pacifica Celebrates National Volunteer Appreciation Week with Special Deliveries

April 21, 2021

Casa Pacifica celebrated National Volunteer Appreciation Week with special deliveries to their 2020 volunteer award winners. These annual awards are usually presented at a special employee town hall luncheon, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the in-person luncheon was cancelled. Four special people received deliveries from Casa Pacifica staff: Laurie Bennett, Vice President of Fence Factory, Community Volunteer of the Year; Patty Turnage, Angel of the Year; and Jewell Gerald Powell, On Campus Volunteer of the Year. Also honored was recently retired Lizanne Nanez of Procter & Gamble who was recognized for her 42 years of service to the community. “We are thrilled to be able to honor these incredible individuals. They enable us to provide much more for our youth than would be possible on our own. Because of them we are able to stretch the boundaries of possibilities,” commented Carrie L. Hughes, Casa Pacifica’s Chief Development Officer.

Laurie Bennett of Fence Factory, Community Volunteer of the Year – Fence Factory’s ongoing support and sponsorship of the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival and the Care for Kids Golf Classic are just one ways they support Casa Pacifica. Their fencing is a major operational component of Casa Pacifica’s annual Festival and Fence Factory’s team also provides critical support during event set up. In addition, Laurie is a member of the Camarillo Rotary and regularly advocates for Casa Pacifica and other local charities. She also connects the nonprofits to her many community contacts.

Jewell Gerald Powell & Dancing With Our Future Stars, On Campus Volunteers of the Year – Jewell has been a longtime Angel member and in the last few years began to bring her nonprofit, Dancing With Our Future Stars, to Casa Pacifica’s campus for Latin dance classes. When the pandemic hit, Jewell and her team kept the kids of Casa Pacifica active and engaged through virtual classes. She and her late husband, Bill have always supported Casa Pacifica through generous gifts and event sponsorship but her passion and love for Casa Pacifica is most evident through the donation of her personal time and talents, smiling and laughing with the kids.

Patty Turnage, Angel of the Year – Longtime Casa Pacifica Angel and Angels Treasurer, Patty Turnage has been instrumental in many of Casa Pacifica’s fundraising events, bringing in sponsors as well as volunteering her own time. She contributes to the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival by serving on the silent auction committee, as well as puts her financial skills to work helping balance vendor books during the Angels Spotlight on Style Fashion Show. She also participates in many of Casa Pacifica’s children’s events on campus – decorating her “witches trunk” for the trunk or treat or helping decorate the gym for the holidays.

Lizanne Nanez of Procter & Gamble – Casa Pacifica honored Lizanne for her 42 years of service through Procter & Gamble. Procter & Gamble has been a major supporter of Casa Pacifica for many years through event sponsorship, program support, and P&G product donations. In addition, they have helped many other nonprofits thanks in part to the work of Lizanne. Procter & Gamble, aided by Lizanne’s support, has done a lot of generous work for the entire community.

Source: Citizens Journal

Sheriff joins Casa Pacifica board

April 16, 2021

Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub recently joined Casa Pacifica’s board of directors. Along with 24 other individuals, the board guides Casa Pacifica in as it cares for the vulnerable children and families they serve. Board members offer various fields of expertise, including legal, financial, healthcare, education, business and community advocacy.

“Our relationship with law enforcement is critical in providing a safe community for our youth and families, and we welcome Sheriff Ayub’s insight, leadership and guidance,” said Casa Pacifica CEO Shawna Morris of the newest addition to the board.

Ayub was elected to serve as the 20th sheriff of Ventura County on June 5, 2018. He joined the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office in April 1996, after serving as a police officer for several years in the cities of North Las Vegas, Nevada, and Port Hueneme.

Originally from the Ventura area, Ayub began his law enforcement career in 1985 as a police cadet and reserve police officer with the Santa Paula Police Department. He went on to attend and graduate from the Ventura County Criminal Justice Training Center in 1990, earning top honors in firearms marksmanship, physical f i tness and personal traits. Ayub has a long history of volunteerism, including as a Little League assistant coach and member of the board of directors. He also served as president of the Ventura Sheriff K9 Foundation and continues to serve as a member of the executive council for the Southern California Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

Casa Pacifica’s board recently underwent some unexpected reorganization with the death of board president William Powell in February. Board vice president Robert Wynner of Nevers Palazzo Packard Wildermuth and Wynner, PC was voted in as president, a position he was supposed to take in July. Ventura Rentals co-owner Heidi Whitcomb assumed the position of board vice president. Other board officers are Eric Shain, treasurer; John S. Broome Jr., assistant treasurer; Terri Parks, secretary; and Rosalind Warner, M.D., past president.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

Local Girl Scouts earn highest honor

March 19, 2021

Cadettes from local Girl Scout Troop 60385 Makena Large, Kaitlyn Seymour and Nika Wallach recently earned their Silver Award, the highest honor Cadettes can achieve. The girls did a library renovation project at Casa Pacifica’s main campus in Camarillo over the past year.

The girls, who dubbed themselves “The Library Lemons,” dedicated their weekends and time after school to work on the project. The renovation included repainting the walls, a complete book inventory, restocking the library with current and age-appropriate books, reorganization and catalog creation.

The idea to incorporate Casa Pacifica into their Silver Award came from Makena, whose family had begun donating to the nonprofit in honor of her late mother, who had spent time in the foster system as a child.

Casa Pacifica’s mental health programs serve foster and at-risk youths.

Community businesses partnered with the girls to make their project a reality. Frontier Paint in Ojai donated paint, and Cabrillo Middle School, the girls’ former school, donated their surplus library books.

To collect additional books the girls posted messages on social media and picked the donations up from people’s front porches. They ended up collecting close to a thousand books for the library.

In addition, the Library Lemons bought rolling library carts so the books could go to where the kids of Casa Pacifica are, whether in their cottages, at school or elsewhere.

As a surprise, ProSource Wholesale offered to donate carpeting, while an anonymous donor covered the cost of the carpet installation.

Although the pandemic made earning their Silver Award difficult when Casa Pacifica had to close its campus to visitors, the girls persevered, coming on the weekends completely masked and sequestered in the library until the job was finished.

Troop leader Andi Kish spoke about the project. “These girls were pretty ambitious, they really shot for the moon,” Kish said. “What I love is they were able to pivot when circumstances got hard. It took a tremendous amount of dedication and prioritization.”

The campus, home to Casa Pacifica’s residential treatment programs, nonpublic school and outpatient services, opened the Rotary Clubs of Camarillo Library in 1995. When the agency first opened, it served toddlers to teens, even infants when needed. Today, the agency has an older population, ages 9 through 17, based on current needs.

The library overhaul updated the space with the addition of current and age-appropriate books. The renovated library and its offerings have brought a renewed love of reading to Casa Pacifica. A few youths are hoping to start a book club and have begun to request books they want to read that aren’t currently stocked on the shelves.

To buy and donate any of the wish list books, visit Casa Pacifica’s Amazon registry at https:// smile.amazon.com/hz/charitylist/ ls/QGWWQJBWRS83/ref=smi_ ext_ lnk_ lcl_ cl.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

Library Was a Bit of a Lemon, But Scouts Turned It Into Lemonade

March 13, 2021

Cadettes from Girl Scout Troop 60385 — Makena Large, Kaitlyn Seymour and Nika Wallach — worked on earning their Silver Award, the highest honor a cadette can achieve, by doing a library renovation project at the main campus of Casa Pacifica in Camarillo. Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families is a crisis-care and residential treatment facility for foster or at-risk children in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Over the past year the girls, who called themselves the Library Lemons, have dedicated their weekends and time after school to work on the project. The renovation included repainting the walls, a complete book inventory, restocking the library with current and age-appropriate books, reorganization, and catalog creation. The idea to incorporate Casa Pacifica into their Silver Award came from Large, whose family had begun donating to the nonprofit in honor of her late mother ,who as a child had spent time in the foster system.

Casa Pacifica’s mental health programs serve foster and at-risk youth. Community businesses partnered with the scouts to make their project a reality — Frontier Paint in Ojai donated paint and Cabrillo Middle School (the girls’ former school) donated their surplus library books.

To source additional books, the girls posted messages on the Nextdoor app and Facebook, then picked up the books from people’s front porches. They collected close to 1,000 books for the library. Once their library was completed, the Library Lemons went a step further and purchased rolling library carts so the books could meet the kids of Casa Pacifica wherever they are – in their cottages, at school, etc. Then just when the girls thought the library was finished, ProSource Wholesale offered to donate carpeting, and an anonymous donor stepped up to cover the cost of the carpet installation.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented a significant challenge to the scouts’ endeavor when Casa Pacifica had to close its campus to visitors, but the girls persevered, coming on the weekends completely masked and sequestered in the library until the job was finished. “These girls were pretty ambitious, they really shot for the moon,” said troop leader Andi Kish. “What I love is they were able to pivot when circumstances got hard. It took a tremendous amount of dedication and prioritization.”

The campus, home to Casa Pacifica’s residential treatment programs, nonpublic school, and outpatient services, opened the Rotary Clubs of Camarillo Library in 1995. When Casa Pacifica first opened, it served a different population” toddlers to teens, and some infants. Today, it has an older population, ages 9-17, based on current needs. The library overhaul made the space more appealing and usable with the addition of current and age-appropriate books. It has brought a renewed love of reading back to Casa Pacifica. A few youth are even hoping to start a book club and have begun to request books they want to read that aren’t currently stocked in the library.

To purchase any of the books on their wishlist, visit Casa Pacifica’s Amazon registry, https://smile.amazon.com/hz/charitylist/ls/QGWWQJBWRS83/ref=smi_ext_lnk_lcl_cl.

Source: Noozhawk

“The Library Lemons” Renovate Casa Pacifica’s Library to Earn Girl Scouts Highest Honor

March 12, 2021

Cadettes from local Girl Scout Troop 60385 – Makena Large, Kaitlyn Seymour, and Nika Wallach worked on earning their Silver Award, the highest honor a cadette can achieve, by doing a library renovation project at Casa Pacifica’s main campus in Camarillo. Over the past year the girls – who dubbed themselves ‘The Library Lemons’ – have dedicated their weekends and time after school to work on the project. The renovation included repainting the walls, a complete book inventory, restocking the library with current and age-appropriate books, reorganization, and catalog creation.

The idea to incorporate Casa Pacifica into their Silver Award came from Makena Large, whose family had begun donating to the nonprofit in honor of her late mother who was spent time in the foster system as a child. Casa Pacifica’s mental health programs serve foster and at-risk youth. Community businesses partnered with the Girls’ to make their project a reality. Frontier Paint in Ojai donated paint and Cabrillo Middle School (the girls’ former school) donated their surplus library books. To collect additional books the girls posted messages on the Nextdoor app and Facebook then picked up the books from people’s front porches. They ended up collecting close to a thousand books for the library. Once their library was completed, the Library Lemons went one step further and purchased rolling library carts so the books could meet the kids of Casa Pacifica wherever they are – in their cottages, at school, etc.

A sweet surprise came after the girls thought the library was done when ProSource Wholesale offered to donate carpeting, while an anonymous donor stepped forward to cover the cost of the carpet installation.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic made earning their Silver Award even more difficult when Casa Pacifica had to close its campus to visitors. But the girls persevered, coming on the weekends completely masked and sequestered in the library until the job was finished. Troop leader Andi Kish spoke about the project, “these girls were pretty ambitious, they really shot for the moon. What I love is they were able to pivot when circumstances got hard. It took a tremendous amount of dedication and prioritization.”

The campus, home to Casa Pacifica’s residential treatment programs, nonpublic school, and outpatient services, opened the Rotary Clubs of Camarillo Library in 1995. When the agency first opened, they served a different population – toddlers to teens, even infants when needed. Today, the agency has an older population, ages 9-17 year olds, based on current needs. The library overhaul made the space much more appealing and usable with the addition of current and age-appropriate books. The newly renovated library and its new offerings have brought a renewed love of reading back to Casa Pacifica. A few youth are even hoping to start a book club and have begun to request books they want to read that aren’t currently stocked in the library. If you would like to purchase any of their wishlist books, please visit Casa Pacifica’s Amazon registry here: https://smile.amazon.com/hz/charitylist/ls/QGWWQJBWRS83/ref=smi_ext_lnk_lcl_cl

Source: Citizens Journal

Casa Pacifica Highlights Need for Extra Support and Attention for Families During Pandemic

February 25, 2021

The Covid pandemic is not only a health issue but the source of many consequences for entire families. There is no denying that extra and carefully thought-out support is needed by students, children, and their families, who are all struggling to maintain a normal life. Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families , an organization that is keen to provide support for people across the board has highlighted the need to go beyond the ordinary in these times.

Casa Pacifica’s main campus at Camarillo offers adolescents and children the help, healing, and support they need to restart their lives and rediscover hope for a better future. During the pandemic, the NPS staff showed an exemplary adherence to duty beyond the ordinary. There were weekly wellness calls to families, and when a student’s only parent contracted Covid-19, the staff drove groceries to the family during the quarantine. Special ‘drive-bys were held to celebrate milestones like graduation, and virtual parties for holidays. There were other measures too like, for instance, the music teacher Tom Ball gave outdoor and distance guitar lessons in the park and the staff drove to Santa Clara to deliver homework.

The case of Edgar highlighted the difference that such additional practices made in the lives of students. Edgar had joined NPS due to family tragedies and when he struggled with learning and social skills. After the pandemic, Edgar could not cope with virtual learning, and kept missing classes, while his family too became overwhelmed. The staff then created an IEP meeting to create a tailor-made plan for him and his family.

‘The point when we saw a change was when we told Edgar’s grandmother, ‘It’s ok. It’s ok that there are problems. We’re here to help; we’re not here to judge’, says Allyson Bell of Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families.

Edgar’s family has now started being in touch with the school district, and Edgar is engaging with his learning and academics, coming to meet weekly for clinical services. Without its dedicated staff, Casa Pacifica would not have imagined making such a positive impact during these times, when everyone needs extra attention and support.

Source: MENAFN

Obituary: William Howard Powell

February 20, 2021

William (Bill/Willie) H. Powell, age 75, passed away peacefully on February 4, 2021 due to complications from Covid-19. He was born Oct 20, 1945 in Baltimore, Maryland, to Kathleen and Richard Powell.

Bill was a top executive in the specialty chemicals industry until his retirement in 2006. He spent a major portion of his career with National Starch and Chemical Company in Bridgewater, New Jersey, managing a series of divisions as a corporate, group and executive vice president before being named chairman and CEO in 1999. In addition, he was a board member, director or chairman of several other corporations and organizations, including Imperial Chemical Industries, Arch Chemicals, the American Chemistry Council and the Corn Refiners Association. After his retirement, he served as chairman of the board of the Granite Construction Company, a board member of FMC Corporation and PolyOne Corporation.

Bill served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force after earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in chemical engineering at Case Western Reserve. In 2017, Case Western named him as a Distinguished Alumni of the Year.

After his retirement, Bill turned his sights to non-profit endeavors, such as serving on the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey State Theater. Upon his relocation to California, he focused his efforts on providing opportunities to underprivileged teenagers in the Los Angeles area. He served as the chairman and CEO of his own non-profit Dancing with our Future Stars – a program that brings free dance and physical education to Title One schools in Ventura County. He served as President of the board of the Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and he was recognized for his mentorship of minority teens in Oxnard, California at the Boys and Girls Club. He also travelled with International Health Emissaries to work alongside dentists providing dental care in Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Argentina. Bill’s hobbies included golf, tennis and dancing. Added to his interests in music history, neuroscience, cooking and wine, Bill quickly related to anyone that he befriended. Bill was especially interested in helping emancipated youth and preparing them for life after foster care.

Bill is survived by his wife Jewell (Gerald) Powell; his daughter Leslie Robins and her children Lucas and Mason Robins; his son Jason Powell, wife Kim Powell and their children Will and Brennan Powell; his daughter Summer Powell; stepson Ricky Marangoni; former wife Kathy Powell; his sister Susan Hester, husband Gene Hester and their children Amanda Fischer and Paige Cole; and his sister Marty Fulton, husband Steve Fulton and her son Jordan Fulton.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be scheduled at a later date. To honor and remember Bill, please consider a donation to The William H. Powell Memorial Fund at: Casa Pacifica https://www.casapacifica.org/ or Dancing With Our Future Starshttps://dwofs.com/

Source: LA Times

19th Annual Casa Pacifica Spotlight on Style Fashion Show – A Virtual Hit

February 19, 2021

The Casa Pacifica Angels Spotlight on Style Fashion Show returned for its 19th year via virtual platform on Saturday, November 21. Susan and Ken Bauer returned as hosts for the revamped event featuring returning fashion designer Kevan Hall. Hall showcased his beautiful 2020 collection in an exclusive pre-recorded fashion show with a behind-the-scenes look at his creative process. Sponsors and guests of their choosing received Four Seasons Hotel brunch boxes delivered to their homes the morning of the show. The extensive online silent auction spanned the entire weekend, opening Friday morning and ending Sunday at 5:00 p.m.

In spite of this year’s challenges to host events, Casa Pacifica managed to gross over $95,000 through its virtual Spotlight on Style. Lori Silvey and Maureen Turley-Gutierrez, chairpersons of the 2020 event, and their committee worked relentlessly to create another fantastic show. For more information, visit casapacifica.org.

Source: Calabasas Style

Obituary: William (Bill) H. Powell

February 19, 2021

William (Bill) H. Powell, age 75, passed away peacefully on February 4, 2021 due to complications from Covid-19. He was born Oct 20,1945 in Baltimore, Maryland, to Kathleen and Richard Powell.

Bill was a top executive in the specialty chemicals industry until his retirement in 2006. He spent a major portion of his career with National Starch and Chemical Company in Bridgewater, New Jersey, managing a series of divisions as a corporate, group and executive vice president before being named chairman and CEO in 1999. In addition, he was a board member, director or chairman of several other corporations and organizations, including Imperial Chemical Industries, Arch Chemicals, the American Chemistry Council and the Corn Refiners Association. After his retirement, he served as chairman of the board of the Granite Construction Company, a board member of FMC Corporation and PolyOne Corporation.

Bill served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force after earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in chemical engineering at Case Western Reserve. In 2017, Case Western named him as a Distinguished Alumni of the Year.

After his retirement, Bill turned his sights to non-profit endeavors, such as serving on the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey State Theater.  Upon his relocation to California, he focused his efforts on providing opportunities to underprivileged teenagers in the Los Angeles area. He served as President of the board of the Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and he was recognized for his mentorship of minority teens in Oxnard, California at the Boys and Girls Club. He served as the chairman and CEO of his own non-profit Dancing with our Future Stars – a program that brings free dance and physical education to Title One schools in Ventura County. He also travelled with International Health Emissaries to work alongside dentists providing dental care in Peru, Guatemala, and Argentina.

Bill is survived by his wife Jewell (Gerald) Powell; his daughter Leslie Robins and her children Lucas and Mason Robins; his son Jason Powell, wife Kim Powell and their children Will and Brennan Powell; his daughter Summer Powell; stepson Ricky Marangoni; former wife Kathy Powell; his sister Susan Hester, husband Gene Hester and their children Amanda Fischer and Paige Cole; and his sister Marty Fulton, husband Steve Fulton and her son Jordan Fulton.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be scheduled at a later date.  To honor and remember Bill, please consider a donation to Casa Pacifica to the William H. Powell Memorial Fund (casapacifica.org) or to Dancing with our Future Stars (dwofs.com).

Source: Central Jersey

Casa Pacifica Mourns Loss of Board President William Powell

February 17, 2021

It is with great sadness Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families announces the passing of Board President William “Bill” Powell. Bill passed away on Feb. 4. Powell joined Casa Pacifica’s Board of Directors in 2012 after reaching out to the nonprofit in 2010 for a tour, steadily increasing his involvement. Powell served as board president since 2017. “Bill’s clear vision, strong leadership and gentle guidance strengthened Casa Pacifica in every way,” Casa Pacifica CEO Shawna Morris said.“His relentless pursuit of excellence coupled with his heart of gold was a blessing to all of us. He will be greatly missed both in my heart and in our organization.”

Powell maintained an active presence on campus, chairing the executive committee and attending each of the other monthly board committee meetings – Finance, Governance, Program Oversight, Risk Management, and Human Resources. Powell, along with his wife Jewell generously supported every Casa Pacifica fundraising event from 2012 to present. The Powells are also active contributors to Kids Club, an annual giving program which helps provide sustaining financial support to the nonprofit. Powell stepped up to lead the completion of Casa Pacifica’s Building New Foundations of Hope Capital Campaign when the previous chairman had to step down. Jewell then surprised Bill by purchasing a naming opportunity, as part of the campaign, to name the campus’ warehouse/loading reception area in honor of his late father — Richard Powell — who was his role model and hero. Powell has used his contacts from his corporate board participation to benefit Casa Pacifica, including discounted pricing from Granite Construction to pave driveways and parking areas for the new Stepping Stones Transitional Housing when it was built on campus, as well as donations/matching gifts from FMC Corporation that have totaled more than $400,000 in the last few years.

In addition to his Board commitments, Bill and Jewell volunteer on campus with the kids. Jewell is an active member of the Casa Pacifica Angels, Casa Pacifica’s auxiliary fundraising group and spends time with the Casa Pacifica youth teaching weekly dance classes, even continuing via Zoom during the pandemic. Bill was especially interested in helping emancipated youth and preparing them for life after foster care — volunteering at Casa Pacifica’s Road to Independence event hosted by the Transitional Youth Services program for foster youth throughout the county, where youth practice and learn about valuable resources accessible to them following their emancipation. Powell also shared his knowledge and love for cooking with the kids on campus, spending time teaching cooking classes in the Bauer Teaching Kitchen. The kids affectionately called him Chef Willie. A luncheon prepared and hosted by Chef Willie and his students was auctioned off at Casa Pacifica’s Yummie Top Chef Dinner and together, Chef Willie and his students served a four-course Italian feast.

Donations in Powell’s memory can be made to Casa Pacifica’s William H. Powell Memorial Fund at www.casapacifica.org or https://12732.thankyou4caring.org/willim-h-powell-memorial-fund or to Dancing With Our Future Stars at www.dwofs.com. Donations to Casa Pacifica will directly support Powell’s vision to build and strengthen Casa Pacifica’s policies and practices.

Powell was set to end his term as board president in July 2021. Taking over as board president is board vice president Robert Wynner, who was already set to take the post upon Powell’s retirement in July. Wynner and his wife Shealen are also longtime Casa Pacifica supporters. Wynner, a partner at Westlake law firm Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth, and Wynner, joined the Board of Directors in 2010, and previously served as president of the Casa Pacifica Amigos, a volunteer auxiliary group who mentors and spends time with the kids on campus.

Source: Noozhawk

Obituary: Bill Powell, president of the Casa Pacifica board

February 12, 2021

William “Bill” Powell, the board president of Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families, passed away earlier this month after nine years of service with the nonprofit.

Powell joined Casa Pacifica’s board in 2012 after receiving a tour of its Camarillo-area facility two years earlier. He contributed heavily to Casa Pacifica’s leadership, chairing the executive committee and attending each of the other monthly board committee meetings. Powell and his wife, Jewell, were also generous financial supporters of the charity, and Powell stepped up to lead the finishing touches of Casa Pacifica’s Building New Foundations of Hope Capital Campaign when the previous chairman stepped down.

Powell also helped Casa Pacifica through his connections in the community, getting the nonprofit in touch with donors and companies that offered discounted rates for their services, and volunteered to help emancipated foster youth prepare for life after foster care. He taught cooking classes, where he earned the nickname “Chef Willie,” and used the skills he taught the children to help raise even more money for the organization.

Board Vice President Robert Wynner will take over, and was already preparing for Powell’s planned retirement in July. Wynner is a partner at Westlake Village law firm Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth, and joined the Casa Pacifica board of directors in 2010. He previously served as president of the Casa Pacifica Amigos, a volunteer auxiliary group that mentors children on campus.

Source: Pacific Coast Business Times

Casa Pacifica Loses Beloved Board President William Powell

February 12, 2021

It is with great sadness Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families announces the passing of their Board President William “Bill” Powell. Bill passed away on Thursday, February 4th. Bill joined Casa Pacifica’s Board of Directors in 2012 after reaching out to the nonprofit in 2010 for a tour, steadily increasing his involvement. Bill has served as Board President since 2017. Casa Pacifica CEO Shawna Morris said, “Bill’s clear vision, strong leadership and gentle guidance strengthened Casa Pacifica in every way. His relentless pursuit of excellence coupled with his heart of gold was a blessing to all of us. He will be greatly missed both in my heart and in our organization.”

Bill maintained an active presence on campus, chairing the Executive Committee and attending each of the other monthly Board Committee meetings – Finance, Governance, Program Oversight, Risk Management, and Human Resources. Bill, along with his wife Jewell have generously supported every single Casa Pacifica fundraising event from 2012 to present. The Powells are also active contributors to Kids Club, an annual giving program which helps provide sustaining financial support to the nonprofit. Bill stepped up to lead the completion of Casa Pacifica’s Building New Foundations of Hope Capital Campaign when the previous chairman had to step down. Jewell then surprised Bill by purchasing a naming opportunity, as part of the Campaign, to name the campus’ warehouse/loading reception area in honor of his late father – Richard Powell – who was his role model and hero. Bill has used his contacts from his Corporate Board participation to benefit Casa Pacifica, including discounted pricing from Granite Construction to pave our driveways and parking areas for the new Stepping Stones Transitional Housing when it was built on campus, as well as donations/matching gifts from FMC Corporation that have totaled over $400,000 in the last few years. 

In addition to his Board commitments, Bill and Jewell volunteer on campus with the kids. Jewell is an active member of the Casa Pacifica Angels, Casa Pacifica’s auxiliary fundraising group and spends time with the Casa Pacifica youth teaching weekly dance classes, even continuing via Zoom during the pandemic. Bill was especially interested in helping emancipated youth and preparing them for life after foster care – volunteering at Casa Pacifica’s “Road to Independence” event hosted by the Transitional Youth Services program for foster youth throughout the county, where youth practice and learn about valuable resources accessible to them following their emancipation. Powell also shared his knowledge and love for cooking with the kids on campus, spending time teaching cooking classes in the Bauer Teaching Kitchen. The kids affectionately called him “Chef Willie.” A luncheon prepared and hosted by Chef Willie and his students was auctioned off at Casa Pacifica’s Yummie Top Chef Dinner and together, Chef Willie and his students served a four-course Italian feast.

Donations in Powell’s memory can be made to Casa Pacifica’s William H. Powell Memorial Fund at www.casapacifica.org or https://12732.thankyou4caring.org/willim-h-powell-memorial-fund or to Dancing With Our Future Stars at www.dwofs.com. Donations to Casa Pacifica will directly support Powell’s vision to build and strengthen Casa Pacifica’s policies and practices.

Powell was set to end his term as Board President in July 2021. Taking over as Board President is Board Vice President Robert Wynner who was already set to take the post upon Powell’s retirement in July. Wynner and his wife Shealen are also longtime Casa Pacifica supporters. Wynner, a partner at Westlake law firm Nevers, Palazzo, Packard, Wildermuth, and Wynner, joined the Board of Directors in 2010 and also previously served as President of the Casa Pacifica Amigos, a volunteer auxiliary group who mentors and spends time with the kids on campus.

Source: Citizens Journal

Casa Pacifica hosts policy forum

February 03, 2021

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families recently hosted a Children’s Policy Forum over Zoom, bringing together agencies and policymakers to discuss how to best foster recovery for youth and families in the coming year.

More than 100 people attended the virtual event Friday.

They listened to panelists share their thoughts and perspectives on youth substance abuse, the foster system and the opportunities that lie ahead. Casa Pacifica is a residential treatment facility that offers crisis care to foster and at-risk children in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

During the event, Peter Gelber, a long-time Casa Pacifica parent partner who has lived through family substance abuse issues, and Savannah Simpson, a 22-year-old who spent time in the Ventura County foster care system, spoke on their experience with substance use and the support they received in recovery.

“Nothing makes my heart smile more than connecting people that share a common mission,” Casa Pacifica Public Policy Officer Marika Collins said in a statement. “In this case, improving the lives of children and families with substance use issues.

“Given the numerous dedicated professionals in Sacramento within the various child-serving state agencies as well as the leaders within Ventura County, it just seemed like the logical thing to do: Bring state and county policymakers, decision makers, along with service providers and most importantly, the recipients of services, together to learn from one another.”

Source: Santa Barbara News-Press

New faces join Casa Pacifica board

January 22, 2021

Casa Pacifica recently added Sean Leonard and Celina Zacarias to its board of directors.

Leonard, founder of S.L. Leonard and Associates, brings 35 years of experience in real estate development and construction. Zacarias has a diverse background of business experience and serves as director of community and government relations for Cal State Channel Islands.

They join 22 other individuals with expertise in numerous fields, including legal, financial, insurance, education, business, and community advocates to help guide Casa Pacifica in the most successful direction for the vulnerable children and families they serve.

Leonard’s firm, one of the premier project management companies in Southern California, completed such projects as the Museum of Ventura County Pavilion and Plaza, the Camarillo Library, City of Hope Helford Replacement Hospital and Casa Pacifica’s Building New Foundations of Hope capital campaign expansion.

Before forming his own firm in 2003, Leonard spent more than five years as the senior vice president of project management for the nonprofit owners of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Leonard gives his time to community service as well; he is the board chair of A Community of Friends, developers of low-income housing for people with special needs, and a board member of the Ventura County Community Foundation.

Before joining CSUCI, Zacarias gained her varied background in business development from companies like GMAC Mortgage, Wells Fargo and Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation.

The focus of her role at CSUCI is advancing its positive presence and goodwill at all levels through a comprehensive proactive program of community and government relations.

Zaracias is involved in the community and holds a number of leadership positions in professional, economic and charitable organizations.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

Sean Leonard, Celina Zacarias announced as new members of Casa Pacifica board

January 18, 2021

Casa Pacifica has announced the additions of Sean Leonard and Celina Zacarias to its board.

Mr. Leonard, founder of S.L. Leonard & Associates, brings extensive experience in real estate development and construction.

Ms. Zacarias brings her diverse background of business experience. She’s the director of community and government relations for CSU Channel Islands.

The new members will join 22 other individuals bringing together various fields of expertise, including legal, financial, insurance, education, business, and community advocates — all coming together to guide Casa Pacifica in the most successful direction for the vulnerable children and families it serves.

“The youth and families we serve every day are blessed to have Sean and Celina join our prestigious board of directors. Their community mindedness and generous hearts are a gift to us all,” said Shawna Morris, CEO of Casa Pacifica.

Mr. Leonard has more than 35 years’ experience in the competitive Southern California real estate development and construction industry. His firm has become one of the premiere project management firms in Southern California – completely projects such as Museum of Ventura County Pavilion & Plaza, the Camarillo Library, City of Hope Helford Replacement Hospital, and Casa Pacifica’s own Building New Foundations of Hope capital campaign expansion.

Prior to forming his own firm in 2003, Mr. Leonard spent more than five years as the senior vice president of project management for the nonprofit owners of the world-acclaimed Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Despite his busy schedule, Mr. Leonard always finds time to give back to the community, currently serving as the board chair of A Community of Friends, developers of low-income housing for people with special needs and a Board Member of the Ventura County Community Foundation.

Prior to joining CSU Channel Islands, Ms. Zacarias gained her varied background in business development from companies like GMAC Mortgage, Wells Fargo and Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation. The focus of her current role as director of community and government relations for the university is advancing their positive presence and goodwill at all levels through a comprehensive proactive program of community and government relations.

Ms. Zaracias also has extensive involvement in the community, holding number leadership positions in professional, economic and charitable organizations.

Source: Santa Barbara News-Press

Casa Pacifica adds Sean Leonard and Celina Zacarias to Board of Directors

January 14, 2021

Casa Pacifica is proud to announce the additions of Sean Leonard and Celina Zacarias to its Board of Directors. Leonard, founder of S.L. Leonard & Associates, brings extensive experience in real estate development and construction. Zacarias brings her diverse background of business experience, currently serving as the Director of Community and Government Relations for CSU Channel Islands. They join 22 other individuals bringing together various fields of expertise – including legal, financial, insurance, education, business, and community advocates – all coming together to guide Casa Pacifica in the most successful direction for the vulnerable children and families they serve.

“The youth and families we serve every day are blessed to have Sean and Celina join our prestigious board of directors.  Their community mindedness and generous hearts are a gift to us all,” said Shawna Morris, CEO of Casa Pacifica.

Leonard has more than 35 years’ experience in the competitive Southern California real estate development and construction industry. His firm has become one of the premiere project management firms in Southern California – completely projects such as Museum of Ventura County Pavilion & Plaza, The Camarillo Library, City of Hope Helford Replacement Hospital, and Casa Pacifica’s own Building New Foundations of Hope capital campaign expansion. Prior to forming his own firm in 2003, Leonard spent more than five years as the Senior Vice President of Project Management for the nonprofit owners of the world-acclaimed Walt Disney Concert Hall. Despite his busy schedule, Leonard always finds time to give back to the community, currently serving as the Board Chair of A Community of Friends, developers of low-income housing for people with special needs and a Board Member of the Ventura County Community Foundation.

Prior to joining CSU Channel Islands, Zacarias gained her varied background in business development from companies like GMAC Mortgage, Wells Fargo, and Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation. The focus of her current role as Director of Community and Government Relations for the University is advancing their positive presence and goodwill at all levels through a comprehensive proactive program of community and government relations. Zaracias also has extensive involvement in the community, holding number leadership positions in professional, economic, and charitable organizations.

Source: Citizens Journal

Ventura County charitable groups find donation uptick as families continue to struggle

January 2, 2021

Whether it’s due to year-end tax breaks or the spirit of Christmas, many charitable organizations see a bump in donations over the holidays. As nonprofits count the revenue coming in at the end of a surreal year, some are surprised to see the spike.

Ventura County donors were in a giving mood this year as they saw their friends and neighbors line up at food pantries and toy distributions. Some organizations expected donations to drop during these troubled times but it wasn’t necessarily the case.

The Salvation Army put many of its signature red kettles out of commission this year, opting instead for online donations. Without as many bellringers soliciting donations at a busy shopping center, the fear was that donations would drop. Instead the organization received at least $102,000 in the Ventura area over the holidays, a significant increase from nearly $66,000 the year before.

“In this climate, with all the other things going on in people’s lives, it’s truly amazing,” said Robert Brennan, director of communications for The Salvation Army. 

It’s not just individual donors stepping up.

When Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families put out a plea two weeks for Christmas seeking donations, the organization didn’t know what to expect. The businesses that Casa Pacifica normally relied on for gifts weren’t in a position to donate due to COVID-19 challenges. Suddenly, the organization was short on holiday gifts and family baskets for the 400 children and families it serves.

But the Gene Haas Foundation stepped up, writing a check for $10,000.

Over in Thousand Oaks, Lilian Teran, president of Adelante Comunidad Conejo, was surprised to see some of her loyal donors increase their contributions in December. One individual donor wrote a $2,000 check. Another wrote one for $4,000.

Adelante started in 2018 to empower Spanish-speaking families in the Conejo Valley on education issues. But when the pandemic hit, the group realized that struggling families needed help with basic necessities.

Partnering with Ventura County food pantry Ventura County Food Forward, local markets, churches and other community organizations, Adelante was able to host food pantries and distribution events. On some days, families would form a line for the food pantry three hours before opening.

“The reality is, most of the families work in the restaurant industry, and they’re losing their jobs. We have a lot of unemployed families,” Teran said.

Organizations know that the overwhelming need in the community won’t dissipate once the holidays are over.

“In these uncertain times, with stay-at-home orders extended and with more people struggling, we fully expect the ramification of the pandemic to go well into the next year,” Brennan said. “We have this nice return but the need is going to keep increasing.”

At Community Action of Ventura County, the food pantry in Oxnard once served about 80 families pre-COVID-19 and now serves 400. But the organization is dependent on grants, not donations, and has struggled throughout the pandemic.

In March, the nonprofit had to close its homeless services when it ran out of funds. Offices were closed for several months but a Payment Protection Program loan allowed Community Action to bring some staff back in June.

Executive Director Susy Lopez-Garcia said she wants to focus on finding sponsors and donors so the organization isn’t so dependent on dwindling grants. Thanks to funding from the federal CARES Act, the group is looking to bring some homeless services back in the new year, including meals and more shower and laundry services.

There’s a lot of hope pinned to the new year. Whether the vaccine turns things around or not, organizations know there’s a lot of work to do in 2021.

Teran, who has steered Adelante to become a completely different organization due to the pandemic, said as long as families are in need, there will be ways to help them. She said she has told her board of directors on three separate occasions that the group has run out of money only to have a grant or a donation crop up in the nick of time.

“When it goes back to normal, when COVID is gone, Adelante will continue helping families,” Teran said. 

Source: VC Star

Casa Pacifica receives a holiday donation from the Gene Haas Foundation

December 21, 2020

The Casa Pacific Center for Children and Families has received a $10,000 check from the Gene Haas Foundation to make the holidays brighter for its children and families.

The donation will go towards presents for the children and family baskets needed during the holidays.

The Center serves over a 400 children, youth and their families a day through residential and community-based services.

Casa Pacific CEO Shawna Morris stressed the importance of providing a special holiday season for the families they serve.

“These gifts and essential items are much more than just that, they are a break from the stress of figuring out how to provide that themselves,” Morris said. “These family baskets and presents give them a chance to just enjoy being a kid, enjoy being a family, enjoy being together and the magic of the holiday season.”

Source: KEYT

Gene Haas Foundation Provides Holiday Miracle for Casa Pacifica Children and Families

December 21, 2020

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families received a check for $10,000 from the Gene Haas Foundation to provide funding for gifts for the children and families Casa Pacifica serves both on their Camarillo campus and in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Casa Pacifica serves over 400 children, youth, and their families a day through their residential and community-based services. Part of those services is providing presents and family baskets during the holidays. Casa Pacifica recently put out a plea for help with many of their well-known holiday dove wishes still unfulfilled two weeks before Christmas. “Because of COVID-19 related challenges, many of the businesses we rely on to help us provide gifts are working remotely so they were unable to participate in the same way they normally do,” said Casa Pacifica’s Chief Development Officer, Carrie Hughes.  “After sending out our urgent plea, I received a call from Peter Zierhut of The Gene Haas Foundation and he simply asked, ‘How much do you need?’ Gene Haas has been an incredible supporter of ours for a very long time – their partnership has provided much-needed support for our programs every year, and they have certainly answered the call once again, enabling us to provide the holiday season all of our youth and families deserve.”

Shawna Morris, Casa Pacifica’s CEO, stressed the importance of providing a “special holiday season for the children and families we serve. These gifts and essential items are much more than just that, they are a break from the stress of figuring out how to provide that themselves. These family baskets and presents give them a chance to just enjoy being a kid, enjoy being a family, enjoy being together and the magic of the holiday season.”

Source: Citizens Journal

Casa Pacifica Gives Its Campus a New Name Honouring Beloved and Retired CEO

December 01, 2020

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families is highlighting a big change at their headquarters in Camarillo this year. The board of directors, during a virtual meeting, decided to rename the main campus in honor of their long-time CEO Steve Elson. The campus is now called the Steven E. Elson Campus.

About the Man

Steve Elson has helped and worked with public policy initiatives regarding youths and children for over 35 years. In that time he had worked with many organizations to fight for advances for the youth and children. Such organizations include the American Association of Children’s Residential Centers; California Alliance of Child and Family Services; and the California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth. He retired on the 17th of July 2020.

About Casa Pacifica/ Steven E. Elson Campus

Casa Pacifica is part of the group of Teen and Youth Services, Camarillo. They offer services to help youth and family victims of neglect and abuse. And they also offer services for homelessness, substance abuse, and a range of mental health issues as well as behavioral problems. They are working with over 2, 100 children and their families year after year.

As well as being committed to helping the youth and families get through their extremely tough times they wish for these people to see the light at the end of the struggle. Therefore, they aim to help the families build a better life while dealing with the often difficult emotions. In the end, they would like the families and youth to feel a part of a community. Where they can live happily in as well as thrive. Plus, they are there for the struggling youth and families unconditionally with every one of life’s downs and eventual ups.

Their campus is located on a rural area that is 24 acres as well as about five miles (8, 05 km) from the Pacific Ocean. The purpose of this particular location is that it can allow the youth and families to heal as well as look forward to a brighter time with the help of Casa Pacifica.

What Steve Elson Did for Casa Pacifica

Steve Elson helped Casa Pacifica grow from 1994 when they only had four core programs to 2020 where they now have 14 campuses as well as community-based programs. These programs are recognized throughout the state as well as the rest of the nation. They give the youths and families effective and high-quality methods that have helped about 42, 687 youths, and families.

Steve Elson also managed to help Casa Pacifica with the Continuum of Care Reform that came about in 2017. This effort made Casa Pacifica the first agency in Southern California as well as the third in the state to get a short-term residential therapeutic program license.  Therefore, it is an honor to have a main campus named after this great man who did more than a lot for the youth and struggling families. And Casa Pacifica will surely do his name honor as they always did.

Source: iCrowdNewswire

Casa Pacifica’s fashion show presented virtually

November 26, 2020

The fashion industry isn’t a stranger to alterations. And the Casa Pacifica Angels Spotlight on Style Fashion Show, held Nov. 21, is no exception.

The Camarillo-based nonprofit’s fashion show, featuring returning fashion designer Kevan Hall, was a pre-recorded virtual show with a behind-the-scenes look at the process. A silent auction was held throughout the weekend.

Ticket and auction sales grossed $95,000 and benefited Casa Pacifica, a crisis-care and residential treatment facility for foster or at-risk children in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Susan and Ken Bauer returned to host the event, giving a sense of continuity amidst the changes.

In the virtual program, Casa Pacifica staff advocated for the agency’s importance. The showstopper was an interview with Fatima, a former Casa Pacifica resident who shared about her journey through the foster system and ultimately finding a foster family through Casa Pacifica.

“I feel this year’s annual Spotlight on Style might be the most important in Casa Pacifica’s 26-year history. As we face unprecedented obstacles, it’s crucial we provide hope and help to our children who need and deserve it,” said Lori Silvey, co-chair of 2020 Spotlight on Style.

 

Source: Santa Barbara News-Press

Casa Pacifica’s Angels Spotlight on Style Fashion Show, A Virtual Hit!

November 24, 2020

The Casa Pacifica Angels Spotlight on Style Fashion Show returned for its 19th year via virtual platform on Saturday, November 21st. Susan and Ken Bauer returned as hosts for the newly revamped event which featured returning celebrity fashion designer Kevan Hall. Hall showcased his beautiful 2020 collection in an exclusive pre-recorded fashion show which included a behind-the-scenes look at his creative process. Sponsors, and guests of their choosing, received Four Seasons Hotel brunch boxes delivered to their doorstops the morning of the Show. The deluxe brunch box included brunch favorites and bubbly for guests to enjoy while watching the program in the safety of their own homes. The extensive online silent auction spanned the entire weekend, opening Friday morning and ending Sunday at 5 PM. Popular items included a 2-night stay in the Presidential Suite at Mandalay Bay Embassy Suites, a private helicopter tour, a Four Seasons spa treatment, and golf foursomes.

In spite of this year’s challenges surrounding events, Casa Pacifica managed to gross over $95,000 through their virtual Spotlight on Style. In conjunction with the Fashion Show by Kevan Hall, the online program also featured Casa Pacifica staff underscoring the need for the agency’s programs and services and the importance of community involvement in the ability to continue providing those services. The highlight of the video was an intimate interview with Fatima, a former Casa Pacifica resident who, alongside her foster mom, shared her journey through the foster care system which ended at Casa Pacifica and ultimately led to her foster family.

Lori Silvey and Maureen Turley-Gutierrez, chairpersons of the 2020 Spotlight on Style, and their Spotlight on Style Committee have worked diligently to create another fantastic fashion show despite the challenging circumstances this year presented. “I feel this year’s annual Spotlight on Style might be the most important in Casa Pacifica’s 26 year-history. As we face unprecedented obstacles, it’s crucial we provide hope and help to our children who need and deserve it,” said Silvey of this year’s event.

Along with returning hosts Susan and Ken Bauer, other Spotlight on Style sponsors include Style Sponsor: Susan Burgos; Spotlight Sponsors: The Cassar Family, Bill and Jewell Gerald Powell; Haute Couture Sponsors: Beach Law Group, Porta-Stor, and Procter & Gamble; Couture Sponsors: Boskovich Farms; Designer Sponsors – City National Bank, Patricia Cordover, Five Star Bookkeeping, Susan & Sheldon Malchicoff, Lori & Bryan Silvey, Roz Warner, M.D. & Michael Hogan, M.D., Monetta & Mark Williams, Oksana & Kim Zussman, DDS.

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.

Source: Citizens Journal

Casa Pacifica names Richard Gutierrez as Chief Financial Officer

November 14, 2020

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families welcomed Richard Gutierrez as its Chief Financial Officer on Monday. Mr. Gutierrez joins Casa Pacifica’s senior leadership team guided by Chief Executive Officer Shawna Morris, who joined the nonprofit in July.

“We are fortunate to have Richard joining our team as he has all the requisite experience and skills and most importantly, he has a heart for the youth and families we serve,” Ms. Morris said. Mr. Gutierrez comes from a nonprofit background, most recently serving as CFO at Options For All — a San Diego-based nonprofit providing programs that give individuals with intellectual and developmental disability more options for living their lives to the fullest, including job support and independent living.

Mr. Gutierrez will work closely with Ms. Morris and the Board of Directors to ensure Casa Pacifica continues on a healthy financial trajectory. “I am so excited and pleased to be joining the strong leadership team of Casa Pacifica. I look forward to partnering with what is obviously a dedicated and committed Board of Directors in advancing the vital mission of the organization. I will do my best to lead a strong financial team so we can continue to support the organization as we encounter new strategic and programmatic challenges,” said Mr. Gutierrez.

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families is based in Camarillo, but does some of its work in Santa Barbara County.

Source: Santa Barbara News-Press

Guest editorial: Census count goes a long way to helping Ventura County youth

November 14, 2020

Tory’s dad took his own life. His mom tried to take hers. The social workers got him into a foster family he liked, but then his foster mom died of cancer. So as a teenager, he became a handful — and that is being polite. He started acting out. Taking drugs. Skipping school.

Kelvin’s path is much straighter. At 20 years old he is attending Moorpark College and figuring out how to get involved in his community to make a difference. He attended a workshop on the Census put together by the Ventura County Community Foundation and joined a group dedicated to making sure every person at Moorpark College was counted in the 2020 Census.

Eventually, Tory ended up at Casa Pacifica, the county’s private treatment center for abused and neglected children in crisis. He got very close to his clinician and the staff. They helped him accept his gender identity for the first time. Tory did a lot of hard work and learned to deal with the anger and sadness inside. Tory transitioned into a foster family and is now on track to earn multiple college scholarship offers. 

Tory and Kelvin might never meet, but the nexus between their lives illustrates why it was so important that so many worked to ensure that Ventura County residents were counted in the 2020 Census. People counted in the Census mean dollars to this county. And many of those dollars are spent to help kids like Tory get medical and mental health help before their lives spin out of control.

By counting all of us correctly, Ventura County could receive another $1 billion in federal aid over the next decade. That is at least $100 million every year that can be spent on prenatal care, early childhood screenings for illness, diagnosis for the poorest and most vulnerable kids in our county. Lots of these kids who are not diagnosed or treated effectively early (because there is not enough money to reach everyone) end up as angry and confused children and teenagers at Casa Pacifica. 

The clinical name for the problems these children encounter early is something called Adverse Childhood Experiences. There is a lot of data and scientific evidence to prove something that you know instinctively — when a child starts life behind the 8-ball because they witness pop hitting mom, or parents using drugs, or zoning out and plopping them in front of a TV set instead of reading to them, those kids have a harder time in life. They use drugs more often, they smoke cigarettes, they have diabetes in great number, they are more likely to divorce. 

The answer for these kids is care early and throughout their young lives. Supporting parents to be more involved. Better health care for the kids. We are so much better when we have the dollars to care for our kids before the onset of problems and Ventura County has not been getting what it deserves. 

Mental Health America just ranked California 45th in the nation in access to mental health services for youth with depression. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children 10 to 14 years old. By investing in our youth through prevention and early intervention, we can improve the mental health of our youth and our county. 

For a lot of reasons, Ventura County had been declared one of the places most at-risk of not having an accurate population count. VCCF began organizing hundreds of community-based organizations, local government, service clubs, faith-based organizations, and diverse citizen groups to make sure we were counted back in November 2017, working on this issue nonstop for almost three years. The response from our community and its many volunteer groups was overwhelming. The county moved from the “hardest to count” designation to the top 5% of counties where the population was effectively counted.

Melissa Livingston, director of the county’s Human Service Agency, said so many of the early childhood diagnosis and treatment programs are based on the Census. Accurate figures will be determined later, but Vanessa Bechtel, VCCF’s executive director, said that in the earliest organizational meetings for the Census, the difference between an undercount and a proper count was $1 billion in the next decade. 

Government is huge. Sometimes the numbers and dollars they talk about are so large, that we have a hard time comprehending what it means to our lives. In this case, you can break it down very simply. Because people like Kelvin got involved in the Census, people like Tory will be more likely to get the assistance they need at an early age. 

There are a lot of good people in Ventura County who can make a difference when given a little bit of direction. 

Shawna Morris is the CEO of Casa Pacifica. 

Source: VC Star

Casa Pacifica Welcomes New CFO

November 10, 2020

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families welcomed Richard Gutierrez as their Chief Financial Officer on Monday, November 9th. Gutierrez joins Casa Pacifica’s senior leadership team guided by Chief Executive Officer Shawna Morris, who joined the nonprofit in July. Morris said, “We are fortunate to have Richard joining our team as he has all the requisite experience and skills and most importantly, he has a heart for the youth and families we serve.” Gutierrez comes from a nonprofit background, most recently serving as Chief Financial Officer at Options For All – a San Diego-based nonprofit providing programs that give individuals with intellectual and developmental disability more options for living their lives to the fullest, including job support and independent living.

Gutierrez will work closely with Morris and the Board of Directors to ensure Casa Pacifica continues on a healthy financial trajectory. “I am so excited and pleased to be joining the strong leadership team of Casa Pacifica. I look forward to partnering with what is obviously a dedicated and committed Board of Directors in advancing the vital mission of the organization. I will do my best to lead a strong financial team so we can continue to support the organization as we encounters new strategic and programmatic challenges,” said Gutierrez on his first day.

Source: Citizens Journal

Angels Spotlight on Style Fashion Show Plans to Set the Bar High for Virtual Events

October 22, 2020

Tickets are on sale now for one of the longest running fashion charity events in Ventura County – the Casa Pacifica Angels Spotlight on Style Fashion Show will return for its 19th year via virtual platform on Saturday, November 21st from 11 AM to 12:30 PM. Susan and Ken Bauer are returning as hosts for the event. Celebrity fashion designer Kevan Hall is returning to showcase his beautiful designs on the runway and give attendees an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at his creative process. The revamped event includes options for sponsorship, which includes Four Seasons Hotel brunch boxes delivered directly to sponsors and guests of their choosing. The deluxe brunch box will include brunch favorites and bubbly. Participants can also purchase a link to view the show. An extensive online silent auction will offer enticing items like a 2-night stay in the Presidential Suite at Mandalay Bay Embassy Suites, a gift certificate to Rosewood Miramar, award-winning wines, and diamond jewelry. These and many more great opportunities will be up for grabs!

Fashion Show registration (advanced purchase only) on sale now at www.casapacifica.org. Ticket purchase not required to browse or shop online silent auction. For more information about the Spotlight on Style Fashion Show contact Casa Pacifica Special Events Manager, Anna Coulson at acoulson@casapacifica.org.

Lori Silvey and Maureen Turley-Gutierrez, chairpersons of the 2020 Spotlight on Style, and their Spotlight on Style Committee have worked diligently to create another fantastic fashion show despite the challenging circumstances this year presented. “I feel this year’s annual Spotlight on Style might be the most important in Casa Pacifica’s 25 year-history. As we face unprecedented obstacles, it’s crucial we provide hope and help to our children who need and deserve it,” said Silvey of this year’s event.

Along with returning hosts Susan and Ken Bauer, other Spotlight on Style sponsors include Style Sponsor: Susan Burgos; Spotlight Sponsors: The Cassar Family;  Haute Couture Sponsors: Tom Beach, Porta-Stor, and Procter & Gamble; Couture Sponsors: Boskovich Farms, Bill & Jewell Gerald Powell; Designer Sponsors – City National Bank, Patricia Cordover, Lori & Bryan Silvey, Oksana & Kim Zussman, DDS.

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.       

Golfers raise funds for foster and at-risk youth

October 09, 2020

The 28th annual Care for Kids Golf Classic hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Camarillo took place Sept. 28 at Spanish Hills Country Club. The funds raised benefited Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families and its programs that serve foster and at-risk youth, along with other Rotary Foundation charities. This year’s tournament honored longtime Rotarian and tournament co-chair Kevin Nunn. Kevin Estes returned to co-chair the tournament along with Nunn.

The Care for Kids Golf Classic is one of Ventura County’s longest running charity golf tourneys and has raised funds for Casa Pacifica and other local charities. COVID-19 precautions were taken to keep the 124 golfers safe throughout the day, including mask requirements, temperature checks during check in, social distancing reminder signage, and extra carts for golfers to maintain social distancing while playing. The modified Texas Scramble style tournament crowned winners in gross and low-net flights via Facebook live.

Following are the winning teams.

First-place gross: Ben Golemon, Ryan Everhart, Gary Everhart and Collin Wilcox.
Second-place gross: Chris Russo, Dan Russo, Nick Sarian and Bryan Campbell.
Third-place gross: Jim Carollo, Pete Collins, Ray Chaparro and Sil Gonzales.
First-place low-net: Don Valenzano, Patrick Walton, Paul Southerland, and Stephen Chaves.
Second-place net: Stephen Thornton, David Gelfuso, Kathryn Scheinert and Dustin Long.
Third-place net: Dave Paneiko, Joe Paneiko, Brian Lowe, and Marc Musitano.
In on-course competition, longest drive winners were Dustin Long, Ben Golemon, Sean Gallagher, George Bryson and Angela Berrett.
Dustin Long and Brian Campbell captured the win on the closest to the pin contests.

Local sponsors provided beverages, food and cigars. Due to the pandemic, tourney organizers canceled the traditional cocktail hour and dinner and instead sent golfers home with Wood Ranch gift cards. Former county supervisor and longtime Rotarian Kathy Long emceed the program via Facebook live. The silent auction went online, offering non-golfers a chance to bid on such items as lunch and tour with the Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, a Porsche driving experience and diamond jewelry.

Source: Acorn Moorpark

Local chefs host cook-at-home fundraiser

October 01, 2020

Tickets are on sale for Casa Pacifica’s newest event. In a four-part cook-at-home series, ticket buyers will have the opportunity to virtually cook alongside a professional chef, learning one of the chef’s own recipes.

Each class will feature a different chef from Ventura County. The classes will be take place at 4:30 p.m. Sundays in October:

Oct. 4: Chef Abdu Romero, executive chef of Slate Bistro.
Oct. 11: Chef Nic Manocchio, executive chef of University Auxiliary Services at Cal State Channel Islands.
Oct. 18: Chef Alex Montoya, executive chef of the Tastes and Tales Restaurant Group.
Oct. 25: Chef Julia San Bartolome, owner and corporate pastry chef of Sweet Arleen’s.

All chefs are past winners of Casa Pacifica’s Yummie Culinary Competition, held during the Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival, the organization’s largest annual fundraising event. Meal kits containing the necessary ingredients for the class will be delivered directly to attendees’ doors along with a recipe card, note from the chef giving some background on the dish and access for the class. Tickets are available by going to casapacifica.org.

Source: Acorn Thousand Oaks

Casa Pacifica renames campus after CEO

September 25, 2020

The main campus of Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families off Lewis Road in Camarillo has been renamed the Steven E. Elson Campus after retired and longtime CEO Steve Elson. The board of directors voted on the resolution and revealed the surprise at a virtual board meeting in August.

Elson retired July 17. Throughout his tenure, Casa Pacifica saw growth from 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, officials said. Since opening, Casa Pacifica has helped 42,687 children, youths and their families under Elson’s leadership.

Elson also guided Casa Pacifica through the Continuum of Care Reform, a child welfare reform established in 2017. Casa Pacifica was the third agency in the state and the first in Southern California to receive a short-term residential therapeutic program license.

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 offi- cer capacities for many of them. The organizations include the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, the American Association of Children’s Residential Centers and California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth.

Elson has been involved in major public policy initiatives involving children and youths over the last 35 years.

Source: Acorn Camarillo

HAPPENINGS

September 23, 2020

28th ANNUAL CARE FOR KIDS GOLF CLASSIC 8:30 a.m. This fundraising event, hosted by the Camarillo Rotary Club has been modified for play during the pandemic to benefit the Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families. Aspects of the event have moved online. Those who aren’t golfing but still want to support the fundraising effort can participate in the online auction through Sept. 28 at 5 p.m. at www.hope4kids.givesmart.com. The tournament awards ceremony will take place on Facebook Live at 5:30 p.m. Tournament registration and details at www.casapacifica.org or email Kevin Nunn & Kevin Estes at cfkgolfclassic@gmail.com for more info.

Source: VC Reporter

Casa Pacifica – You Won’t Want to Miss This Experience!

September 22, 2020


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Join local Ventura County chefs from the comfort of your own home for an Interactive, virtual cooking class!

Meet Your Chefs

Chef Abdu Romero
Slate Bistro
Sunday, October 4th - 4:30PM
Menu: Pan seared diver scallops with parmesan risotto and shaved vegetable medley salad

Chef Abdu Romero’s love of food has contributed to his unique signature style of International Flavors. He has traveled to over 18 different countries and has acquired culinary experiences from numerous regional chefs. Abdu, who won the Yummie Culinary Competition in 2019 has worked in some of the finest kitchens in Ventura County including The Tower Club, Bistro 13, Spanish Hills Country Club and as a private chef for various celebrities. We look forward to presenting Abdu’s culinary selections for your enjoyment.


 

Chef Nic Manocchio
University Auxiliary Services at
CSU Channel Islands
Sunday, October 11th - 4:30PM
Menu: Cranberry citrus & honey-glazed organic chicken breast with roasted sweet potato, fennel, asparagus and apples medley

Chef Nic Manocchio’s first Sous Chef position was working under Executive Chef Karl Holst, where Manocchio assisted in opening, Eric’s restaurant in Newbury Park. In 2005, he finished as a semi-finalist in “The Next Food Network Star,” before joining University Auxiliary Services at CSU Channel Islands as Executive Chef. Chef Nic also won the Yummie Culinary Competition in 2009, 2011 and 2012 and continues to be involved in the competition as a judge. With more than 29 years of experience in the culinary industry, Manocchio contributes his success to the many great chefs who served as teachers and mentors. He says, “Food is like a language and each culture has its own translation.”



Chef Alex Montoya
Water’s Edge Ventura
Sunday, October 18th - 4:30PM
Menu: Roasted butternut squash mac & Cheese with blackened shrimp

Chef Alex Montoya started his culinary path at Spencer Makenzie’s and Zoey’s Café back when he was 17-18 years old as a prep/dish washer, and sometimes cook. He soon took a position at The Cave with the opportunity of working up the ladder.  Before he knew it, he was given the opportunity to become Executive Chef. Not only is Chef Alex a 2019 Yummie Culinary Competition winner, he is now the Executive Chef of The Tastes & Tales Restaurant Group which consist of Water’s Edge Ventura, Waterside Channel Islands, Pita Man, Tastes & Tales Catering & Honey Cup.


 

Chef Julia San Bartolome
Sweet Arleen’s
Sunday, October 25th - 4:30PM
Menu: TBD

Chef Julia San Bartolome was born a natural in the kitchen. From baking batches of her families traditional Christmas cookies each year of her youth, to volunteering for food preparation at her summer camp, the kitchen has been her home for over 20 years now. Immediately out of high school, Julia enrolled in the Culinary program at Santa Barbara City College and continued her education in pastries at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Over the next 10 years, Julia would work her way through many kitchens including major hotels in Las Vegas, Northern California restaurants and Country Clubs. In 2009, Julia moved back to Southern California, joining the Sweet Arleen’s team. Side by side with original owner, Arleen Scavone, she competed 4 times on Food Networks “Cupcake Wars,” and was able to help bring home 3 wins for the bakery family. Julia was also a Yummie Culinary Competition winner in 2018 and 2019. Along with her parents, Roberto & Barbara, Julia is now a proud owner of her beloved bakery. Julia continues to run operations in the kitchen and holds Sweet Arleen’s to the highest standards, as it has been from day one.

To purchase a class, series or to sponsor: please visit us here.

 

Source: Citizen's Journal

Outdoors at golf classic

September 03, 2020

A limited number of spots are still available for the 28th annual Care for Kids Golf Classic, set for Mon., Sept. 28 at the Spanish Hills Country Club. in Camarillo. Check-in will take place at 8:30 a.m., followed by a shotgun start at 11 a.m.. A Facebook live awards ceremony will start at 5:30 p.m.

Funds raised will benefit Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families and its programs serving foster and at-risk youth, along with other Rotary Foundation charities.

Due to the pandemic, the event will forego cocktail hour and the traditional sit-down dinner following the round of golf.

Instead, golfers will receive a a Wood Ranch gift card and the opportunity to bid in an online silent auction. Non-golfers can support the tournament through the online silent auction at www.hope4kids. givesmart.com. The auction will be live from 9 a.m. Fri., Sept. 25 through 5 p.m. Mon., Sept. 28.

The tournament will be a modified Texas Scramble format and will have winners in gross and low-net flights. On-course competitions include longest drive and closest to the hole. Contests will have prizes, including cars and cash. Tournament favorite Demolition Derby will pit golfers against each other. The winner will receive a pair of tickets to next year’s Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food and Brew Festival on June 6.

The tournament will have food and drinks served throughout the course, including margaritas, shaved ice and draft beer.

The tournament is hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Camarillo.

Source: The Acorn

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



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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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