Source: United Way SB
Yessica Arroyo was struggling in school the first time she walked into United Way of Santa Barbara County’s (UWSBC) Fun in the Sun summer learning program as a young camper. But as program staff and volunteers cheered her on, cared for her and gave her the extra lessons she needed over the next nine summers as a camper and counselor in training, Yessica began to see for the first time that college was a real possibility. And as she stood to a thunderous applause during UWSBC’s 94thAnnual Awards celebration on May 24, the young professional had come light years since that first summer, having graduated from UCLA and now serving as an admissions counselor at UCSB.
“You are the supporters making that critical difference in Yessica’s life and in the lives of thousands of other students,” UWSBC President & CEO Steve Ortiz told the more than 160 volunteers, supporters and community members who had filled the Loggia Room of the Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore for the Annual Awards. “We thank you for the countless hours and heroic efforts you’ve put into making Santa Barbara County a better place.”
The special ceremony paid tribute to the many people and organizations who have helped make UWSBC’s community programs and activities a success. Throughout the evening UWSBC presented 22 awards to supporters who played an instrumental role in the success of its 2016 campaign and activities, such as Fun in the Sun, United for Literacy and United for Financial Empowerment. In total, volunteers and organizations joined together to raise over $3.5 million.
Among the recipients was Harding University Partnership School Principal Veronica Binkley, who won the Community Impact Individual of the Year Award. She admitted she felt a bit odd accepting an award from UWSBC and felt that the roles should be reversed, following the difference she has seen on campus with the implementation of United Way’s Power Reading curriculum, Kindergarten Success Institutes, and other programs. Veronica particularly noted the enthusiasm students now have for reading, with some students logging more than a million words read and proudly boasting their accomplishments.
The night included dinner, music, dancing and, of course, the awards ceremony, with presenters Catherine Remak (K-LITE), Jim Brown (Superintendent of College School District & United Way Board member), and Janet Garufis (Chairman & CEO, Montecito Bank & Trust)announcing the winners.
The below awards and honors were presented as follows:
· United for Health Partner of the Year: Direct Relief International
· Outstanding Day of Caring Partner: Bob Uradnicek
· Outstanding Fun in the Sun Individual of the Year: Lina Kim, UCSB
· Outstanding Fun in the Sun Organization of the Year: Lockheed Martin
· Financial Empowerment Partner of the Year: AARP
· United For Literacy Individual of the Year: Kim Curtis, Oak Valley Elementary School
· United For Literacy Organization of the Year: Wood-Claeyssens Foundation
· Community Impact Individual of the Year: Veronica Binkley, Harding University Partnership School
· Community Impact Organization of the Year: Goleta Union School District
· Outstanding Leadership Workplace: Cottage Health
· Outstanding Employee Campaign Manager 1-100 Employees: Alyssa Somavia – Damitz, Brooks, Nightingale, Turner & Morrisset
· Outstanding Employee Campaign Manager 100-250 Employees: Andrew Comeaux – Community West Bank
· Outstanding Employee Campaign Manager More than 250 Employees: Kevin Nelson – Cottage Health
· Outstanding Division Award Education: Goleta Union School District
· Outstanding Division Award Public: City of Santa Barbara
· Outstanding Division Award High Tech: Lockheed Martin
· Outstanding Division Award Business: AGIA Affinity Services
· Outstanding Division Award Finance: City National Bank
· Outstanding Division Award Health: Cottage Health
· Outstanding Division Award Professionals: Evans, Hardy + Young
· Most Outstanding Employee and Corporate Campaign: Montecito Bank & Trust
· 2015-2017 Community Campaign Chair: George Leis
Previously Recognized Awardees:
· Alexis de Tocqueville Award for Outstanding Philanthropy: Geoffrey & Polly Bloomingdale
· Outstanding Volunteer of Time, Talent & Treasure for Individual Leadership Giving: Lance Connor & Nancy Werner
· Over 40 years of outstanding volunteer service to United Way of Santa Barbara County: Blas Garza
Recognized at a June 1 ceremony:
· Legacy Supporter of the Year: Judy Goodbody, Dr. Ursula Henderson
For more about UWSBC and contributing to the organization’s efforts, visit www.unitedwaysb.org.