Isla Vista Youth Projects (IVYP) treated its most dedicated supporters to praise, awards and food Wednesday night at the group’s second annual Children’s Champion Dinner and fundraiser.
The event gave the IVYP a chance to show its appreciation for all the help it has received from various community members and organizations over the past year. Over 50 people gathered at Timbers restaurant in Goleta for the dinner, which lasted from 6 to 9 p.m. and featured a buffet, awards ceremony and silent auction of items donated by local businesses. Several IVYP members dressed as celebrities and acted as volunteer servers for the dinner.
LuAnn Miller, executive director of IVYP, said the event was created to thank those who have given their time, money and hard work to the youth project. She also said she expects the fundraiser to bring in $4,000-5,000.
“It’s just a way for us to publicly recognize groups and volunteers that support the Isla Vista Youth Project,” Miller said. “We really are community-based and directed – we have a lot of support, and we couldn’t do it without that.”
The IVYP gave their “Angel of the Year” award to I.V. Elementary School Principal Lisa Maglione for her commitment to making the youth project a success. Maglione said she was surprised to receive the award and felt blessed to be able to work so closely with the project.
“I was overwhelmed,” Maglione said. “It’s amazing to receive an honor for something you love to do so passionately.”
George Thurlow, publisher for the Santa Barbara Independent and representative for the Santa Barbara Foundation, said he was honored to receive an award from IVYP on the foundation’s behalf.
“[The IVYP] is a really terrific program,” Thurlow said. “I feel like we should be honoring them, instead of them honoring us.”
Several local businesses were among the honorees, including property management company Ron Wolfe and Associates, MarBorg Industries and Central Service and Supply.
Miller said Ron Wolfe and Associates was recognized for its frequent contributions to the program. Most notably, the company recently repainted the interior and exterior of IVYP’s after-school program building for the United Way’s Day of Caring.
Upon receiving his award, David Borgatello, vice president of MarBorg, announced at the event that his company would be donating $1,000 to the IVYP to cover the cost of the dinner.
UCSB staff members Esther Velarde and Ronnie Gonzales received an award for creating an adopt-a-child program that gives school employees in three different departments a chance to provide Christmas gifts to children in I.V. UCSB Associated Students was recognized for its extensive lobbying and volunteer work. IVYP board member Arthur Kennedy was also honored at the dinner.