PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rachel Simon To Help Build a Bridge of Compassion at Hillside House’s Sunset Soirée

On Saturday, May 19 from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m., Hillside House will host its Sunset Soirée, an inspirational benefit dinner open to all in the community.

Held outdoors in the renowned beauty of El Mirador Estate’s gardens in Montecito, the Sunset Soirée will feature bestselling author and nationally-recognized speaker Rachel Simon. Simon’s memoir Riding the Bus With My Sister, about life lessons learned from her developmentally disabled sister, was a New York Times bestseller and was made into a movie starring Rosie O’Donnell and Andie MacDowell. In her talks, Simon uses real-life stories to portray the unique perspectives of people with disabilities with compassion and humor to create a bridge of understanding and inclusion. Attendees at the Soirée will also enjoy a catered dinner, local wines and a live auction, all to support Hillside House, a non-profit home and learning center for people with developmental disabilities.

Rachel Simon

In addition to Riding the Bus With My Sister, Rachel Simon is the award-winning author of five other books, including the novel The Story of Beautiful Girl, The Writer’s Survival Guide, and The House on Teacher’s Lane: A Memoir of Home, Healing, and Love’s Hardest Questions. Her writings have been adapted for the theater, NPR, Hallmark Hall of Fame, and the Lifetime Channel.

Simon is a sought-after speaker on issues relating to disability and diversity, and has been featured at major organizations, universities and medical clinics across the country. Her awards include the School Library Journal Award for Best Nonfiction of 2003, the Secretary Tommy G. Thompson Award for Contributions in the Field of Disability from the U.S. Department of Health Services, the TASH Image Award for positive portrayals of people with disabilities, and the Media Access Award from the California Governor’s Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities.

At the Soirée, Hillside House will also honor Tita Lanning, owner of El Mirador Estate, with the 2012 Person of Purpose Award for generously donating the use of the gardens for Hillside House events for the past eight years.

Tickets to the Sunset Soirée are $175 per person. Business sponsorships are also available. To attend the Sunset Soirée and help make a difference for Hillside House, visit or call Curt Lauber at Hillside House at (805) 687-0788 ext. 15.

About Hillside House

Hillside House is a 59-bed residential facility in Santa Barbara that has been providing a home, therapeutic care and life-enrichment programs for people with developmental disabilities for over 65 years. Hillside House’s mission is “to provide a home that supports our residents’ efforts to maximize their physical, cognitive, social and emotional abilities so that they can attain their highest level of independence in an environment where people are treated with dignity and respect.”

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