PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Monday, September 15, 2014

Hospice of Santa Barbara Presents Second Annual Heroes of Hospice Awards and this Year’s Recipients

Santa Barbara, CA, September 15, 2014— Over its 40 year history, Hospice of Santa Barbara has been fortunate to attract outstanding volunteers and supporters. This year, the organization that provides free care for anyone experiencing the impact of life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one, will honor three incredible individuals who have made a significant difference both to the organization and to the community by advancing compassionate end-of-life care in Santa Barbara.

On Friday, October 24, Hospice of Santa Barbara invites the community to join their second annual celebration of the 2014 Heroes of Hospice. The event, which will take place on Hospice of Santa Barbara’s front lawn, will include light refreshments, music, dancing, an art sale featuring work donated by numerous notable local artists, and a book signing for Hospice of Santa Barbara board member Marilee Zdenek’s book “Between Fires”. The focal point of the evening will be the recognition of the “Heroes.”

Meet the Heroes:

Jill Nida – Volunteer Award

Jill Nida’s association with Hospice of Santa Barbara began in 1988 when she joined the Hospice of Santa Barbara Auxiliary. She has served in a number of leadership positions, including as a past president of the Board of Directors, past president of the Auxiliary Board, as a committee chair and as a volunteer. She was recently appointed to Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Emeritus Board.

Nida, a graduate of San Marcos High School, SBCC and UCSB, has lived in Santa Barbara her entire life. She has shown a remarkable commitment to the mission of Hospice of Santa Barbara over the last 26 years, and brings her dedication and unbounded enthusiasm to all her work. She is one of Hospice of Santa Barbara’s biggest cheerleaders, having been named Hospice of Santa Barbara Cheerleader Emeritus in 2012.

Jill Kitnick – Philanthropist Award

Jill Kitnick first came to Hospice of Santa Barbara in 2006. She started out as a volunteer for Hospice of Santa Barbara’s “I Have a Friend Program”, a mentorship program for children who have lost a parent or sibling. Kitnick was perfect for this role, as she lost both her parents and paternal grandparents who died together in a plane crash when she was 13. Kitnick has helped many mentees to recover in their grief process and begin to feel normal again.

Kitnick is also a Hospice of Santa Barbara Patient Care Volunteer, and helped start Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Pet Therapy Program. Five years ago, Hospice of Santa Barbara launched its “Beloved Bear Program”, whereby a grieving family member who is a client of Hospice of Santa Barbara can bring in a piece of clothing of their loved one who has died, and request a Teddy Bear or pillow be made out of the clothing. Kitnick stepped up to the plate, and has helped to make hundreds of bears with the assistance of volunteer “Bearettes” Roxanne Reginato and Daveena Limonick.

Kitnick is also a regular financial donor to Hospice of Santa Barbara, has hosted fundraisers at her home, volunteer appreciation events, and has been a very strong cheerleader for Hospice of Santa Barbara.

Sarah House – Professional Award

Sarah House Santa Barbara provides a home and end-of-life care for low income people. In 1989 Alice Health devoted her passion, time and energy to inspire the Santa Barbara community by founding a nonprofit for men and women dying from HIV/AIDS, Health House (Heath was also the founder of Hospice of Santa Barbara). Heath House opened its doors in Santa Barbara to people who were not only dying at a young age, but also dying surrounded by ignominy and fear. Leading with truth and courage, Heath changed much of that.

In the mid-1990s, Sarah Shoresman, already well into her 80s, matcher her own countless service hours with a financial gift that enable the group to build a home from the ground up intentionally for its purposes, this time named Sarah House.

With the advent of powerful new medications, the mortality rate for people with AIDS dropped wonderfully and dramatically. Sarah House responded by expanding services to offer end-of-life care for low income and homeless of the Santa Barbara community. Many have had no one to stand with them at this last important and difficult time.

Emeritus Board Recognition

Hospice of Santa Barbara will also recognize emeritus board members Jill Nida, Charlie Zimmer, Peggy Barnes and Thomas Fly at the Heroes of Hospice event.

Tickets for Heroes of Hospice may be purchased by visiting or by calling (805) 563-8820.

Hospice of Santa Barbara “volunteers” its free professional counseling and care management services to more than 600 adults and 125 children every month who are experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on eight local middle and high school campuses as well as UCSB to work with children, teens and young adults who are grieving the loss of a loved one. For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call (805) 563-8820 or visit Find Hospice of Santa Barbara on Facebook and Twitter.

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