On April 27, the United Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County (UBGC), a very special nonprofit that is making a profound difference in the daily lives of some of the neediest children in our county, held its sixth annual Rally 4 Kids. The event netted about $250,000 for UBGC’s extensive after-school programming.
Open to novice and experienced drivers and their navigators, the Rally 4 Kids kicked off the evening before with a cocktail party at the stunning Hope Ranch home of Scott and Kristina Perry. Saturday morning, the 72 vehicles departed Carpinteria on a 135-mile course, with an especially scenic stretch from Malibu to Ojai. Checkpoint stops included the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, the Collector Car Vault in Santa Paula, and Topa Mountain Winery in Ojai.
Participants and other guests, about 300 in all, then gathered for the gala at the lovely Bella Vista Ranch in Summerland. The entrance was lined with rally cars — Porsche, Ferrari, McLaren, Bentley, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Talbot-Lago beauties, and more. At this elegant al fresco “European Affair,” the decor, food, and amusing entertainment reflected European influences and rivalries. Emcees CJ Ward and Beth Farnsworth, who participated in the rally, added warmth and humor to the evening. Special thanks went out to Michael and Misty Hammer and the Armand Hammer Foundation — the Presenting Sponsor all six years — and to Event Co-Chairs Monte and Maria Wilson for once again creating such a wonderful event.
The rally winners, based on trivia and checkpoint challenges, including building wooden cars that were raced at the gala, were Ginni Dreier and Connie Pearcy, and tied for second place were Maria Wilson and Michelle Berman and Alex Wilson and Karen Tammela. The announcement of the Pack Winner was an emotional moment as it went to Chad’s Pride, named for beloved Chad Dreier (rally winner Ginnie Dreier’s late husband): Tim and Lisa Couch, Bill and Vida Ceno, Jon Tammela and David Pires, Russell Steiner and Bridget Yin, and Amil Garcia and Jose Arevalo.
The Michael and Anne Towbes Award was presented to Rally Master Andy Tymkiw and Jennifer Ngou for their enormous contributions to the past three rallies. As Rally Master, Tymkiw designed a new, fun, and challenging course, trivia questions, and checkpoint challenges each year, and Ngou organized informational content and designed the guidebook and program.
A touching video titled Great Futures Start Here featured UBGC members sharing how much they have learned, how much they enjoy, and how thankful they are for the clubs, with one member sharing that the most important lesson the club has taught him is to never give up. If anyone in the audience wasn’t already a UBGC fan, this video would have surely won him or her over.
Over the past two years, UBGC adeptly managed some serious challenges: a major fire at Camp Whittier, which it operates in the Santa Ynez Mountains, a roof collapse at its Carpinteria Club, and a tremendous increase in need during the Thomas Fire and Debris Flow periods. It not only met these challenges, but expanded programming to Buellton in 2017 and to Solvang last month.
UBGC has club locations in Santa Barbara (Westside), Goleta, Carpinteria, Lompoc, and Buellton and operates its full programming on school sites in Lompoc, Goleta, and Solvang. Club locations are open on Saturdays and transportation is provided in some areas. Next on the list is to start a program in Los Alamos. Fortunately for the children of Santa Barbara County, UBGC CEO Michael Baker is continually striving to expand programming to as many children in need as UBGC can.
Every day at UBGC locations, members receive homework help and engage in some type of fun physical activity. UBGC partners with other nonprofits for programs in music, art, science and technology, and team sports. UBGC also does recess programming at elementary schools throughout the county. The after-school programming serves an average of 600 students daily and the recess programming 670.
A large majority of the children served qualify for free or reduced meals, which means they live at or below the poverty line. At the Westside Club, the figure is 97 percent. UBGC charges only $40/year dues and never turns away a child for an inability to pay. It partners with the Santa Barbara Unified School District to provide a nutritious dinner at the Westside, Goleta, and Lompoc clubs. UBGC is a member of the national Boys & Girls Clubs of America. For more info, go to http://unitedbg.org.
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