23rd Annual Putting Kids First Event Raises $120,000 for PAL

Youth Leadership at PLF. | Credit: Courtesy

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(Santa Barbara, CA) Thursday, May 4, 2023 – The Santa Barbara Police Activities League’s (PAL) 23rd annual Putting Kids First event brought together 230 supporters this past Friday at the Santa Barbara Carriage Museum. The KKB Foundation and Van Donge Family was the platinum sponsor of the evening. The event raises money to support PAL’s academic and enrichment programming for disadvantaged youth in Santa Barbara.

President, Board Member, and guests. | Credit: Courtesy

The event included a hosted bar, dinner, a live and silent auction, and a brisket cook-off. The Santa Barbara Police Department with cooking by Sergeant Ben Ahrens took home first place. They were followed by the City of Santa Barbara Fire Department (Captain Jeremy Denton), California Highway Patrol (Officer Jon Gutierrez), and the Santa Barbara Sheriff Department (Sheriff Bob Lacey).

Officer Adrian Gutierrez was honored for his 22 years of service at the Santa Barbara Police Department in numerous assignments, including Patrol Officer, Beat Coordinator – Eastside, School Resource Officer, Crisis Negotiations Officer, and Community Liaison Officer. Driven by his personal commitment to the community, he has been dedicated and heavily involved with SBPAL, California PAL, and National PAL. 

Commander Aaron Baker was given this year’s Hero’s Award in recognition of his commitment, exceptional leadership in the face of adversity, and service to PAL and the community. He recently retired from the Santa Barbara Police Department after 28 years.

The Santa Barbara Police Activities League strives to build the bridge between cops, kids, and our community through mentorship, leadership, and academic enrichment programs. PAL, located at the Twelve35 Teen Center, provides teens with holistic programming including academic support and a wide range of enrichment programs such as fitness classes and equipment, environmental education, and social-emotional and mental wellness referral support. For more information about PAL, visit their website at www.sbpal.org

Gutierrez and Baker. | Credit: Courtesy


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