The event, held on May 12 in the Santa Barbara Historical Museum courtyard, honored the donors, volunteers, and flower professionals who made the program possible. Honorees were: Volunteers of the Year, Jill Rode and Barbara Schoch; Youth Volunteer of the Year, National Charity League Class of 2023; Grower of the Year, Karen Graf and John and Vera Welty of Hilltop Farms Inc.; and 2021 Program Sponsors Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation, Colleen Barnett-Taylor and Michael Taylor, Kate and Arthur Coppola, Robin and Roger Himovitz, and Kenny and Elizabeth Slaught.
Welcoming guests and serving as emcees were Alan Rose, former chief meteorologist at KEYT and longtime program supporter, and Brooks Firestone, one of the program’s youngest volunteers and supporters. Brooks is the son of Andrew Firestone. A silent auction included items such as an original piece by artist Laina Miller titled “Bliss;” and Santa Barbara Film Festival VIP tickets. Guests also enjoyed a wine pull, a bouquet-making station, and an opportunity drawing that included an El Capitan Canyon getaway, a necklace by Waxing Poetic, and a Westerlay Orchid display. Honorees received an engraved vase filled with flowers by Flower Empower program coordinator Valerie Banks, and Seasons Catering served a spring luncheon for attendees.
Speaking at the event was Flower Empower volunteer Kira Duffy, a senior at Dos Pueblos High School who has been volunteering with her mother, Jennifer Gillon Duffy, since the fifth grade. Duffy reflected on years that have passed and how the program’s mission and meaning will remain with her. The program also took time to remember Tara Haaland-Ford, a treasured member of the Flower Empower program. There were a lot of volunteers, sponsors, underwriters, event committee, rose sponsors, daisy sponsors, and event underwriters.
Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program is a volunteer-driven program that delivers floral bouquets, fresh-baked cookies, fine chocolates, and hand-made cards to people in hospices, cancer centers, and their homes every week. Since its inception in 1994, the Santa Barbara-based program has made more than 120,000 of these deliveries. A recipient can be anyone in Santa Barbara who needs some cheer.
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