CADA Supporters Twist at the Ritz

Event Proceeds Support Substance Abuse Programs

Event Co-chairs: Boardmember Holly Murphy, Boardmember Diana MacFarlane, Anne Smith Towbes, Boardmember Betsy Turner, Boardmember Susan Neuman, and Dana Mazzetti.

Gail Arnold

Event Co-chairs: Boardmember Holly Murphy, Boardmember Diana MacFarlane, Anne Smith Towbes, Boardmember Betsy Turner, Boardmember Susan Neuman, and Dana Mazzetti.

On April 21 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA) held its 32nd annual Amethyst Ball, which grossed an estimated $500,000 and will help fund its many substance abuse prevention and intervention services. The Twistin’ at the Ritz event featured the legendary Chubby Checker.

The evening began with a reception on the Ballroom Terrace in the warm sunshine, where about 370 guests clad in a mix of vintage cocktail and black tie attire mingled and perused silent auction items. Guests then adjourned to an elegant Ballroom, which Merryl Brown Events had beautifully draped in grey linen overlaid with fuchsia and amethyst graphic projections.

Dishwalla opened the evening’s entertainment and emcee and Director of Corporate Development and Communications Catherine Remak welcomed the guests. She shared how CADA served about 5,000 people last year, from 8-year-olds in its Mentor Program to teens at its Daniel Bryant Youth & Family Treatment Center and at every school in Santa Barbara County and to adults in treatment and detox programs, including its new residential treatment program. Every day, she emphasized, CADA is saving lives.

In a video, boardmembers shared poignant stories of their children’s or their own former addictions. Bob Bryant, who lost his son Danny to a drug overdose, related how the pain never ends, but that you can be grateful that you can help save other kids. “Our goal is to never have any other family go through the pain of losing a child.” Thus was born CADA’s Daniel Bryant Treatment Center.

Andrew Firestone, though having just performed at CALM’s luncheon a few hours before, was still bursting with energy and kept the crowd laughing while raising serious money in the auction and ask. When the bidding stood at $18,000 for a Dario Furlati-catered dinner at Alan and Lisa Parsons home, with Dishwalla performing and Margerum wines flowing, Men’s Committee Co-chair Bob Fuladi and Earl Minnis each spontaneously bid $25,000 and the donors acceded to two dinners. In the ask, fellow Co-chair Peter Hilf generously presented a $70,000 check.

KEYT was the event’s honoree, being recognized both for hosting CADA’s Mission for Mentors for the past 20 years, which has led to hundreds of new adult mentors for at-risk youth in its Mentor Program, and for its tireless and superb reporting in the recent disasters.

When Chubby Checker and the Wildcats took to the stage, the dance floor instantly filled with exuberant fans. In addition to singing The Twist and many of his other hits, Chubby moved about the dance floor, partnering with many star-struck fans and bringing several onstage with him.

With a $6.2 million budget, CADA operates a full array of programs for youth and adults. While contracts, grants, MediCal and private insurance provide significant funding, events and contributions make up nearly 20 percent of its budget and allow it to offer services on a sliding fee scale.

In the wake of the recent disasters, CADA has experienced an uptick in demand for its services, with stress triggering relapses and new addictions. Its SAVE Employee Assistance Program, which provides counseling to employees of contracting entities and their families, has been in high demand, with services being provided to many first responders, educators, and others impacted by the disasters.

CADA’s Resource and Referral Drop In Center, which provides counseling and referrals to individuals, has also seen an increase in demand following the disasters. According to its director Stephan Gonzalez, however, demand was rising even before the disasters. He pointed to the increase in opiate use and the increase in excessive alcohol use as a coping mechanism for stresses engendered by the high cost of living and working multiple jobs here. Last fiscal year, the center served more than 2,600 clients.

For more info, go to cadasb.org. Send invites to gail@independent.com.