Hillside House Annual Sunset Soirée By-the-Sea

By Joanne A Calitri   |   June 13, 2023
Michael and Ruth Rassler with Norris and Barry Goss (photo by Joanne A Calitri)

The Hillside House held its annual Sunset Soirée By-the-Sea fundraiser at the Cabrillo Pavilion on Saturday June 3, a sold-out event. Funds raised are directly used for enrichment activities for the quality of life of Hillside House’s residents, including outings to parks, beaches, activities, socialization with the community, and the staff that makes it all happen for them.

Lisa and Jim Wilcox (photo by Joanne A Calitri)

The event program started with a wine reception and silent auction to the music of the duo Pricey Diggs singing rock covers. During that time, I happened to meet Chana and Jim Jackson of the Ann Jackson Family Foundation Montecito who are longtime supporters of Hillside House. Jim explained that Hillside’s principles of inclusiveness and cross organizational relationships – exemplified, for instance, by the Alpha Resource Center – is important; “The experiences their residents have is most important to them. Instead of having a single institutional building for people with disabilities, Hillside wants to build a community of housing units for them, a neighborhood. Funding to build it, along with program services like swim, yoga, and other activities for the residents is why we are here.” 

More noted attendees included John and Yvonne Ogden, Sally Wilcox, Andrew and Jordan Dohogne, Janna and John Price, Olivia McGovern and Jason Price, Gerald and Carol Smith, Virginia Lee Harvey-Troesch, Nancy Read, Ray and Mary Freeman, Firooz Zahedi, Jim and Della Peterson, Alpha Resource Center Executive Director Josh Weitzman with wife Jamie; David and Louise Borgatello; Gary and Susan Gulbransen; and Lucrezia DeLeon. Also, Hillside President and CEO Michael Rassler with wife Ruth; Director of Operations Gail Metzger; Director of Nursing Nonye Ogoamaka RN, MBA; Board Chair Brad Frohling with wife Cynthia; Vice Chair Norris Goss with husband Barry; Board members Kirk Gilbert MD with wife Pam, Nancy Werner with husband Russ; Hady Izadpanah; Alma J. Janabajab; Lisa Wilcox with husband Jim; Chief Development Officer Cheryl Sweeney with husband Tim; Development Assistant Elizabeth Arendt; new Marketing and Events Manager Angela De Bruyn; committee members and event contributors Carol Fell with husband Doug; Jan Kopf with husband Bob, and artist Jessika Cardinahl.

Rassler and Frohling welcomed the guests and thanked key sponsors and their staff. Program keynote speakers Lisa and Jim Wilcox shared about being parents of a child with a disability; “Shalom, we wish you shalom – peace. The divorce rate for parents with a disabled child is 95%. We are married 32 years, it has been hard, and we are thankful for Hillside where our son lives. We thank you for being here to support Hillside.”

Goss presented the Person of Purpose Award to Virginia Lee Harvey-Troesch, and Metzger presented the Advancing Abilities Award to Jose Silva, Facilities Director with Hillside for 16 years. 

Emcee Drew Wakefield raised $27.5K for the five listed live auction items along with a Sunstone Winery event added by John Price during the auction. He then raised over $20K during the Ask. The event concluded with live music and conversation.

For donations and to schedule a visit of Hillside House, see 411.  

411: www.hillsidesb.org


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