Santa Barbara County Education Office

CADA Announces 2023 Gratitude Luncheon

Featuring Guest Speaker Dr. Susan Salcido

Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools

SANTA BARBARA, CA (February 27, 2023) – The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA) will hold its annual Gratitude Luncheon celebrating its Mentor Program on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. The gathering in the Reagan Room will feature guest speaker Dr. Susan Salcido, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools. The luncheon is hosted by Founder and Event Chair Anne Smith Towbes. Event registration, sponsorship and donation information can be found at

“Having a mentor can be a lifechanging experience for a young person,” said Scott Whiteley, Ph.D., Executive Director of CADA. “Being connected with a caring adult mentor can help a child or teen learn to navigate challenges, avoid risky behaviors, and develop personal and academic confidence. As local families continue to regroup from a challenging period, the request for mentors is greater than ever, and we are deeply grateful to our supporters for their generosity in helping us meet this critical need.”

About the Mentor Program
Now in its 19th year, the Mentor Program matches Santa Barbara County youth enrolled in 3rd through 8th grades with caring adult volunteer mentors. Mentees are referred to CADA by school counselors and administrators who have identified at-risk behaviors that can result in poor academic studies, social difficulties, association with negative influences, and challenging family dynamics. The program has over 70 current mentor-mentee matches, many of which will continue beyond high school graduation and become life-long friendships. For more information about become a mentor or being referred as a mentee, email, or contact Mentor Program Director Lisa Gosdschan, 805.722.1321,

Jane Santos Sweeney Receives the “Penny Jenkins Mentor Champion Award”
Each year, CADA presents the “Penny Jenkins Mentor Champion Award” to one mentor in honor of Ms. Jenkins’ decades of service as CADA’s leader and her passionate advocacy of the Mentor Program. The 2023 Mentor of the Year is retired elementary school teacher Jane Santos Sweeney, who came to the program from Family Service Agency’s former Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. Ms. Sweeney is also a tutor for the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians, a team leader for Days for Girls International, and a Santa Barbara Mission Docent. Ms. Sweeney holds a BS in child development from Cal Poly and a master’s in bilingual education from Pepperdine University. She and her mentee, Kimberly, enjoy the community’s many opportunities for recreation and learning, including exploring local museums, taking neighborhood walks, sewing, craft making, park and library visits, and reading.

About Guest Speaker Dr. Susan Salcido
Dr. Salcido is one of the most esteemed education leaders in the community. As Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Salcido wholeheartedly believes in the life-changing impact of mentorships for children and young adults. She just launched her inaugural Student Advisory Council, composed of 17 students from 10 high schools in Santa Barbara County. Named Woman of the Year by the 19th Senate District and 37th Assembly District, and Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators, Dr. Salcido has been recognized in the county and state for her compassionate leadership and impact on education.

About the Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse (CADA)
Since 1949, CADA has delivered a broad range of effective programs and services
focused on the education, prevention, and treatment of substance abuse and co-
occurring mental health conditions affecting youth, adults, and families in Santa
Barbara County. CADA’s commitment to provide a continuum of quality care in a safe
and nurturing environment is supported by productive partnerships with local schools,
community leaders, law enforcement, health care providers, other nonprofits,
businesses, and the media. Working together, this powerful network helps CADA
clients get and stay healthy and lead positive, productive lives that strengthen
families and our community. Services are provided without regard to gender, gender
preference, age, race, ethnicity, or national origin. No one is turned away for inability
to pay. For more information, visit

Leave a Response

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top