CADA Announces Annual Mentor Program Gratitude Luncheon

Featuring Keynote Speak John Daly

Santa Barbara  Foundation 2021 Person of the Year


SANTA BARBARA, CA (February 16, 2022) – The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA) will hold the annual Gratitude Luncheon celebrating its Mentor Program on Thursday, March 24, 2022, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. The outdoor gathering will feature “Santa Barbara Foundation 2021 Person of the Year” John Daly, who will speak about the power of mentoring. The luncheon is  hosted by Founder and Event Chair Anne Smith Towbes.


According to CADA’s Executive Director Scott Whiteley, Ph.D., “Having a mentor can be a life-changing experience for a young person, particularly in times of uncertainty. Being connected  with a caring adult mentor can help a young person learn to navigate challenges, avoid risky behaviors, and develop personal and academic confidence. As the pandemic continues to challenge local youth and their families, 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.”


Registration, sponsorship and donation information for the Gratitude Luncheon can be found at Attendees can also donate in honor of a mentor in their life, whose name and photo will be shared on the event website. Proof of vaccination will be required in advance of the event.


About the Mentor Program

Now in its 18th year, the Mentor Program matches Santa Barbara County youth enrolled in third through eighth grade with caring adult mentors. Mentees are referred to CADA by school counselors and psychologists who have identified at-risk behaviors that can result in poor academic studies, social difficulties, and association with negative influences. Despite the constraints of the pandemic, the program has over 100 current mentor-mentee matches, many of which will continue beyond high school graduation and become life-long friendships. For more information about becoming a Mentor or being referred as a Mentee, email, or contact Mentor Program Director Lisa Gosdschan, 805.722.1321,


Wayne Stelly Receives “Penny Jenkins Mentor Champion Award”

Each year, CADA presents the “Penny Jenkins Mentor Champion Award” to one special mentor in honor of Ms. Jenkins’ decades of service as CADA’s leader and her continued passionate advocacy of the Mentor Program. The 2022 Mentor of the Year is long-time Santa Barbara resident Wayne Stelly, who has been a mentor with CADA for the past 10 years. Joining the mentor program after retiring from a 33-year career with Raytheon, Mr. Stelly continues to have a profound impact on the lives of both his past and present mentees, guiding them both academically and personally.


About John Daly

Mr. Daly retired in 2010, after a 35-years as founder and  president of John Daly Inc., an event design and staging company. His clients include actors Tom Cruise, Will Smith, David Beckham and Oprah Winfrey. During his distinguished career, he received Special Events Magazine’s distinguished Gala Award of Excellence and was inducted into Event Solutions magazine’s Industry Hall of Fame.


Mr. Daly began mentoring as a volunteer with Court Appointed Special Advocates   (CASA) in Santa Barbara County. That experience sparked a passion that would lead to more than a decade of mentorship. After CASA, he started teaching youth at CADA’s Fighting Back Mentor Program, as well as teaching life skills at local high schools. Today, Mr. Daly serves as the president of The Key Class, a program that provides a series of classes for students to learn interview tools necessary to successfully secure a job or college entrance.


Mr. Daly has received several recognitions and awards for his work in the community, including Santa Barbara’s High School’s Mentor of the Year, United Way’s Outstanding Fun in the Sun Partner of the Year, CADA’s Penny Jenkins Mentor Champion, Goleta’s Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year, and most recently, the Santa Barbara Foundation’s 2021 Person of the Year.


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.


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