{GBF Spread Joy Road Trip | Santa Barbara}

Thursday, June 5, 2014

{The Bethel House}
I arrived at the Bethel House Santa Barbara Monday afternoon for my very first charity visit in a Mazda MX-5 Miata fully loaded with luggage, Sprinkles cupcakes, and boxes of makeup from City Color Cosmetics. The Bethel House is a twelve month recovery treatment center dedicated to housing and helping women on their road to addiction recovery. It's a holistic program that focuses on personal, educational, career, and emotional development in a nurturing familial setting. 

Tanna, the residential treatment specialist and Stephanie, a former Bethel House resident and now a full-time staff, took me on a tour of the house. The grounds remind me of summer camp. Some of the rooms have bunk beds and are each decorated with personal affects. There's a computer and learning room where the women learn important practical job skills to help them secure a job after the program ends. The kitchen and dining area is intimate and feels like home and Stephanie tells me the girls take turns cooking dinner every week.  It's a warm, peaceful, and nurturing environment. 

The staff told the residents I was coming as right after the tour ended, they all gathered in the communal area. I introduced myself and told them about what I was doing and why I was doing it. The residents were friendly, smiley, and appreciative. Through the generosity of my friends at Sprinkles Cupcakes and City Color Cosmetics, I was able to throw a little sweets and makeup party for the women and staff. They loved it! The seventy mini cupcakes were devoured in minutes as many went back for seconds. The residents were ecstatic over the makeup products and some started beautifying right away. A lot of them came up to me to chat or to say thanks and I could tell from their smiles that
 they truly felt happy. And that made my day. 
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
{Santa Barbara Rescue Mission}
Afterwards, I drove a few miles down the road to the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission which is the parent organization to the Bethel House. The mission provides meals and shelter to the homeless and also houses the men's recovery program. Jill the program director is an amazing woman. She has dedicated her entire life to serving the less fortunate and exudes a true compassion for the mission and its residents. She has a great rapport with the residents and takes time to get to know them on a personal level. The mission takes in everyone, no questions asked and fills up their 100 + beds every single night. They even have a program where homeless volunteers help out with daily tasks in exchange for long-term stays.

Despite the fact this was my first time at a homeless shelter, I felt comfortable and safe. I hadn't planned on staying very long as I still had a long drive ahead but I had such a great time chatting with the homeless volunteers that when Jill asked me to stay for dinner, I enthusiastically said yes. The cafeteria is huge as it feeds almost 200 people every night. The residents in the men's recovery program are in charge of cooking and that night it was burritos with pork, rice, and beans. Delicious!

After dinner, I brought out the remaining boxes of City Color makeup for the women residents before heading back on the road. It was a warm and beautiful day in Santa Barbara.

#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
#GBFJoyRide #GBFRoadTrip
{live fabulously}

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live fabulously