Celebrating Community Heroes & Helping Families

More than 300 philanthropic citizens, business leaders and community partners will come together to honor community heroes at Interface Children & Family Services’ Annual Hope & Light Benefit Saturday, September 21, from 6 to 11 p.m. at Sherwood Country Club. Presented by Sage Publishing, the annual event celebrates those who partner with Interface in confronting the most serious issues threatening the well-being of our community.

Returning as Hope & Light’s Master of Ceremonies, community benefactor Andrew Firestone, President of StonePark Capital and also known for his role as “The Bachelor,” will lead an inspirational, enlightening and entertaining dinner program.

Hope & Light was first imagined by Interface’s Board Chair, Dina Furash, and is now chaired by Jane Lorin (both from Westlake Village). This year, they felt it was very important to highlight Interface’s impact on the safety and well-being of the community by featuring partners who join the agency in responding to serious social issues and recent tragedies.

“Interface serves as a critical safety net, providing invaluable services like mental health and trauma treatment, domestic violence and child abuse prevention, and protection for homeless youth,” says Furash. “Additionally, Interface was there to respond with timely disaster relief and recovery efforts when the community was rocked by a series of tragic events last Fall—all accomplished in partnership with heroic emergency response and law enforcement partners.” Lorin wants it known how “Interface worked behind the scenes to help restore calm and a sense of safety during this devastating period and to make sure others are aware of the vital role Interface had during the worst of times, and all of the time.”

Interface partner honorees include, among others: Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub and Undersheriff Monica McGrath, who collaborate in many areas, including efforts to reduce domestic violence incidents and increase public awareness surrounding the issue of human trafficking in our community; Mike Jump, Chief Deputy District Attorney (Victim & Community Services Manager), and Rachael Watkins, VC District Attorney’s Victim Service’s Manager, for implementing the Victim’s Assistance Center in less than 24 hours for Borderline survivors and families of those who lost their lives, and envisioning and opening the new Family Justice Center in Ventura this year; and Detective Nick Odenath, with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, who serves as an investigator with the Special Crimes Unit and partners with Interface on local human trafficking prevention and intervention efforts.

In addition, Mohan Maheswaran, President & CEO of Semtech Corp., will be honored for Semtech and their generous employees choosing to provide funding for emergency resources in response to the Thomas Fire, Borderline Incident and Hill-Woolsey Fires; as will Petra Puls, who partnered with Interface to successfully restructure Neighborhoods for Learning (NfL) to ensure that quality early education programs would remain available to 2,500 children ages 0-5 and their parents after experiencing a 60% cut in funding due to reduced tobacco tax revenues.

Event proceeds will sustain vital programs that heal and protect at-risk community members from the trauma of abuse, human trafficking and homelessness. Money raised this evening will also fund prevention and early intervention programs that strengthen families, help community members recognize the potential signs of abuse, and prevent child abuse and relationship violence from occurring in the first place.

Hope & Light is made possible by the generosity of Presenting Sponsor SAGE Publishing and Signature Sponsor Mackey Construction. Other top sponsors this year are NexBank and Wells Fargo, Amerihome Mortgage, RJ O’Brien Fixed Income Group, Deutsche Bank, Jim and Dina Furash, Karen and Tom Pecht, Ron and Judi Polito, Alison and Peter Ratcliffe, Abbot Downing, Digital Risk, Ellie Mae, Freddie Mac, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Mint Mobile, Optimal Blue, Poms Associates, and United Agencies Inc. Insurance.

For more information and to register, visit ICFS.org or call 805.485.6114, ext. 641.