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You can tell a lot about a person by the things they volunteer their time towards. Why you may ask? Well, when someone volunteers to do something, they usually do so because the underlining cause resonates with their overall mission in life, and the reward of participating is more than a good enough reason to get involved.
On January 15, 2012, more than 120 local residents and business-owners gathered at the Pacific Athletic Club to welcome the new year and to help raise funds for a local non-profit called Outside the Lens. Even though the idea to organize an event where the movers and shakers of Carmel Valley could gather for a good cause began several months ago, making it a reality could have not been possible without the initiative taken by local leaders to step up and get involved.
As the crowd began to gather at the Pacific Athletic Club, you could feel the excitement and anticipation in the building. After walking in and hearing Johnny Tarr performing, you couldn’t help but feel upbeat. Through his unique style and ability to play multiple instruments, Johnny wowed all those in attendance. In addition, guests had the opportunity to sample delicious food and treats from Burlap, Jimbo’s…Naturally! and Sweet Thoughts! To drink, guests enjoyed Nika Water and Magners Cider.
Amanda Baumgarden, one of Burlap’s top chefs, served Burlap’s famous savory chicken balls (with balsamic teriyaki). We were so fortunate to have Chef Baumgarden and Burlap present, especially considering that it was the first day of Restaurant Week, yet Burlap made attending our community event a priority. Burlap is currently North County San Diego’s most popular restaurant and is sister restaurant to the acclaimed Searsucker. This may come as no surprise since hospitality impresario James Brennan, and award winning and very-talented celebrity chef Brian Malarkey, are behind Burlap’s concept and reason for success. Having Burlap’s support and involvement during the event made it an unforgettable experience for all.
Organic fruit, sandwiches, wraps and vegetable trays where generously donated by our local Jimbo’s…Naturally! The “Cali Wrap” was a vegetarian option and came with Jimbo’s own hummus, avocado, cheddar cheese, organic lettuce, organic tomato, organic cucumber, organic onion, sprouts, wrapped in a whole wheat lavash. And the “Range Rover Sandwich” came with range grown oven roasted turkey breast with avocado, Monterey Jack cheese, organic lettuce, organic tomato, sprouts and sun dried tomato spread on 6-grain bread. It is amazing how much Jimbo’s does every month for our community and every other community where a Jimbo’s store is located. Just last month they gave hundreds of free lunches to our local teachers as a way to say thank you. Ross Epstein, Marketing Coordinator at Jimbo’s, stated that by attending the event, he hoped to further spread Jimbo’s vision of putting “a piece of organic fruit in every child’s recycled lunch bag.”
For the person with a sweet-tooth, Sweet Thoughts of San Diego made their famous “Home-Made S’mores” right on the spot. Sandra Uyeunten, owner of Sweet Thoughts, also brought some delicious candy cupcakes for everyone to enjoy.
About an hour into the event, David A Moya, Founder of The Carmel Valley Life, welcomed everyone and presented our official launch video. Thankfully, the video was generously sponsored by the Dazlell Group Real Estate, and professionally produced by the experts from The KNOW in San Diego.
Shortly after our video presentation, guests heard from one of our youngest community contributor and Junior Sports Editor, Jason Friedman. Jason spoke about his involvement with The Carmel Valley Life and how being a part of this movement, he was helping make the Carmel Valley San Diego community even more connected and thus creating something of lasting value for future generations to come.
Another great opportunity for guests to see young local talent was through the form of dance. Local dance group, Jam Time Dance Crew, paid us visit and performed live for us all. About 10 young lively girls danced their hearts out for a good cause, and helped set the right tone going into our “opportunity drawing.” More than 20 gifts were donated by local residents and business-owners to help raise funds for Outside The Lens. It was an exciting and memorable part of the event, thanks in part to participants like Louis Mckay of North County Dance Arts Inc., who purchase multiple arm-length tickets and provided entertainment as his name was being called.
There’s something very special about being a part of a group of volunteers who are dedicated to the Carmel Valley San Diego community, and who are always ready and willing to help. We’re anxiously looking forward to our next event that will bring together all of Carmel Valley’s finest again.
*A special thanks to all those that contributed to the success of the event: