PALO ALTO, CA, October 22, 2015 — On Saturday, October 17th, Children’s Health Council (CHC), the well-known peninsula agency that believes in the promise and potential of every child and teen, hosted more than 450 community leaders, professionals, and philanthropists at its third annual Rocktoberfest gala. The benefit dinner and dance raised over $300,000, 100% of which will benefit CHC’s financial aid to kids and families, and programs that remove barriers to learning, helping kids and families facing ADHD, Learning Differences, Anxiety & Depression and Autism become resilient, happy and successful at home, at school, and in life.
“I am humbled by the remarkable community support shown at Rocktoberfest,” said Dr. Rosalie Whitlock, Executive Director of CHC. “Funds raised tonight will ensure more kids and families get the help they need regardless of ability to pay.” Moved by the tremendous need in the community for CHC services, an anonymous donor kicked off the Fund-A-Need appeal by offering a $50,000 matching grant to support CHC’s financial aid program.
Rocktoberfest, co-chaired by well-known community volunteers Calla Griffith and Rahela Abbas, combined all the fun of Oktoberfest with a California twist. From gourmet food, fine artisanal wines, and hand-crafted beers to rock n’ roll, courtesy of the band Pop Rocks, guests were treated to a first-class evening out. Under the twinkling lights of the National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy (NCEFT) in Woodside, guests bought raffle tickets for a chance to win Nest Home Security Cams, a pair of His and Hers Apple Watches, or the featured prize: a Katie Anderson diamond necklace, among other prizes. Guests also bid on over 30 unique experiences in the silent auction that included a Hawaiian vacation, a Tesla for the weekend, or a “Tee Kid” Experience for a Stanford Football game. The event was made possible in large part by event sponsors, both corporate and individual, including Hercules Technology, DLA Piper and DPR Construction.
The evening’s program highlighted three CHC initiatives that are transforming the lives of kids and their families in the Bay Area, thanks to generous community support: financial aid, help for Ravenswood kids and families, and support for anxious and depressed teens.
Sand Hill School focuses on teaching bright kids with learning differences. “Sand Hill School changed our lives,” said Buffie Williams, whose son who spent 4th and 5th grades there. “My son hated school from Kindergarten through 3rd grade, crying himself to sleep every night and telling me how stupid he was. At Sand Hill School, the faculty and staff accepted him for who he was. They believed in him and held him to high standards. He learned how to advocate for himself, and they never let him give up on himself.” After two years at Sand Hill School, Buffie’s son transitioned to an independent middle school where he sings in the choir, participates in athletics, and earns exemplary grades. “Our experience at Sand Hill School has been transformative,” said Buffie. “Today my son is engaged. He loves learning. He believes in himself. CHC’s financial assistance made this possible for us.”
Underserved kids in Ravenswood thrive when social emotional barriers to success are removed. “At the beginning of the year, I had a student who was unengaged in school,” said Wiatt Grant, Lead Teacher at one of CHC’s schools, and Ravenswood academic group advisor. This student only completed half of his assignments, and scored poorly on tests. The student was evaluated by CHC and joined the academic advisory group where among other things they discussed different ways people learn. One day, he surprised Wiatt. He had made up all his assignments, and received an A on his Physics test. What changed? Through his work with CHC, this student had uncovered his unique learning style. Once he applied this to school, he came to realize for the first time, that he could go to college. This is one success story among many students who could benefit from CHC services. “Our challenge is meeting the vast need for our services in East Menlo Park, and East Palo Alto,” continued Wiatt. “It takes a community, and your contributions are vital to helping these kids.”
Anxiety and depression are treatable. Suicide isn’t. It’s preventable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among 15-24 year-olds. In Palo Alto alone, the rate at which students act on suicidal ideation is 4-5 times the national average. While teens’ minds and bodies are rapidly changing, they are navigating an increasingly complex social world. Many teens find ways to cope with this stress. Many others struggle with anxiety and depression. “We have a tremendous commitment to serving the most vulnerable in our community,” said David Arbulú, psychotherapist at CHC. “Every teen deserves access to mental health services and support to learn positive coping skills, develop resiliency in the face of adversity, to challenge their own negative thoughts, and to look forward to the future with hope.”
On November 10th, CHC will host a breakfast meeting to bring community leaders, professionals, and philanthropists together to collaborate and take action to confront the problem of teen anxiety, depression and suicide. For information, contact Dr. Ramsey Khasho at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Children’s Health Council
Children’s Health Council (Palo Alto) has been serving kids, youth and teens in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties as well as the greater San Francisco Bay Area for over 60 years. The goal of the agency is to remove barriers to learning regardless of language, location, learning style or ability to pay. At CHC, we specialize in ADHD, Learning Differences, Anxiety & Depression and Autism with our Center, two schools, Community Clinic and Parent and Teacher Education. No matter how big or how small the issue is, just call CHC and we’ll help you navigate your child or teen’s journey together. Visit our website at www.chconline.org or call us at 650.688.3625. At CHC, we’re here for you. En CHC, estamos aqui para ti.