thank you for attending our event! 

2018 California Champions of Mental Health Charity Awards Dinner featuring the legendary "Queen of Funk", Patryce “Choc’Let” Banks and her band, STR8 Funk


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Thank you to our sponsors and supporters! #2018MHCAwardsDinner

Amongst the gorgeous backdrop of the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, individuals from all sectors and ethnic backgrounds came together to celebrate California's mental health leadership. With over 250 glamorous attendees, our semi-formal awards dinner presented an exciting mixture of education, fellowship, and entertainment entwined with the promise of tomorrow. Because mental health is health, we experienced an open, honest, and compassionate environment with many highlights throughout the evening. With exceptional entertainment, great food, fantastic wine, and social connecting all evening long, our event not only communicated important and lasting messages, but elevated our reasons to celebrate California's behavioral health leadership. We sincerely applaud each of our honorees for their demonstrated success in helping to resolve complex community mental health concerns through administrative leadership, advocacy, research, public policy, outreach, clinical work, or direct services.

Our 2018 honorees included Dr. Richard Pan, State Senator, California's 6th Senate District for the “Legislator of the Year Award”; Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine at the School of Medicine at the University of California at Davis, and Founding Director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities for the “Research & Health Disparities Award”; and Yvonnia Brown, MSW, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Director/Deputy Public Guardian/Conservator, Merced County Department of Behavioral Health for the “County Behavioral Health Leadership Award”. We are so thankful for the tireless efforts of our esteemed honorees and their numerous contributions to the health and wellness of so many Californians.

We are also incredibly grateful for the inspiration from our guest speakers, each of whom brought exceptional insights into mental health. Speakers included Sterling Anderson, an award-winning Hollywood film producer and screenwriter with lived-experience; Cassaundra Cochron, Director of the Hope Cooperative Triage Navigator Program; David Woods Bartley, a well-known and dynamic speaker, storyteller, and trainer with lived-experience; and Captain Ernie Daniels (ret.), Chair of the Board of Directors of Highlands Community Charter School.

Through a blend of education, awareness, inspiration, and entertainment, we kept the flow going with exceptional performances by some of the entertainment industry’s most talented performers. Our featured entertainment, STR8 Funk, featured the legendary “Queen of Funk”, Ms. Patryce “Choc’Let” Banks, one of the founding members of Graham Central Station. Throughout the program, the audience was thrilled with multiple performances by vocalist/ bass player Mr. Shaun Munday, a one-of-a kind talent who blends soul-drenched vocals with show-stopping bass guitar technique. For our opening number, Shaun was joined in a duet by Mr. Robert Vann (tenor) to re-create the Luciano Pavarotti/ James Brown performance of "It's a Man's World". It was a tremendous highlight of the evening! The Harley White, Jr. Trio and our featured string trio (cello, viola, and violin) beautifully supported the vocalists throughout the show. Not to mention the soaring vocals of Ms. Arielle Birdsong during her performance of "Chandelier". From honoree to speaker to performer, the evening was incredibly memorable and touched the lives of audience members from all walks of life.

Finally, we send special appreciation to our presenting sponsor, Highlands Community Charter School, and to the California Health Care Foundation, UC Davis Health, and to all of our generous sponsors and supporters. Because of you, we are able to continue our outreach and education to the community to strengthen mental health awareness efforts in California.

Thank you for the invitation and the incredible honor for Dr. Richard Pan. We enjoyed the evening very much. It was a beautiful event! - Melissa Bardo, Office of Senator Richard Pan

Kristene, I am still floating from the magical evening! It was AMAZING and extremely impressive. I couldn’t believe the overall quality of the event. You definitely set the bar HIGH! In addition to everything else you do, you could be a producer in Hollywood because the awards dinner was right up there at that scale. I don’t know how you do all you do and remain so calm and grounded. It is such an honor to work with you! - Alice Jacobs Vestergaard, EdD, MBA, CHES, Instructor Community/Public Health; Site Coordinator, RN to BSN Program, Samuel Merritt University

Thank you for the invite to your wonderful event a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed myself, and was very impressed with the caliber of people that were there. It was the “Who’s Who” of mental health organizations in our community, and the entertainment was outstanding. I can’t wait to attend next year! - Captain Dan Monk, Sacramento Police Department

Kristene, the awards dinner was a great event, and we are so pleased that you selected Yvonnia Brown as one of the honorees. - Thomas Renfree, Interim Executive Director, County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California

Kristene, I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to share the evening with all of our colleagues so committed to mental health awareness and treatment. What a fabulous night of acknowledgement, entertainment, and inspirational nurturing for many of us in the treatment community. You were a terrific MC. - Gavin W. McCluskey, LCSW, BCD, Director, Behavioral Health Department, Sacramento Native American Health Clinic

Dear Kristene, I had a chance to reflect over the fantastic event that you organized and beautifully delivered and want to express my deepest appreciation for being distinguished with the Research and Health Disparities Award. I’m truly honored and humbled to received such a wonderful distinction. The music and singers were phenomenal. A wonderful night all around! - Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Founding Director, UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, Honoree

Thank you, Kristene, for allowing me to participate in the 2018 California Champions of Mental Health Charity Awards Dinner. In doing so, you gifted me the privilege to stand amongst a collection of the humble and the great; a unique assortment of souls who by night’s end I discovered were actually both. In addition to feeling blessed and honored to participate in your magnificent event, I was equally thrilled with the exclusive gift that came as part of the package: a front row seat to witness servant leaders and agents of change be celebrated for not just taking, but also creating, roads less traveled. I left the beautiful Galleria transformed by the essence of those I was with. Their energy rubbed off on me, and it lingers still. But, rest assured, I will not rinse it away, for it continues to cleanse, renew and restore me. - David Woods Bartley, Author, Trainer, Speaker; 2018 Awards Dinner Guest Speaker

Dear Kristene, thank you so much for inviting me to your lovely event which was executed so well! - Lakshmi Malroutu, Ph.D., Chief Operations Officer, Asian Pacific Community Counseling

The awards dinner was such a wonderful evening and you were not only STUNNING but so impressive with the work that you do for mental health for this community! - Marla Clayton Johnson, Principal, Arthur A. Benjamin Health Professions High School

Thank you again for inviting us to the event last night. It was lovely. You and your team did a great job. The venue was beautiful, the food was great, and the music was wonderful. You were a wonderful host. Congratulations on your success! - Steven Kite, Chief Operating Officer, NAMI California

The awards dinner was a beautiful event. The people, the food, the speakers were all so great, and the music was amazing! You worked very hard and I hope you are proud of the night. - Dawn Carlson, Power Inn Alliance

Everything about your 2018 California Champions of Mental Health CHARITY AWARDS DINNER was spectacular! You and your team always dazzle and please your Charity Awards Dinner audiences; and last night was an even more impressive event than the last. Congratulations! - Mel Assagai, Director of Government Affairs, California Policy Solutions

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