Author Archives: SafeLaunch

Invitation: SafeLaunch Art Opening and sbTNN Studio Tour at TV Santa Barbara

TV Santa Barbara, our local community access TV station, invites the community to the SafeLaunch art reception and show, an open house, and a chance to get on television.

2012Media-500-Graphic

Thursday, January 16, 2014
5pm to 7pm
TV Santa Barbara Multimedia Center
329 South Salinas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103
(Street Parking available and in the lot behind the studios)

View the invitation at this link: Invitation to the Reception, Show, and Tour

Portraits of Addiction and Hope is an introspective and deeply moving exhibit created by 21 students and 29 people in recovery. Each portrait of a person in recovery depicts unique dimensions of the journey: hope, humility, fear, resolve, triumph, pain and joy. All of them depict the heroism of individuals desiring change – often in the face of indescribable past hardship and pain.

Because 90% of addiction takes root in adolescence, viewing the experience through the eyes
of teen artists illuminates the subject in a profound light. The courage of the local men and women who shared their stories with the teen artists are challenged to maintain their recovery, and their experiences inspire viewers to prevent the agony of addiction before it starts. SafeLaunch is pleased to present this work from the 2012 Media $500 Contest where it can speak its powerful message again… to new hearts and minds.

Guests will tour the newly renovated TVSB facility with two state-of-the-art media production studios. Studio One will be open for guests to record their thoughts on a segment called, “I love TV Santa Barbara Because”. Guests will be able to meet some of the TVSB producers and members, including some of our teens who create, produce, and star on Santa Barbara Teen News Network.

This show would not be possible without our friends at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. We are forever grateful for their willingness to participate so fully to help prevent children from following in their path. Watch and listen to this compelling interview.

Flight Above Addiction Destination: Santa Maria, California

Dateline October 26, 2013

A team of student artists from the Santa Maria Valley Boys & Girls Club painted the SafeLaunch plane at the Santa Maria Airport. After participating in a lesson about the science of addiction and taking a ride in county’s brand new, million dollar fire engine, they picked up the paint brushes to create life affirming  designs and messages on the fuselage of a Cessna 182.

Thank you, Central Coast Jet Center, the Santa Maria County Fire Department, and the staff of the Boys and Girls Club!

A Map of Love and Loss

Thank you Mission & State for posting the following important letter.
www.missionandstate.org: http://www.missionandstate.org

A Map of Love and Loss

A.J.’s parents were vocal about the cause of his death and active in educating students about the risk of drug and alcohol use. They have since been in close contact with many students and programs at UCSB, speaking about their loss at events in Isla Vista and talking to students about risk-taking.

Posted By Christina Knueven On Jun 19, 2013 @ 5:28 pm In Campus Confidential:
UC Santa Barbara has embraced the rising online culture, creating its own Facebook page for students to join and follow and inundating my “umail” (university mail) with notifications about what is going on in and around the school. Though it’s overwhelming at times, I appreciate the easy access to student life, campus activities and major events—the instant connection to information.

We know more than we need to, but we aren’t notified of everything. It’s rare to find out that a student has died, and if we do, it’s through our own social networks, word of mouth or newspapers, but rarely from the school.

On the afternoon of Nov. 9, 2012, we received an email from UCSB asking students to help the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department identify the male body found on the beach that morning. The description matched that of a friend, David, but of course, I never thought it would actually be him. My friend later told me that he called the Sheriff’s Department number in the email, telling the police that David hadn’t been seen since the night before and that their description of the body had him worried. My friend didn’t really think it would be David. How could it be—he was too young to die. He was just like us.

That evening, the Sheriff’s Department posted an update on their website: “This evening, the male body found on the beach in the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive this morning was identified as 21-year-old David Propp, a UCSB student, living in Isla Vista. Notification to his family has been made. The investigation that commenced this morning has led investigators to believe that Propp was a victim of a fall.”

David’s friends and family organized a candlelight vigil at the Music Bowl, an open mic event for sharing remembrances in the Lotte Lehman Concert Hall and a memorial service at the UCSB Recreation Center. David’s death was covered in UCSB newspapers The Daily Nexus and The Bottom Line, and was generally more widely acknowledged than the deaths that were to come in a rough 2012-2013 school year because his friends and family took the initiative to publicly mark his passing.  There was, however, no official campus-wide administrative notification of the tragedy.

Nor was there a few weeks later when, on Thanksgiving Day, Melissa Portillo died at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital after falling from an apartment balcony in Isla Vista. I heard about this from my aunt, who lives more than 200 miles away, when she called me, worried that I might have known Melissa, too. I didn’t know Melissa, but I may have known what her friends were feeling.

UCSB students William Calabrese and Cameron Howe died at the beginning of the 2012 academic fall quarter. The following December, UCSB sophomore Alec “A.J.” Torchon died from mixing alcohol and a drug suspected to be a painkiller. During the recent winter quarter, UCSB student Vincent Young died, and there’s not much known about his death.

Shortly after A.J.’s death, Chancellor Henry Yang sent an email to all students and faculty acknowledging the losses and underscoring UCSB’s commitment to providing help and support for students who need it. I remember feeling upset that all of the deaths were lumped together into one big warning to UCSB students to watch out for one another.

A.J.’s parents were vocal about the cause of his death and active in educating students about the risk of drug and alcohol use. They have since been in close contact with many students and programs at UCSB, speaking about their loss at events in Isla Vista and talking to students about risk-taking.

I appreciate now that the school handles these situations according to the wishes and needs of family and friends, and that the chancellor’s email was doing what I wanted more of: acknowledging the deaths. But I do sometimes wish that, if the family were open about it, the school administration would somehow go a little further when one of our peers dies. I can’t help but wish that as a community, we could expand the feeling of togetherness in the midst of a tragedy.

Right after David died, I felt incapable of making decisions. I felt like nothing in my body wanted to work. I allowed one of my good friends to make decisions for me, following her everywhere, draping myself over the passenger seat of her car, pressing the tips of my fingers into the cushions of her couch, pulling the soft sound of Cat Steven’s voice into my ears from her car stereo. I needed some sort of structure, somewhere to be, something to do and loved ones to mourn with.

After about a week, I felt an increasing pressure to get back to daily life, and so I did, but I didn’t feel ready for it—something was incomplete. The people closest to the students who passed away will create their own network of love and support, as my friends and I did for one another after David died. But I think there is a special type of connection when a community, no matter how large or small, comes together to share grief, because no matter how personally we may be feeling it, losing a single member of this community is a tragedy.

After David’s death, hundreds of candles lit up the Music Bowl, and there were hundreds of embraces in the UCSB Recreation Center.  I remember imagining a map of California that would glow wherever love was felt. And I knew that Isla Vista and UCSB were on fire on that map, growing brighter and brighter with each minute as we shared stories with one another, as we loved David and loved each other. People who didn’t even know him would feel the love that he inspired in us and then they would love, too, and it kept going like this. I imagined us on this map as one big, bright, glowing spot. And then I imagined what it would look like if this love expanded to the entire UCSB community, if everyone knew about his death, glowing brighter still until the entire school was a beacon of bright, glowing love.

In memory of:

William Dominic Calabrese
1991-2012

Cameron James Howe
1991-2012

David Daniel Propp
1991-2012

Melissa Jamilett Portillo
1990-2012

Alec Jacob “A.J.” Torchon
1993-2012

Vincent Young
1992-2013

URL to article: http://www.missionandstate.org/departments/campus-confidential/a-map-of-love-and-loss/

Footnote:  One more student has died since the printing of this article (posted by SafeLaunch)

Giselle Esme Ayala1995-2013