Be the hero of your own story. Unleash your superpowers. That’s what Sunset Sip 2018 is all about. But, how do superheroes and superpowers connect to our mission at The Guidance Center?

Last week, Patricia Costales, LCSW shared her perspective as a community mental health veteran and CEO of The Guidance Center. This week, we enlisted the help of our community partners and one of our Sunset Sip Santa Barbara sponsors, Century Villages at Cabrillo, to help answer that question from a community perspective.

Hi, I’m Kimberly Wee, Director of Residential Services here at Century Villages at Cabrillo. And I’m Jaylene Westfall, Resident Services Supervisor here at Century Villages at Cabrillo.

You may have heard of Century Villages at Cabrillo, located on the Westside of Long Beach, but for those of you who have not, I want to give you a little bit of background on what we do. We’re a 27-acre campus, providing supportive services and housing for 1,500 individuals on any given night. We have a continuum of care for people who have experienced homelessness in the past from emergency shelter all the way up to permanent supportive housing. One of our wonderful partners is The Guidance Center, which we are able to refer many of our young clients to receive the support that they need from mental health along with their families.

When we were thinking about what our favorite superhero is, both Jaylene and I came up with the same person: Wonder Woman. So we decided to do a video together. When I was thinking back about who my favorite superhero is, it took me way back to the Lynda Carter days of Wonder Woman. I was just a very young girl, but at the time, I just thought she was the most powerful, beautiful woman that I’d ever seen on TV. I had the Halloween costume for Wonder Woman. I even had the underoos for Wonder Woman. I would run around the house with bracelets. I never wanted to take off that costume. I watched the TV show. And what struck me at the time was, just like I said, that there was this very powerful woman, and I just wanted to be her back then.

I (Jaylene) also had the underoos and ran around the house pretending to be Wonder Woman. I remember Wonder Woman always with her Lasso of Truth and always fighting for, in my mind, the little guy, the person who couldn’t or didn’t have the strength to fight for themselves. I remember going to watch the new Wonder Woman movie. I was so overwhelmed with the strong female character that it almost made me cry. I was so excited to see that continue. So when I think when I think about what being a superhero is, I look at the way we support our residents. We try to create a safe space for them and often feel like we’re, in essence, fighting for the little guy.

I (Kimberly) agree, and think Wonder Woman is the perfect character for us, especially for women leaders in nonprofit. I was very young at the time and didn’t realize what Wonder Woman did for gender equality, but now looking back, I see that it was a big deal back then to have a woman in a powerful role. Very often superheroes have something to overcome, and for her, it was being bound or shut down by men. I think that’s something that in my work over the last 20 years I’ve really tried to fight for women’s rights and gender equality. And I think Jaylene and I both have that same background.

We’re really happy that we have this opportunity to talk about our favorite superhero, and we want to offer that opportunity to you. So hopefully you’ll be able to support The Guidance Center and join us all on Sept. 15 at the Hotel Maya. Sunset Sip is a great event. It’s fun and so powerful. We hope we see you there.

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