We invited the community to uplift and celebrate hope with us at Sunset Sip 2019, and what a wonderful evening it was!

More than 180 people attended the 9th Annual Sunset Sip on September 14 at Hotel Maya and helped raise more than $175,000, exceeding funds raised in previous years. Sponsors and guests’ generous support at this annual benefit ensures that we will continue to provide critical mental health services to our community’s disadvantaged children and families.

The theme of this year’s event was “Hope Takes Flight.” Throughout the evening, guests listened to uplifting stories about how hope has helped former clients of The Guidance Center lead happier and healthier lives. The guests also heard inspiring messages from Long Beach Councilwoman Suzie Price; our Board Chairwoman, Ana Perez; Sunset Sip Event Committee Chairwoman and Board Member, Betsy Snare; Long Beach Fire Department’s Deputy Chief, Operations, Jim Rexwinkel; Long Beach Mayor, Robert Garcia, EdD; and Long Beach Chief of Police, Robert Luna. Mayor Garcia and Chief Luna both shared their remarks via pre-recorded videos.

“Sunset Sip is such a great way to celebrate and support The Guidance Center,” said Mayor Garcia. “The Guidance Center does really important work in our community to help young people, families and those who are really struggling with the issues that they face every single day.”

Guests were invited to sit down for a delectable three course dinner crafted by Hotel Maya’s award winning chefs after the lively cocktail and silent auction portion of the evening concluded. Paddles were then lifted to compete over exciting live auction items, like music and film festivals, exotic getaways and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

After bidding for the live auction came to an end and all items were claimed, the true star of the evening, a 17-year-old former client of The Guidance Center, Rafael, rose and took the stage. He inspired guests with his story of overcoming challenges and gaining the skills to maintain positive mental health with help from The Guidance Center.

“With what therapy has taught me, I am able to show love to my true self without taking others’ opinions seriously; little by little they showed me the importance of self-love. I am able to be myself in front of my family, friends and loved ones. With my improvement, I now can light up a room instead of staying in complete darkness,” said Rafael. “As each day goes by I reflect on how my self-love started off as a bud with no opening, now I am sure that I’ve blossomed into an alluring rose.”

Make sure to view our Sunset Sip Digital Tribute Book 2019 for more event highlights, photos, sponsor messages and more! Head over to our Facebook page to see the full album of photos from the night and don’t forget to like, comment, and share.