Bullying Awareness: The Santa Fe Mountain Center’s Black and White Party

- June 26, 2012

"This was one of the most elegant, well-organized and fun social events of the 2012 summer season"

One of the most prevalent and growing problems in society today is the phenomenon of bullying. This is a community issue we should all be aware of and do everything to stamp out. The word bullying needs to come out and become a part your vocabulary without exception. This is not just a school issue it spills over into society at large and solving this heinous problem takes a concerted effort from educators, parents, community organizations, politically based entities and elected officials.

The Santa Fe Mountain Center is a nationally recognized educational and therapeutic organization actively promoting bullying prevention since 1979. Recently, I attended the first annual Black and White Salon Prive and Party to bring awareness to the importance of working to stop bullying.

This was one of the most elegant, well-organized and fun social events of the 2012 summer season here in Santa Fe. The theme of the gathering was black and white and all of the attendees came in their most refined and fashionable black and white attire. Event Co-Chairs Geramy Quarto and Juanita Thorne-Connerty and their many corporate sponsors including Merrill Lynch, Los Alamos National Bank, Optimum Health New Mexico, Kevin Bobolsky & Marilyn Foss/Santa Fe Properties, and La Posada of Santa Fe, just to name a few, organized an amazing evening.

White limousines replete with champagne took guests from La Posada Resort and Spa in Santa Fe on a scenic drive to the home of Gary Mihalik and Frank Pieri for a dining experience far exceeding even the most discriminating gourmet palate. Imagine exiting your limo to the aroma of paella, white anchovies and squid-infused rice, courtesy of La Boca. The meal was savory and sumptuous and ended with fresh strawberries, chocolates and a lemon cookie so delicious I have no words to describe it and of course more champagne and more champagne.

Beautiful people from all over came in to mingle and support the Santa Fe Mountain Center through a live auction with auctioneer Paul Thompson. The auction was exhilarating. The items to be bid upon were displayed by two absolutely enticing gentlemen stimulating the bidding for a week in South Beach, three nights in a beautiful resort in Sonora Mexico, a Porsche Boxster -S convertible for a weekend of fun driving, a golf weekend at Buffalo Thunder Resort and lots of other very fun things you can’t live without.

Jenn Jevertson, program manager for Adventures in a Caring Community read a moving little book called "One." This simple testimonial brought the problem of bullying home in the simplest of terms. Her appeal to “take a stand” made a emotional impact on everyone present. Adventures in a Caring Community works with fifth-grade students and focuses on practicing and developing the skills to support healthy peer relationships.

The most moving testimonial of personal contact with bullying came from Antonio Martinez, a staff member of Santa Fe Mountain Center. This is a courageous young man. His story is a testimony to his inner faith and strength and communicated the horrific ways bullying can be exacted by uneducated individuals.

Meeting many new friends on a cool evening in the architecturally fascinating home of Gary Mihalik and Frank Pieri was a super way to start an evening. The house was the most thoughtfully executed residence I have ever visited. It was a mecca of calm and welcoming to all the guests who attended. The party spilled out onto a wide and comfortable veranda with a spectacular view and harp music by Tony Avila. There could not have been more perfect hosts for this evening.

Transported back to La Posada in a party bus, complete with strobe lights and even more champagne, the evening continued with dancing, a silent auction and the most delicious tower of cupcakes from Sugarbaby Cupcakes. Was that the end, certainly not! There was the after after party at Rouge Cat.

Thank you to the Santa Fe Mountain Center, their signature programs Adventures in a Caring Community, New Mexico Gay Straight Alliance Network, Adventure  N’M Power, Co-chairs Geramy Quarto and Juanita Thorne-Connerty and Program Manager Jenn Jevertson for a great evening for a most worthy cause.