“The foundation formed because of the financial difficulties with the city,” said SDJLF volunteer Belinda Bencomo. “We want to make sure the program is able to stay intact and that we’re able to offer the same programs.”
The gala will set sail from the Bahia Hotel on the William D. Evans boat and the evening will feature dinner, drinks and a silent auction. Local band Agavero Revue will provide live music during the cruise.
“It’s just going to be a beautiful evening on the bay,” Bencomo said. “It’s a great event and we support several programs.”
Among the programs SDJLF supports are Bridge to the Beach, which allows central San Diego children to spend a day at the beach, and Learn to Swim for Free, in which the organization travels to local community pools and offers free swimming lessons. Both programs are conducted at no cost to the participating children.
“Living in San Diego with the ocean being one of our biggest assets, being able to offer kids the opportunity to learn about and appreciate the ocean and actually learn a lifelong skill like swimming is a great cause,” Bencomo said. “It gives kids the opportunity to appreciate nature and learn a skill — there’s nothing better than that.”
Funded by the city until last year, the Junior Lifeguards Program was in danger of disappearing because of city budget constraints. It currently survives on donations and volunteer efforts, including the one-year-old SDJLF.
“We get a lot of people to participate in the programs, but there is no funding for those at all,” Bencomo said. “What were trying to do is raise funds so that we can offer those programs.”
Tickets for the dinner gala are $50, which goes straight to the SDJLF. For tickets or more information, visit www.sdjgfoundation.org.