Bob Kingston

Bob Kingston and his mentee, Manny, have made many memories together in Kingston’s time as a mentor.

The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA) will hold its annual Gratitude Luncheon celebrating its mentor program on Tuesday, April 27 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Among the honorees at the event is Carpinterian Bob Kingston, who has earned the title of 2021 Mentor of the Year and will be awarded the Penny Jenkins Mentor Champion Award.

Kingston has been a member of CADA’s Mentor Task Force and a mentor for the past five years. He and his mentee came to CADA’s Mentor Program in 2020 from Family Service Agency’s former Big Brothers Big Sisters.

With a self-proclaimed “attitude of gratitude” for his own life, Kingston has always been passionate about making time to help kids validate who they are and discover what they can achieve. Today, he and his 16-year-old mentee Manny are exploring life’s many possibilities with stops along the way for Taco Bell fare and lots of hours of fishing. When asked why being a mentor is such an important part of his life, Kingston is quick to reply, “That’s easy. It’s the smile on Manny’s face every time I pull in the driveway to pick him up … That’s what this is all about.”

With a degree from San Diego State, Kingston’s career spanned local business and industry, including the opening of Santa Barbara’s famous Chart House Restaurant. He also founded and operated All Around Landscape Supply in Carpinteria for over 20 years. Kingston married his high school sweetheart Linda in 1970, and the couple have two adopted sons, Blake and Todd, and grandson Levi. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Kingston is a natural athlete and avid sports enthusiast, having originally come to California as a young boy when his father followed the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958.

Now in its 17th year, the Mentor Program matches Santa Barbara County youth enrolled in third through eighth grade with caring adult mentors. Mentees are referred to CADA by school counselors and psychologists who have identified at-risk behaviors that can result in poor academic studies, social difficulties and association with negative influences. Despite the constraints of the pandemic, the program is approaching 100 current mentor-mentee matches, many of which will continue beyond high school graduation and become lifelong friendships.

Free event registration, sponsorship and donation information for the April 27 virtual event can be found at cadagratitude.org. Attendees can also donate in honor of a mentor in their life, whose name and photo can be shared on the event website and during the event.

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