A Girl Should Be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous. - Coco Chanel


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Larry Mills is My Dad

My dad is pretty rockin. Seriously... growing up, everywhere we went, someone knew my dad. Not only was my dad very involved in church and various different jobs (most recently construction management and home inspections) but he also was on our city Water Board (An elected official... which meant we sometimes got to be in parades growing up) and he ran for 3rd District Supervisor when I was a Junior in High School. He came super close but in the end dirty politics won. However... I had a shirt that I wore often that year. A lot of my friends wore it too. It was the cool shirt to wear at my school.

Even with all of that.... that was not what my dad was most known for back home in Santa Barbara. He was known for a club that he started called "The Living Room". **The Living Room is a volunteer-run drug and alcohol-free club that is open to people of all ages. The club offers opportunities for teen leadership and participation in the operation of club events such as concerts, dances, movie nights, and other social occasions. The Living Room also honors diversity by offering events that serve the interests and needs of multiple social and cultural groups within its community.**

My dad was recognized more than once by the city. He got the Man of the Year award one year. When my parents moved here, they had a party in his honor to say thank you for everything he contributed to the city in his 20+ years of living in Santa Barbara. This is from an article about that event. 

"Mills is also a notable figure in Goleta as a business person, parent, and community servant. Before his departure, club members and the public will recognize Mills for his contributions to the community and to raise money for The Living Room at this tribute dinner/fundraiser.

In 1993 Mills founded The Living Room, a non-profit drug & alcohol-free club in Goleta, CA. After 10 years of serving Santa Barbara County as a volunteer-run community venue, the club went dormant when its last space at 430 S. Fairview was redeveloped. At the club, Mills involved teens and people of all ages to provide Santa Barbara County with a safe and positive space that hosted live music, dances, film screenings, educational opportunities, and other social events. Event organizer and club member, Allan Viscarra, says,

"I was just 12 years old in 1995 when I attended my first event at The Living Room. Like many other young people, I have participated at The Living Room as a club member, a musician, and as a volunteer. I am so grateful to Larry Mills for all that he did as the founder of the club and I look forward to carrying out his legacy by doing my part to reopen The Living Room."

Mills’ programming legacy, which caters to an underserved youth community, will be carried out by Mr. Viscarra, Ted Coe, Rudi Jung, and others who intend to reopen the club in 2011.
On December 13th from 5 to 9pm 10% of the earnings at Del Pueblo CafĂ© will be donated towards reopening The Living Room. Mills will be the guest of honor and celebrated by participants. 

Del Pueblo Cafe’s Public Relations and Special Events Coordinator, Gloria Sanchez-Arreola, expresses excitement for her Goleta business to be participating in this tribute event for Mr. Mills, whose club impacted her significantly while she was an undergraduate at U.C. Santa Barbara. Ms. Sanchez-Arreola says,

"For me, the Living Room was the heart and soul of Goleta and provided a young UCSB student from LA a safe space to enjoy music with other music lovers. I had the honor of rocking out with SB natives, locos, locals, babies, grandmas, old-school punk rockers, UCSB grad students and listen to international, local, newbies and world-renowned bands under one loving roof. No drama, no drugs, no bull -- just pure and beautiful musica."

Because my dad ran this club for many years (including when I was in grade school all the way through high school) and it was the cool place to hang out... my dad was more popular at my high school than I was. Not to say that I didn't have any friends... because I totally did. I just always got... "Oh, you are Larry Mills' daughter? That is awesome! Can you get me into The Living Room for free?". Seriously... you have no idea how much I got that. My dad came and took me out of school once because my pet iguana got lost and I took the rest of the day off to go and try and find him. It was totally okay because Larry Mills picked me up.... nobody questions him. My dad was so cool that he made us kids shirts that said "Larry Mills is my dad" With his picture on the front and The Living Room logo on the back.... and we wore them to school. Not only that, but when we wore the shirt to school, our friends would ask us if they could have a T-Shirt like that too. Which I would then say "No, because Larry Mills is not your dad. He is my dad". 

Putting my dad's Santa Barbara Celebrity status aside, he is an awesome man. He has always been a great dad, provided for us kids and was always there for us when we needed him. He got up every Saturday morning until we moved out of the house and made us pancakes or french toast. He is the BBQ master and not only feeds the family every Sunday but usually invites other people over for dinner every week as well. Some of my friends have had the privilage of my dad's Sunday BBQ's. The more the merrier in the Mills home. All are welcome and I have adapted the same attitude. I love to have people over and feed them and take care of them. You now know where I get it from. :o) My dad is hard working, extremely service oriented and a do it all go getter. He loves his family. He spoils his adorable grandchildren. I could go on and on. He is an amazing father that I love very much. 

Happy Fathers Day Dad. I am proud to say Larry Mills is my dad. Thanks for all that you do. I love you!


Vivian said...

I wore that shirt! Your dad IS awesome.

jamie hixon said...

I loved that shirt! We are so lucky to have such an amazing dad.

Kristy said...

I'm glad Larry Mills is my dad too. He is pretty awesome. Nice blog entry.

Lori said...

I wish i still had that shirt :)
We are so lucky arent we :)

Lynette Mills said...

nice tribute to a pretty wonderful father