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Cowboys & Cars 4 Kids Benefit in De Luz raises money for foster youth in transition

Guests enjoy looking at classic cars from bygone eras at the Cowboys & Cars 4 Kids event in De Luz Saturday, Oct. 7. Alex Groves photo
Rock ‘n’ Roll music rang out through the air Saturday, Oct. 7, as visitors to the CrossCreek Golf Course in De Luz got to peruse a car show, gift baskets and food booths.
The golf course was where the Cowboys & Cars 4 Kids Benefit, put on by the De Luz Women’s Club, was taking place. The event sought to raise money for Rancho Damacitas, a nonprofit that helps current and former foster youth.
Raising funds for Rancho Damacitas
Kristi Piatkowski, the director of the development for Rancho Damacitas, said Saturday’s event was specifically raising funds for Rancho Damacitas’ Project Independence, which is geared toward helping former foster children who are now adults.
“Specifically, that helps with transition,” Piatkowski said. “So, it provides secure housing, coaching, mentoring and financial coaching so they understand how to manage their money.”





Murrieta based band Kanan Road performs at the Cowboys & Cars 4 Kids Benefit in De Luz Saturday, Oct. 7. Alex Groves photo







Band Kanan Road belts out some tunes at the Cowboys & Cars 4 Kids Benefit in De Luz Saturday, Oct. 7. Alex Groves photo







A 1966 Volkswagen Bus was a favorite among spectators at the Cowboys & Cars 4 Kids event in De Luz Saturday, Oct. 7. Alex Groves photo




Rancho Damacitas is currently in the process of building a home in Murrieta for young adults who are part of Project Independence. The Lennar home will have a grandfather suite and five bedrooms so five youth will be able to live there once it’s constructed.
Money raised during the benefit went toward the completion of the home, Piatkowski said.
She said the home will be the “honor home” for those participants who have completed major milestones including maintaining employment, completing some level of education and being able to save money.
There are two lower level homes, one for men and one for women, where participants will stay and learn those skills.
“When they’ve hit those milestones then they can move into the honor home which then gives us more space to get more kids into that lower level program and to continue working that ladder,” Piatkowski said.
Food, drinks and entertainment
A number of food booths lined the golf course.
New Life Culinary Creations, a Wildomar-based catering service, was serving up deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches coated in powdered sugar.
Temecula Mexican restaurant Lienzo Charro was offering chile verde with rice, beans and tortillas.
Inside a series of tents was a makeshift casino where people could play card games as well as dozens of gift baskets that would later be snatched up during a silent auction.
Kanan Road, a “southern rock” band hailing from Murrieta, provided musical entertainment for the event as guests checked out the food offerings and gift baskets.
There were also a number of spots where guests could get an ice cold beer or a glass of wine.
Mitchell Smith, 26, of Temecula sipped a beer from Pizza Port Brewing Company as he walked around the event for the first time Saturday.
The car show
Smith went to the event with his grandfather, who was showing off a cherry red 1970 Ford Mustang in the car show.
Some of the other cars from the show included a 1966 Corvette Stingray, a 1957 Chevy 210 and a 1966 Volkswagen bus hippie van. The van was complete with a peace sign, flowers and the word “love” sprawled across one of the doors.
The car show attracted people like Cindy Woodruff, 59, and her neighbor Janet Kamashta, 59, both of De Luz.
“We’ve been looking at the cars, reminiscing about when we were younger,” Woodruff said with a laugh.
She said one model of Mercedes was the first car she ever remembered wanting and some of the trucks reminded her of her grandfather.
Behind the scenes of the event
Chris Close, a member of the women’s club and organizer for the event, said this is only the second year the De Luz women’s club has done Cowboys & Cars 4 Kids, but noted the organization enjoys working with Rancho Damacitas and has raised funds for them often over the last decade.
Piatkowski, the Rancho Damacitas director, praised the work of Close and others saying the event was largely driven by the work of the club’s volunteers.
“The women have done everything,” she said. “They got the sponsorships, they got all of the amazing silent auction (items), the casino, and they made it a lot of fun.”

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