This past Saturday, Bethany Hamilton, award-winning surfer and author of “Soul Surfer,” was honored at Natural High’s 12th Annual Sunset Splash Gala.

The event was held at Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines and raised $498,000 to continue to help youth discover, amplify and pursue their natural high instead of an artificial drug high. More than 400 people were in attendance to support this cause. The organization saw a 57 percent increase in gross revenue from last year’s total.

The event was complete with an acceptance speech by Bethany Hamilton, and awards to Justin Prati for National Educator of the Year; Shannon Garcia of Rancho Buena Vista High School for Local Educator of the Year; and Youth Leadership Awards to Eric Barrios and Sam Moore.

During the event, attendees were given the opportunity to sponsor a state. Attendees sponsored 21 states, and funds from this doubled in comparison to last year. Those who could not attend who wish to further the cause of helping raise funds for the drug abuse prevention organization are encouraged to click here to donate to the fundraiser that kicks off Red Ribbon Week in October.

Prior to the gala, Bethany Hamilton led an assembly at Bishop School in La Jolla on October 3, and also held a meet and greet at Natural High Founder Jon Sundt’s house. During the meet and greet, youth were given the opportunity to speak with Bethany, take photos and ask her questions regarding her natural high.

Natural High is a San Diego-based drug abuse prevention organization that helps youth discover, amplify and pursue their natural high through a DVD series. The Natural High DVD Series is distributed freely to more than 14,000 schools across the nation (more than 6 million students per year) and has featured other well-known celebrity role models like Lauren Conrad, Tony Hawk, Cassadee Pope, Travis Pastrana, Terry Kennedy, and Paul Rodriguez Jr. As Natural High continues to exceed expectations and help today’s youth find their “natural high” so that they have a reason to say no to an artificial high, the organization aims to raise funds in order to reach their goal of reaching 12 million youth by 2015.

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