of Greater Santa Barbara

Blog

What Matters Now

By Barbara Ben-Horin

SHARE

What matters now? What’s always mattered – family, community, safety, kindness, generosity, and helping our friends and neighbors.

As unpredictable and terrifying as wildfires are, many of us have come to accept that they are an inevitable risk of living in our beautiful but often parched community. However, none of us could envision the risk, let alone the enormity of the risk of the January 9 mudslides – the death, displacement, and devastation to families, homes and businesses, and the loss of income for a countless number of people from the service worker to the business owner.

Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara is honored to help the students of Laguna Blanca Lower School. Beginning Monday, January 22, teachers and roughly 85 students in grades EK-4 have been onsite weekdays from 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at our Goleta Valley Center using the center’s classroom space and amenities. Our downtown Santa Barbara Center and Gym are also available to community groups and schools who have been displaced and need space for programming.

As always, the well-being of the girls we serve and their families is top of mind for us. You may know that 75% of the girls who participate in after-school programming at our Santa Barbara Center come from families whose annual income is $30,000 or less. Many of the girls’ parents are service workers who were unable to work during the Thomas Fire and have been unable to return to work again following the mudslides due to road closures, damaged businesses, and displaced families and employers. Be it a restaurant, gas station, retail store, the drycleaners, or a gardening, housekeeping, or custodial position, hundreds of people have lost valuable income.

 We are grateful that each year generous members of the community have provided financial assistance so that hundreds of girls may benefit from participating in the life-changing programming Girls Inc. provides. Having a safe place for their girls to be and learn after school has always been important to the families we serve. But now, more than ever, it’s important for their peace of mind to know their girls are in good hands while they seek employment or hopefully return to work.

Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara will hold its’ annual scholarship fundraising event in the spring. This evening event, organized by the One Hundred Committee, will include dinner and be held at our Goleta Valley Center. Along with the myriad events, activities, and concerns of our community’s recovery, we will let you know when the date is set and I hope you’ll join us. The girls and their families need our help.

Best wishes to you and your families, and for our community.

Sincerely yours,

Barbara Ben-Horin

CEO

Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara