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Post date: Friday, February 5, 2016 - 10:02

United Way of Santa Barbara County is ecstatic to announce a $120,000 grant from the Errett Fisher Foundation to support the newly-established Santa Ynez Valley site of Fun in the Sun for the next three years!

The grant ensures that United Way has seed funding that will guarantee this additional site through 2018 and beyond to serve dozens of Santa Ynez Valley’s disadvantaged children and families each summer.

During its 11-year partnership with United Way, the Errett Fisher Foundation has invested more than $600,000 in United Way’s educational partnership programs, notably...

Post date: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 11:45

Martin didn't pay attention in his Fun in the Sun class.  Incredibly active during playtie, he was disengaged in the classroom.  He had a stutter and became very fatigued when asked to write, read or use the Power Reading and Power Math programs.  Martin's mom sensed that he was struggling, so when his program leader reached out to her, she was prepared to help.  Together, Martin's mother and program leader created a sticker reward system that applied both at Fun in the Sun and home.  His mom visted class when she could and followed up on the class work he did during the program.  Martin...

Post date: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 11:41

Kerstin served as a program leader for a third-grade Fun in the Sun class.  She grew up in Santa Barbara, but never realized the advantages she'd had.  Discovering the real toll of summer learning loss for students from low-income families was a revelation for Kerstin.  She came to realize how hard life could be for many of her students.  Each morning Kerstin's third-graders would discuss and then write about a "question of the day."  At the beginning, it was hard for some students to write more than a single sentence.  But by the end of the program, they were writing for almost 30 minutes...

Post date: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 11:36

Alma only showed up a handful of times during the first weeks of Fun in the Sun.  When she was present she was silent, refused to participate and would ask to go home because of a "stomach ache."  But Alma's classmates were astute and noticed she was isolating herself.  They decided to include her in everything they did.  During a field trip to a swimming pool, Alma refused to go into the water.  That's when three girls came up and invited her to play.  Soon, all four girls were giggling and having fun.  In the midst of her insecurity, the community reached out and welcomed Alma.  Near the...

Post date: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 11:30

Javiet is a bright-eyed, lanky 6th grader.  He is a natural leader, but is just beginning to realize it.  Javier is at ease with younger students and almost always has a crowd of kids following him around.  Even so, he had been a less-than-ideal student in the past.  He did not pay attention in class and expressed ambivalence towards teachers and authority figures.  One of our Fun in the Sun Program Leaders decided to take a different approach with Javier by asking him to lead.  He began by helping with younger children, then started to participate more in his own class.  These small...

Post date: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 11:19

Post date: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 10:27

When you walk into the Coast Village Branch of Montecito Bank and Trust you will see a smiling face. Adriana’s role as a customer service representative provides an opportunity for her to provide hospitality on a day-to-day basis.  Santa Barbara is Adriana’s community, it is where she grew-up, and where she invests her time and talents.

Adriana went to Franklin Elementary, Santa Barbara Junior High, Santa Barbara High School, City College, and is now finishing up her studies at UCSB.  Her experience with the SBHS Don’s Net Café initially got her involved in United Way. As a student...

Post date: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 10:25

For the Rowe family, reading and imagination are an integral part of everyday life. Orin, Kate, Spencer (2), and Donovan (4) have participated in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) for three years, and although they take advantage of Santa Barbara’s wonderful local libraries, Kate believes that it makes a difference that the boys are able to keep the books from the DPIL

With two children, Kate and Orin experience the value of a well curated selection of books; they can tell that “the books seem to be right on developmentally.” Orin hears Donovan “grabbing vocab” from the...

Post date: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 10:11

When Colleen Russell was approached to lead a class of nine children in United Way’s Kindergarten Success Institute (KSI) at El Camino Elementary School, she leaped at the opportunity. Colleen grew up in Los Angeles and came from a family of educators. In recalling her childhood she reflected, “my mother and grandmother taught nursery school” it was a “natural” choice her to go into teaching. After graduating college, Colleen took a teaching position at South Central LA’s Lennox Elementary. She hadn’t intended to be a forerunner in education, but being thrown into an impoverished school...

Post date: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - 10:47
Kai is a joyful 12 year old boy. He is energetic and a natural leader. But up until this summer Kai was terrified of the water! When he was four years old Kai accidentally fell into the water. His attentive older brother quickly jumped into the pool to save him, but Kai was left traumatized. Before the El Camino Elementary Fun in the Sun group took their trip to the pool this year Kai told the Fun in the Sun staff that he didn't know how to swim and didn't want to get into the water.    Evelyn Cook, the Assistant Site Coordinator, took special interest and assured him things would be ok....

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