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Post date: Friday, February 5, 2016 - 10:17

Lynda’s four grandchildren (for whom she is their legal guardian) recently made a large move from Santa Maria to Santa Ynez to be closer to work and cut down on travel expenses, but this large one cost did not allow her to reserve money for purchasing Christmas presents. Lynda’s grandchildren were Fun in the Sun students in Santa Ynez and had a transformative experience with the program, staff, and volunteers!

Serendipitously, Judy and Dave Flattery (United Way Board Member) were determining how they wanted to go about their yearly Holiday tradition of giving to those in need and...

Post date: Friday, February 5, 2016 - 10:12

Young Leaders Society (YLS) was inaugurated 6 years ago as an effort to galvanize the young professionals in Santa Barbara County toward leadership and engagement in the local community. Societies and cities are strongest when leadership is being continuously renewed. When a city lacks a strong emergent group of leaders, it eventually suffers from a “leadership vacuum” that slows and stifles the momentum put towards solving community issues and civic growth. In his book Bowling Alone, Harvard University Professor Robert Putnam explores the diminishing and rebirth of community life and...

Post date: Friday, February 5, 2016 - 10:06

Remembering Paul Mershon
February 7, 1925 – March 21, 2015

Paul Marze Mershon Jr. was born in Walters, Oklahoma.  He was a veteran of WWII and served in Europe.  After graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in geology, Paul worked in the oil and gas industry in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado, and in 1973 formed Macy and Mershon Oil and Gas Co.

Paul moved to San Diego in the late 1970’s where he met his wife Terrie.  After moving to Santa Barbara in the 1980’s, Paul learned to fly a jet to ease his commute to his business in Denver.   

As a Santa...

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...