Youth and Education Day
by Christopher Narez, Staff Development Manager County of Santa Barbara
Santa Maria Valley Leadership Class of 2023 conducted a Youth and Education topic day on December 2nd, 2022. As with many of the topic days, this one was highly informative. The following is a summary of some of highlights:
The group started at Allan Hancock College, where the president Dr. Walthers spoke about Hancock’s efforts to provide advanced education to Santa Maria Students through its Hancock Promise (program that covers 1st year students’ tuition and fees). This Promise program is only accessible to local students (Santa Maria and Orcutt High Schools). After implementing the Promise program, the subsequent years saw a 12-14% jump in enrollment. For every $1 invested into Hancock, the return is approx. $1.30. The school is addressing the issue of housing needs for their students, with Dr. Walthers stating that through bond measures they are trying to work on getting property that would be a mixture of student housing and market rate apartments. After learning the campus supports 6,466 jobs through its $541.1 million impact, the group turned its focus to Hancock’s children’s center. The 90-child capacity center’s main goal is to support Hancock students and low-income parents. Looking ahead, the children’s center is expanding with garden beds, an outdoor stage, and mud kitchen. They have a Lompoc center that opened in 2020, which can support 24 children. With the prevalent need for childcare in the Santa Maria area, Lompoc’s program is already looking to expand.
After their leadership talk, the group went on to visit Career Technical Education Center. The program works with juniors and seniors from Santa Maria district schools to provide students the ability to gain experience in areas of culinary, agriculture, mechanics, machinery, and residential/commercial construction. This program provides an alternative to the typical college bound route.
Lastly, the group had a chance to visit the Orcutt Academy Robotics Team. This nationally competitive team is comprised of students from all high school grade levels. Not only is the team having to build a robot from scratch, the funding for supplies and travel is the responsibility of the group to raise. The team has sub-teams (Business, Electrical, Mechanical, CAD, CNC, and Software), all of which play an important role in the overall success. Go Spartans!
Thank you to all the members of the community who helped us learn about Santa Maria Valley. A special Thank You to Judge Garcia, who was set to retire at the end of 2022. Born and raised in Santa Maria, Judge Garcia spoke to the class about the struggles he sees going on in the lives of some of our youth. Dealing with delinquency (kids who have committed a crime) and dependency (kids neglected or abused) cases, Judge Garcia gave a motivating and impactful statement to the group that touched many in the audience. LSMV class of 2023 would like to thank him for all the years of service he has given our community. Thank you Judge Garcia.
LSMV seeing the Childrens Center
LSMV viewing livestock warehouse at CTE
LSMV with Judge Garcia