The beginning of a new year is always a good time to take stock, and to share our visions for the year that is about to take shape.
This is a good time to restate my personal vision for children in Santa Barbara County. We do not know what 2016 will hold for them, but I am confident most members of our community share this vision for all our young people.
We envision children growing up in good health, with a zest for learning and living.
We see them with a spark inside that makes them want to share their talents with those less fortunate, and work for the benefit of others, simply because it is the right thing to do.
We see children who are free of fear, free from abuse, free of drugs, and free from prejudice.
We see children who are free to reach beyond their circumstances, whatever those might be, and to join a society that welcomes their contributions on the job, in the community, and in the voting booth.
And we see a community willing to work together to bring all our children closer to that dream.
Indeed, community cooperation is vital to helping our children reach their full potential. I would like to thank the individuals and organizations who support their local classrooms in so many ways.
Parents volunteer in classrooms. PTA members play invaluable roles at every school. Relatives and friends support local fundraisers, and neighbors pitch in at every turn.
Many local businesses also provide steadfast support of our schools. That support continues to be strong and invaluable.
Businesses and local foundations have contributed generously to Computers for Families and Computer Connections to ensure that we can address the digital divide for years into the future.
Local business people also help serve as mentors, making themselves available for “job shadow” programs of all sorts. And the Partners in Education alliance, a past-recipient of the California School Boards Association’s prestigious Golden Bell Award, is recognized as being one of the strongest school-business partnership programs in the nation.
Parents, teachers, and organizations in Santa Barbara County have a long and distinguished history of forming a circle of responsibility around our children.
It is only with the full support of the community we serve that we are able to maintain the quality of the programs that are designed to improve children’s lives in meaningful ways.
So please accept my sincere gratitude for helping in ways both large and small to make this community a better place for young people and families. That support is evident at every turn, and it is deeply appreciated.
Happy New Year to young and old alike.