[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series on Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteers. This article is sponsored by “The Key Class”, a Partners in Education President’s Council member.]
After achieving national and international acclaim as a major event planner, John Daly made a change in life that has since benefited hundreds of local students.
Coming off his tremendous career success, and with years of experience serving as a mentor to local youth, Daly decided to develop a social etiquette program called “The Key Class.” The purpose of the program, which recently teamed up with Santa Barbara Partners in Education to expand the program to more schools, is to teach students the do’s and don’ts of social behavior and to ultimately prepare students for job and/or college interviews.
“The Key Class” focuses on the importance of making a good first impression and teaches guidelines for behavior in both professional and personal situations. Wanting to develop these skills in those young people who need it most, Daly recently made the class available to Teen Court participants in Santa Barbara County.
When asked why he created “The Key Class,” Daly explained that his main focus was on the needs of students who will be entering the workforce.
“I saw there was a large need for students to learn the social skills to be successful in getting a job, and that many were not at all aware of what these skills were,” he said.
In teaming up with Partners in Education, administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office, Daly hopes to make “The Key Class” available to as many young people as possible.
“I became involved with Partners (in Education) after an introduction to Ben Romo (the program’s former executive director) and found that I was very, very interested in what the organization is all about.”
Partners in Education plays a unique role in education due to the level of access into the public school system that it possesses. By coordinating with Partners in Education, Daly can reach more students and have a much larger impact.
Daly strongly believes that knowledge of social etiquette is crucial for every professional in the workforce.
“It has been proven that social etiquette is essential for both getting and keeping a job,” he said. “Seventy percent of all people who lose their jobs lose them because they do not fit into the culture of the business that they are working in. Our classes teach students how to accomplish ‘fitting in’.”
As a local Santa Barbaran, Daly has invested much of his time in making the community a better place. Focusing on the youth of Santa Barbara has become one of his priorities.
“I absolutely think ‘The Key Class’ will positively change the community by giving students self confidence and the ability to become active participants in our community,” he said.
Daly also believes that volunteering boosts a community’s health. He explains that professionals becoming involved in the school systems is absolutely necessary for the health of education.
“Sharing the actual hands-on knowledge that business professionals learn is extremely powerful to young minds,” he said.
Daly hopes to continue positively changing the community with “The Key Class” and he urges community members to become involved, as well.
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— Michaela Ford is a senior at Santa Barbara High School and a Santa Barbara Partners in Education intern through the Partners Job Readiness & Internship Program. Partners in Education programs are administered under the Santa Barbara County Education Office.