I normally assure that this column is purely educational for all its readers. However, what I am about to tell you is of great significance to us all, and I needed to share it with you.
Since 2010, The Key Class has been reaching out to youth in every area of Santa Barbara — from Teen Court and Probation, the Workforce Investment Board and United Way of Santa Barbara County’s Fun in the Sun to Partners in Education’s student internships program and other organizations that connect with teens.
Since 2012, through a relationship with Partners in Education, we’ve offered it to a small number of students at all four of our high schools. We’ve taught more than 2,500 students in that time. But, something miraculous happened right after the Fourth of July this year.
We got the word from Dr. David Cash, superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District, that The Key Class will be part of the school district’s educational program for all students in grades nine through 12! This ensures that all our high school students will have the opportunity to be prepared for college, career and life. According to Dr. Cash, “We have found The Key Class to provide a breakthrough opportunity for students to learn many life skills that we simply have not had the expertise or curriculum to deliver.”
Let me share, in Dr. Cash’s own words, why he feels this is important:
“John Daly has created a comprehensive, integrated and important curriculum that all of our students will enjoy and benefit from as they transition from teenagers to young adults. The Key Class will give students a coordinated program that is developmentally appropriate for students in grades nine through 12. We have had such phenomenal responses from the current work Mr. Daly is doing in our district that we know when the program has a chance to be taken by every student, our Santa Barbara Unified School District community will benefit.
“Our students benefit when the community invests in their educational program. We know that students will benefit from The Key Class, and we are excited to have the chance to be able to make this happen.”
Even more to the point, students leave The Key Class with more self-esteem, respect for others and the tools to get into college or secure a career path. They will go into our community with the attitude, behavior and willingness that will make both the business and the social world proud to have them.
The Next Hurdle
Having the school district’s acceptance and support was our first major hurde. Additionally, Chris Morales of Montecito Bank & Trust has been teaching financial literacy for years and has agreed to work with The Key Class on this huge endeavor. Having his expertise as part of the program will assure success with the financial needs of the students.
But, we have another hurde. The next one is to win the financial support of the business and social community of Santa Barbara. In order to make this happen, The Key Class, a new 501 (c)(3) is dependent upon sponsorships and donations. Noozhawk, in support of The Key Class, has allowed us to reach out to the community through this column. We are working with the Santa Barbara Foundation and are looking for businesses that want to sponsor one of each of the high schools in the school district to allow us to reach each and every student.
The cost to run this program per high school for the administration and teachers required is $110,000. The school board is unable to allocate money to this needed program because, as we all know, funds have been cut so drastically. For donations above $50,000, each company will be able to have its name attached to a school and will receive publicity through radio, television and articles highlighting why this is an important cause for the business. Sponsors also will be prominently placed on all materials and The Key Class web site. It is important to note that in sponsoring The Key Class in a high school, businesses will be assuring that the pool of future employees will have “the right stuff” to make a difference in their companies.
In addition, personal, individual donors are the lifeblood of The Key Class. We invite your support in investing in the youth of our community for the betterment of Santa Barbara’s future.
— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class, get more information on Thursday night classes in Santa Barbara, or to get his book. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjr. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.