Youth 4 Direct Relief has completed its fifth annual Flower Sale, raising $33,000 for Direct Relief International, a Santa Barbara-based global health organization.

More than 150 local students from nine schools belong to the club, including youths from Bishop Garcia Diego High School, Cate School, Cold Spring School, Crane Country Day School, Dos Pueblos High School, Laguna Blanca School, Montecito Union School, San Marcos High School and Santa Barbara High School.

The students sold flowers to family and friends, and then are personally delivering (in between homework and sports practice) every Monday during March. More than 1,200 bouquets will be delivered to people in hospitals, retirement homes, teachers’ classrooms, libraries and more. This annual event has become a favorite of many in the community.

“This event is spectacular on so many levels,” said Dorothy Largay, Direct Relief’s board chairwoman. “Of course, the funds that are so important to our work, and the expansion of supporters this raises. But as important is the students’ experience of activism and making a difference. On yet another level, the bright smiles these young people brought with the daisies brightened the day of so many.”

Students at Santa Barbara High School started Youth 4 Direct Relief five years ago, encouraged by the outstanding work of the local charity. Since that time, the club has grown substantially and is responsible for raising more than $110,000 for Direct Relief programs.

Club members also volunteer in the Direct Relief warehouse, and many have traveled abroad to work in partner clinics in Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. The mission of the club is to engage local youths to raise awareness and critically needed funds for Direct Relief International while educating them on the challenges of global health.

Direct Relief International provides medical assistance to improve the quality of life for people affected by poverty, disaster and civil unrest at home and throughout the world.

To join Youth 4 Direct Relief or to start a chapter in your school, e-mail

— Sherry Villanueva for Youth 4 Direct Relief.