In acknowledging the importance of teaching how to commingle environmental stewardship with commercial enterprise, the Southern California Gas Company is partnering with Santa Barbara High School’s Dons New Café and Virtual Enterprises program.

A $5,000 gas company donation will support a Dons clothing and accessory line, Dons Custom Gear. The clothing line is the brainchild of the Dons Net Café, a class of enterprising students who will sell customized T-shirts, sweatshirts and other types of Dons-decorated gear.

Another type of gear for sale is a reusable water bottle. Once purchased, it can be refilled for free at the Dons Net Café, Room 22, helping reduce waste.

Maria Vallejo, chief operations officer of the Dons Net Café, says that what makes Dons Custom Gear different is that it focuses on exercising ethical business decisions and environmentally aware production that provides a variety of products and socially conscious business services via ethonomics.

Ethonomics is the Dons Net Café’s coined term for ethical economics. Ethical economics takes into account social concerns, environmental effects and economics before making a business decision, Vallejo said.

The Dons Custom Gear line features personalized T-shirts, reusable water bottles, coffee mugs/to-go mugs, mouse pads, reusable bags and socks. Don Custom Gear provides all the necessary gear for its customers to be comfortable, fashionable and successful.

“Dons Custom Gear at the Dons Net Café is the one-stop shop for quality products and excellent customer service,” said senior Larissa Lavender, vice president of research and design.

The Dons Net Café is offered through the County Education Office’s Regional Occupational Program. It prides itself on teaching future entrepreneurs the importance of service learning and engages students in a variety of worthwhile community service projects. They regularly participate in business and marketing competitions throughout the United States and even the world with consistently top results.

The Gas Company donation will go toward purchasing a specialized apparel printer and other items necessary to conduct the clothing and personalized gear business. The donation also will boost the “Going for the Gold by Going Green” schoolwide recycling program.

Tim Mahoney, gas company spokesman, says the program offers excellent training. “The students are learning every aspect of business, from marketing to customer service, to free market economics,” he said. “Dons Net Café is the ultimate in workforce readiness, as it is preparing and inspiring students for the green economy.”

Tim Mahoney represents Southern California Gas Company.