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Vons Foundation Awards $2,500 Grant for SBCC Foster Youth Students

Funding will help the students pay for textbooks and on-campus meal vouchers

The Foundation for Santa Barbara City College is pleased to announce that the Vons Foundation has presented a grant of $2,500 to benefit the college’s foster youth students.

The donation will help the students pay for on-campus meal vouchers and textbooks to help them stay in school.

“This grant from the Vons Foundation will have a critical impact by making it possible for foster youths who attend SBCC to be able to focus on their education by providing them with the nutrition and textbooks necessary to stay in and successfully complete college,” said Vanessa Patterson, executive director of the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College. “We are thankful for and commend the employees of Vons, who have voluntarily donated these funds to our students in need.”

SBCC has 45 foster youth students enrolled and is expecting more than 50 for the upcoming semester. In the past five years, the number of foster children in need of services in Santa Barbara County increased by an astounding 81 percent.

Foster youths require critical guidance and assistance, as statistics show that 65 percent of California’s prison population has spent time in foster care and 40 percent of the homeless in California are former foster youths. Providing accessible quality education and supportive services to this group is crucial in cultivating a healthy community.

“This grant is particularly meaningful because it demonstrates the commitment Vons employees have towards the future leaders of our community,” said Patricia Manfredonia, Vons’ employment representative for the Central Coast. “Each dollar donated came voluntarily from the employees themselves. Together, Vons is backing these students and helping to invest in their futures.”

The Vons Foundation provides the opportunity to mobilize funding and create awareness in the neighborhoods they serve. A very high percentage of the 30,000 Vons employees in California volunteer community service hours and donate to student development out of their own paychecks.

Through the Vons Foundation, more than $14 million is donated each year in grants and other donations to charitable organizations such as the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College.

The Foundation for Santa Barbara City College is in the midst of the 2012 Campaign for Student Success. Money raised from the campaign will support students in a multitude of ways, from scholarships, book grants, tutoring, child care for single parents, library and resources, Continuing Education classes and more. Members’ contributions are vital for the success of many students who can’t afford their many other educational expenses.

With some textbooks costing $125 or more plus the ever-increasing dollars per unit for tuition, some students are forced to drop out of school without the aid of community members. The Campaign for Student Success strives to ensure that all Santa Barbara County residents who want to attend college can, despite their income. Click here for information on how you can participate.

— Candice Nyholt is a publicist representing the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College.

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