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Kristin Horton Leading Junior League of Santa Barbara’s Literacy Effort

The nonprofit is partnering with the city of Santa Barbara, and local libraries and schools

The Junior League of Santa Barbara, a nonprofit organization of more than 500 women volunteers, is bringing the critical community need to improve literacy rates among local youth to the forefront.

Kristin Horton
Kristin Horton

“With nearly 65 percent of local third-graders reading below ‘proficient’ level, 68 percent of local low-income families lacking a single age-appropriate book in the home for their children, and 33 percent of all California students leaving school without a high school diploma, there is clearly an epidemic of illiteracy in our community,” president Kristin Horton said at the Junior League’s Literacy Gala. “The Junior League of Santa Barbara is raising public awareness of this issue through legislative advocacy and media outreach, creating collaborative partnerships with local organizations, and launching a dozen community projects targeted at the goal of improving youth literacy.”

The Junior League is partnering with the city of Santa Barbara to support facility and literacy program needs for a new Children’s Library at the downtown branch. In addition, the Junior League is partnering with the Santa Barbara Public Library System and local schools to create innovative family literacy programs and to build the children’s book collections.

The Junior League’s programs include “Dia de los Niños/Dia de los Libros (Day of the Child/Day of the Book)” — which won the prestigious Mora Award in 2010 — promoting library patronage and bilingual literacy, and “Heroes for a Day” at La Patera School promoting reading for pleasure and featuring local celebrity readers. The Junior League is also sponsoring or supporting multiple bills in the state Legislature addressing the educational achievement gap and youth literacy.

Horton is a frequent contributor to the media regarding the issue of youth literacy in Santa Barbara. She is a lifelong community volunteer and advocate in the areas of early childhood education, literacy and supporting healthy families. During her 15-year affiliation with the Junior League, Horton’s responsibilities have included overseeing all community projects staffed by the organization’s 500-plus members as community council director, directing new program research and development as community programming chairwoman, managing the Junior League’s operations as president-elect and chairwoman of the management team, and serving as president and chairwoman of the Board of Directors.

She has also served as Junior League of Boston Showhouse fundraiser treasurer, the New York Junior League 100th Anniversary Gala committee member, and Junior League of Santa Barbara gala co-chairwoman.

Horton is a third-generation Junior Leaguer. Her grandmother was a founding member of the Junior League of the Palm Beaches, and her mother was an active League member in Palm Beach, Fla., Darien, Conn., New York City and Westchester County, N.Y.

In addition to her civic work, Horton is president of investment management firm Haven Capital Group Inc. She earned a master’s degree in business administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Click here for more information about the Junior League of Santa Barbara, or call 805.963.2704.

— Colette Crafton is the communications and public relations coordinator for the Junior League of Santa Barbara.

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