Wednesday, April 25 , 2018, 7:51 pm | Fair 56º


Partners in Education Volunteer Spotlight: Valerie Kushnerov

City of Goleta spokeswoman makes case for students to learn communication skills early

[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series on Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteers. This article is sponsored by Fielding Graduate University, a Partners in Education President’s Council member.]

Valerie Kushnerov has been a strong supporter of Santa Barbara Partners in Education and its programs for many years. As the City of Goleta’s public information officer, she offers a unique and welcomed perspective when volunteering for career day and guest speaking at various schools.

Kushnerov’s love and commitment to the community has propelled her to volunteer her available time to programs provided by Partners in Education, a nonprofit administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

“I’ve been a supporter of Partners in Education for many years in a variety of ways, from reading in the elementary schools on Dr. Seuss Day to speaking at Career Day at Goleta Valley Junior High. It’s an organization that fills an important role in our community and I support its mission wholeheartedly.”

Kushnerov’s unique career allows her to share something new and different with students.

“Being the public information officer for Goleta allows me to share a different perspective with the students when I speak at career days,” she said. “I’ve had experience in a number of different fields within public relations, and my current role allows me to share the opportunities there are in local government.”

Being a public information officer is not Kushnerov’s only job. She has also served on the Goleta Union School District Board of Trustees for six years and is a dedicated mother of two.

“Because I have these additional experiences, it allows me to relate to the students on a number of levels,” she explained.

Kushnerov recognizes the necessity of clear communication when entering the work force and she strives to pass this important quality on to the students with whom she works.

“I believe students need to understand the importance of good communication skills and that those skills can transfer to a variety of fields,” she said. “I encourage them to become an individual with skills rather than focusing on one specific career. It better prepares them for the life ahead, and allows them flexibility when they enter the job market.”

In addition to communication, Kushnerov emphasizes the importance of choosing a career path for the right reasons.

“Do what you love, and if you can’t do what you love as a career, do something you like, that allows you to do what you love in your free time,” she said. “Making a difference in the world is far more important than the money you make and will bring you much greater satisfaction in life.”

Kushnerov explains that, through volunteering, she not only has the privilege of helping others, but she is given the opportunity to learn from younger generations.

“Career days are a great learning experience for the adults because we get a glimpse into the mysterious world of teens and pre-teens.” she said. “It allows us to better understand who our future leaders are and the skills that they will bring to the table.

“It also helps us to recognize the value in looking at issues from a multigenerational and multicultural perspective.”

Kushnerov’s positive experience with volunteering through Partners in Education has inspired her to persuade other community members to volunteer, as well.

“Volunteering is an easy way to give back and make a difference for future generations,” she said. “Even one hour on one day can make a difference in the life of a student. Instead of looking back at a tragic situation and wondering what could have been done differently, I encourage everyone to be proactively involved in the lives of students so we can help write the success stories of tomorrow.”

                                                                  •        •        •

» Click here for more information on Santa Barbara Partners in Education.

» Click here for more information on how to become a President’s Council member or contact Michelle Magnusson, development and membership director, at 805.964.4710 x4417 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

» Connect with Partners in Education on Facebook.

— Michaela Ford is a senior at Santa Barbara High School and a Santa Barbara Partners in Education intern through the Partners Job Readiness & Internship Program. Partners in Education programs are administered under the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

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