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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 8:15 pm | Fair 49º


Santa Barbara Rescue Mission Reopens Learning Center

Thanks to a big gift from Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Mission residents have new computers to aid with their education.

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Key figures in a photo opportunity are, from left, Santa Barbara Rescue Mission resident Eric Johnston, Rescue Mission president Rolf Geyling, board chairman Karl Willig, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust president and CEO George Leis and Learning Center supervisor Emily Ricter. (Randy Weiss / Santa Barbara Bank & Trust photo)

The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission celebrated its newly revamped Learning Center at its 535 E. Yanonali St. campus Thursday. The center showcased its new computer stations provided by Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, which benefits the Mission’s 12-month residential treatment program.

“The new computers provided an opportunity to make other improvements; it is a rebirth of the Learning Center,” said Rolf Geyling, president of the nonprofit Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.

Eric Johnston, a resident of the 12-month residential treatment program, spoke about his use of the computers to learn a diagnostics program aiding in the development of an automotive business as his new career.

“We hope the bank’s gift makes life a little easier for the Rescue Mission’s clients and staff in developing and teaching proficient computer skills for successful transition to the workforce,” said George S. Leis, president and CEO of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust. A plaque was presented to Leis in honor of the bank’s capital investment in the Learning Center.

The Rescue Mission, which was established in 1965, has already achieved impressive results. Nearly 96 percent of its residents are employed as they graduate. The other 4 percent are either planning to relocate or attend college full time.

Rebecca Wilson is the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission‘s communications and constituent relations director.

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