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Monday, December 10 , 2018, 3:16 am | Fair 49º


Partners in Education Volunteer Spotlight: Lucia Rushton

PathPoint coordinator creates important learning opportunities for her clients and local students

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

PathPoint's Lucia Rushton, a dedicated Partners in Education volunteer, believes it's important for students to have relationships with businesses. 'It creates self-esteem, strength of character and a strong work ethic,' she says.
PathPoint’s Lucia Rushton, a dedicated Partners in Education volunteer, believes it’s important for students to have relationships with businesses. “It creates self-esteem, strength of character and a strong work ethic,” she says. (Rushton family photo)

Lucia Rushton, PathPoint’s employment specialist, first connected with Santa Barbara Partners in Education hoping to bolster her efforts to help adults with disabilities develop their skills and find jobs. As a result, PathPoint clients — turned Partners in Education volunteers — were given opportunities to make a real and direct impact on students’ perceptions of people with disabilities.

“It’s important for students to understand that there are people with disabilities right here in our community,” said Rushton. “With many students having never interacted with a person with a disability, these opportunities for discussion provide kids with a higher comfort level and knowledge when moving out into the workforce and working with people from different walks of life.”

The nonprofit PathPoint provides comprehensive training and support services that empower people with disabilities and disadvantages to live and work as valued members of the community. Rushton has worked with the organization since July 2010.

      |  Partners in Education President’s Council Series |  Complete Series Index  |

Michelle Magnusson, Partners in Education’s development and membership director, calls Rushton “a tireless advocate for people with disabilities.”

“Our staff love working with her because she is passionate, reliable and kind,” Magnusson said. “On top of sending us volunteers, she has personally spent time helping high school students as an interview coach.

“She’s an invaluable liaison for connecting PathPoint clients with volunteer opportunities to assist them in developing job skills and experience.”

Through volunteering, PathPoint clients are able to build their soft skills through guest-speaking opportunities and mock job interviews, while students gain insight into living with a disability.

Students learn that disabilities do not have to hinder people from being successful in the professional arena. On top of that, they learn more about PathPoint and career options it provides. Many students report back that they never knew there were organizations like PathPoint doing this kind of work.

“Creating relationships with local organizations and businesses is ever so important,” Rushton said. “These days, young people might graduate from high school only to get lost in the ‘real world.’ Having a bridge — a relationship with the workforce — creates self-esteem, strength of character and a strong work ethic.”

Rushton thinks her clients gain as much from the experience as do the students.

“Partners in Education is a phenomenal nonprofit that supports and praises the volunteers I send to them, which gives them a boost of self esteem, which then helps them to better pursue their own goals,” she said.

Put simply, volunteering makes people feel good. It’s the kind of symbiotic relationship that Partners in Education hopes will inspire many other businesses to get involved.

» 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).

» Click here for a related article from Partners in Education board president Lynda Nahra.

» Connect with Partners in Education on Facebook.

      |  Partners in Education President’s Council Series |  Complete Series Index  |

— Devin Urbany is a Noozhawk intern through the Santa Barbara Partners in Education internship program.

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