Pixel Tracker

Monday, January 21 , 2019, 9:12 pm | Fair 53º


Laguna Blanca Students Give the Gift of Hope to Local Foster Children

The students spread joy to others in collecting nearly 200 presents to be distributed before Christmas.

Article Image
Laguna Blanca students gather for a photo to mark their efforts in collecting gifts in a toy drive for Santa Barbara County foster children. (Tara Broucqsault / Laguna Blanca School photo)

Laguna Blanca School started the holiday season with goodwill and cheer by sponsoring a toy drive for children in the Santa Barbara County Foster Care System.

This time of year can be especially difficult on foster children, who may find themselves separated from their families because of abuse, abandonment and/or because of an incapacitated parent. The gesture of a stranger presenting a gift to a foster child has more impact than just material gain.

Many children in the foster care system have grown up in abusive environments, where perhaps their own parents have let them down. Hence, many grow up thinking that the world is uncaring and cold.

“When I gave a gift to an 8-year-old foster boy who was residing at the shelter due to reasons of physical abuse, his eyes grew as wide as plates,” Anne Rodriguez from Child Welfare Services told the students. “He asked, ‘Is this really for me? Why would someone who doesn’t know me, buy me a gift?’ I responded, ‘Because the world is full of people who love and care about you, even if they don’t know you.’”

This was his first awakening. Perhaps the world isn’t as cold as he thought. “That gift was more than a toy truck,” Rodriguez said. “It represented love and hope to this child.”

Article Image
Anne Rodriguez from Child Welfare Services shares with students at Laguna Blanca School her experience of giving a gift to a foster child. (Tara Broucqsault / Laguna Blanca School photo)
Stephanie Anderson, Latin instructor at Laguna Blanca School, first brought the gift drive idea to the school. It was then Trish McHale, adviser of the Interact Club, who got the ball rolling and inspired students and parents to participate.

Dana Martin, assistant to the head of middle school, coordinated the distribution of name tags with holiday gift wishes on them from foster children. The middle school students were very moved by this cause and rounded up nearly 200 gifts to be distributed before Christmas.

“We loved this program and hope to do it again next year,” Martin said. “Our students really enjoyed this.”

For more information about becoming a licensed foster parent and/or an adoptive parent, contact Rodriguez at 805.696.8959 or [email protected], or click here.

Tara Broucqsault is public relations director at Laguna Blanca School.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.