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Santa Barbara Middle School Students the Youngest Donors to Scholarship Foundation

On Jan. 25, Colette Hadley, executive director of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, graciously accepted a check from Santa Barbara Middle School’s student Community Action Club at the school’s weekly Town Meeting.

The $1,500 scholarship donation is given with the intent that the recipient be a young adult who has faced adverse conditions — perhaps even homelessness — at one time in his or her young life.

Hadley, thrilled to accept this award, said, “This is the youngest group of people that we have ever received a donation from, and we are really moved by these middle school students and their dedicated commitment to this cause.”

Student club members are proud of their focused efforts to raise more than $2,000 for two causes related to Santa Barbara’s local homeless and poverty challenges. Bake sales, coin drives, collection boxes and organizing and hosting a successful and heartfelt Hunger Banquet in December were the fundraising efforts the students put forth to realize their goal.

September 2012 marked the beginning of the SBMS Community Action Club, when students started making plans about ways to make a meaningful impact on the homeless and poverty issues people face in the Santa Barbara community.

In the initial meetings this past fall, seventh-grade student Wilson Sherman commented, “I want to make a real difference — something that is big and something we can really see and measure.”

Collectively, the club members decided on two goals. First, they wanted to raise enough money to send a young adult to a community college for at least one year, and coordinated their efforts through the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara. Secondly, the students connected with Caley Marks, Transition House coordinator of volunteer services and children’s programs, who suggested the students work to refurbish the Child Center Playroom at the local family homeless shelter.

To date, the students have accomplished both goals. Makena Hubbard, an active club member, said the best thing about the Community Action Club is “finding something you are passionate about, then finding a problem that needs to be solved, and figuring out a way to combine the two.”

When asked what’s next for the club, eighth-grade student Kenna Reyner perked up and said, “I like the idea of the Happiness Project — we can make change simply by making more people happy.”

Click here for more information on the SBMS Community Action Club.

— Sue Carmody is a community outreach coordinator for Santa Barbara Middle School.

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