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Storyteller Celebrates Permanent Home for Preschool for Homeless, At-Risk Children

The Storyteller Children’s Center celebrated the purchase of a permanent home for its preschool for homeless and at-risk children with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday at 2121 De la Vina St., the location of the school.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Storyteller staff and board members spoke about the significance of the purchase of the building, and about 30 preschool children performed a short song.

The one-story building, deck with picnic tables and large backyard play area were open and available for tours.

“We feel so fortunate that we were able to buy this property and secure a home for our school that serves our community’s most vulnerable children,” said Terri Allison, Storyteller’s executive director. “Now we can focus our efforts on raising funds to operate our schools.”

Terri Allison, left, Storyteller executive director, Jon Clark, Storyteller board vice president, and Tiffany Foster, Storyteller board president. (Roe Anne White Photography photo)

Storyteller has been renting the school since 2007, when the Orfalea Foundation bought the property and leased it to Storyteller rent-free. But now, with the generous support of the Santa Barbara community, including a lead gift by the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, Storyteller has purchased the property from the Orfalea Foundation and owns it debt-free.

"The Orfalea Foundation is proud of our long partnership with Storyteller,” said Lois Mitchell, president of the Orfalea Foundation. “We are absolutely thrilled that the community rallied to ensure Storyteller has its own home to continue its legacy of great work."

More than 100 families a year are served by Storyteller, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. Although it expanded from one school to two in 2007 to meet the overwhelming demand for preschool for low-income families, Storyteller has a waiting list of approximately 100 children hoping to earn a spot in the tuition-free school.

Storyteller takes a comprehensive and therapeutic approach, providing therapy to children and families in crisis on an ongoing basis through a collaboration with CALM. While children are enrolled at Storyteller, parents must work or be in school and they take parenting and life skills classes at Storyteller.

— Julia Rodgers represents Storyteller Children's Center.

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