Pixel Tracker

Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 4:07 am | Mostly Cloudy 49º


Students Cultivate the Power of Flowers


By delivering weekly bouquets in April, high school students raised more than $22,000 for Direct Relief International.




Community service in this case should be called multicommunity service. For the second year in a row, local high school students have carried out Flowers for Relief, a fund raiser for Direct Relief International.


For South Coast residents, a $100 donation brought Gerbera daisy bouquets each Monday in April, and 100 percent of the proceeds went to Direct Relief. This year, students raised more than $22,000, which will help communities worldwide.

Those who purchased weekly flowers had the option to receive them in their own homes or have them delivered elsewhere. Some donors opted to send an anonymous surprise to someone who needed an ounce of weekly cheer.

“My favorite part is people’s reactions. ... It was a fun surprise for the people at Storyteller (Transition House) when we brought them flowers for the first time,” Dos Pueblos High junior Meaghan Yolles said before she made her deliveries on a recent Monday.


Annie Villanueva, a senior at Santa Barbara High, started Flowers for Relief last year.  Since she was 12, her family has taken trips through Direct Relief to Zambia and El Salvador.

“Seeing how much need there was in other parts of the world and how much of a difference I could make has certainly changed my life,” Villanueva said.

The launch of Flowers for Relief has come with challenges, as Villanueva learned.

“Keeping so many busy teenagers in sync is no easy job, but what we lack in organization we definitely make up for in enthusiasm," she said. "This year, we did a much better job than we did last year, so hopefully that trend will continue.”

After Villanueva graduates in June, the torch of leadership will pass to her sister and other volunteers. Villanueva says her favorite part is “knowing that we are helping people on both ends, in Santa Barbara when we deliver their flowers, and also abroad, where our money is going to good use. This combination is infinitely better than either of the two alone.”

To make this project possible, Carpinteria flower growers Maximum Nursery and Ocean Breeze International donated dozens of Gerbera bouquets each week. Upon delivery, students from Bishop Diego, Dos Pueblos, San Marcos and Santa Barbara high schools supplied their sweet smiles to go with the bouquets.

Direct Relief International is a nonprofit, worldwide organization headquartered in Goleta. It provides medical material aid in more than 60 countries, including the United States, and boasts high efficiency of monetary funds. Every $1 spent by Direct Relief provides $21 to $35 in wholesale medical material to those in need.


Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

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.