The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (CADA) and Family Service Agency (FSA) have announced that, as of July, FSA’s Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program has closed and South County mentoring matches have joined the School Based Mentoring Program at CADA.

CADA and FSA share similar goals of making a positive difference in the lives of young people and have been collaborating since April to facilitate a smooth transition for the youth, their parents, and their mentors.

CADA’s Mentor Program is a school-based program for vulnerable 3rd- to 8th-grade students in the Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta school districts who need academic, emotional and/or social support. Students are matched with trained, volunteer adult mentors and meet weekly.

Students are referred by their teacher or counselor for any variety of factors that cause them to be at-risk for future negative behaviors.

“CADA is committed to building a safer, healthier community, and mentoring our local youth is foundational to that mission,” said Scott Whiteley, CADA executive director. “Our mentors provide the connection, support, guidance and friendship that help young people build the self-confidence, resiliency and critical thinking skills so important to their positive development.

“We are pleased to welcome these mentors and their mentees to our program and look forward to continuing the positive trajectory begun at FSA.”

“Mentoring changes children’s lives, and so we are extremely pleased that these important relationships can continue to be supported through the highly successful program at CADA,” said FSA’s executive director Lisa Brabo.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to have served the children of Santa Barbara County and for the support of the organization’s staff, volunteers who served as caring mentors, and members of the advisory council who served the program over the years,” she said.

In the past 32 years, FSA’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program offered one-to-one mentoring for children ages 6-17 who were facing adversity. Children in the program demonstrated a significant improvement in their academic performance, self-esteem, and increased likelihood to graduate from high school and avoid risky behaviors.

For some 70 years, CADA has delivered effective programs and services focused on preventing and treating the disease of alcohol and drug addiction affecting youth, adults and families in Santa Barbara County. CADA services are available to anyone impacted by alcohol, drugs, or mental health concerns, without regard to gender, gender preference, age, race, ethnicity, or national origin.

FSA is a nonprofit social service agency that has served the people of Santa Barbara County since 1899. Operating as Santa Maria Valley Youth and Family Center in Santa Maria and Little House By The Park in Guadalupe, FSA helps the community’s most vulnerable children, families and seniors meet their basic needs while simultaneously addressing mental health needs.