AHA! Deserves Support from the School District
By KD Diaz
This past Tuesday, the Santa Barbara Unified School District took up the issue of funding continued services by AHA!, a local nonprofit aimed at teens, in our junior and high schools.
AHA! works with local youth to help motive, empower, and encourage teens in a variety of ways. They have after school and in-school programs as well as a Peace Builders program that trains students to act as peer ambassadors and mediators. The teens are taught tools to create a positive campus culture and to make a difference at school.
During the public school board meeting, many teens spoke about how the program helped them gain confidence and positively engage with other students. Parents and supporters echoed their statements, and it was great to see the community come together in support of a great program.
There was confusion last week after an article was published inferring the programs will be cut, but AHA!'s Director explained the programs will instead be expanded.
Amid all the praises for AHA! I was shocked to hear a community member argue against the very little funding ($30,000 a year for the entire district). Member of Fair Education are taking a hard stance against local nonprofits whose sole purpose is to help our children and students. The funding of $30,000 is barely enough to hire one full time person as AHA! raises the rest of the funds on their own to educated and empower our youth. I'm baffled that some community members take time to argue against the good work that's done.
Thank you to AHA! and to our school board members for choosing to continue to support nonprofits who work tirelessly on shoestring budgets. You have many supporters in this community.
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