Hospice of Santa Barbara Celebrates 50 Years with its Legacy of Compassion Campaign and a Strong Commitment to the Future

Santa Barbara, CA, June 3, 2024 —When Hospice of Santa Barbara (HSB) officially opened its doors in 1974, it was at the forefront of a visionary movement. Only one other hospice existed in the United States at the time and a local group of Santa Barbara leaders committed to meeting the needs of people and families struggling with life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one.
Over the past 50 years, HSB has served tens of thousands of people. Its commitment to the people of the community has stood strong and never wavered. During this time, HSB has repeatedly adapted and grown to meet the changing needs of our community including the many community crises and disasters our community has faced. “I couldn’t be more proud of the work HSB has done with our community over the years,” said David Selberg, CEO, Hospice of Santa Barbara. “With the ongoing support of the community and local leaders, HSB has been able to pivot quickly to meet needs as they arise.”
However, as HSB looks to their next 50 years, they see a changing landscape that greatly impacts their mission. They are experiencing an unprecedented demand for their services and anticipate that this demand will only continue to grow as the average age of our community members increases and more and more children are impacted by mental health challenges as well as significant loss.
Legacy of Compassion Campaign  
During this 50th Anniversary year, HSB is seeking to better ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of their programs by launching their Legacy of Compassion Campaign with a goal of raising $1,000,000 to meet the current demand for their services and to build a stronger foundation to address future needs. “This year, during our 50th Anniversary,” said Charles Caldwell, Director of Advancement at Hospice of Santa Barbara, “there is a special opportunity to make a difference by supporting HSB to ensure our free services continue to be available to anyone in need, both now and over the next 50 years.”
Sharing Stories, Legacy of Compassion: As a way to celebrate the extraordinary work that HSB has performed over the last 50 years, HSB is gathering video testimonials from supporters, volunteers, past leadership, partners, and clients/patients to paint a picture of the incredible work HSB has done over the years.  HSB is reaching out to community members to share their personal connections with HSB over the years. These video memories—personal anecdotes, insights, perspectives, and stories—will be shared with the community to illustrate the deep dedication, connections, and love for this beloved organization over the years.  https://www.tribute.co/hospiceofsb/
Core Services
For many years, Hospice of Santa Barbara has been offering their core services freely, in English and Spanish, to hundreds of local children, families, and seniors. Their Children’s Bereavement Services work closely with seventeen local schools to provide compassionate counseling to children struggling through the loss of a parent, a beloved grandparent, or a friend. More than 20% of children will lose a parent or sibling by the age of 25.  Their Adult Bereavement Services provide caring support to many seniors and other adults who have lost spouses, friends, or even children. Their third core service is Patient Care Services, which provides wraparound care and support to individuals and families when they receive the terrible news of a life-threatening diagnosis. HSB’s caring team of staff and volunteers help families navigate the medical system, provide emotional support, and offer practical solutions to real world challenges facing families.
Greatest needs are among the most vulnerable:  Seniors and Youth 
HSB is experiencing an unprecedented demand for their services and anticipates that this demand will only continue to grow as the average age of our community members increases. “By 2030, nearly 1 in 5 Californians will be age 65 or older” according to the nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California.  Aptly termed the Silver Tsunami, baby boomers are expected to grow to 18% of the nation’s population from just 13% today, according to Pew Research Center population projections.  That senior percentage is closer to 20% in Santa Barbara.
“There is no question that people are living longer and that the population among seniors is growing,” said Selberg.  “We need to act now to meet this need in the near future.”
 For youth, a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) study published in the American Medical Association’s journal JAMA Pediatrics reports significant increases in the number of children diagnosed with mental health conditions. The study, conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), finds that between 2016 and 2020, the number of children ages 3-17 years diagnosed with anxiety grew by 29 percent and those with depression by 27 percent. These mental health challenges only exacerbate the struggles for children dealing with life-altering grief.
Flexibility and Effectiveness in the Face of local Tragedy 
The non-medical model under which HSB operates is not constrained by health insurance and/or reimbursement regulations, which allows HSB to place 100% of its focus on the individual and the family—to focus on compassion. This offers HSB a flexibility in prioritizing what is most needed and requested in our community, especially at times of tragedy.
And the greater Santa Barbara community has not been without its tragedies. The Goleta Post Office and Isla Vista shootings, the Thomas Fire and the Debris Flow were major ones that shook the community. HSB was on hand to work with those who were impacted. More recently, suicides of our youth have impacted the community. Again, HSB has been at the schools and with family members holding their hands and helping them talk through their grief and despair.
The community is all too aware of the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020. The pandemic served as another prime example of HSB’s flexibility and quick and effective response in the face of a new and unexpected threat. While many in-person services had to be halted, HSB’s Patient Care and Bereavement services quickly pivoted to provide alternate service solutions.  At the same time, our community and communities worldwide were struggling with complex emotions, including anxiety, fear, and hopelessness. As a result, HSB created the illuminate Speaker Series, a free live online series of internationally renowned speakers who addressed the feelings and questions that accompanied this challenging time—over a two-year period, the series was seen in all 50 US States and 46 Countries.
50th Anniversary
Hospice of Santa is deeply appreciative of the community’s support over the past 50 years and how that support continues to shine a light in the darkness for so many families. As part of their Legacy of Compassion Campaign, HSB will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary at their signature luncheon, Heroes of Hospice, held at the Rosewood Miramar Beach on Sunday, September 15th.
Funds raised as part of the Legacy of Compassion Campaign will go to support their core programs as well as their recent and newly emerging initiatives such their Advance Care Planning Initiative, Bereavement Services for Youth in the juvenile justice system, a relaunched NODA (No One Dies Alone) program that provides compassionate bedside presence to those actively dying with no family or friends, and increased grief counseling for local firefighters. To support the campaign or for more information, visit their website or contact Charles Caldwell at ccaldwell@hospiceofsb.org.
Hospice of Santa Barbara provides professional counseling, support groups, and patient care services free of charge to individuals and families who are grieving the death of a loved one or experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness. Hospice of Santa Barbara also provides counseling in our offices and on 17 local elementary, junior high, and high school campuses to children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, the Legacy of Compassion campaign or Hospice video testimonials call (805) 563-8820 or visit www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org.
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