PathPoint and the Santa Barbara Zoo Celebrate 30-Year Partnership

(April 24, 2019)  PathPoint announced it has awarded the Santa Barbara Zoo with a Community Partnership Award for its 30-year relationship, during which the Zoo has provided people with developmental disabilities with employment, volunteer, and educational opportunities.

“Great partners like the Santa Barbara Zoo help people with developmental disabilities to live their lives integrated in the community,” said Henry Bruell, PathPoint president and CEO. “The Zoo is a warm, nurturing, fun, and inclusive environment.”

Among its services, PathPoint provides job training and placement assistance.  One of the people PathPoint supports has been working at the Zoo for 30 years! Through the years, individuals supported by PathPoint have held both paid and volunteer zoo positions.

“It’s been an honor being associated with this vital community social service organization for over three decades,” said Rich Block, Zoo CEO.

 “The Santa Barbara Zoo’s recent Autism Center Certification reflects our commitment to honoring diversity and inclusion,” said J.J. McLeod, education manager at the Zoo. “This 30-year partnership with PathPoint demonstrates the long-lasting efforts in continuing to offer valuable work, volunteer opportunities, and provide all guests a meaningful experience at the beautiful Santa Barbara Zoo.”

The Santa Barbara Zoo is the first zoo on the West Coast to become a Certified Autism Center, which included specialized staff training to be more attuned to the needs of guests with autism and making the environment more friendly to visitors on the autism spectrum, such as offering quiet spaces.


About PathPoint
PathPoint, a non-profit organization based in Santa Barbara, supports people in living the life they choose.  PathPoint partners with people with disabilities, people with mental health diagnoses, and young adults to pursue their hopes and dreams through strengthening workplace abilities, building life skills, and developing meaningful relationships.  Founded in 1964, it offers services in five Central Coast and Southern California counties: Kern, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. 

About Santa Barbara Zoo
Known as one of the world’s most beautiful zoos, the Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres of botanic gardens and is home to nearly 500 individual animals in open, naturalistic habitats.  It is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), representing the highest level of animal care, and participates in AZA cooperative programs for endangered species including Asian elephant, California condor, Channel Island fox, and Western lowland gorilla, among others.  The Santa Barbara Zoo is the region’s top visit attraction, attracting nearly 500,000 guests yearly, and has more than 13,000 members.  Visit

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(Photo from left to right: Tasha Addison, PathPoint Vice President, South Santa Barbara Division; Jaime Rutiaga, PathPoint Director of Program Services, South Santa Barbara Division; J.J. McLeod, Santa Barbara Zoo Education Manager; Rich Block, Santa Barbara Zoo CEO.)

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