United Way Learning & Enrichment Centers Collaborative Supported Over 600 Students with Safe “in Classroom Learning” During the Pandemic

Collaborative Program Involving Schools Districts, Non-Profits, and  Funders now Transitions Back to Schools

With schools reopening, United Way of Santa Barbara County’s (UWSBC) Learning & Enrichment Centers Collaborative (LECC) has come to an end after helping over 600 students throughout Santa Barbara County. Students referred by school districts came from three high-need target populations: homeless and foster youth, children from low-resource families and children of educators.

In response to the unmet needs and service gaps that became apparent during school closures due to COVID-19, UWSBC convened and led educational partners and funders to develop and launch the LECC  in August 2020. In this model, UWSBC worked with existing youth-serving agencies to increase capacity at their facilities and developed a referral process to serve students who lacked adequate support at home and faced learning loss through distanced learning. The LECC model provided increased access to technology, safe and quiet spaces conducive to learning, educator and/or parent support to help students with virtual learning, school supplies to help students learn from home, and other wraparound services to support social/emotional skill development, mental wellness, and healthy living.

One student, Jamie, who just started kindergarten, is now on a path to a brighter future because of LECC. Jamie’s teachers noticed she often missed her virtual classes and when she did attend, she was unresponsive. Because of her parents’ work schedules, Jamie was often unsupervised without help available. Jamie enrolled in LECC and received in-person, one on one support.

“I can’t imagine what would happen to Jamie if she was not receiving in-person support. The Learning and Enrichment Centers make a huge impact on the lives of our students and their families,” said Hope District’s Superintendent, Anne Hubbard.

The LECC collaborative effort led by United Way, involved 19 school districts and youth-serving agencies and 11 funders.

“For thousands of families in our community, distance learning set back many children who were not able to learn in a traditional school setting,” said Steve Ortiz, CEO and President of UWSBC. “We are extremely grateful to those who came together for this initiative to help provide much-needed support to students, families, and educators throughout the county.”

Youth serving agencies that received scholarship funding from the Learning & Enrichment Center Collaborative include: Boys & Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast, Channel Islands YMCA, Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara, Good Samaritan Shelter, Isla Vista Youth Project, People’s Self-Help Housing, Police Activities League, Santa Maria YMCA and United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County. School District partners included Carpinteria Unified School District, Goleta Union School District, Guadalupe Union School District, Hope School District, Lompoc Unified School District, Orcutt Union School District, Santa Barbara Unified School District, Santa Maria Bonita School District, and Santa Maria High School District.

The Learning & Enrichment Centers Collaborative was generously supported by the Ann Jackson Foundation, Anonymous, Covid-19 Joint Response Effort, Goleta Union School District, Guadalupe Union School District Hope Elementary School District, Hutton Parker Foundation, James S. Bower Foundation, Linked Foundation, Natalie Orfalea Foundation with Lou Buglioli, Santa Barbara Unified School District, The Towbes Foundation, United Way of Santa Barbara County, and Yardi.


About United Way of Santa Barbara County 

United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) has the unique and positive vision that “in our community, everyone has a hopeful future.” Since 1923, UWSBC has served Santa Barbara County community through funding, volunteer development, and by utilizing its own unique initiatives that involve dozens of local nonprofit and public sector agencies. UWSBC’s local community driven Power of Partnership™ priorities help children, families and seniors with a focus on Education, Income and Health. To learn more, please visit unitedwaysb.org

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