Members of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara have toured sites that received $520,000 in donations this year. The group makes it a point to see the contributions at work.Three bus loads of members were driven to sites throughout the city,including the main downtown library where special computers were purchased that help children with their early years of learning.There, a donation of $65,000 paid for, what’s called the AWE computer. “It’s in sections so the things that are science related, the games that a geography related, there’s actually read aloud story books, some writing programs, music and art,” said Children’s Librarian Gwen Wagy as she demonstrated the computer.These computers were also purchased for the Carpinteria, Montecito, Eastside, and Goleta libraries.Children were using the computers when the group came through. Some members sat down and used the touch screens and keyboards themselves to see how the program works, and engages the children. Santa Barbara Librarian Irene Macias praised the group for the contribution and said these computers were often sought after by kids coming to the library. Carol Palladini with the Fund said the computers are innovative and creative, and in some cases, “the parents are also learning.”Children are very important to the group. At least one grant, “is for learning preparedness and success in school.”The group also toured the Neighborhood Clinic facility on Milpas Street. A donation was made to upgrade the electronic records in the clinic for efficiency and to help patients that move to other areas. The clinic mainly cares for those in poverty and the under served.”The one this year is very particular because they are mandated to have records on the computer to follow their clients.”The grants from this group are $50,000 or larger. “We give large grants and fewer grants so that we can really make a big difference in the community,” said Palladini.KEY News Senior Reporter John Palminteri has the story.
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