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Two local organizations team up to break the cycle of poverty in Santa Barbara County

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—Two local organizations are forging a partnership that will forever impact the lives of the children involved.

Storyteller Children’s Center is partnering with Transition House to serve young children facing adversity.

Thirty-five years ago in the Transition House parking lot, the idea to create Storyteller Children’s Center was born.

Decades later, these two power houses are partnering together to break the cycle of poverty in the community.

“There are a lot of challenges that adversely impact a child when they are living under the poverty line,” said Storyteller Children’s Center Executive Director Gabriella Garcia.

Erinn Lynch explains how living in poverty can lead to lifelong trauma.

“Not only are you in the survival mode of understanding where your shelter is, where your food is, but you're you're losing that ability to connect with education in the social emotional learning opportunities that a lot of kids at a very young age can have access to,” said Erinn Lynch, who is on the Board of Directors for Storyteller Children’s Center.

Lynch says that breaking this cycle of poverty and building emotional resilience starts early.

She added, “Providing the meals that they need, providing the education they need, providing the emotional support they need, is really what it takes to change that trajectory for them.”

Storyteller Children’s Center aims to make the kids at Transition House emotionally resilient.

“As you work with the child, if you're showing them a fully devoted self as a teacher and you're making sure their peers are on board with loving them and dedicating themselves to their their story and their identity, they're able to develop in a safe environment,” said Program Director Jaqueline Ryan.

The kids range in age from six weeks to two years.

Child development experts say that this is a critical period of development.

“A young mind. It is such a sponge and grows so quickly at such a young age. So the cause is so dear to me because I want all children to have the opportunity to succeed so that they aren't already behind when they enter the school system,” said Garcia.

Storyteller provides behavioral health support, informed trauma therapy, two nutritious meals and one snack per day, medical, dental and vision screenings, and family support services.

They say that education should be a basic human right as emotional resilience and school readiness significantly impacts a child’s life trajectory.

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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.


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