The past three months have been full of learning and listening to people in the community of Santa Barbara who have been consistent and effective in working with vulnerable youth. I’ve been able to understand more of the recent changes in foster care, find out how to apply for free tuition at SBCC, what housing is available for which age groups, the varying independent living skills workshops that are offered, and how the youth crisis shelter creates a safe space and opportunities to move forward. Our small team of recruited volunteers has been trialing different times and places for outreach each week to discern what is best. Having more eyes and ears out there (even if at times we fumble and miss) is huge in making sure there is shared knowledge to available resources and support. Coming up, we have trainings with local trauma specialists and the Pacific Pride Foundation.
A friend of mine has been making big swings toward life change with tuition coverage from FAFSA, leaving unsafe peoples, and dreaming of his own business. However, as any of us know, it is easy to fall into fear and neglect positivity when we are hurt by others or experience failure. We are working on motivation to finish the final stitches of beginning school again, applying for low income housing, and addressing some health concerns. Join me in praying for truth and freedom for this individual, and that those striving to help would be vehicles of encouragement.
We are also working to find a safe pregnancy home for a friend from Alameda Park to reside, as she is about seven months pregnant and still camping under the 101. Eligibility requirements have been getting in the way, along with recovering addiction and mental illness. It’s not our choice on whether she is able to raise the baby or what social work system she’ll have to endure, but I do ask that you would pray for healing, safety, a love of self, and direction. There is a strong network of caring peoples surrounding her, and we’re doing our best to jump these hurdles side by side. Last night, as we made our way back to camp after the meal sharing, she expressed that many people in this line of work are quickly frustrated with those they are trying to help because they aren’t taking steps to help themselves. Her point was that our most effective role is to care for and encourage others to have hearts that want to help themselves.
Our Thanksgiving celebration at the park was a wonderful gathering with all our church partners, long communal tables, and more food than we knew what to do with! Amen. As the temperatures have dropped substantially in the evenings, Jeff and Christian preemptively created a sleeping bag drive and were able to distribute about 80 donated sleeping bags that night.
Thank you for your continued support!