BY CAMILLIA LANHAM
Watching the fluffy, feather-like puffs of a dandelion cloud wander over grass is like releasing your wishes into the wind behind the power of belief—and probably some crossed fingers—followed by thoughts of “Please, please, please!”
Every year we give our local charity organizations a chance to release their wish lists into the world in their own words, to tug on community heartstrings a little, giving people like you a chance to give back to the nonprofits that dedicate their existence to serving the underserved and fulfilling the needs of Northern Santa Barbara County.
We’re hoping this issue yields our local nonprofits a little more than words whispered between pursed lips. We want it to bring the power of tangible items, cash, volunteers, and support. But we need your help.
These wish lists were compiled by Executive Editor Camillia Lanham. Contact her via email email@example.com.
Coastal Voices Community Choir
Christmas means music to most everyone, and Coastal Voices provides choral music to Santa Maria and the surrounding area all year long. Yes, we present concerts of holiday music and provide groups of carolers for holiday celebrations. But we also sing for seniors, perform at special events, and present a spring concert of various kinds of music. If you want to join us in keeping choral music an integral part of the Santa Maria art scene, here are some of our requests for Santa.
• People: 1. We need volunteers to help with hospitality and ushering at our twice-yearly concerts. 2. We would love some volunteers to help with technical matters in setting up and operating our sound system. 3. And we would love to have more singers join us (all vocal ranges are welcome).
• We could use disposable plates, cups, and utensils for hospitality and choir activities.
• We would greatly appreciate cash donations to assist with sending our conductors to training programs for music directors. And an “angel” or two to underwrite a concert would be placed at the very top of our “thank you” tree.
• Last but not least, we want folks to come out and enjoy our music. So check our website at coastalvoices.info.
For more information, call Sondra Smith, secretary of Coastal Voices board of directors, at 937-5827 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Rancho de Guadalupe Historical Society and Museum could use a few docents. Training will be provided. It’s only needed for two hours once a month. You could learn about local history and meet new people! Call 343-5901 to inquire.
• Friends of the Guadalupe Public Library needs a vice president for the board of directors. The position is not a taxing one as the president of the board is always there and on time. The board meets once a month at 2 p.m. at the library for about one and half hours. Call 343-1223 to find out more information. The vice president must be a member of Friends.
Santa Maria Valley Humane Society
Hello, my name is Zeus and my parents are Terri and Al Sheff. They rescued/adopted me from the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, which is a “no kill” shelter.
My dad is part of a group called Leadership Santa Maria Class of 2016; the class is part of the Chamber of Commerce and you have to be chosen to attend, so this makes it very special.
The class has 14 students from all walks of life, but all of them have the potential to someday be future leaders in Santa Maria. The class is for 11 months, and in the course of that time, the class gets to see the city from many different aspects. The class has to pick what is called a Legacy Project, and the class of 2016 chose to help the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society.
Santa, I have decided not to ask for anything for myself, but what I would like to ask you to consider is to help the Humane Society. We could use one wish to help so many of my brothers and sisters who do not or will not have a forever home for the holiday season. Maybe having a place to stretch their legs and run around a little with their friends would be a good distraction to not having a family of their very own.
P.S. Santa, my friend Lucky the Cat would still like to have a ball of yarn (green, please!).
Contact the Humane Society at 349-3435 or visit the website, smvhs.org.
PCPA—Pacific Conservatory Theatre
Near the top of PCPA’s wish list is a 3-D laser cutter called a “Glowforge.” It’s even more advanced (and way more cool) than a 3-D printer. It would revolutionize the building of props, scenery, even costumes.
The list also includes a number of lifts: a personal lift, a scissor lift, and a fork lift.
If Santa’s feeling extra generous, how about a mid-sized van or minivan to transport our outreach actors and stage manager to the 20,000-plus school kids who are awaiting our outreach shows to be performed in their schools. Hauling all our scenery to Solvang requires a specialized trailer designed to carry everything from castles to a New York City block—contact Production Manager Jeff Allen for the specs, email@example.com.
Because we are on the “nice” list, we are also requesting 30 two-way radios (industrial strength with FCC licenses), a plotter/scanner, scaffolding, and shelving. And if the jolly ol’ elf is particularly obliging, over in the box office, they are in need of replacing a ticket printer. Because, as you know, you can’t see the show without a ticket.
But please, please, please, no more fur coats. We have more than we will ever use. Contact the PCPA Foundation office for any donations, 349-9135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Santa Maria Arts Council
The Arts Council has been supporting and encouraging the expansion of the arts since 1965. This all-volunteer nonprofit organization looks for the brightest emerging artists in the region and encourages them to continue their artistic pursuits by awarding grants each May.
Volunteers are always needed to help work on this important committee. The council also encourages art in the classrooms by hosting the Student Art Show each spring. Committee members are welcome here as well. Members are encouraged to attend our monthly meetings—held on the third Wednesday of the month at noon at the Veterans’ Memorial Community Center on West Tunnell. Volunteer support is always at the top of our wish list year round. It makes for a stronger council that believes art and art education is vital to our community’s well-being.
Donations are also always welcome. Earmark donations for ongoing general expenses, or donate to the grants fund—which this year distributed $11,000 to emerging artists—or the Student Art Show that awards $1,000 in cash prizes to deserving young artists each year. For more information, donations, and membership, visit smartscouncil.org, or email@example.com.
Angels Foster Care
As you know, we at Angels Foster Care have been very, very, very good this year and have helped to take extra special care of little boys and girls who don’t have mommies and daddies who can love and take care of them. We have done an extra good job finding these special kids the most wonderful foster families who DO take good care of them, love them, and make them feel special and safe.
And like you, Santa, we cover a lot of territory to do our job keeping an eye on these little angels—making sure they are happy, are healthy, get to have visits with their biological mommies and daddies, and have everything they need while they wait to find out who their forever family will be. That means we drive thousands of miles around Santa Barbara County every year to stay connected. Sometimes, it feels like we fly around the world every day just like you do! We would really love it, Santa, if you could give us a magical sleigh and a team of hardworking reindeer to fly us and our little Angel babies around our county so they could have a fun ride to doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions, court dates, and all the not-so-fun-stuff children in foster care have to deal with.
But if you don’t think a magical sleigh is a good idea, then we would be happy with a regular ol’ car. Maybe a car with lots of air bags, room for two or more car seats, Bluetooth enabled so our social workers can stay connected to all the reports and agencies they need to work with every day, really safe brakes, and a car that doesn’t cost too much to run. This car would make it possible for our social workers to have safe, reliable transportation that doesn’t take so big a toll on their own cars. (By the way, Santa, that’s how good we have been this year—our social workers drive their own cars thousands of miles every year; it’s a pretty big gift to give!)
And if you could find it in your heart (and in your budget) Santa, gas cards would be another great thing we could really use. We spend a lot of money every year on gas and mileage, so getting some help with that would mean the world to us and to our Angel babies.
But we know getting a car to fit into our stocking might be a big request—even for you—so if it’s easier, we’d take a donation of money to put toward our gas and mileage or you could send us a generous elf who might have a new car they would like to donate!
We know you have a special place in your heart and an extra twinkle in your eye for the children in foster care, Santa, so we eagerly wait for the amazing gifts you will provide for us so we can do the most we can for them while they wait for their loving and stable future to unfold.
Love and Merry Christmas,
The staff at Angels Foster Care
About Angels Foster Care:
Angels Foster Care is seen as a new innovative model for providing the best care for the most vulnerable of all foster children—babies. Angels Foster Care works with abused, abandoned, and neglected infants and toddlers born in Santa Barbara County: 90 percent of Angels children come from birth parents who struggle with alcohol, drug problems, and homelessness.
There are ongoing shortages in high-quality, safe Santa Barbara County foster homes. Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Services (SBCWS) reports that there are 520 children in the foster care system, and of those, 200 are younger than 5 years old. SBCWS currently has fewer than 70 public foster care homes. They are often unable to accommodate children of all ages because there simply aren’t enough stable, quality foster family homes in Santa Barbara County for those who need them.
The typical commitment for an Angels’ family is 18 months of care until the child leaves the dependency system. Angels Foster Care continuously works to have a waiting pool of families available for foster care placements. In 2013, Angels Foster Care had to turn away 34 children due to a lack of open homes.
Contact Angels at 884-0012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Santa Maria Youth and Family
On the 12th day of Christmas, the Santa Maria Youth and Family asked of thee:
Can you power wash the building?
And don’t forget the windows.
New paint outside would sparkle.
We really need a new roof,
A new vacuum will help the inside,
Cash for training our great interns,
And for training outreach, too;
Five laptops ASAP,
Four white boards,
Three 6-inch folding tables,
Two card tables, and some chairs!
And a new printer for the upstairs!
Visit smvyfc.org for more information or call 928-1707.
Good Samaritan Shelter
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
At Good Samaritan Shelter
Take a look in the Emergency Shelter
Full once again,
With more than 400 individuals under our roofs.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Germs in every program,
But the prettiest sight to see
Is the community’s donation of Lysol and their generosity
This holiday season.
Pillows, blankets, socks, and bus tokens
Are the wishes of Lompoc and Santa Maria Emergency Shelters.
Paper towels, cleaning wipes, flashlights, diapers, and towels
Are the hopes of many children and their families in the family shelter and perinatal programs,
And we can hardly wait for the After School Program to start again.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
At all of Good Samaritan’s Programs
There are homeless on the streets, for whom we do outreach
In need of coats, gloves, blankets, sleeping bags,
tarps, rain gear, warm socks, and umbrellas;
The kind that doesn’t mind the rain.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring
Is the cash donation that you bring
From within your heart.
Visit goodsamaritanshelter.org for more information or contact Good Sam at 346-8185.
VTC Enterprises was founded in 1961 by a group of Santa Maria Valley parents seeking life-skills services for their adult children with significant developmental disabilities. We offer a wide range of services to people with disabilities who desire training or assistance in areas related to employment and daily living. Activities take place at our main location in Santa Maria, our satellite location in Lompoc, in various community settings and businesses, and at our Source America® contract locations on Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) and Naval Base Ventura County. Services are individualized as each person helps design their own plan and goals, and great effort is put into understanding the preferences of those who are non-verbal or have difficulty communicating.
VTC operates several independent businesses that offer training and employment to the individuals we serve including: the A Street Café and Catering, CyclePoint Electronic Waste Recycling, Innovative Printing Solutions, VTC Thrift Store, and VTC Landscape Maintenance Services.
Our wish list includes:
- • Six Square cash registers
- • Signage for the landscape maintenance truck • Waterproof jackets
- • Two cameras
- • Bus shelter for loading and unloading the individuals we serve
- • Tablets or iPads
- • Facility signage and directory map
- • Event tent for 300 to 400 people
- • Picnic tables and umbrellas
- • Two potted banana trees
- • Okidata Multi Surface Printer
- • Steam pressure washer
- • And, of course, cash donations are always welcome.
Contact VTC Enterprises in Santa Maria at 928-5000, or visit the website at vtc-sm.org.
Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum
’Twas the holiday season, and all through the town,
The people were shopping and out hustlin’ aroun’.
The toys were laid out at the museum with care,
In hopes that new members soon would be there.
The children were playing and making fun crafts,
While their parents helped out and shared in the laughs.
And the staff in their aprons and red Santa hats,
Had just washed the rock wall and swept all the mats.
When the Sun sent an email asking groups in need,
To send lists to readers who could do a good deed.
By making donations of supplies and cash,
People help us pay for each free public bash.
Increased admissions helps everything grow,
So tell friends, “To the museum you must go!”
Past our doors what to patrons’ eyes will appear,
But new exhibits, programs and learning gear,
That will inspire hungry young minds to learn,
And delight for knowledge in their hearts will burn.
So consider making a gift in your name,
And join the Discovery Hall of Fame.
Visit smvdiscoverymuseum.org to learn more or contact the museum at 928-8414.
Poetic Justice Project
The Poetic Justice Project advances social justice by engaging formerly incarcerated people in the creation of original theater that examines crime, punishment, and redemption. Learn more at poeticjusticeproject.org. The organization can be reached at 264-5463.
Here’s the wish list:
- • Small desk on wheels (new or used)
- • Free storage in Santa Maria for one year (for set items, props, costumes, etc.)
- • A cool restaurant that will give us a hand with our spring fundraising dinner
- • Gasoline cards for our actors
- • Folding banquet table (new or used)
- • 15 lavalier microphones
- • Free silk-screening of our logo on 100 T-shirts
- • Office Depot gift cards
- • An acting workshop from PCPA
- • A new camcorder
- • 100 of our supporters to send us $100 (Poetic Justice Project, P.O. Box 7196, Santa Maria, CA 93456).
Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People
People Helping People is dedicated to improving the lives of men, women, and children in the Santa Ynez Valley, Los Alamos, and surrounding communities by addressing emergency and basic needs, furnishing comprehensive integrated family and individual support services, and acting as a catalyst for positive community change.
For the Pirates Cove Student Center at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, we’re looking for a couch, stereo for local radio stations, a popcorn maker, cups and plates, a foosball table, and a television.
The Los Alamos Youth program could use five laptop computers.
Family Resource Centers needs three 20-inch flat screen TVs.
The Thrift Store for Families in Need wishes for blankets, bedding, towels, and jackets.
Email Erica Valdes, the associate development director at email@example.com.
Ladies Recovery 4 Life
Our goal is to help women turn their lives around. We work to stop the revolving doors of homelessness, jails, and poverty associated with addiction, and provide a platform for residents to step into a bright new future. Ladies Recovery 4 Life is opening a new sober living facility in Lompoc.
’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
The Ladies were planning to stage a new house.
They need brand new beds; they need fitted sheets;
They need cozy blankets to warm up their feet’s.
The ladies were nestled asleep on the floor, when truck loads
Of furnishings burst through the doors.
Then out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
The girls went outside to see the community gather.
With pots, and pans, and kitchen supplies,
OH MY, OH MY, What a surprise!!!
We need two couches, two love seats and chairs.
Maybe a rug so the floor won’t be bare.
Then out of the blue what did appear?
But a gigantic wheel barrow with lots of yard gear.
The girls will have schooling and counseling galore,
So their lives will have purpose not like before.
The ladies are grateful for all they’ll receive,
Donations of cash are also a need.
From our family to yours, from our hearts to you,
Happy holidays and thank you for all that you do.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 588-4410 to donate or for more information.