From the Desk of Victoria Juarez

Many thanks to the incredible donors, volunteers, and other supporters who attended our Community Leaders Luncheon on Friday, December 7. I was honored to meet many of you and look forward to deepening our acquaintance. Our event speakers, Miguel Cruz and Janet Garufis, poignantly reminded us of education’s power to transform lives. Your relationship with the Scholarship Foundation helps to make such transformations possible, and I am confident that, together, we will reach many more future community leaders across our county.

As many of you know, I am brand new to the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, having recently concluded a seven-year tenure as executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria. Through my work there – and for the uninitiated, the organization is devoted to empowering girls to fulfill their potential and assert their rights – I came to recognize a particular emotional profile as both an indicator and a driver of success. In short, girls who exhibited a sense of both achievement and autonomy – that is, those who openly valued their efforts and their ability to effect change in their own lives – were invariably more accomplished and resilient than their peers lacking such traits. Moreover, they were almost always well-adjusted kids, buoyant in the face of adversity and success.

This, it seems to me, is what we should seek to instill in young people: an unshakable sense of self-worth that will sustain them over a lifetime regardless of their material triumphs – success as a frame of mind as opposed to some external validation.

I view my new position at the Scholarship Foundation as an opportunity to build on this idea. Helping Santa Barbara County students to and through college – I can think of no better way to foster a sense of achievement and autonomy in our community’s youth.

I look forward to working with this outstanding organization’s many dedicated supporters – including Board, staff, and community partners – in the months and years ahead.