The Santa Maria Valley Industry Education Council and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce once again join forces to put on the annual Business Appreciation luncheon. The event, held January 25 at the Elks Lodge in Santa Maria, reflects both organizations continued effort to show appreciation for partnerships in the local community.
“The Business Appreciation Luncheon is celebration of the role that partnerships play in public education, and an opportunity to thank the many donors whose support is KEY to student success during the school year,” said Debra Hood, North County Liaison for the Santa Barbara County Education Office. “The event helps to showcase the many companies, nonprofit agencies, and individuals who do so much for our schools.”
The luncheon event gives special recognition to five local businesses that have demonstrated exceptional support to Santa Maria Valley school districts.
“Companies, nonprofit agencies and individuals throughout Santa Maria provide generous support to schools on a daily basis, providing them with surplus resources, awards and incentives for students plus food for school activities,” Hood said. “In addition to those donations, many business leaders share their expertise and donate generous amounts of time by participating in career days and the Principal For a Day program. All these activities help teachers give students the skills needed for future success. This Luncheon event is an opportunity to pay tribute to the role our businesses play in the success of our students.”
Students are also honored at the event, where three Chamber of Commerce Youth of the Month recipients are recognized and awarded certificates.
Additionally, eight computers are distributed to deserving students and their families through the Computer Connections program, a joint venture between the Industry Education Council and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. Over the years, Computer Connections has given nearly 150 computers to deserving families and children.
“Computer Connections represents a great partnership between the businesses in our community, the Chamber, and our local school districts,” explained Glenn Morris, President/CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. “The computers that are presented to students each year are sponsored by local businesses. By pooling the resources of several businesses at a time, we’re able to extend the impact of the program as a whole.”
Hood agrees that the role businesses play in the success of our educational systems and community as a whole is critical, and it’s important for organizations like the Office of Education and Chamber of Commerce to give back and say thank you to them.
“There are many ways that local businesses support our schools. Businesses have hosted field trips or given funds to provide bus service; donated food for class parties, food coupons for awards, and refreshments for student of the month programs; businesses donate awards and incentives to encourage student success; participate at school sites by assisting teachers with presentations, tutoring and/or reading to students, and Career Days; businesses donate gifts of cash to supplement limited school budgets and donate excess materials, outdated inventory, and merchandise to help supply teachers with a variety of classroom resources,” Hood said. “The list goes on and on. The support our schools receive from our local businesses is tremendous and truly does benefit the success of these institutions and our future business leaders.”
Additionally, Hood said she feels encouraged by the attendance at events like these, as it shows community’s enthusiasm for honoring local students and the efforts local businesses play in student success.
“By attending events like the Business Appreciation Luncheon, community members demonstrate a commitment to the future of Santa Maria. It shows people recognize that support of our students is a worthwhile investment in building a stronger tomorrow,” she said.
The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Santa Maria Valley Industry Education Council recognize that the health of our community and the strength of our economy depend on the success of our local schools and preparing our young people for a bright and successful future. Through community partnerships and events that pay recognition to these partnerships, these local organizations hope to help improve public education in ways that support a more vibrant economy, the health of our community and the well-being of local children and their families.
“The Chamber partners with the local school systems in our Valley on a wide range of programs ranging from recognizing outstanding students to providing computers to students/families who need a little extra support to achieve their potential,” Morris said. “Programs like the Business/Education Recognition Luncheon and the Principal for a Day event connect the employers in our community with the schools in order to share information about the skills employers need in new hires and to help them understand the constraints and issues the schools face on a regular basis.”
Debra Hood agrees that theses community partnerships are incredibly valuable, and it’s important that locals understand the impact of these partnerships and the community support that stems as a result.
“What a wonderful opportunity to connect and reflect upon the key role our business partners play in preparing our students for “what’s next”!”, said Hood. “Through our community partnerships, we hope to help improve public education in ways that support a more vibrant economy, the health of our community and the well-being of local children and their families.”