Leadership Santa Maria Valley Class of 2018 Learning through Youth and Education

December’s Youth and Education Topic Day was a wonderful learning experience for Leadership Santa Maria Valley Class of 2018.  On December 2, 2017, the group explored education and opportunities for the youth of our community.

The first stop was St. Mary of the Assumption School where the Class was treated to a delicious breakfast provided by St. Mary’s School and Jim’s Burgers. After breakfast, we heard from Principal Michelle Cox, who gave an overview of different types of schools – public, private, charter and home school.  A tour and quick visit to a classroom gave the Class of 2018 a glimpse into what future leaders are learning now.  A lively demonstration of Gunn’s Grammar from the 4th grade was a great reminder of how learning is fun.

Next, the Class visited the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, where Amy Blasco, Program Director, gave a comprehensive tour highlighting the 13,000 square feet of hands on exhibits and programs for kids of all ages.  From the Catching Air exhibit and the Discovery Reading Tree to the Farm Produce Truck and Creation Station, the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum has much to offer to our budding youth.

A quick trip across the street to the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center (AMCYC) was the next stop.  Here the Class was given a tour by Jason Davie, Recreation Supervisor, and learned that the City of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department has much to offer youth from 12-18 years of age:  computer access, work out rooms, movie nights and dances are just a few of the fun activities available. While at AMCYC, Dawn Jackson from the Santa Maria Public Library spoke on programming with a focus on early literacy.  From toddlers to afterschool story times and homework help, these are just a few stepping stones offered to help strengthen the literacy foundation of our local youth.

Our day continued with a visit to Ernest Righetti High School for a peek into AP Science, with instruction from Class of 2018 member, Laura Branch.  Partnered with the students, LSMV Class members experienced the scientific process of making ice cream and enjoyed lunch from the school cafeteria, thanks to the generosity of CoastHills Credit Union.

Next on the agenda was the Santa Maria Valley YMCA.  Kelsey Ferguson, Child Care Director, lead the tour through the newly remodeled facility.  She also spoke on the accredited preschool program offered.  Aaron Pankratz from CASA gave a lively presentation on being a Court Appointed Special Advocate to children in our community.

Our final stop of the day took us to Juvenile Hall.  The honorable Judge Arthur A. Garcia spoke about the difficult decisions he needs to make in order to safeguard the children in our community.  On occasion, tough love needs to be given in order to put our youth on the right track. The day ended with a tour of the Juvenile Hall facility by Officer Sam.

This Topic Day highlighted the fun and educational opportunities available to children in the Santa Maria Valley, and also impressed upon us the need to protect and guide our youth so they can become successful leaders in the future.