Junior League and Rotary Get Students Moving Remotely

By Giving List Staff   |   February 24, 2021
The Junior League of Santa Barbara collected 640 balls to distribute to SB Unified elementary school students for PE classes during remote and hybrid learning

Imagine trying to lead a virtual PE class for a group of first-graders while they are stuck inside their homes with limited space and no equipment. Since school closures in March, delivering virtual academics has been a challenge, but physical education teachers have especially had to think outside the box to keep students physically fit and active from home.

From designing exercise videos to mapping out safe running routes and encouraging walks and hikes, Santa Barbara Unified School District PE teachers have done a fantastic job adapting to the times. But when it came down to it, putting equipment into students’ hands was crucial, and versatile items like soccer balls and jump ropes were high on PE teachers’ wish list. The Santa Barbara Education Foundation partnered with the Junior League of Santa Barbara and local Rotary clubs to make these requests a reality.  

In January, the Junior League of Santa Barbara collected 640 balls to distribute to SB Unified elementary school students for PE classes during remote and hybrid learning. In addition to many in the community who donated new and gently used soccer balls, local law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck generously sponsored the soccer ball drive.

After learning of the need, the Junior League’s Jessica Burns helped kick off the effort. “The leaders of the Junior League of Santa Barbara were thrilled to take up the idea of a Soccer Ball Drive and work in partnership with the Santa Barbara Education Foundation on a project that directly provides schoolchildren with equipment so they can continue their educational programming through these unprecedented times.”

Local Rotary clubs, including Rotary Club of Santa Barbara, Rotary Club of Santa Barbara North, and Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise, have donated funds to purchase jump ropes for elementary school students. On account of these generous contributions, 850 jump ropes are already in the hands of elementary school students, and more than a thousand are on the way.

According to SB Unified PE teacher Ethan Zolt, “The need for all kids to have access to sports equipment in the home is especially crucial during remote learning.” Zolt has already seen the difference in engagement with his students. “The joy and excitement of receiving this gift were evident, as smiling students proudly displayed their new soccer balls at our most recent PE Zoom classes!”

Santa Barbara Education Foundation promotes private support of Santa Barbara’s public education system, serving over 14,000 students in 18 schools. For more information, visit www.santabarbaraeducation.org.


Santa Barbara Education Foundation

Phone: (805) 284-9125
Executive Director: Margie Yahyavi


Santa Barbara Education Foundation (SBEF) provides and supports programs that enrich the academic, artistic, and personal development of all students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

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Antonña Gives Back

“My grades went from all F’s and a GPA of 0.0 to graduating Dos Pueblos High School with a 4.0 and getting a $10,000 scholarship to attend a CSU. I had never even imagined myself graduating high school let alone going to college. The Academy for Success completely changed my life and I’ll forever be grateful for that. Proudly, I’m in my last year of school at Santa Barbara City College and have been interning with the Academy for Success the past four years in hopes to spread the same hope the program provided for me.”
– Antonña Mollo, Academy for Success Student

Bridging the Digital Divide

Even before the pandemic, Santa Barbara Education Foundation Executive Director Margie Yahyavi had heard that the parking lots around Santa Barbara schools were full at night. Why? Parents without Internet were driving their kids to pick up the school’s Wi-Fi so they could do homework.
With students forced online to learn during the pandemic, the digital divide has shown even more stark.
The Education Foundation jumped into action, raising funds so that internet accounts and hotspots could be set up and noise reducing headphones are provided – making education accessible to the thousands of lower income students who need it. But, as Yahyavi points out, this is a problem that won’t go away.
“How are kids supposed to learn without access to Wi-Fi after this is all over?” she says. “How can they be competitive without having the information available over the Internet?”
To help meet the demands today and tomorrow, please make a donation at: www.sbefoundation.org/donate.

Board of Directors

Mat Gradias, President, Associate Architect, Kruger Bensen Ziemer Architects
John Ogilvie, Vice President, Financial Consultant, Strategic Planning
Tisha Weber Ford, Secretary, CEO, Weber Logistics
Diana Ciontea, Treasurer, Director of Finance, ProductPlan
Terri Allison, Immediate Past President, Early Childhood and Non-profit Consultant
Debbie Arnesen, Retired Fund Development
Isis Castañeda, Project Coordinator, IV Coalition for Healthy Communities
Jon Clark, President, James S. Bower Foundation
Eder Gaona-Macedo, Executive Director, Future Leaders of America
Larry Harter, President, Pueblo Radiology
Victoria Juarez, Community Leader
Daniel Meisel, Regional Director of ADL Santa Barbara/Tri Counties
Jeffrey Milem, Dean and Professor, Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, UCSB
Britt Ortiz, Director, Early Academic Outreach Program, UCSB
Felicita Torres, Attorney, Griffith & Thornburgh
District Representatives
Hilda Maldonado, Superintendent, Santa Barbara Unified School District
Kelly Fresch, Principal, Adams Elementary School
Carolyn Ross,Teacher, Goleta Valley Junior High School
Wendy Sims-Moten, Executive Director, First 5 Santa Barbara County