This is the time of year that the faculty and staff of Allan Hancock College really focus on the “community” piece of our mission statement. November and December are busy times on college campuses as finals are approaching, projects are coming due and performances are being staged. It’s all hands on deck to reach the end of the semester with faculty and staff across the campus ensuring that students have every chance to succeed.
Even though this is a busy time of the year (both at home and at work!) many of the Hancock team also take time to serve the community. The real season of service begins in October with Empty Bowls, where our staff volunteer time to sell tickets, set up the venue and serve in support of the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County. At the annual Veterans Stand Down in November, AHC faculty and staff donate a Saturday to support veterans in our community.
Once the holiday season rolls around, our tradition includes providing all the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for dozens of AHC students who are also single parents. The funds for these meals come from the generosity of those on campus, working with our friends at Spencer’s Market. As we roll into December, we continue to work with (and expand) our family support programs. Two weeks from now, our Angel Tree program will provide toys, games and clothes to more than 100 children. Again, the program is completely supported through the generosity of the college’s faculty and staff.
These programs are more than a festive way to help our students celebrate the holidays – they provide an opportunity for students to see the tangible benefit that their education provides. In providing support during the holidays, our students literally see themselves in the images that flash across TV, our students catch a glimpse of their own future as they take ownership of their personal and educational goals.
We understand that if we are going to change the odds for our community, it takes more than offering classes and programs to students. Our community is hard-working, dedicated, generous and compassionate. The kindness and generosity demonstrated by the faculty and staff at Allan Hancock College reflects this ethos. We are blessed to a part of this amazing community. We are proud to serve northern Santa Barbara County and we wish our neighbors a wonderful holiday season!
Kevin G. Walthers, Ph.D., is the Superintendent/President of Allan Hancock College.
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