Coast Hills

Employee giving program pours in $3,000 to local child care and educational causes

by Joshua D. Scroggin
September 24, 2018

Like a lot of young professionals, Terris Sloan got a brand new job and wanted to move closer to her office to cut down on her commute.

Terris also wanted to show her preschool-aged son that a single mom can care and provide for their young family no matter where they lived.

Still, she knew she couldn’t do it all alone.

That’s where the Lompoc Family YMCA afterschool program came in. Once Terris’s little boy ended his day at transitional kindergarten, he was watched over by the sincere and loving caregivers from the Y during the hours that mom was needed in her job at CoastHills Credit Union.

Having backup during those in-between-school-and-home hours is the difference that allowed Terris to be confident in her independence.

“If I didn’t have them, I probably would have to live in Santa Maria because my sister and my step-mom live there,” Terris said. “With this program, I was able to move to Lompoc by myself, and I was able to be that single mom, where I could work and they would care for my son, literally during the hours that I needed to be at work.” 

For working parents with young children, one of the most crucial aspects of their life is child care, which makes it no surprise that many of the participants in CoastHills’s employee giving program — “I’m All In” — choose to support educational and child-care themed causes.

In Terris’ case, she gave a $1,000 sponsorship to the Lompoc Family YMCA, which went specifically to help fund the Summer Camp program. Dianne Guerrero directed her recent $1,000 donation to the Special Education Division of the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Joshua Lewis dedicated his $1,000 to San Luis Obispo Christian School, the only non-denominational Christian school in San Luis Obispo.

In all three cases, the Credit Union employees were inspired to give to organizations that make a major difference in their own lives, and that’s the unique purpose of I’m All In. The program is completely voluntary. Credit Union staff can give as little or as much as they want, and the amount gets automatically deducted from their paychecks.

Each quarter, names of employee participants are randomly drawn from a jar, and whoever’s name is drawn, those are the folks who decide which local nonprofit will receive a $1,000 sponsorship. With participation rates close to 95 percent, I’m All In is able to give five sponsorships each quarter and is on pace to hand out $20,000 this year.

Some employees know exactly where their dollars will go as soon as they hear their name called. Others will take time to research and make their selection when they come across a worthy organization that speaks to them. It’s often an educational experience that exposes CoastHills staff to numerous organizations and causes in our very own communities.

Diane was one who knew her cause right away. With two family members in special education, she had a first-hand look at the needs of the preschool program. She thought her $1,000 sponsorship could go a long way, and she was right. As the class transitioned from Fairlawn Elementary to Taylor School in Santa Maria, the move to a bigger classroom and outdoor space means a bigger need for goods.

“We definitely are going to focus that money for the students as opposed to furniture,” said Linda Chase, the coordinator of special education for the Santa Barbara County Education Office. “It’s important to Diane to focus the money on what will support the students. Bikes for outside, toys for inside and outside.”

The preschool program supports kids from birth to five, and the county serves special education students up to 22 years of age.

That age range provides for many volunteer opportunities. The county is in need of community members who can tutor or have time to appear as classroom guest speakers and applications are available through it's Partners in Education program. Volunteer opportunities are also available at the YMCA and San Luis Obispo Christian School, where community volunteers can share skills and creativity with students and faculty.

No matter the location or grade level, these organizations take pride in supporting parents when they’re at their most vulnerable, away from their children and in need of caring folks to help not just supervise their children but take an active role in helping raise them, too.   

“I view us as an entry point for families,” Linda said. “Often times when families come to us, it’s their first experience with special education. It’s the first time they have their concerns acknowledged. We have the opportunity to really support families in that situation and make it so that it’s not a scary journey for them."

Similar topics: We Make A Difference, I'm All In

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