“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Words of wisdom by Dr. Seuss! Every year, Santa Barbara Education Foundation’s HOPE Awards honors our local heroes of public education. This year SBEF shines its light on individuals and programs making strides for literacy. Identifying literacy as a top priority, Santa Barbara Unified launched a pilot program this school year to remediate students who display characteristics of dyslexia. The pilot program served 28 students at Harding Elementary in first through third grade.

In the past, many of these students have struggled to learn how to read and have received little or ineffective reading intervention. Private reading intervention can cost tens of thousands of dollars and is simply out of reach for many low and middle-income families. This program gives equal opportunity to all families and students that display characteristics of dyslexia and creates equity. It aligns with Santa Barbara Unified’s motto “every child, every chance, every day.” The research states that it takes four times as long to remediate dyslexia after fourth grade; that’s why it’s important to intervene as early as possible with a student who is struggling to read.

Please join us at the HOPE Awards to learn more about this program and the startling results!

This year’s honoree is the Santa Barbara Public Library, an organization whose impact on the community reaches far beyond providing reading materials and educational resources. Our local public library branches serve as community centers, conservators of our rich local history, and in some cases a place of refuge in times of crisis. During the Thomas Fire, the Library helped hold together our community by providing a safe space and programming for our children while local schools were closed and communities were under threat. A library card doesn’t just let you borrow books; it’s an all-access pass to education opportunities.

And best yet! Our keynote speaker, actress, and bestselling novelist, Fannie Flagg will share her own experience with dyslexia!

The event will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26 at the beautiful Santa Barbara Historical Museum and includes a silent auction and reception featuring fine food and beverages from local restaurants, caterers, wineries, and breweries.