Partners In Education
Realtor Partner Rafael Mora has been volunteering for two years with Partners in Education, an organization in Santa Barbara that supports marginalized high school students as they look forward to what comes next. Students participate in a six-week program where they benefit from career coaching, resume writing advice, and real interview experience from volunteer mentors like Rafael. The program culminates in a paid summer internship with partnering businesses in Santa Barbara.
Up until March of 2020, Rafael would meet with two to three students once a week for the six week program. Now, because of Covid-19, Partners in Education has had to come up with new solutions to reaching students. Incredibly, they’ve been able to expand their reach after transitioning the mentorship program to video calls. Now, they are able to invite students outside of Santa Barbara county to participate. Each week, students in the program will watch a 45 minute pre-recorded video of a volunteer discussing subjects like networking or financial literacy.
After this, they join a live video call with their mentor to discuss and develop the new skills they are learning. Rafael is particularly passionate about building financial literacy among students, which is exactly what keeps him coming back week after week to meet with students.
Partners in Education began in 1977, becoming a non-profit 501(c)3 organization in 2000. They work directly with the public education system, businesses, and other non-profit organizations serving Santa Barbara youth to expand educational opportunities to include necessary, real-life skills. Partners in Education runs several other successful programs, including one that trains and places volunteers from the community in schools. Another program became increasingly relevant with the onset of virtual learning during Covid-19: Computers for Families provides computers, internet access, and technological support to low-income families so that students have the tools they need to be academically successful in an increasingly computer-dependent learning environment.
I’ve been involved with Partners in Education for a few years now, and I think the work they are doing is so important for kids to think about their future beyond their high school classrooms. It’s really important for kids to learn about wealth building and to have opportunities to become more financially literate, especially when they aren’t necessarily going to learn these things in math class or at home. These students gain real life experience in interviews, internships, and mentoring opportunities that they probably wouldn’t find otherwise. It can be life changing for them.
– Rafael Mora