One group of students training in the Hosford Counseling & Psychological Services Clinic are currently volunteering to present the Santa Barbara Wellness Center’s Mental Health Matters educational program in local elementary schools. Another group from the Department of Education, as they have for 18 consecutive years in five different local schools, are tutoring students in language arts and math. And yet a third group, working under the auspices of the renowned Koegel Autism Center, provide over 2,000 volunteer hours to the study of infant behavior and how it relates to early signs of autism spectrum disorders, research that informs treatments targeting signs of autism in the first year of life.
These are just three spotlights of the massive volunteer effort expended by the Gevirtz School at UC Santa Barbara. The Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, the Department of Education, and the Teacher Education Program combined provide over 150,000 volunteer hours to Santa Barbara County every year. These hours include tutoring, community service, social-emotional interventions in schools and community agencies, research and evaluation services, special coaching with children and families dealing with Autism Spectrum disorder, teaching computer skills, and helping youngsters resist gang membership. Just at the California minimum wage (as of July 1) of $9, that’s $1,350,000 of services pumped into the region yearly.
“In addition to the world class research accomplished by our faculty and graduate students, they are generous citizens of our region,” Dean Jane Conoley says. “Our students along with their faculty supervisors play vital roles in classrooms, community agencies, homes, and after school programs every day of the year. They make a positive difference in our community. The old notion of an ivory tower has transformed to helping hands, hearts, and heads reaching out with generosity and expertise.”