The Junior League of Santa Barbara (JLSB) recently hosted its Annual Spring Gala. Over 320 guests attended the event to witness the unveiling of the league’s new Signature Project: a multi-year initiative aimed at improving the lives of at-risk young women while simultaneously aiming to prevent exploitation and injustice within the community.
JLSB has always been concerned with the well-being of Santa Barbara’s residents. The organization—comprised entirely of women—is committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Establishing the Sexual Assault Response Team Cottage (SART Cottage), hosting bone marrow and blood drives, spearheading Eastside Library renovation and collaborating with the Downtown Public Library and other nonprofits in town to improve youth literacy are a few of the league’s many successes.
JLSB’s newest concept will bring immeasurable benefit to the Santa Barbara area. The project: erect a House of Hope shelter (similar to Ventura county’s highly successful shelter) that will provide trauma-informed, therapeutic rehabilitative services to young victims of sex trafficking. Without this dire service, women caught in sex trafficking often have no other escape but to fall back on their exploiter.
Santa Barbara County may be at more risk of this problem than previously thought. Being a tourist attraction with conference venues, a transitory population and migrant labor makes our population vulnerable. Couple this reality with the fact that Santa Barbara links large metropolitan areas and has a high number of foster youth and runaways, and a bleak picture begins to form.
JLSB will erect the first anti-sex trafficking shelter in Santa Barbara County. With this facility, Santa Barbara County is taking a beginning step to end the terrible crime that is the sexual exploitation of youth. JSLB encourages the community to contribute to this worthy cause. For more information visit JLSB’s website.