Kenny Slaught endorses Hospice of Santa Barbara for building an active presence at local school campuses of all levels, from elementary school to college. Volunteers visit campuses and organize weekly support groups for students experiencing traumatic or complex scenarios and requiring a safe space in which to discuss their thoughts and feelings. On-campus groups aim to create open atmospheres that encourage self-reflection and boost critical coping skills. Effective coping skills help adolescents avoid drugs, alcohol, and other forms of self-medication. In addition to direct work with students, the hospice volunteers offer training to faculty and staff members about how to communicate with students who are dealing with trauma and how to handle their questions about death, most notably violent deaths and suicide. Each of the 65 schools in the Hospice of Santa Barbara network can call on the organization around the clock to respond to a traumatic situation quickly and successfully.
California-based real estate entrepreneur and visionary philanthropist, Kenny Slaught has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to bettering the communities where his business operates. To Follow his corporate social responsibility mission, he has been an ongoing advocate for the Hospice of Santa Barbara’s ‘The Youth Bereavement Outreach Program’. In efforts to boost public awareness of how important children’s emotional wellbeing is, Slaught has recently highlighted the program via his blog at KennySlaught.com.
Hospice of Santa Barbara maintains a wide range of services not just for residents facing terminal and chronic illness, but also to provide support to their families. Many of the programs at the Hospice serve the needs of children facing the impending or recent passing of a loved one. About 20 percent of children face the death of a loved one before turning 18, with one in 20 children suffering the loss of one or both of their parents before they reach adulthood. Hospice of Santa Barbara works to deliver free support to individuals in these situations, through numerous programs. Kenny Slaught notes that the organization helps individuals cope with grief and avoid or mitigate depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
When children experience the loss of a parent, they often feel lost and abandoned, knowing that their lives will never again be the same. Kenny Slaught noted, “The I Have a Friend mentor program allows these young people to share their feelings with someone who has experienced something very similar.” The child can lean on their companion for as long as he or she needs. The mentee can explore some of the most sensitive topics in an open and supportive environment with their mentor, who in turn gives support and practical guidance on the hurdles that lie ahead.