Querencia is a non-denominational faith based non-profit 501 (c)(3). Our name comes from the Spanish word meaning “a place of comfort, where one feels safe or at home, a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn.” Our mission is to empower children and families to thrive by holistically sharing God’s love and establishing “querencias” in Santa Barbara’s Lower Eastside.
Our founders have lived and worked in the Eastside for over 25 years. This is a predominately Latino community that suffers from the negative effects of poverty. Many of the families work multiple jobs and share small apartments with other families to carve out a living. These families want the best for their children but often lack the resources, and Querencia often acts as the link between families and opportunities in the community. Over the years we’ve found that the best way to steer young people away from the cycle of poverty is to reach them as children, give them a place to belong and feel loved, share the hope we have in Jesus, and support them in their educational journey through high school and beyond, while engaging their families in the process.
Because many of the kids we work with are under-served, Querencia provides resources and opportunities at every level by addressing physical, emotional, educational, spiritual, and social needs. We focus on kids because we believe young people are an indispensable resource for change and it gives us the best opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. From this idea we draw our motto: “Restoring Youth, Restoring Community.”
Some of the ways this is accomplished: 1) Kids Club, our weekly after-school mentoring program for elementary school children 2) Kids Club Day Camp, our week-long summer camp 3) Westmont Sports Camps – a partnership that creates opportunities for kids from the Eastside to attend camp through sponsorship 4) Opportunities for children to participate in other local programs through support from sponsors. Children look forward to these experiences all year long, and WE NEED YOUR HELP!! Our goal is to raise $2,000 to support these efforts, creating memories that these children will take with them forever!