A Santa Barbara Neighborhood Partnership
We are a non-denominational faith-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that seeks to connect with children and families in our community through Kids Club and other programs that offer physical, social, emotional, educational, and spiritual support. Our mission is to empower children and families to thrive by holistically sharing God’s love on Santa Barbara’s Lower Eastside.
Many of Querencia’s founders have been ministering to youth in the Eastside community for nearly 30 years! Throughout our time working and living in this community it became clear that the most effective way to steer kids away from the ever-enticing gang/destructive lifestyle was to reach them at a young age. By building relationships with elementary school children and involving their families in the process, we seek to support children and teens until they graduate from high school and beyond. For the past 16 years, we have done this primarily through Kids Club, our weekly after-school outreach program, and through our partnership with Young Life’s jr. high and high school ministries.
Focusing on children
We believe focusing most of our efforts on young people gives us the best opportunity to break the cycle of poverty while making it possible to build relationships with parents and families. We believe young people are a vital part of the community, full of intelligence, creativity, and potential to bring positive change. From this idea we draw our motto: "Restoring Youth, Restoring Community."
Community development & Incarnational ministry
Evangelism, Discipleship, & Leadership Development
Promoting education & Partnering for Progress
We are convinced that education is a key factor in ending the cycle of poverty. We strongly emphasize education and make every effort to support children and families as they navigate a complex and unfamiliar educational system. We also know that we won’t be successful without close partnerships with organizations that have resources to make a difference for families in our community. We value strong collaborative partnerships with local churches, the local school district, and other nonprofit organizations.
We seek to empower our neighbors so they can increasingly take coordinated and effective action and bring positive change to our community. Rather than trying to bring change from outside, we take an "incarnational" approach to ministry by living in the Eastside community. This allows us to build authentic relationships with our neighbors and gives us an intimate knowledge of the challenges they face so that we may love and support them with greater intentionality. By approaching community development in this way, rather than imposing solutions and actions from the outside, we ensure that they spring up from within the community in a way that maintains and increases dignity.
In everything we do we seek to share the love of God and develop Christian leaders. We do this by building intentional mentoring relationships with young people and their families, and by modeling the kind of healthy spiritual life and responsible decision-making that will help them succeed. As part of our commitment to discipleship we are passionate about developing effective leaders from among the Latino youth we work with. These young leaders are already making a difference and we hope one day they will be seen as positive role models and advocates for others in the community.