Staff Report

Businesses in Santa Barbara, Lompoc and Santa Maria are being asked to support foster families by offering discounts and coupons on Saturday morning, June 23, through a program called Inspire Business.

For example, Michaels in Santa Maria was one of the first to join the Inspire Business program and will be providing foster families and foster youth with 15 percent discounts. Michaels also will participate in community events to distribute coupons and raise awareness of the need for more foster parents.

In Buellton, Monighetti’s One Stop Livestock Supplies has also signed on to the program.

Inspire Business is a new effort by “Our County. Our Kids,” which is a program of the Santa Barbara County Department of Social Services.

Many people don’t realize that youth in foster care have limited or no access to some of the amenities that community members enjoy, such as shopping or eating out with family and friends, a program spokesman said.

Businesses are invited to join the Inspire program by providing discounts on goods and services to foster families, also known as “resource families,” who are caring for children and youth in foster care.

Businesses are also encouraged to connect with area nonprofits to host fundraisers, donating funds or program supplies, serving as donation collection points, distributing outreach materials, or helping to promote upcoming information sessions to recruit more resource families.

“We are aware that there are many business owners and community organizations who are looking for ways to strengthen our community by elevating children and youth in foster care and the adults who support them,” said program official Gustavo Prado. “We are very excited to launch the Inspire Business Program and are grateful to the businesses who have already signed on.”

Interested organizations are also encouraged to provide work experience opportunities or internships to older foster youth who are preparing to enter adulthood.

Participating businesses and organizations are offered a variety of benefits to build their business exposure and increase awareness of their involvement in the program. For more information on how to participate, call Matt Pennon at 805-698-2703, email him at, or visit