It could be said that Lynn Houston is flying high. Houston, who was born in Webb City, Missouri, is the driving force behind A Different Point of View, a Santa Barbara nonprofit that offers flying lessons to underprivileged youth throughout the county.
A Different Point of View was established in June 2011 with the intent to “engage, inspire, and transform” kids in need. “Through aviation education and mentoring, we show them a world they’ve never seen before,” Houston explained. “Many of our youth come from low-income households or the juvenile justice system and lack a belief in their ability to succeed in this world.”
The teens in the program experience a three-day aviation program in which — in addition to receiving flying lessons from professional instructors affiliated with the Above All Aviation flight school — they are taught the mechanics and inner workings of an airplane and are taken to the Santa Barbara Airport to meet airline captains, air traffic controllers, flight attendants, and other aviation-industry personnel. “In the morning, we teach them to fly spiritually, in their soul,” Houston said. “And in the afternoon, we teach them how to fly literally.”
The nonprofit is a group effort. A Different Point of View has partnerships with the Santa Barbara County Probation Department, Peoples’ Self Help Housing, and the Above All Aviation flight school at the Santa Barbara airport, among other organizations. They also have support from the International Organization of Women Pilots.
So why flying? “Having been a runaway, a thief, a Hollywood photographer, and an actor, flying an airplane has been the most powerful experience I’ve ever had,” said Houston. “Teaching someone how to fly changes their life because it literally takes you above the planet, gives you a different point of view. They learn that they must become captains of their own lives, that where they go, climb, turn, descent, how far they go, is all up to them.”
For more information, call 698-6784 or visit adifferentpointofview.org.