Santa Barbara – AHA!, a non-profit organization that serves 4000+ area teenagers each year, has brought Michele Cuttler and Leandra Harris to sit on its Board of Directors.
Michele has been an attorney specializing in employment litigation since 1993. She has lived in Santa Barbara with her family for 20 years. Throughout this time, she has actively volunteered and fundraised for various education-related organizations and non-profits. She sat on the Board and actively fundraised for the Lou Grant Parent-Child Workshop, the Montecito Union PTA, the Montecito Union Education Foundation, and the Storyteller Children’s Center. She is past President and former board member of the Foundation for Santa Barbara High School, and now brings her considerable experience and skill to her position as a board member and Development Committee member of AHA!.
AHA! welcomes Leandra as an alumni representative on its Board. Leandra graduated from Santa Barbara High School and is now a student in the culinary program at Santa Barbara City College. She has been instrumental as an alumni facilitator and as a role model for AHA!’s Peace Builders program.
AHA! was created by Jennifer Freed, PhD, and Rendy Freedman, MFT after the Columbine shootings in 1999. AHA!’s facilitation team provides social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum to teens at Carpinteria, San Marcos, Santa Barbara, La Cuesta, and Dos Pueblos High Schools, and at Santa Barbara Junior High. Its after-school and summer programs serve 150+ youth each year. Through its original, interactive, mutualistic, mentorship-based curriculum, they empower youth to stop bullying, create peaceful and socially equitable environments, communicate effectively, and deal with strong emotions constructively.
In 2014-2015, AHA!’s Peace Builders Initiative enrolled 100 students in a student-driven, grassroots effort to create safer, more connected campuses at Santa Barbara and San Marcos High Schools. Schools served by AHA! report reduced truancy, bullying and disciplinary referrals. This year, Peace Builders will roll out at SMHS, SBHS and DPHS in August, serving 150 youth who will then each outreach to at least 40 additional youth over the course of the 2015-16 school year.