Isla Vista Youth Projects, a small safe haven for young children on the outskirts of Isla Vista is getting a shiny new addition. A brand-new infant and toddler space at the Isla Vista Youth Projects will allow up to 10 new children to enroll at the Children’s Center starting September 1.
Among the new amenities are durable, child-safe furniture, a gazebo, and books and toys in the new playspace. To date, the room and play yard renovation has cost $20,000. Some of the funding for the project came from Leadership Santa Barbara, a nonprofit program for individuals to develop civic leadership skills, and totaled $16,000, according to participant Carla Leal.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, IVYP executive director Lori Goodman said that the room will be another place for children to receive “interactive, developmentally appropriate, high quality care.”
“It’s a way a community can wrap its arms around its kids,” she said.
In 2015, there were 687 licensed infant/toddler spaces countywide but an estimated 2,000 spaces needed to keep up with demand, according to the Santa Barbara County Early Care and Education Needs Assessment. At IVYP, there are over 100 infants and children up to age five on the waitlist. The room, exclusive to infant and toddlers, will take some younger children off the list and into a space with a three-to-one child to teacher childcare ratio.
Approximately 89 percent of the Isla Vista Youth Projects’ clientele are low-income, and families from Lompoc to Carpinteria pay on a sliding scale to use the services. Other services the nonprofit offers include signing families up for Medi-Cal and nutritious meals.