Club declined opportunity to share facilities with new organization
The head of the United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara County is embroiled in a dispute with the founder of the new Honest Education Learning Project.
The dispute follows the Boys and Girls Club’s rejection of the Learning Project’s request to share facilities, a decision which Christy Lozano, the Learning Project’s founder, blames on the “cancel culture.”
However, Michael Baker, chief executive officer of United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, said the two groups sharing classroom and facility space was simply “not a good fit” for his organization.
“UBGC supports all schools and organizations that provide educational opportunities and enrichment for youth in our community and has carefully considered the request by Honest Education Learning Project, LLC (“HELP”) for shared classroom and facilities usage,” he said in a news release.
“UBGC has determined that this is not a good fit for UBGC, and UBGC will continue to focus and dedicate its resources to provide afterschool and weekend opportunities and enrichment for underserved youth in our community to make the greatest impact possible.
“UBGC wishes all the greatest success to HELP, SB School District and any other school or organization that provides educational enrichment opportunities to the youth of our community.”
Ms. Lozano, responding to Mr. Baker’s statement, said it’s a bit more complicated than that.
“In April 2022, I met with and received a verbal agreement from United Boys and Girls Club executive director, Mr. Michael Baker, where he graciously offered to let me use ‘of any of the clubs to launch learning pods,” she said. “It was a near perfect match, Honest Education Learning Project, H.E.L.P. could use United Boys and Girls Club’s wonderful facilities during the day and, in exchange, support UB&G Club kids and help grow UB&G’s membership base.
“All was going according to plan: I began interviewing teachers, recruiting parents and students, and lining up foundation funding.”
So what happened?
“As news of H.E.L.P. spread, an undisclosed group suddenly reached out to Michael Baker to complain that he was partnering with me. Why? I don’t know for sure. Nor do I know the specific complaints or even the complainers.
“Mr. Baker chose not to share the accusations or the names of my accusers with me. How could I address their concerns if everything was kept hidden from me? I offered to host a public meeting so that anyone could ask questions, but Mr. Baker refused.
“Cancel culture runs very deep in Santa Barbara,” she said. “It is sustained by self-righteous cowards and all those timid souls who bow to them. If we are ever to get serious about educating low-income Hispanic families and welcome them as
equal partners in the American Dream, we first need to have the courage to overcome both cowardice and ignorance, rather than to submit to it.”
The News-Press reached out to Mr. Baker to give him a chance to respond to Ms. Lozano’s version of events and her allegations but did not respond by the time the paper went to press Thursday.