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safe parking program receives

solar light lending library

New Beginnings Counseling Center’s Safe Parking program is the recipient of 20 solar-powered lights from Unite to Light, a Santa Barbara based nonprofit. The intention is to create a library where the lights will be checked out to families and individuals during their stay in the Safe Parking program. Safe Parking Program participants, who live in their vehicles, will have a light they can charge during the day and use at night. These lights also have a USB socket which can charge a cell phone or other small electronic device, without relying on an electrical wall outlet. “For someone without access to electricity, a simple light and charger can have a major impact,” noted Megan Birney, President of Unite to Light. “Not only do the lights provide convenience and increased quality of life for these individuals and families, but they also bring the safety and security

June 6, 2017


of knowing that their phone will have battery power in an emergency.”  The lights are being donated by Mike Tognotti, of Raindance Partners. “I’m on a personal journey to try to help people in our community, and leverage my company’s resources in order to do so,” explains Tognotti, “Hundreds of people are living in vehicles nightly here in Santa Barbara. Many of them are children. My hope is that the lights enable these children to read a few extra hours per night. I hope the lights provide hope.”


Mike came to know Unite to Light and its President, Megan Birney, through them both being members of the same collaborative co-working space, Impact Hub Santa Barbara. “Impact Hub and its workers create a culture of collaboration,” continued Tognotti, “an environment where members can pollinate, share ideas, and make friendships.”


On behalf of their clients, New Beginnings and the Safe Parking Program send out a warm thank you to Mike Tognotti and Megan Birney. “Things we take for granted when living in a home, such as preparing a meal, receiving mail, and having access to electricity, especially at night, are quite difficult to attain for clients in the Safe Parking Program,” shared Cassie Roach, Program Coordinator for the Safe Parking Program.  “That is why this light library will be extremely helpful to families and individuals in our program.  As families transition back into permanent housing, we can continue to lend out the lights to other program participants.”

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