Hey Santa Barbara County, We Have a Child Hunger Problem!


Most of us can agree there are few things as heartbreaking as starving children. In the world today, more than 800 million kids go hungry. Here in the US alone, more than 13 million kids have food insecurity. The problem is not just that these kids go hungry, these kids also have a bigger risk of developing social and behavioral problems. They can experience developmental impairments in areas such as language and motor skills as well.

Santa Barbara is, as we all know, one of the most beautiful places to live. The problem is that it is also very expensive. What many of us don’t know is that California has the highest rate of child poverty in the whole country. As a result, a lot of parents are struggling with feeding their children. In Santa Barbara, we have almost 30,000 children that are at risk of going hungry.

Facts about child hunger in the US:

  • 1 in 6 children in the United States faces hunger.
  • 17.9% of children under age 18 living in households experienced limited, or uncertain availability of safe, nutritious food at some point during the year.
  • One of the most effective ways to help families and children is through federal nutrition programs.

These numbers are devastating. However, there is some good news. Help is available if you just know where to look. Here at Antioch University, we want to help families find these resources. Since Antioch is a social justice school, the students are encouraged to create projects that assist the community. No matter what class you take, you know that you will be doing something that matters. Students in the Transformation of Consciousness course with John Galaska felt like they needed to do something about this issue. They started researching different resources available, like food banks, pantries, summer meals, etc, that are available for families here in Santa Barbara. They developed a project to create more awareness on the different resources to help the local Santa Barbara children who do not have enough to eat. The project has a poster with links to the resources that are available for these families. Part of the project was that the students had to meditate about it every day. This is what Dr. John Galaska has to say about the project, and why the meditation is such an important part of it:

“This Summer Quarter my PSY 3410 Transformation of Consciousness class paired a social justice project with a group and individual meditation for its success. Einstein stated that we are simply bundles of electromagnetic energy interacting with each other. Our planet is surrounded by electromagnetic fields in which we evolved. Considering the resonances that exist within and between humans, there is the possibility that we may be able to influence this field in ways that can positively affect each other. Synchronicities such as calling a friend only to find out they were about to call you is one speculative way that changes in our own frequencies might change those in another,” said Galaska.

The EEG patterns in the human brain change during meditation, something that Dr. John regularly observes in his neurofeedback clients. Our class is speculating that our project to raise awareness of free meal programs available to children even though not currently attending school may be augmented by our group and individual meditation. The class has prepared a poster pointing to local resources which will be distributed in areas where our students live. Projects like this are referred to as subtle activism where an intervention is paired with the aforementioned meditation.

There is no way to measure the effectiveness of our efforts although there is a project by Heart Math Institute called the Global Coherence Initiative which is monitoring changes in the electromagnetic fields surrounding the Earth and attempting to demonstrate a connection with resonances within and between Humans. One of the earmarks of a transformation of consciousness is an increased awareness of the interdependence of everything in the universe. It is speculation that such interconnectivity may be harnessed in beneficial ways, perhaps on a quantum level, that is at the core of subtle activism.”

The plan is to spread these posters all around Santa Barbara County in order to raise awareness. Hopefully, this information will reach as many families as possible. Children deserve every opportunity to succeed in school and having enough food to function is critical to their success, happiness, and health.

Courtesy of the Santa Barbara Independent magazine


About Author

Maja Lindell Enstroem

Maja is an enthusiastic vegan from Sweden who has lived in Santa Barbara for three years. She transferred from Santa Barbara City College and now studies Business & Entrepreneurship at Antioch University Santa Barbara. She is passionate about the environment and hopes to pursue a career in that field. Her plan after graduating from Antioch is to continue studying in Barcelona. She has many interests outside of school such as hiking, dancing, and traveling.

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