Partners in Education Volunteer Spotlight: Michael Rattray of United Boys & Girls Clubs.
By: Devin Urbany, Noozhawk Intern, 08/09/2011
Mentoring youth is all in a day's work for a busy CEO and a dedicated volunteer.
As CEO of the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, Michael Rattray has a mission for our youth: for each child to reach his or her potential for greatness.
Volunteering in schools is one way he personally helps with this effort. On top of his demanding job, since 2008 Rattray has managed to spend more than 70 hours volunteering with the nonprofit Santa Barbara Partners in Education, which connects local businesses and professionals with opportunities to serve school needs.
“My involvement goes back to my days as a Raytheon employee when we were the first corporate sponsor of the Computers for Families program,” he explained.
“From there I got very involved in several programs with the high schools, as my own kids were soon moving on to college and I wanted to share in their experiences. In the last decade, I’ve let students ‘shadow’ me at work, I’ve been a Career Day speaker, and I’ve done mock job interviews at high schools, including Los Prietos Boys Camp.”
Rattray was also a member of Partners in Education’s Board of Directors in 2008-2009 and joined the organization’s Computer Technology Committee, working with Steve Keithley of the Santa Barbara County Education Office and his team to advance high-tech education in schools.
As both the head of one major nonprofit organization and an active volunteer for another, Rattray exemplifies the Partners in Education hope for nonprofit organizations and businesses to effectively collaborate, resulting in beneficial changes in our public schools.
When asked why organizations like Partners in Education and volunteering in general are so important, Rattray was quick to respond.
“For many of us, our talents or skill sets are the best legacy we can share with the generations of youth now facing the same challenges we or our children may have faced,” he said. “This, coupled with my experiences with the Boys & Girls Clubs, allowed for many life skills that I’m honored to extend.
“Giving back to the community that has blessed my family is a small token of appreciation for the wonderful life we have experienced,” he said. “Without the network of teachers, principals, coaches and mentors, my kids would not be the great citizens they are.
“There’s a quote that says, ‘Children are a third of our population, but all of our future.’ That says it all.”
United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County is a member of the Partners in Education President’s Council, a group of local businesses, organizations and individuals who support Partners in Education with contributions of at least $2,500. Any company or organization has the opportunity to participate in Partners in Education, but the President’s Council is limited to no more than 25.