A Call to Action

Besant Hill Fire Relief Fund

As you may be aware, Besant Hill School of Happy Valley, our faculty, students, and families, and our surrounding community have been in the path of the Thomas Fire that raced through campus, Ojai, and many parts of Ventura County. All students, faculty, staff, and pets were safely evacuated from campus; however, we lost four faculty homes, the students’ ceramics studio, the old barn from the 1920’s which was packed with items in storage, the entire maintenance department facility (including vehicles tractors, tools, etc..), yurt, and our archive building which housed the 70 year history of the school. It goes without saying, that we are grateful that all humans, pets, and the main part of campus survived, but the losses are devastating. All students are home safely on winter break, and the faculty who live on campus are temporarily being housed at a hotel in San Luis Obispo County.

Although the fire rages on with containment at only 10%, many of you have already asked how you can help. We have healing to do, people to support, hands to extend, and work that needs to begin – today. We will keep moving forward. The resolve of this community to rise up from the ashes created by our collective loss is present not only in people who live on campus, but is also present in every life that was impacted by the land of Happy Valley. Our campus, my home, and the same place that so many others have called home, has left its mark on so many. This is deep, stays with us, and binds us as a part of the family that past and present students, faculty, staff, and trustees of Besant Hill School of Happy Valley have within them.

It is humbling to have to ask, but we are in a place where we have been humbled by this firestorm. Our community is small and it is going to be on all of our shoulders to help us rise up from the ashes. We have done it before, and this is a place of education that needs to exist for generations to come. This is our collective responsibility. Our most precious resource has always been this land. It has inspired us, brought us peace, and delivered a calm in times of stress and anxiety. Personally, I feel an obligation to setting the path for this recovery. Therefore, I am putting out the call far and wide, across the globe to every person ever impacted, enhanced or changed by this place, to give. I ask you to give your best gift, and that it match your means. Yes, we have insurance, but in talking to other schools who have lived through this kind of disaster, expenses will add up in ways that cannot be anticipated. We need your help, and I ask that you join me in the hard work that it will take to rebuild our school by giving today.

With gratitude,