Our mission is to offer education, motivation, friendship, and support to people with Parkinson's and their caregivers, family members, and friends. We strive to help people maintain a positive quality of life.
Beverly Steward (Bev), the founder of the Parkinson Association of Santa Barbara (PASB), affected with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) since her mid-20’s, put an ad in the Santa Barbara News-Press in August 1978 inviting anyone interested in starting a Parkinson’s group to attend a meeting. Forty-five people showed up at that first meeting! A steering committee was formed, and the fledgling organization commenced. During the early years, an answering machine in Bev and Lee Steward’s home was the only office equipment.
The Parkinson Association of Santa Barbara was the first Parkinson’s group in California. It was also the first PD group to become a non-profit corporation. Its Board of Directors and Officers have always served as volunteers, without salary.
It was decided early on that the mission of PASB was to serve individuals with PD, their families, caregivers, friends and supporters by providing up-to-date information related to PD, and to educate the general public on the nature of PD. It was also decided not to join any of the national Parkinson foundations/organizations, but lend moral support to all groups interested in helping people with Parkinson’s. Early on also, it was decided not to charge mandatory membership dues in order to include everyone interested regardless of economic status.
The organization remains self-supporting, thanks primarily to the generous voluntary support of the general public.
The monthly meetings of the Association are informational with social interaction following. Invited speakers donate their time to address the Association meetings on a variety of topics of interest to those affected by PD.
Over the years, PASB has assisted in providing symposia on Parkinson’s for the medical community and the general public.
PASB and its members owe a debt of gratitude to PASB founder Beverly Steward and her ever-supportive husband, Lee, for their quiet guidance and effort over the years.
Bev was PASB’s Executive Director for many years and took an active interest in it as Board Member, Emeritus, until her death on May 9, 2006.