The Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara recently presented their “Imagine a World” award to UCSB Arts & Lectures for the program’s dedication to accessibility for its patrons.

Several members of the Alpha Resource Center — an organization that works to sustain a welcoming environment for people with disabilities — visited the A&L office in March to present the award to the staff. The award was created in October 2010 and is given to approximately 10 groups each year.

Amy Buesker, Katie’s Fund Coordinator at A.R.C., said the award recognizes businesses for compassionate practices that might otherwise be overlooked.

“We wanted a way to recognize businesses for what they do as far as treating people equally and treating people well,” Buesker said. “Other awards I have seen in the past have to do with quality of the product and do not necessarily pertain to the quality of the treatment of the people, which is something incredibly valuable that tends to be overlooked.”

Other past award recipients include the Santa Barbara Zoo, Dos Pueblos Little League, Mentor Worldwide LLC and Master Jang of Jang’s Karate Center.

Arts & Lectures Programming Manager Heather Silva said the A&L staff ensures that participants are comfortable in keeping with the university’s non-discriminatory policy.

“For us it is really important that we maintain the same kind of message through our programming, a program that is inclusive and doesn’t condone any kind of those behaviors that would be considered discriminatory,” Silva said.

Silva said Arts & Lectures shares many core values with the A.R.C. and participates in an ongoing relationship with the center’s Katie’s Fund Program.

According to Director of Program Services Julie Badella, the A.R.C. is committed to increasing cultural acceptance of individuals with developmental disabilities.

“Our mission is to create a community that is inclusive of all people, and this [award] is a way to create that community by recognizing the people who are doing that,” Badella said. “It is a way of reinforcing what we’re trying to build, and that’s why it’s so important to us — it’s really the heart of our mission.”