Sacramento Life Center Baby Basket Drive Raises $10K To Help New Moms

By Kristin Thébaud  |  2019-03-06

Ana Alvarado receives a baby basket from Sacramento Life Center, thanks to the group’s Baby Basket Drive held each December. Photo courtesy Thébaud Communications

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento Life Center’s fifth annual Baby Basket Drive for new moms raised more than $10,000 from the community in December, which will buy more than 200 baskets for Sacramento Life Center patients throughout 2019. The drive is held each December to kickstart the 500 baby baskets needed so that every Sacramento Life Center patient who gives birth in the coming year can receive a basket of needed items, including formula, diapers, newborn clothes, pacifiers and more.

Donations will be accepted throughout 2019 and can be made online at www.saclife.org by writing Baby Basket Drive in the message box on the donation page. Gifts can be made in any increment, but a donation of $50 buys one basket.

“One of the most overwhelming feelings is learning that you’re pregnant and fearing you won’t have the resources to care for your vulnerable baby,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “Sometimes something as simple as a gift of diapers and newborn clothes can give expecting mothers the confidence that they have a support system to help raise their child. These baskets give expecting mothers proof that they will always have a family here at the Sacramento Life Center and supporters out in the community rooting for their family.”

The Sacramento Life Center’s mission is to offer compassion, support, resources and free medical care to women and couples facing an unplanned or unsupported pregnancy. The Sacramento Life Center’s licensed Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic includes a primary clinic and two Mobile Medical Clinics that provide all services for free, including pregnancy tests, STD tests, ultrasounds, peer counseling for men and women, education and resource referrals. The nonprofit also offers a school-based teen education program, a 24-hour hotline and a program for women experiencing reproductive grief. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center’s Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic, visit www.svpclinic.com. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center or to make a donation, visit www.saclife.org

 

Source: Thébaud Communications

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Rachel Anne Gray Memorial Scholarship Recipients Named

Story by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-03-05

Kobe Huynh, a senior at Bella Vista High School, was awarded $1,500.

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Each year, the Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District (FORPD) selects deserving high school juniors or seniors to receive the Rachel Anne Gray Memorial Scholarship.

Recipients of the scholarship are selected based on service to the community and personal achievement, and the 2019 recipients are Kobe Huynh, Nicole Hensley, Cerys McLean, Riley Day, and Macey McAdams.

The Rachel Anne Gray Memorial Scholarship was established to honor the memory of Rachel Anne Gray, who passed away at the age of 21 on September 2, 2012. Gray made a significant impact on young leaders as a member of the Fair Oaks Youth Advisory Board (FOYAB) from 2006 through 2008, and she was a valued member of the Fair Oaks community. She graduated from Bella Vista High School in 2008 and went on to study at California State University Sacramento, earning a degree in International Business.

This is the sixth year of the Rachel Anne Gray Memorial Scholarship program, and over $15,000 has been awarded to youth in Fair Oaks. Mary Cattolica, FORPD senior recreation leader, explained the selection process: “The scholarship focuses heavily on community involvement and service. The students who apply give a speech to the selection committee comprised of our staff as well as members of Rachel’s family.” Although students are required to hold a minimum 3.0 GPA to be eligible for selection, the scholarship is not based on academic achievement, nor is it a need-based scholarship. Students are eligible for selection if they are a Fair Oaks resident, a student of a Fair Oaks school, or a member of FOYAB.

FOYAB, which is organized and supported by the FORPD, is a youth leadership program that serves in an advisory capacity to the District’s Board of Directors. It allows the youth of Fair Oaks to participate in the development of District programs and provides them the opportunity to help shape the community in which they live. Members of FOYAB work to promote the Rachel Anne Gray Memorial Scholarship Foundation, helping to raise money for the scholarship fund to and continue Gray’s enduring legacy in Fair Oaks.

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Fresh Start's Role is to Support and Encourage

Story and photos by Trina L. Drotar  |  2019-03-05

Charlotte Stott and Melinda Avey display a starter kit offered by the Assistance League program.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) – In 2018, Assistance League Sacramento, an all-volunteer organization of over 285 members, celebrated 50 years of service to the local community through a variety of philanthropic programs that are funded in large part by its resale thrift shop, Fabulous Finds on Fulton. Programs, which are completely local, date back to 1967 when Eyes Right was established. At least one new program has been launched in each decade since. The organization’s newest programs, Fresh Start and Reaching Out, were established in 2017.

Charlotte Stott chairs the Fresh Start committee of 50 volunteers. After reviewing several studies on community needs, which included support for victims of sex trafficking and foster youth aging out of residential care, the group chose to partner with Community Against Sexual Harm (CASH) and its RESET diversion program. The program supports training and offers peer mentoring through its eight week, no fee program.

Stott explained that Fresh Start’s role is to support and encourage the women participating in the program. At four weeks, the midway point, women receive a “way to go gift” of lip balm, hand sanitizer, and a note. Upon graduation, women receive a bag with earrings, lipstick, and acknowledgement of their effort. The gifts, Stott said, tell the women that they matter.

 Fresh Start also assists by providing hygiene products and a change of clothing including sweat pants, bra, and a top. Three apartment starter kits are provided each quarter, and this month, the volunteers began providing bags with various items including tissues.

 “We provide small birthday gifts and cards hand signed by committee volunteers,” said Stott.

To assist foster youth aging out of the system, Fresh Start provides apartment starter kits to EA Family Services and Aspiranet. According to the latter’s website, 5000 youth age out annually in California and the agency supports 1900 by collaborating with community organizations like Assistance League Sacramento. Fresh Start plans to begin providing newborn essentials to young mothers who are in foster care.

Relationships were built and established and Stott estimates that approximately 6000 people have been touched in one way or another through the efforts of Fresh Start.

Reaching Out, a smaller committee of volunteers chaired by Melinda Avey, also provides apartment starter kits, along with a host of other assistance through its collaboration with Sacramento Steps Forward, an organization committed to ending homelessness in the region through partnerships with agencies such as Assistance League.

  “We buy work boots,” said Avey. “We pay deposit and application fees. We identify small needs.”

Sacramento Steps Forward, through partnerships with other organizations, may be able to secure housing for a currently homeless individual or family, but there are additional needs that they cannot provide. These, Avey explained, are the items that Reaching Out can assist with on short notice, such as the need for an application fee for a currently available apartment. When a request comes in, the committee votes to grant the request and Avey said, “makes it happen.”

 “That is the benefit of being a non-profit, we can act immediately.”

Like Fresh Start, Reaching Out also provides apartment starter kits. Kits, Avey said contain sheets, towels, pots and pans, shower curtain and rings, and other items that most folks might take for granted.

“We give a welcome mat,” she said, and the committee provides a clock. People living on the street lose track of time, she said.

Feedback, said Avey, always includes mention of the welcome mat. Items are not random choices. The committee is guided by suggestions regarding sheet size and table settings that are requested to be for one or two, not four.

The committee has also paid for a ticket to reunite a homeless individual and her father.

“It makes our day.”

For additional information, visit Assistance League Center’s Fabulous Find s on Fulton shop at 2751 Fulton Avenue or https://www.assistanceleague.org/Sacramento.

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Button Show Coming March 9

By Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-02-22

Faye Wolfe (left) and Susan Rhoades display some of thousands of antique and retro buttons that will be exhibited at the California Button Society’s March 9 show. Photo by Susan Skinner

CARMICHAEL, CA  (MPG)  -  Some eye-popping antiques slip easily through a buttonhole. At the California Button Society’s March 9 expo, you might snag a Civil War tunic fastener for $50. If you lust for hand-painted 18th century pieces, be prepared to unbutton your billfold.  

What astonishes at such bazaars is the availability of seriously old stuff. Snipped from long-ago rotted garments, many are thumb-nail masterpieces. “We often look at old buttons and imagine the stories they could tell,” says Button Club treasurer Susan Rhoades. “They were traded, stolen and inherited. Lives were lost in making them; pearl dust and mercury (for gold plating) killed many. “You learn so much about history, art and manufacturing from buttons.”

In the Middle Ages, no material was too grand for the button makers’ art. Georgian aristocrats later bespoke Gainsborough-style portraits – sometimes of their pets – to fasten vests. When Queen Victoria took to wearing jet specimens, society followed. Though zippers have revolutionized modern fastening, nifty little buttons have never been completely undone. “People visit our shows show seeking that one perfect item,” says Sacramento collector Faye Wolfe. “One lady brought a vest she’d sewn; she wanted buttons for it. In the end, she chose four, each different. Who says they have to match? Our button world is full of eccentricity.”

The Button Bazaar runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, at the La Sierra Center, 5325 Engle Rd, Carmichael. The show offers a free service for valuing buttons. Admission is by $2 donation. For information, contact fwolfe@surewest.net

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Putting on the Glitz

By Paul Scholl  |  2019-02-13

And the winners are all here! For a complete list of winners you can visit BestofFairOaks.com or FairOaksChamber.com. Photo by Chrysti Tovani Photography

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) – For a good time, call your Chamber of Commerce? When it includes the Best of Fair Oaks, a good time is a guarantee.

This year’s event was orchestrated by the chamber’s youth ambassadors, and they really raised the bar by adding new fun features to everyone’s delight.

With added categories, a revamped website that drew many new voters, (designed by Ryan Griffith, owner of Averik), and the energy provided by the young organizers the total number of good laughs exceeded last year’s gathering.

The Best of Fair Oaks winners were determined by votes compiled on BestofFairOaks.com. To receive votes for the awards you must have been a member of the chamber of commerce or have a business operating within the Fair Oaks community.

Each year the event seems to be getting bigger and better. The total votes accumulated increased and the number of people participating in the event grows as well.

Some notable category winners were; Best Event of the Year – Chicken Festival; Best Grocery/Supermarket – Trader Joe’s; Best Health/Wellness – Rollingwood Athletic Club; Best Restaurant – Dad’s Kitchen; Best Pizza – Del’s Pizza; Best Fast Food in Town – Sunflower Drive-in; Best financial Planning Services – Dustin Buck, Buck Wealth Management.

Adding to the event were the annual awards given for chamber recognition. Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Kathy O’Brien. Business of the Year was awarded to Rachel Griffith. Business of the Year was awarded to Del’s Pizza. Citizen of the Year was awarded to Jim Cralle. Special recognition was given to Ryan Griffith for all of his tech support.

The Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce hosted the event January 24, 2019 at Northridge Country Club. It was co-sponsored by the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce and the Messenger Publishing Group, publisher of American River Messenger, the newspaper for the Fair Oaks community.

The leadership of the youth organizers were; Cassie Kendall, Delanie Kendall, Matthew Mason, Noah Wright and Emma Ford. Together they all did a fantastic job on the event.

Other sponsors included Fair Oaks Recreation & Park District, Kaia Fit Fair Oaks, Sunrise Senior Living, Hirsch & Cook CPA, New Life Community Church, The Recognition Group, Hensler Real Estate and Faces 365.

For a complete list of winners you can visit BestofFairOaks.com or FairOaksChamber.com.

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Women's Empowerment Receives $25K from US Bank

By Kristin Thébaud  |  2019-02-08

Lisa Culp of Women’s Empowerment receives a check from Jessica Cook of U.S. Bank for Women’s Empowerment’s career-readiness, job training and financial literacy programs for women who are homeless.  Photo courtesy Thébaud Communications

Funds will provide job skills training and financial literacy for homeless women

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) -  Women’s Empowerment has received a $25,000 grant from U.S. Bank Foundation’s Community Possible program. The grant will fund job skills training, career-readiness classes and financial literacy programs for Sacramento women experiencing homelessness.

“U.S. Bank continues to invest in the bright futures of homeless women through its generous donations to our job-readiness programs,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “Our partnership with U.S. Bank ensures women can break the cycle of homelessness by gaining the skills needed to secure employment, regain a home and manage finances. When our mothers become financially self-sufficient, they create a better life for their children.”

Since 2001, Women’s Empowerment has been working to break the cycle of homelessness for women and children in Sacramento. In the initial nine-week program, women who are homeless receive free onsite child care in the group’s child development center and transportation assistance. Each woman works with a master’s level social worker to address her root causes of homelessness. She attends classes on job-readiness, confidence building, health and empowerment, as well as support groups for domestic violence and substance abuse. Financial empowerment courses are provided, including budgeting, improving credit score and second chance checking. With the help of volunteer teachers, women unlearn financial habits and create a step-by-step action plan for achieving their financial goals. Women then focus on job placement with their employment specialist and volunteer career mentor. 

Women who have graduated from the nine-week program can enroll in the group’s graduate services at any point when they need assistance. Services include paid job training, vocational certifications, counseling with a social worker and employment specialist, access to a professional clothing closet, and job retention services for employer and employee.  

“At U.S. Bank, we invest in and support programs and organizations that help people succeed in the workforce and gain greater financial literacy,” said Jessica Cook, assistant vice president at U.S. Bank. “Through our Community Possible giving and engagement platform we are working to close the gaps between people and possibility. Our partnership with Women’s Empowerment is doing just that.”

Women’s Empowerment is an award-winning organization that has graduated 1,554 homeless women and their 3,738 children. Last year, 82 percent of graduates found homes and 76 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training. The program combines self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to help homeless women across diverse ages, races and cultures. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation: www.womens-empowerment.org

Community Possible is the corporate giving and volunteer program at U.S. Bank, focused on the areas of Work, Home and Play. The company invests in programs that provide stable employment, a safe place to call home and a community connected through arts, culture, recreation and play. For more information: www.usbank.com/community.

Source: Thébaud Communications

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - In 2017, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved funding and implementation of four major initiatives to address critical needs of those experiencing homelessness and to help reduce the homeless population. Subsequently, two associated augmentations were added to further address the needs of all vulnerable population groups. The first programs began in October of 2017, several began in 2018 and many are in the process of becoming operational. In just one year’s time, the County has achieved phenomenal results from these new initiatives. 

  • Improve the Family Crisis Response and Shelters (October 2017)
    • 146 families served in shelter
    • 50 moved to permanent housing
  • Preserve Mather Community Campus (October 2017)
    • 351 individuals served in transitional housing
    • 116 moved to permanent housing
  • Full Service Rehousing Shelter (March 2018)
    • 91 individuals in scattered-site shelters
    • 19 moved to permanent housing
  • Flexible Supportive Re-housing Program (February 2018)
    • 191 individuals enrolled
    • 94 moved into permanent housing
  • Transitional Aged Youth (May 2018)
    • 115 served with prevention, diversion and intervention services
    • 35 moved to permanent housing
    • 32 maintained housing through services
    • 17 entered emergency shelter
  • Unincorporated County Navigation Services (April 2018)
    • 177 served through outreach and rehousing services
    • 30 moved to permanent housing

 

In total, 416 individuals have moved into permanent housing since the start of the first initiative in October 2017. 

“We are thrilled to share the success that our programs have had in this first year. In some programs, success has been demonstrated in mere months,” said Ann Edwards, Director of the Department of Human Assistance. “We are reaching people we have never been able to engage and they are seeing a real difference in their lives.”

On Oct. 16, 2018, the County Board of Supervisors endorsed the investment strategy for nearly $20 million in new State funding to combat homelessness in partnership with Sacramento Steps Forward and the City of Sacramento. On Dec. 11, the Board of Supervisors approved the acceptance of more than $11 million that the Department of Human Assistance will directly administer, building of the existing initiatives to reduce homelessness.

State funding comes through the State’s new Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) and the California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program. The funds will provide additional emergency shelter for both families and individuals through Emergency Family Shelter and the Full Service Rehousing Shelters (FSRS). The FSRS is a scattered-site model using master leasing of vacant homes in the region to house up to five persons in addition to a fulltime house monitor. Residents are provided with intensive case management services and rehousing assistance to help them exit the program into stable, permanent housing with the support they need.

The funding also will create a Flexible Housing Pool (building on the Flexible Supportive Rehousing Program) that will offer both services and re-housing assistance to help households in shelter or working with navigation programs to move into housing more quickly.

For the first time, clients experiencing homelessness who are engaged in Adult Protective Services or jail diversion will be offered this practical assistance to resolve their homelessness. The County will also administer a new expungement clinic to help remove barriers to housing and employment. 

To be eligible to administer and receive the HEAP funds, the Board of Supervisors declared a shelter crisis on Oct. 16. Other cites declaring a crisis and participating in the program include the City of Sacramento, Elk Grove and Citrus Heights.

On Dec. 12, The Board of Supervisors heard and adopted the proposed Sacramento County Homeless Plan that is required to facilitate participation in the State’s No Place Like Home (NPLH) program. This program provides funding for new permanent supportive housing for people who are experiencing homelessness, chronic homelessness, or who are at risk of becoming chronically homeless, and who are also living with a serious mental illness and in need of mental health services. In NPLH developments, the County will provide a 20-year commitment to comprehensive services, including behavioral health services.

In addition to meeting State requirements for NPLH, the County’s Plan serves as a building block for all partners within Sacramento County to implement shared strategies that make a measureable impact on homelessness. The Plan was endorsed by the City of Sacramento and County Continuum of Care on Dec. 12.

“The County Homeless Plan reflects countless hours of collaboration with County departments, community groups, stakeholders and other jurisdictions within our region,” said Cindy Cavanaugh, Director of Homeless Initiatives. “The Plan lays out comprehensive strategies and concrete actions for Sacramento over the next several years. While pleased with early results of our homeless initiatives, this Plan says that, as a community, we are not letting up.”

Sacramento County will be eligible for $5,087,737 through the noncompetitive NPLH funding for housing developments, and is eligible to apply for a share of $400 million in competitive funds. The Board of Supervisors will approve development applications for the first round of NPLH competitive funding on Jan. 29. 

With the initial success of the Sacramento County homeless i​nitiatives and additional funding sources for expansion, collaborative community partnerships, and dedicated service providers, Sacramento County recognizes that change is possible for our community and the lives of its valued residents.

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