Every December San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department presents the Gift of Love to all the Domestic Violence Shelters in the county. Usually this event is held at an undisclosed location and all the participants are taken there and is an all-day event. However, this year due to COVID 19 this event was different. The Sheriffs Department came to us instead.
We did not let the children know what was going to happen that day. We had the children make Christmas Cards and cookies. They pulled up with a UHaul and backed it up in the driveway. Several cars pulled up with it. The whole group began removing gift bags for our participants. Santa and Mrs. Claus also arrived. The whole group came into the house and greeted the children. Gifts were handed out to the families and pictures were taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. As everyone was leaving each one of the children gave one of the Sheriffs, Santa and Mrs. Claus their own Christmas Card and a bag of homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies.
This made the participants day. We would like to thank Jana and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department for putting on this event for us again this year. They came through even with this pandemic going on.
Participant C. A. has recently graduated from the Culinary Arts program at Open Gate International. After overcoming many obstacles this year, this participant did not let anything stop her from reaching her goal from graduating from Open Gate International despite any circumstances that she faced. Now she is on to bigger and better things and already has her first Culinary job lined up.
Participant M. S. recently moved out of our Open Door Transitional Housing program. She is now she is living on her own for the first time with her young son. Family Assistance Program has been able to help this participant during the times that she needed it the most and we’re still helping her to get settled into her new home. She says, “This would not have been possible without Open Door’s help, and I am truly thankful to have their help still.”
Participant A.C. was able to stay sober while pregnant and has given birth to a beautiful and healthy baby. She continues working on her sobriety and has goals to stay clean and healthy to provide a better future for her and her daughter. She is enrolled in school and is working towards her high school diploma. We are so thankful that she has allowed us to walk alongside her during her journey.
Participant T. V. has passed her driver’s test and officially has her driver’s license. With the help of her advocate T.V. applied for a few jobs and was recently hired at Target! Participant continues attending college online and is looking forward to many more great accomplishments!
Lastly, we are happy to see another one of our participants off. After moving from drop-in center services to our transitional program, this participant was able to heal, work, and save to move into her first “safe place” since being out of the life. This participant is happy that even though she is now on the road to self-sufficiency, she knows she can still look to the Open Door for support when she needs it.
Open Door is truly grateful for all of the support from our donors, board, staff members, community partners, and people like you. Thank you again for everything that you have done for all of our participants!
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Join us for a candlelight vigil honoring the missing and lost on January 11th at 5pm.
Our next 40 Hour Human Trafficking Advocacy Training is coming up February 1st – 26th. This will be our second virtual 40 Hour HT training on Zoom since the pandemic started. Save the date, registration opens on January 4th.
We serviced 276 individuals for November and provided clothing to 91 individuals during our weekly hygiene and clothing giveaway. We assisted 38 individuals with replacement ID vouchers so they can obtain their ID’s. We offered 23 bus passes to individuals to attend their court hearings, job interviews, and appointments. We received a generous donation of beanies and scarves that we have been able to pass out during our hygiene and clothing giveaway. Our clients appreciate that we are able to continue doing our clothing and hygiene giveaway during these times.
Jess Ranch Community Church, who always donates to us, reached out to Cristina because they wanted to provide us with Christmas donations. We are thankful for all donations we receive at the Community Center. We are blessed to have Cristina and Magali, who can sort and organize the donations we receive. We’ve been able to assist program participants and community members with scheduling COVID testing. Our staff assisted in Victor Valley Rescue Mission’s Scrub n Grub event on November 25, 2020. We had staff assisting with distributing food, hand sanitizers, and ensuring that all chairs and tables are sanitized. It was nice seeing the community get together to ensure that our unsheltered community could enjoy a hot meal.
Next Step would like to wish the community a safe and Happy Holiday. We appreciate all of your donations and words of encouragement. The wonderful donations of Christmas trees helped bring out the Christmas spirit in all of our homes. The kids were able to help decorate the tree, putting up lights and ornaments and candy canes. The adults can feel the warmth it brings to their house we are so appreciative of that. It’s the little bits of support that can mean the most.
Here at Next Step, we have a group of diverse staff from all walks of life. This is what makes us better case managers, better people, and can help us better serve the re-entry population. We are able to use tools like restorative justice to help maintain a peaceful, healthy environment where people can thrive. We pride ourselves on making our homes a safe place to grow; a safe place to heal. We are working with all of our participants to help them reach their goals and we are proud of how far they have come this year. Everyday is an opportunity to grow and we’re all a work in progress; we’re never finished growing. We thank all of you for including us as part of the community!
This month community members are really coming together! As you can see in the picture below our volunteer Paul is helping participants set up Christmas trees as we prepare to do our annual cookie bake and Christmas ornament craft party. Family Assistance Program is grateful for the donations that help bring cheer to our participants during this holiday season.
The Fam Spot 2 has had our regular youth attendance this holiday season. We are continuing to practice safety and cleanliness, especially during this time due to health and safety concerns. We have been preparing stockings stuffed with goodies and two gift cards each for our youth at the center. Our youth will be helping to make Christmas cards and collect lap blankets from the community for our dialysis patients to make their holiday brighter here in the Morongo Basin. We will be having a cookie bake and craft day the week before Christmas for our youth at the center and our participants at the Next-Step Housing, followed up with a nice holiday dinner. We are excited to be almost through 2020 and will be doing our best to make sure everyone makes it to 2021 together and healthy!
Our Transitional Age Youth (TAY) are on fire! They have been using this time to work and go to school. Over the last two months nine of our participants have gained employment. Many of our TAY youth participants have been looking for work for many weeks with no success, and for some of them this is the first job that they have ever had. We are so proud of two of our participants that will transfer to CAL State University in April of next year. It is very rewarding to see these young people who are in transition from state custody or foster care environments and are at-risk get help to lead them on the path to success!
Thank you to Home Depot in Victorville and Apple Valley for donating 18 Christmas trees so all of our shelters, homes, and centers could have a Christmas tree for the holidays!
Family Assistance Program envisions a community where each person has a loving, nurturing home life. We provide the tools necessary to create healthy interpersonal relationships, economic empowerment, and stable housing.