Hopefully, by the time you read this, we will have elected a President, but I doubt it. Our country is divided in many ways, but we are still one people. During my time in the Marine Corps, I learned to be friends with people who disagreed with me on everything. That is one of the strengths of our military. I wish more people were able to experience that bond of brotherhood.
Last month I took a motorcycle ride that went through Wyoming. Many of the rural towns were filled with people who did not wear masks, while others were requiring them. One gas station would not let more than 3 people in the door at a time and required masks. The next town would have crowds of people in the station, no one wearing a mask. I always wear a mask in public.
When I was in one store paying for my bottle of water, I asked the clerk about masks. She said they did not have COVID-19 in their town and believed the whole thing was a hoax. I told her that I was from California, where everyone knows someone who has had the virus. I then said that I am wearing a mask because while I do not think I have the virus; I do not want to take the risk of exposing the good people of their town. She smiled and thanked me for my consideration.
Please wear a mask. I am indestructible, bullet proof and impervious to all illnesses – but you may not be. I wear a mask because if I am infected, I do not want to make others ill. I do not want the illness or death of other people on my conscious because I chose to endanger their lives by not wearing a mask.
The most important holiday in our nation, Veterans Day, is this month. Veterans are taught to take care of each other. Use this as an opportunity to wear a patriotic mask. Help protect our country from this deadly virus. If we all do our part, we can get through this together.
Family Assistance came together to pay respect and honor to a beautiful young lady who became the ultimate victim of domestic violence. We were all brought to tears listening to what a beautiful soul Jacqueline Hernandez was! Everyone gathered as Jacqueline’s favorite songs were played. There was a flock of birds that flew above as each song would play. They seemed to dance to the music not missing a beat. We knew then that Jacqueline was with us. It was an amazing and touching moment that took our breath away! Jacqueline was a mom to two boys and was incredibly young herself.
We would like to give props to Miss Jobi Wood for doing such a wonderful job organizing the event. Jobi was a rock star and it was obvious that she was passionate about making sure Jacqueline and her family were given respect, care, and support from us all. Jobi we want to tell you that you are an utterly amazing advocate and human being! You make us proud to be in the same bubble with you!
During the event there was a bake sale fundraiser and two raffle giveaways. The bake sale brought in over $500!! The raffles were for a Tupperware set and the other for a 3-hour tattoo session. Can you guess who won the tattoo session? Well, as it should be it was Miss Wood! Thank you again everyone that came and supported. It may be painful, but it’s important that we stand tall and use our voices for those who can’t.
Spooky season felt like it arrived so fast this year and trick-or-treating was a no go, so on October 30th Hope House was happy to host a Halloween party for the participants, their children, and for those who are now in our transitional program! The children were able to dress up in costumes, some of our favorites were Spiderman, the Elephant, the Banana (a classic) and several princesses. The children were able to play carnival-like games like bowling with tins and pong games where pinecones are tossed in mason jars filled with candy and other prizes.
Hope House staff showed their Halloween spirit by coming in with matching Wonder Woman costumes, one staff member even dressed up as a butterfly! As the day was winding down everyone enjoyed the potluck goods ranging from homemade tamales to mac and cheese. All in all, it was a great day for everyone to forget about the craziness in the world and focus on family, the present, and the fleeting moments of watching their kids just be kids.
The donation that we received from the anonymous donor from Jess Ranch Community Church really helped our Open Door clients. The participants that received part of her donation had this to say:
“I am very grateful for all the donations, time, and effort from the people from the open door and the ones who donated to me and my children personally. It means a lot not just financially but also the emotional support. Thank you!”
“I just want to say to open door that I am so grateful for everything you have helped me with because when I came in your program I was so broken, negative, hated life, full of depression, didn’t trust anybody, and had my guard up. Within the few couple of months that I was in your program, I learned how to forgive and let go and learned how to speak positive. I learned the difference between unhealthy people and healthy people. After leaving the program, I moved into my own place and I’m working now. I’m just so grateful for everything that open door has done for me.”
We serviced 561 individuals for October and provided clothing to 153 individuals during our weekly hygiene and clothing giveaway. We assisted 77 individuals with replacement ID vouchers so they can obtain their ID’s.
Many of our clients have shared their happiness with us because we’ve helped them receive replacement ID’s, which is sometimes the first step to being able to access other services. They have expressed their gratitude to us for being able to provide this service.
We offered 35 bus passes to individuals to attend their court hearings, job interviews, and appointments. We received great feedback from our community members in Downtown Victorville for having our mail ballot drop box available. Many community members came by the office to thank us for having the drop box available.
Next Step is proud to announce that we have participants who voted in the 2020 election. We encouraged everyone to let their voice be heard and that their voice matters.
“It’s really important for American’s to have their own voting rights to choose who they want to run the country. I have been voting for 36 years and each election is very important to me. 2020 is different and especially important; all people should be treated the same.” – Next Step Voter
Next Step is excited to share with you our new property! We appreciate the opportunities we have to provide a home and stability to our Next Step clients. We are thankful for any donations to make it feel like home that you may be able to give to our new property. Please contact email@example.com with any donations or more information.
This month at Next Step Morongo Basin, staff was able to build strong professional relationships and collaborate services with substance abuse treatment and mental health programs. Since this pandemic has begun there has been tremendous stress placed on individuals and families at the intersection of finances, mental and physical health, and education and childcare. With so many people struggling now more than ever with mental and behavioral health, the Program Manager and staff at Next Step Morongo Basin have put an even greater emphasis on building community partners in the mental and behavioral health arena so that we can take a holistic perspective to empowering our clients and linking them to the services that they are requiring.
This month we also had a past client by the name of Mark come by to thank our Program Manager for the help he received while in our program. He has decided to give back through volunteerism and encouraging current clients and demonstrating that anything is possible. He is pictured below with our Program Manager Tamara Towles and client Cory. Even in this time of social distancing we are still sticking together for the greater good of our community!
Our Fam Spot crew attended the Y102 first ever drive thru Trunk or Treat event on Thursday October 29th and was a huge success. As a group, we served over 507 cars, trucks and SUV’s – which contained over 2000 children in costumes. They came from all over the High Desert, riding through, 2,3,4,5 and as many as 10 kids at a time. People began lining up at 1:30 for our event, which started at 4pm.
At times, the line to get in stretched almost 2 miles, some waited 2-2.5 hours. Despite the challenges of the world, we live in, there were many kids and their families who went to bed happy because they got to experience the Trunk or Treat!
Since our grand opening in September 2020, My Place has provided a safe space for over a dozen clients. Our doors are open to Youths 11-17 years of age, who may face struggles at home, homeless youth, foster and victims of human trafficking. Walking into My Place, one would never assume it to be the typical “youth shelter”. Clients are welcomed to a beautiful home with a family-like atmosphere, where we work as a team to keep the house running smoothly.
Through our group sessions, we get to know each other on many levels, which allows us to fine tune the programs we offer to each client. We strive to ensure that each youth is getting the help they need to cope and react more effectively to traumas at home and tools to help deescalate issues they may face in life. At My Place clients can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with shelter and basic needs, nutritious meals, various counseling sessions including anger management, and the empowerment that comes with the ability to make big decisions for their future.
We hope to positively influence every Youth that comes to My Place and will continue to put our best efforts forward to empower the youth and guide them to successful endeavors in the future. If you would like to tour My Place, please feel free to contact our Shelter Manager Shelly Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott was referred by the principal of Victor Valley High School in Victorville to our youth shelter program. The principal informed us that Scott was carrying luggage around the campus and other students were saying he was homeless. When I met with the principal to talk about his situation, Scott did confirm he was sleeping behind the AM-PM and Circle K gas stations.
Scott shared with us how he became homeless with no support. His mother had asked him to leave the home when he admitted to her that he was gay. The mother did not handle it well. Scott’s older brother started chasing him around the table trying to stab him yelling at him, “No brother of mine is gay!”. Scott was referred to our TAY program last October 2019. Scott was housed immediately in our youth shelter in Victorville. He continued to attend school every day. Before the first week was over, he got into an altercation in school with a female where they both fought. The school expelled Scott, the parents of the girl called the cops and pressed charges. The case ended up in court. Scott was arrested, during this time we continued to attend court dates for support and stayed in contact with Scott, his mother, and his attorney.
During the court dates and negotiation to have the charges dropped we continued to have a positive outlook for him and support. Scott was released from court and was ordered to live with his mother, attend anger management classes, change schools, and take medication. He did everything the court ordered. In May 2019 he graduated High School and is now looking for a job and possibly attending college in 2021. He would also like to start volunteering. We believe that if we continue to give the right resources and support, we can make a difference in someone’s life.
LA Times Homeless Youth Article
– Levi Deatherage, manager of the Family Assistance Program, a local shelter and outreach organization in San Bernardino, said he didn’t know that his high school had a liaison when he himself was struggling with homelessness. “We are expecting these young people to operate at a level of productive thinking and foresight that is really difficult to maintain when you are actively focused on survival,” he said. –
We are so excited that since partnering with No Drugs America Association, Inc. back in May of 2018 and utilizing their “A Way Back Substance Use Disorder Program”, we have had over 400 adults and over 300 youth attend the program from San Bernardino Courts, Child and Family Services, San Bernardino County Probation, local schools, and as far away as San Francisco. This is an Effective Evidence Proven Educational and Motivational Interviewing Program that had to go from live in person classes to online Zoom classes since the pandemic. The program has been received positively from its participants and has been proven to be successful for those who stayed the course and completed the twelve recommended one-hour classes. Here is a testimony from one of our participants:
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.