In a year that has been dominated by the pandemic, there has been some good. We were finally able to open our new youth shelter in Victorville. We also added several transitional housing locations. We moved our San Bernardino center to a more accessible location. We also expanded our reentry program to include an array of services for women exiting prison. As an agency, we were able to pivot to the changing needs of our community and still provide all of our services.
Covid has been a challenge. We have had 31 staff members contract the virus. This is nearly half of our team. We have lost over 3,000 hours of work, had to cancel our monthly Taco Tuesdays and our annual gala. More importantly, we have had staff members in the hospital, staff members with immediate family members in the hospital and even a couple of deaths in our immediate family. This virus has hurt individuals, families, and business across our nation. We are looking forward to the vaccine and hope that our world will open up soon.
On the bright side, this pandemic has caused a massive infusion of cash into research using mRNA. This is where the vaccine was developed. This same technology is being used to treat cancers, tumors, rabies, malaria, and a host of other illnesses. In the future, we may have a cure for cancer that is barely an inconvenience. My hope is that something good can come from the tremendous sacrifices being made. Until then, I will stay home whenever possible, and keep wearing my mask when in public.
Hope House would like to acknowledge the hard work of our participant Katelyn! Katelyn has been at Hope House for a short time and already found full time employment in the medical field. When Katelyn came into our program, she had to let go of her small business selling baked goods, but now is ecstatic to regain employment and dive back into that hobby she loves so much. Katelyn is so grateful for the help she got through Family Assistance Program that she plans to give back in any way she can. Katelyn stated, “I didn’t even know places like this existed, and it was a wakeup call when I came in here and saw other people with the same struggle, so I need to pay things forward.” Katelyn plans to eventually become a DV advocate herself when the time is right and feels she’s in a place where she can better help.
Hope House is always happy to help and spread awareness on the issue of domestic violence, so we were pleased to hear that she wants to come back to give time to help other participants. Hope House would like to thank Katelyn for reminding us that the work we do does not go unnoticed.
The Open Door was able to gift every participant a stocking this year which included giftcards, hygiene items, journals and other goodies as well as clothing and shoes. In addition, Family Assistance Program provided many clients with rental assistance, housing needs and other items by holiday gift. We are grateful to Run 2 Rescue, Maddison Street Boutique, Sheriffs Employees Benefits Association and our volunteers for making this a great holiday season.
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Join us for one of our events.
Our next 40 Hour Human Trafficking Advocacy Training is coming up February 1st – 26th. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 5pm – 9pm. This will be our second virtual 40 Hour HT training on Zoom since the pandemic started. Registration is open.
We serviced 220 individuals for December and provided clothing to 65 individuals during our weekly hygiene and clothing giveaway. We assisted 26 individuals with replacement ID vouchers so they can obtain their ID’s. We offered 16 bus passes to individuals to attend their court hearings, job interviews, and appointments. 13 class participants have received a certificate of completion for participating in anger management and parenting classes.
We’ve been very fortunate to receive Costco donations during this time, which has allowed us to share with the programs. We continue helping staff and community members with scheduling COVID-19 testing. Jobi helped one of our Community Center clients who was struggling with obtaining her medication because she had no ID. Luckily, Jobi had assisted this client previously and had a copy of her insurance card and was able to speak to the pharmacist on behalf of the client. Because Jobi was able to advocate for our client, we could ensure that she got the medication she needed. Additionally, we were able to provide the client with an ID voucher to get them their replacement ID.
For Christmas at Open Arms we had plans to do a large event providing an opportunity for some of the young people in our program to have a holiday celebration. However, due to social distancing guidelines we were unable to have an event on the scale we had hoped. We still had about 10 youth come in, some from Our House and from our own neighborhood. They got to play video games and have Domino’s Pizza delivered (that was the youth’s choice) and they all received a jacket and a backpack thanks to the donations from within the agency as well as our community partners.
Open Arms is still operating at a normal as a pace as possible providing resources and support to our community’s young people. We still are being safe as we require a mask and will always provide one upon entry if needed. For more information please email email@example.com
We are looking for any young people (aged 14-25) interested in bettering their communities in various ways. This year we have many exciting opportunities lined up such as community clean ups, street outreach for our unhoused neighbors, setting up events like the Open Arms Christmas Party and policy education and activism. We also will provide all members a $15/hr stipend for every YAB meeting they attend. We typically meet Fridays at 4pm. But if this time does not work for our members, we offer the opportunity to change this timing if majority agrees.
Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information!
In December our Morongo Basin Next Step Program received donations of Christmas Trees from Lowe’s that our participants were able to decorate. We also received a surprise visit from Santa Claus, as you can see our participants were thrilled! Thank you to our community for making this possible. The trees turned out to be gorgeous.
In December FAM Spot 2 received a donated Christmas tree from Lowe’s that staff was able to engage our youth in decorating while enjoying snacks and hot chocolate. It was a nice holiday experience and brightened up our center.
At My Place we are continuing to thrive and help the youth of our county. We have had several success stories since we have have opened in August 2020. There is one that we would like to share with you:
A female client that was with us for a little under a month came to us through CFS as a temporary placement. She wasn’t happy at any prior placement, was fighting with staff and clients and about to turn 18. She felt lost and didn’t want to accept help. She wanted everything the way she expected it to be. Being at our shelter, she was shown love and care over several weeks (even though she pushed back and was defiant with us, as well). The staff did not give up on her and continued showing her love and compassion. We continued to push through and try to teach her the responsibilities of being an adult. When she departed, we were unsure as to what she took from our program or if she was going to apply anything we went over in our many groups and talks with her. To our surprise, about a month ago there was a knock at the door and it was her, here to tell us thank you. She got her own apartment, following the direction of her social worker, saving a percent of her check (as we went over in one of our groups) to buy a car, and she is working on trying to establish credit.
I always tell the staff that I know we have some tough clients, I know we might not be successful with them all and they might show their tough side but if we continue to show them love even on their roughest days, they will remember it. If we can be one positive change, it can have a HUGE impact in their life. And the above story is proof of that.
Going into the New Year, we will continue to be those positive people in our youth client’s lives, continue to show them love and care, build relationships with them and hope for many more success stories.
Happy New Years
From the staff at
We want to take this opportunity to thank Bath and Body Works in the Victor Valley Mall for your generous donation to fill the Christmas wish lists of our transitional age youth clients. The youth clients were ecstatic to receive the presents that they asked for, as our youth transitioning from foster care sometime feel forgotten or left out. We truly appreciate the giving hearts at Bath and Body Works for doing this for our organization!
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.