Parker was a serious basketball fan. At just 8 years old, he saw
the Sacramento Kings in the newspaper and started looking up
their scores after the games. Soon he had the basketball bug and
wanted to learn to play.
Parker joined YMCA Superior California’s after-school program,
which is funded by United Way’s Fit Kids project, and learned a
hard lesson: It’s hard to get the ball in the basket.
Fortunately, a staff member encouraged him to keep practicing.
“She told me it’s important to have good sportsmanship because
it’s fun and good for you,” Parker said.
Marina learned the hard way that the old saying is true:
Sometimes you can’t go home. Marina’s childhood was marked by
addiction – her parents’ addiction and her own. Fortunately, her
probation officer saw her perseverance and determination and sent
her to Koinonia Homes for Teens.
As a foster youth at Koinonia, Marina turned her life around, due
in part to Koinonia’s participation in United Way’s $en$e-Ability
project that helps foster youth become financially literate and
build savings accounts for when they move out on their own.
Ryleigh loves finding a book and seeing what it’s all about. When
asked what this second grader’s favorite book is, she rattles off
“I like reading because you get to go on new adventures and
sometimes they’re animals and sometimes they’re real stories that
actually happened,” Ryleigh said.
The summer before she started first grade, Ryleigh started
attending the Boys & Girls Club of Placer County’s reading
program funded through United Way’s STAR Readers project. She was
reading proficiently, but her mom wanted to make sure she stayed
on track during the long summer months. She worked on letter
naming fluency, sight words, sounding out unfamiliar words, using
Leap Pads to increase her reading competency and reading
one-on-one with volunteers.
Most of us have seen a blind or vision impacted person using a
long white cane, but have you ever appreciated the keen and
well-developed skills such persons must possess to navigate
safely and efficiently using only this simple tool and non-visual
senses to guide them? And did you know that in the greater
Sacramento area there are over 30,000 blind or vision impacted
individuals, or that nationwide this population is expected to
double by the year 2040, or that Baby Boomers are facing the
primary reason for vision loss – simply aging?
Staff referred Madison to United
Way’s STAR Readers project, through which the club is a
funded partner. STAR Readers partners work with children in
kindergarten through third grade to ensure they are reading at
grade level by fourth grade, a key indicator of high school
United Way California Capital Region is proud to have Child
Advocates of Placer County as one of its 142 certified agencies
in our five-county region: Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento
Child Advocates of Placer County began with a Court Appointed
Special Advocate (CASA) program. The program pairs a volunteer
with a foster youth to serve as their mentor and voice in the
court system. There are 300-400 kids in foster care over the
course of a year in Placer County. But the county only has 1
judge, 3 attorneys and 10 social workers to work with these
children. That is where CASA comes in to help.
Thousands of people in Yolo County are on edge hoping the
recession will end before they lose their jobs or
homes. Hundreds of children are going without some of the
most basic comforts because their parents haven’t been able to
make ends meet. They are in need of food, diapers, health
insurance and shelter. Sometimes the stress is too much and
a home becomes violent.
Those are the challenges facing the Yolo County Children’s
Alliance and Child Abuse Prevention Council (YCCA). The
Children’s Alliance is a children’s collaborative working to
improve the well-being of children, youth and families in all the
communities of Yolo County.
At risk youth…how do you become
one? Low-income housing, gangs, violence, drug and/or
alcohol abuse – any and all of these factors put our innocent
young people at risk.
How do you break – what for many children is – a destructive
cycle of simply being born into a tough neighborhood? In
two fortunate Sacramento-area school districts, you can turn to
Omni Youth Programs and their award-winning Peers Against
Substance Abuse (P.A.S.A.) program.
Five years ago, Kathy Green was a staff of one as she provided
counseling services to struggling teens and their families as
part of People
Reaching Out, a United Way certified partner agency.
Today, as director of counseling and support services, Green
oversees a staff of 20 that includes four counselors who are
fluent in Russian, one who speaks Hmong and one who is bilingual
in Spanish. The department is the nonprofit’s fastest growing
They come in all shapes and sizes, ethnicities, genders, age
groups and even income brackets. Yet when they sit down across
from Paula Westeren at the Auburn Library, they all share one
very important thing in common.
There are plenty of excuses not to open up your home to a foster
child waiting to be adopted. Unfortunately, most are based upon
false myths: adoption through foster care is expensive; if your
past isn’t spotless, then you can’t qualify to adopt; children
end up in foster care because they get into trouble with the law;
and if you actually do adopt a child, you’re on your own. “These
are all myths,” says Sara Hanson public relations specialist for
Families, a local organization whose primary goal is finding
and nurturing permanent families for children in foster care.
One alumni waits tables at a nearby restaurant. Another works for
a local wireless telephone company. Another called to report that
she’d just finished college and was about to start teaching in
San Diego. Two “30-something” young men dropped by last week to
say thanks for reaching out to them years ago in juvenile hall
and convincing them to join. Currently, they both are healthy,
happy and employed full-time.
When Jackie’s parents first came to River Oak Center for Children
almost one year ago they had lost hope that anything might
help Jackie’s difficult behavior after it had escalated into
sudden violent fits. Her parents had imagined weekend trips
together; instead, they had to install locks on her windows to
prevent her from jumping out.
The address is 1321 North C Street, but it might just as well be
known as Survival City. On a typical afternoon last month, nearly
800 people came to the village of services operated by Loaves and
Fishes for a nutritious hot lunch, a chance to shower, emergency
schooling for children aged 3 to 15, or safe daytime shelter. In
all, Loaves and Fishes offers 14 programs – including
Maryhouse and Mustard Seed School — for people who have fallen
on hard times. And there are more of them than ever.
For many, the past two years have been some of the toughest times
ever experienced. Unemployment is at record levels, and even
those with jobs have seen their incomes stagnate or decline in
response to the economy. During normal times, the problems of
domestic violence and sexual assault are all too frequent;
however, with the added pressures of a weak economy problems such
as these are on the rise.
If you were facing a difficult situation, one you realized you
couldn’t fix on your own, and you knew of a free or low-cost
service that could help you solve it, wouldn’t you jump at that
opportunity? And yet, convincing people to take advantage of
their services before it’s too late is one of the biggest
challenges ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions faces.
When Leona Jull says that the mission of the Yolo Wayfarer Center
is to “inspire hope and courage,” she doesn’t take those words
lightly. As Executive Director, Leona knows that sometimes hope
and courage are all that prevent a homeless person from getting
back on the path toward a healthy and happy life. “We help people
see that there is hope beyond being addicted, beyond being
homeless. We try to paint a picture of that hope for the future,”
The ability to work is something that most of us take for
granted. In fact, it’s an opportunity not given to everyone – a
point made painfully clear to millions of people unemployed by
the recent recession. But there’s a segment of our population
that struggles to find work regardless of what the economy is
doing: people with disabilities. In fact, while California
suffers under 12% unemployment, the unemployment rate among
people with disabilities runs nearly 65%. Worse, people with
disabilities are up to five times more likely to live in poverty.
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