2013 Grants, Focus Area: youth development
CASA of El Dorado County
Our grant will match Title IV funding to help train 60 new volunteer advocates and provide continuing education for another 130 volunteer advocates throughout the year.
The target population is 350-400 children per year in El Dorado County who experience abuse and neglect and, as a consequence, end up removed from their homes and placed in foster care. These children range in age from 0-19. Statistically, over half are under the age of 7. The children need an independent advocate who can act as a consistent positive adult in their life and speak on their behalf to the child welfare system. CASA advocates help the courts decide what services these children need in the short term to help them recover and what placement options will serve them best in the long term. This past calendar year there were 91 children with no advocate.
CASA’s ability to recruit, screen, and train new advocates is one of the main obstacles that stand in the way of serving each child.
Assistance League of Sierra Foothills
The Assistance League of Sierra Foothills (ALSF) is receiving $13,000 to assist in the funding of their program, “Operation School Bell.” This program is organized and managed by volunteers. Their goal is to serve 500 or more underprivileged and homeless school children, ages 5-17. 100% of the grant award goes directly to providing school clothes for these children. Shopping trips are coordinated with designated schools and retailers in the community. The children, their parents/guardians, and ALSF volunteers shop for the appropriate school attire. Each child is given a voucher worth up to $100 to purchase school clothing. As the children exit from their shopping experience each child also receives a coupon for a free haircut donated by local merchants, and a book purchased by the ALSF.
Since 2010 the Operation School Bell program has provided 856 disadvantaged children in El Dorado County with new school clothes.
Our grant to Hands4Hope (H4H) will help “Project Grow” expand its program, engaging youth in service to our community, into 3 new schools. Currently, 1,140 youth are engaged in H4H Clubs at 6 local schools and H4H programs at 10 schools. This grant creates an opportunity for 60 additional youth to be involved in H4H’s Club program at schools, provides a home base for youth to do their work during non-school hours and the summer, and allows H4H to add 2,000 hours of youth community volunteer time.
H4H does not duplicate other services; they lend a helping hand to existing programs. By providing assistance to such programs as New Morning’s Emergency Youth Shelter and the Food Bank of El Dorado County, these young members are taking part in civic responsibility, as well as gaining valuable skills and experience. Not only does each successful endeavor help the community, individual members also gain self-esteem, confidence, and self-sufficiency.
Women and Children: Placerville Union School District
Within the Placerville Union School District, Schnell School has more than double the population of homeless students than the other two district schools. By law, students meeting the federal definition of homelessness must be provided free meals as well as transportation to and from school. With limited state funds, the Family Resource Center at Schnell School strives to eliminate barriers to academic success for homeless students. Because of the high population of homeless students, a Para Educator position needs to be reinstated for one hour per day to help identify and meet these students’ basic needs. Our grant will pay the Para Educator’s salary for one hour per day during the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
Senior Support Services: Senior Peer Counseling of El Dorado County
Since 1988, the Senior Peer Counseling (SPC) Program has offered no-cost, clinically supervised, individual counseling to El Dorado County residents 55 years of age and older. Based on past surveys, mental health services for older adults are the most under-met need in El Dorado County. During 2013 – 2014 the program expects to serve approximately 50 seniors suffering from grief, depression, loss, health and other life challenges related to aging. Participants will develop the tools to increase their independence and enjoyment of life. Volunteer counselors require extensive training and receive weekly supervision from a licensed mental health clinician. With our grant, the SPC can partially fund the clinical supervisor during the fiscal year.
Physical Health and Mental Health: The Infant Parent Center
The Infant Parent Center (IPC) provides comprehensive psychotherapeutic and supportive services to El Dorado County families who are at risk for infant and child abuse or neglect due to mental health issues and/or poor coping abilities. Founded in 2008, the IPC is the only agency in El Dorado County with infant mental health specialists trained to serve families from preconception to their child’s third year of life. Through referrals from Child Protective Services, area hospitals, the court system and other agencies, the Center expects to serve approximately 95 families this year. Our grant will directly support 67 client visits for families unable to pay.