Programs 2015 – 2016 Funded
Program: Los Banos Emergency Assistance
Agency Funded: Bethel Community Church
Maintains a food pantry so there is a source for emergency assistance to individuals and families to receive food assistance providing healthy; nourishing food that enables the recipient to provide a well-balanced meal; thus, eating healthier; learning to change their diets and making healthier choices; thereby, having an immense impact on the fight against food insecurity; extreme poverty; obesity and malnutrition.
Our geographical area principally has a large percentage of unemployment and poverty level families which are escalating and due to the economic downswing throughout our nation combined with the extreme lack of water will continue to rise making it more vital that there is a source of healthy emergency food available.
An emergency food distribution is done every Friday and on an emergency basis and fresh fruit; vegetables and bread are distributed weekly. A well balanced hot meal is served every Friday to the general public.
Bethel Community provides and works with other organizations to help those that are genuinely in need to receive as much available assistance.
Works with Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to help families learn how to budget; get out of debt and be secure in their financial future.
Our goals are: Hunger abatement; people have healthier diets and eating habits; extreme poverty; malnutrition; and obesity will be abridged and people become financially stable and self-sustaining.
Program: LIFE – Life’s Insights for Everyone
Agency Funded: CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)
Children in foster care need to be better prepared to make decisions and judicious choices regarding school and other aspects of life. Recent studies show that within 12-18 months after exiting foster care; 54% earn a high school diploma, 2% earn a bachelor’s degree, 84% become a parent and 51% are unemployed. The focus of CASA’s Life’s Insights For Everyone (LIFE) Program is to improve the outcomes for these foster youth by working with students between the ages of 12-18 and their Advocates.
CASA staff and volunteers will use a variety of methods in the LIFE Program to prepare students to make sensible and wise decisions regarding their future. Youth will understand how school links directly to life and work roles. They will identify their personal interests, skills, learning styles, and values and explore community employment opportunities. Strategies include: Role playing and simulations, career path exploration, self-exploration, portfolio development, field trips, group projects and work experience.
The long term goals of the LIFE Program are to increase the number of foster youth graduating from high school, attending college or another form of higher education and increase the percentage of foster youth employed and involved in the community.
Program: “Saving Sight”
Agency Funded: COVE (Center of Vision Enhancement)
“Saving Sight” is a project that will address eye health. The program’s goals include assisting those in our community who are dealing with vision difficulties and diseases with information, resources, services, and support. The program will assist clients in getting visual aids, such as glasses and magnifiers. It will also assist in clients getting accessible assistive devices to help monitor health concerns that effect sight.
Besides visual aids and assistive devices, the program will include presentations and nutritionist-led support groups. These will assist clients in attaining and maintaining better nutritional habits for diseases such as diabetes and hypertension that can effect sight and prevent further loss of sight.
Program: Support for physically impaired and their families
Agency Funded: Cerebral Palsy Association of Merced County
Our program’s most direct priority is to support the efforts toward independence in the community – ECPECIALLY AS THIS PERTAINS DIRECTLY AT THERAPY GOALS (access to equipment, therapy, medical intervention, and opportunity to “grow”/learn therapeutic/medical intention). Individuals (and their families) find themselves of some need at various times to attain equipment, programs (therapeutic and/or educational), and emergency support on their “road” to independence, making good healthy choices, and a “full” participation in their medical interaction and healthy community participation.
Program: Youth Education & Employment Services (YES)
Agency Funded: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service Center
The YES program focuses on preparing Deaf and Hard of Hearing teens for transition from the K-12 school environment to life after graduation, including postsecondary education and future employment. Staff will provide group and one-on-one sessions with these teens to provide them with a jump start on planning their future and setting goals for independence, including obtaining postsecondary credentials by the time they are 25.
DHHSC staff will schedule group sessions wherever possible, and one-on-one appointments whenever necessary. Regular visits with the students would include provision of community education and independent living skills instruction. DHHSC staff will provide hands-on activities that focus on a variety of topics designed for preparing for this next chapter in their lives. This will include, but is not limited to: preparing for college or vocational school, living independently and becoming familiar with the process of including employment.
The YES program will provide a total of at least 20 sessions where the greatest impact can be made within Merced County.
Although there is no limit on the number of Deaf or Hard of Hearing teens who can participate in the YES program, we hope to serve at a minimum 25 youth.
In the Spring of 2016, we will host a YES Job Awareness Fair in our Fresno Headquarters’ community room. This fair will include booths facilitated by Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals from various occupations. They will share their job experiences and hopefully provide students with added inspiration. It is crucial that these students meet Deaf and Hard of Hearing professionals so they can see for themselves that the ability or inability to hear does not affect the ability wot work or pursue degrees from institutions of higher learning.
Program: Emergency Food Program
Agency Funded: Dos Palos Youth in Crisis and Outreach
This program meets the needs of all who are having a problematic time making ends meet and must rely on an emergency food provider to help them through until the can get other assistance by providing a place that people can come to under hardship circumstances to receive healthy; nourishing emergency food to feed their families.
Emergency food assistance helps them get back on their feet and become self-sustaining; thus, allowing them to have enough resources to meet other essential obligations; i.e.; stay in their home; have gas to get to work and/or attend programs by other organizations designed to help them and still feed their families and/or themselves.
Our goals are to do our part to abate extreme poverty; hunger; malnutrition and obesity. Those in need of food assistance in these economic depressed times, will have a source of nutritional food; thus; families/individuals eating habits and diets become healthier; as a result, health issues reduced.
Assist people in getting help from other agencies that provide services to the same clientele, so that, they can get assistance i.e.: food stamps; unemployment benefits and/or education opportunities that enable them to learn another vocation and become self-sustaining.
Program: Center for Grief & Healing and Angel Babies
Agency Funded: Hinds Hospice
The Center for Grief & Healing and Angel Babies provides compassionate care and support to serve the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs of families and community members
who have lost their loves ones. Thirteen months of bereavement support, support groups, and individual counseling is made available to these families and our community members.
The primary goal of this program is to serve those who are grieving the significant loss of a loved one through death. They need to be given support and the tools in which to grow through grief. Receiving help at this time allows for the development of healthy coping skills that will assist a person throughout life. Not having the tools or the opportunity to grieve may lead to the use of unhealthy mechanisms such as behavioral changes, and the possibility of self-medicating through the use of drugs and alcohol.
Program: Merced Area Crime Stoppers
Agency Funded: Merced Area Crime Stoppers
Over the years many studies have shown that person(s) with knowledge of criminal activity do not report that information to authorities for two main reasons. The most prevalent reason is they are afraid of reprisal against themselves, their families or their property. The second reason is they are apathetic to the needs of the community and just don’t care enough to become involved. This program addresses both of these concerns.
Merced Area Crime Stoppers allows a person(s) who has knowledge of criminal activity to report that activity through Crime Stoppers to law enforcement authorities. They always remain anonymous which eliminates any fear of reprisal by the perpetrator of the crime. The only questions asked of a reporting person are their knowledge of the crime. No attempt is ever made to identify that person for any prosecution purposes. The way the program addresses the apathy to become involved is to provide monetary reward which encourages a person(s) who would simply not take the initiative to report the information.
The program has one main goal. That goal is to make Merced County a better place to live by reducing the amount of crime in the county. That goal is attained by causing the arrest of perpetrators of crime, thus removing them from the opportunity to victimize other persons. WE are effective because we receive criminal information that person(s) in the county would not pass on if they had to contact law enforcement directly. We provide a safe buffer.
We operate by providing a number of methods a person can communicate with the program. We maintain four separate communications links that can be utilized by a reporting person. They include a phone tip line number, text tips, email tips and a smart phone application.
This program exists to enhance the quality of life for all Merced County residents.
Program: Emergency Feeding
Agency Funded: Merced County Food Bank
The Merced County Food Bank is the hub of nonprofit food collection and distribution in the County, supplying the bulk of the food that many local agencies need to serve those living in poverty. We partner with our member agencies to provide healthier food to programs in underserved neighborhoods through grocery pantries, senior programs and hot meal kitchens.
The emergency food providers (EFP) of Merced and Mariposa County receive almost 100% of their emergency food supplies through the Merced County Food Bank (MCFB). The MCFB secures and supplies fresh, frozen, processed and commodity foods to all emergency food providers.
Program: Children’s Concerts
Agency Funded: Merced Symphony Association
Provide music enrichment education with Children’s concerts in January 2016 at the historic Merced Theatre and at the Pacheco High School Theater (Los Banos). These concerts will showcase classical, orchestral music performed by professional musicians and offer interactive activities for about 3,000. These concerts are geared to 4th grade students, the school year prior to the year in which they can sign up for band/orchestra at their school. Winners of specific teaching materials are distributed to the classroom teachers to enhance the students’ experience. Teachers and students are encouraged to submit post-concert evaluation forms to help us improve next year’s concerts.
The MSA children’s Concerts fill the ever increasing gap between the “have nots” in our community. Research indicates that music stimulates creativity as well as increasing appreciation and understanding of the many cultures in our area. Students need a well-rounded education, including music, to stimulate all areas of the brain.
Program: Critical Home Repair for families in need.
Agency Funded: Habitat for Humanity Westside Merced County
Critical Home Repair for families in need has been selected as the main priority this year. This is a home preservation program that provides needed interior and exterior repair for low-income homeowners, so that they may maintain a safe, decent, and affordable place to live. This program focuses on safety, security, accessibility, weatherization and keeping houses up to city codes.
In conjunction with the repair program, we will be establishing a training program for more than 50 residents and community members to learn work force training in construction and home maintenance skills. Self-sufficiency skills and asset development are interwoven in all the activities provided.
Program: Scared Rok Yosemite Youth Trips
Agency Funded: Scared Rok
We work with small groups, no more than 4 young people at a time, to support building relationships with the trip leader and being able to focus on each young person. We have developed a strong relationship with the Boys & Girls Club mentors, who recruit the participants and accompany them on the trips.
This year we propose to take 16-32 Merced County teenagers on a total of eight day-trips and a camping trip to Yosemite National Park. We also take the Boys & Girls Club members on a camping trip at the Tuolumne Meadows Campground, visiting Tenaya Lake, hiking up Lempert Dome, listening to the Yosemite naturalist at the campfire, and hiking to Cathedral Lakes.
They will learn to slow down and calm down, sitting by a river or taking a hike and experience nature. The goal is to build a relationship with nature, through mentoring with a positive adult role model and increase self-esteem, impulse control and anger control. We build healthy communities through long-term relationships and follow-up trips with the trip leader.
Program: UC Merced Food Pantry
Agency Funded: UC Merced Food Pantry
The UCM Food Pantry program, through partnership with Merced County Food Band and USDA, is a once-a-month food distribution. The off-campus site is located at the Merced College Tri-College space making it convenient for both off campus students and community members. The distribution provides healthy food for students and low-income community members who are struggling to make ends meet. The food provided whether for 1 individual, or increased amounts for larger households, assures the recipients they will have basic nutritious food and removes the worry of having to skip meals. In addition, the program also provides education about safe food handling, cooking and storage tips, etc.
Program: Valley Crisis Center
Agency Funded: Alliance for Community Transformations
This year Valley Crisis we are hosting Parent Support groups three times a month, once in Merced at the office, once at the shelter, and once in Los Banos, during daytime hours. Our Parent Support Groups will provide a space for parents from all walks of life to meet and talk about what is most important, their families. The support groups will be a mix of parenting tips from the Nurturing Parenting Program curriculum. These sessions will provide time for parents to learn from one another, make meaningful connections, heal from trauma and create a safer home. Empowering parents to learn and grow alongside on another builds community connectedness and a healthy beginning for children.
Program: Save Our Youth (SOY)
Agency Funded: Save Our Youth the Next Generations
Save Our Youth (SOY) facilitates Youth Leadership and Workforce development processes for participants ages (6-25). The classes and workshops consist of activities to help improve participants ability read, write, problem solve and focus their learning as a child, youth, young adult and parent. The goal of the workshops are to assist and inform parents, children, youths and young adults about social-cognitive methods to improve home and community based leaning outcomes; improved grades, increased communication and reduction of negative behaviors impacting learning.