Volunteers Needed to Help Kids Read with United Way

Volunteers are needed in person at schools in Woodland and Sacramento, as well as virtually, to help children improve their reading through United Way California Capital Region’s STARS program. No prior tutoring knowledge is needed, as United Way provides training for volunteers, all of whom commit to at least one hour each week split into two 30-minute sessions of small group tutoring for three months. In-person volunteers are especially needed, and teens are welcome to apply. For more information or to sign up to volunteer: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/STARS.

“Our STARS volunteers play such an important role in helping kids get on track with reading, but they also become role models for the kids and help them build confidence,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We know that if kids aren’t reading at grade level by fourth grade, they will have a much harder time keeping up in all school subjects. We also know that education is a ladder out of poverty. Our STARS volunteers can truly change the course of a child’s life.”

The local United Way has been helping children improve literacy for more than five years, including through its AARP Experience Corps program that paired retirees with children in schools before the pandemic hit. United Way’s STARS uses the BookNook platform to virtually work through literacy curriculum with participants and build their vocabulary, fluency and comprehension skills through a variety of games, books and lessons provided in the online portal during the pandemic. The program is now offering in-person opportunities alongside its virtual platform.

United Way California Capital Region has been working to fight poverty for nearly 100 years by creating stronger, healthier, more compassionate communities, now serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. The local United Way has found one place in each community to reach the most families in need: School is square one for ending family poverty. United Way uses its Square One approach to end poverty for local families by helping children excel in school, investing in families, and strengthening schools with resources to address increased poverty and deep roots of racial inequality. To learn more and make a donation: YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

United Way and Partners Help 50 Kids Avoid Summer Slide in Reading

Fifty local children have headed back to school this summer with more confidence in their reading skills, thanks to United Way California Capital Region’s Summer STARS program that took place at seven CHOC affordable housing sites throughout Sacramento and Yolo counties. Through the program, AmeriCorps Summer Vista volunteers worked with participants on maintaining and improving reading levels using United Way’s STARS literacy program to avoid the summer learning gap known as “summer slide.”

“Summer slide is a very real issue that can cause children, especially those from low-income households, to fall behind multiple years in grade-level reading if they do not have support while school is out of session,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We know that education is a ladder out of poverty, so we are grateful to our partners that helped us reach these 50 kids so they could keep learning during the summer and continue to excel in school.”

Through United Way’s Summer STARS, an acronym for Students and Tutors Achieving Reading Success, AmeriCorps Summer Vista volunteers used the platform Book Nook to work through the literacy curriculum with participants and build their vocabulary, fluency and comprehension skills through a variety of games, books and lessons provided in the online portal. The Sacramento Literacy Foundation provided funding for the program at the CHOC sites located in the Sacramento Promise Zone. Through a longtime partnership between CHOC and the Dairy Council, Summer STARS participants also received healthy lunches and nutrition education to combat summer hunger when free school lunch programs are not in operation.

United Way’s STARS program primarily runs during the school year and uses the same curriculum and platform, working with school districts in Sacramento and Yolo counties. The program needs volunteers for the 2022-2023 school year, including virtual tutors in Sacramento County and in-person tutors at Woodland schools. No prior tutoring knowledge is needed, as United Way provides training for its volunteers, all of whom commit to at least one hour each week split into two 30-minute sessions for three months. Volunteers are especially needed during the hours of 3-5pm. For more information or to sign up as a volunteer: YourLocalUnitedWay.org/STARS.

The local United Way has been helping children improve literacy for more than five years, including through its AARP Experience Corps program that paired retirees with children in schools before the pandemic hit.

United Way California Capital Region has been working to fight poverty for nearly 100 years by creating stronger, healthier, more compassionate communities, now serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. The local United Way has found one place in each community to reach the most families in need: School is square one for ending family poverty. United Way uses its Square One approach to end poverty for local families by helping children excel in school, investing in families, and strengthening schools with resources to address increased poverty and deep roots of racial inequality. To learn more and make a donation: YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Women’s Empowerment to Hold Gala at Railroad Museum

Sacramento nonprofit Women’s Empowerment invites community members to attend its 21st annual gala at 6pm on Sept. 29 at the California Railroad Museum. Guests will gather in person at the Brighter Futures Gala for the first time since 2019 to raise funds for Sacramento women and children experiencing homelessness and celebrate the accomplishments of program graduates. The event will include dinner, presentations by program graduates, a live auction, award ceremony and more.

The annual gala is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, raising a fifth of the group’s budget to empower women experiencing homelessness to secure employment and safe homes for their families. To purchase tickets, sponsor a graduate to attend, or purchase virtual tickets, visit Womens-Empowerment.org.

“As we step back in time at the historic Railroad Museum, we we will honor the resilient women who have graduated from our programs, and celebrate the beautiful, bright futures ahead for the women and children we look forward to serving who have yet to overcome homelessness,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “We are excited to come together once again with our steadfast community here in Sacramento to ensure that more women can rise from homelessness in the face of a prolonged pandemic and housing crisis. We will need everyone working together in the months and years ahead so women have the resources to secure good jobs and safe homes for their families.”

To ensure safety of guests and graduates, proof will be required of either Covid vaccination or a negative Covid test within 48 hours. The venue is well ventilated with high ceilings and outdoor spaces.

Women’s Empowerment is a Sacramento nonprofit providing an eight-week employment-readiness and empowerment program, paid job training, childcare and support services so women and their children can break the cycle of homelessness. Women’s Empowerment offers the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women experiencing homelessness and their children. On average, 70% of women in the program find housing during the ongoing housing crisis. Last year, 142 job placements were achieved by Women’s Empowerment graduates. Since its founding in 2001, the award-winning organization has graduated 1,752 women and their 3,879 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation: Womens-Empowerment.org.

United Way Expands Guaranteed Income with City of Sacramento

The Sacramento City Council recently approved an allocation of $750,000 in funding from its American Rescue Plan dollars to expand United Way California Capital Region’s guaranteed basic income program. The additional funding will expand the number of families served from 100 to 180, providing 80 new families with $500 in unconditional guaranteed income every month for one year. United Way’s current program is providing 100 families with $300 a month for two years.

“We are excited to partner with the City of Sacramento to expand our Direct Investment Program to more community members,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “At United Way we’re committed to ending poverty for local families and what we know through our work and our relationships with community is that poverty is a policy choice. To truly end poverty, we must have meaningful policy changes at the local, state and federal level. The City of Sacramento is making the choice to address poverty directly by giving community members the money they need to meet their basic needs – housing, food cost and childcare for example. We are hopeful that this program can provide some relief to families in need during these difficult economic times.”

United Way’s Direct Investment Program is the first guaranteed income program launched in the California Capital Region. Eighty-six percent of current program participants indicate they cannot pay cash or cash equivalent for an unexpected $400 expense. Seventy-two percent of participants are women and people of color, and 1 out of 3 participants is working multiple jobs. The average participant would need two and a half full-time minimum-wage jobs to meet the Real Coast Measure for a household size of four, according to United Ways of California.

“We know that other basic income programs have been very successful in improving the financial stability of households currently living on economic margins,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “We are putting dollars directly into the hands of our residents and empowering them to decide how best to use it.”

United Way launched the Direct Investment Program in July 2021 as part of a nationwide trend offering guaranteed income, particularly for communities historically undervalued and underinvested. Funding for the program came from a portion of the $10 million gift United Way California Capital Region received from renowned philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in December 2020. Rather than mandating conditional services or specific direction, families in the program come together to empower themselves and are trusted to improve their lives in their own way.  United Way works with a third-party academic institution to measure outcomes. The program aims to invest in 1,000 families by 2025.

United Way California Capital Region has been working for nearly 100 years to create stronger, healthier, more compassionate communities, now serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. When the local United Way saw poverty rising in 2016, it found one place in each community to reach the most people in need: School was square one for ending family poverty. United Way’s Square One approach works with schools to help children excel in school, invest in families, and strengthen schools with resources to address increased poverty and further exposed racial inequality. For more information: www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

West Sac’s Washington Unified School District Receives $200K to create Community Schools with United Way

Two preschool girls play with stamps and an orange stamp pad to make shapes on a piece of white paper

Washington Unified School District in West Sacramento has received a $200,000 grant through the California Community Schools Partnership Program to launch two full-service community schools as neighborhood hubs that provide access to a variety of services that support children, strengthen families and improve community health. The district will partner with United Way California Capital Region, which has nearly 100 years of experience convening community groups and coordinating services among providers.

“Washington Unified School District is laser-focused in its commitment to excellence, equity and empowerment for every student, every day,” said Dr. Cheryl P. Hildreth, superintendent for the school district. “Investing in community schools takes our commitment to the next level, ensuring that students have increased access to services that reinforce academic and social-emotional development.”

Through case managers and site-level coordinators, the community schools will provide access to health care, mentoring, expanded learning programs, adult guidance and other services. Each school will include a Wellness Center that provides direct support and trauma-informed care to students and will hire a restorative justice and equity coordinator to reduce punitive actions and promote trust, respect and sense of safety between the school, students and families. The district is launching the community schools to improve academic success and overall health of its students while decreasing chronic absenteeism and adverse disciplinary actions.

United Way will help with the planning process, including establishing a core leadership team, deploying a needs assessment and asset mapping analysis, engaging school representatives, providing students with leadership opportunities, convening agencies to expand school-based service delivery models, and developing a shared vision and implementation plan.

“We are excited to be working with the Washington Unified School District in the City of West Sacramento and look forward to partnering to ensure students have even more opportunities to succeed,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region, and a West Sacramento city council member. “At United Way, we’ve made a 20-year commitment through our Square One Project to end poverty for local families starting in schools. Our partnership with Washington Unified will play an important role in that work.”

Washington Unified School District is the premier provider of high-quality education in West Sacramento, serving nearly 7,500 students across seven K-8 schools and three high schools. The district offers cutting-edge opportunities featuring free college savings accounts for kindergarteners, Spanish dual language immersion, visual and performing arts, career technical education, AVID, MESA, before and after school care, and more. For more information: www.wusd.k12.ca.us.

United Way California Capital Region has been working for nearly 100 years to create stronger, healthier, more compassionate communities, now serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. When the local United Way saw poverty rising in 2016, it found one place in each community to reach the most people in need: School was square one for ending family poverty. United Way’s 20-year Square One Project works with schools to support families, help children succeed, and strengthen schools with resources to address increased poverty and further exposed racial inequality. For more information: www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org

Make It Happen for Yolo County Receives $10K from Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation

A transition age youth wears a black shirt and stands with stacks of donated household items in her new apartment

Make It Happen for Yolo County has received a grant of $10,000 from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation to provide local transition age youth in need, mostly foster youth ages 18-24, with the furnishings, household goods and resources needed to become successful first-time renters.

“Transition age youth, particularly those leaving foster care, are at very high risk of becoming homeless due to a lack of resources and support,” said Jan Judson, board president, Make It Happen for Yolo County. “While our partners help connect them to housing, there are no other organizations in Yolo County to ensure they have the tools, appliances and furniture to safely live in their new independent living environment. Renters with no resources to properly care for their apartments are much more likely to be evicted or develop a poor rental history, and that risk is even higher as we battle a housing crisis in the greater Sacramento area. We are grateful to the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation for helping set them up for success.”

Make It Happen for Yolo County is a volunteer-run nonprofit that receives furniture donations from the community and purchases new appliances and household items to help transition age youth involved with the Yolo County child welfare, mental health and probation divisions, as well as the UC Davis Guardian Scholars program for students who have experienced foster care, and other nonprofits serving foster youth. Since its founding in 2014, Make It Happen for Yolo County has served 160 Yolo County transition age youth. To make a financial or furniture donation, visit MIHYolo.org.

“Each of these young people, many of whom have already been through so much, deserves the opportunity to realize their full potential,” said the Tribal Council of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. “We are pleased to help give them that opportunity.”

The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation is committed to building strong communities and developing effective partnerships. In 2000, the Tribe established the Community Fund to advance that mission. To date, the Community Fund has established partnerships with more than 400 diverse organizations throughout Yolo County, the state and nation. The Tribe has granted more than $37 million in philanthropic funding to support programs and initiatives dedicated to assisting communities in need. For more information, visit YochaDehe.org/CommunityFund.

Women’s Empowerment Receives $30K from U.S. Bank

Lisa of Women's Empowerment wears a black jacket and pants and holds a check next to Pam Maxwell of US Bank wearing a blue dress in front of a wall covered with photos and stories of Women's Empowerment graduates

Women’s Empowerment recently received $30,000 from U.S. Bank to provide Sacramento women experiencing homelessness with job-readiness programs and paid job training so they can secure employment and regain housing for their families.

“We are proud of and grateful for our ongoing relationship with U.S. Bank,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “Thanks to their steadfast support, we can continue empowering Sacramento’s unhoused women to find jobs and homes during the pandemic and prolonged housing crisis.”

Women’s Empowerment provides a two-month employment-readiness and empowerment program, paid job training, childcare and support services so all women and their children can break the cycle of homelessness. Women’s Empowerment offers the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women experiencing homelessness, and their children. On average, 70% of women in the program find housing during the ongoing housing crisis. Last year, 142 job placements were achieved by Women’s Empowerment graduates.

“U.S. Bank is committed to powering the potential of our customers, our employees and our communities. Through our ongoing funding of critical programs like Women’s Empowerment, we can help make progress in closing the gaps between people and possibility in the areas of housing and workforce development,” said Pamela Maxwell, community affairs manager for Sacramento at U.S. Bank.

Since its founding in 2001, the award-winning organization has graduated 1,740 women and their 3,864 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation, visit Womens-Empowerment.org.

U.S. Bancorp, with nearly 70,000 employees and $573 billion in assets as of December 31, 2021, is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association. The Minneapolis-based company serves millions of customers locally, nationally and globally through a diversified mix of businesses: Consumer and Business Banking; Payment Services; Corporate & Commercial Banking; and Wealth Management and Investment Services. The company has been recognized for its approach to digital innovation, social responsibility, and customer service, including being named one of the 2022 World’s Most Ethical Companies and Fortune’s most admired superregional bank. Learn more at usbank.com/about.

Local Doctor to Run Canyons 100k to Raise Funds for Sac Life Center

Dr. Phelan wears a blue shirt and running gear in the early morning before sunrise

Local physician Dr. Timothy Phelan will run the Canyons 100k on April 23 to raise funds to expand health and nutrition programs for new moms at the Sacramento Life Center. Phelan practices at Creekside OB/GYN of Folsom and has completed more than 50 competitive running events in the last 10 years, including road marathons and ultra-marathons. This is his fourth fundraiser for the Sacramento Life Center, raising more than $30,000 total in his previous 100k, 50k and 40k runs. Phelan hopes to raise $10,000 for the Sacramento Life Center during the Canyons 100k. To make a donation, visit SacLife.org.

“For 50 years, the Sacramento Life Center has offered a safe place for women to find the compassion and support they need to become a parent,” Phelan said. “I am proud to support this wonderful organization and its mission. I hope our community members will donate however much they can.”

Considered the birthplace of mountain ultra-trail running, the Canyons 100k is run over the most scenic and difficult sections of the Western States trail. The 100-kilometer (62.2 mile) route travels from downtown Auburn to the China Wall staging area campground, with more than 16,000 feet of ascent. Runners will experience panorama vistas of the Sierras and cross streams and wooden bridges through historic settlements like Michigan Bluff and Deadwood Cemetery, traveling the same trails prospectors and mules did more than 150 years ago.

“Dr. Phelan is a tireless advocate for pregnant women and new moms, and we are so grateful that he chooses to support the Sacramento Life Center through his competitive races,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “The pandemic and housing crisis have been especially rough on the moms we serve. Every donation will make an important difference for a local family.”

Now in its 50th anniversary year, the Sacramento Life Center’s mission is to offer compassion, support, resources and free medical care to women and couples facing an unplanned or unsupported pregnancy. The Sacramento Life Center’s licensed Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic includes a primary clinic and mobile clinic that provide all services for free, including pregnancy tests, STD tests, ultrasounds, pap smears, well woman exams, patient advocacy for men and women, education and resource referrals. In 2018, the Sacramento Life Center achieved accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, which ensures the group has met nationally recognized standards for the provision of high-quality health care. The nonprofit also offers a 24-hour hotline and program for women who have experienced pregnancy loss. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center’s Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic, visit SVPClinic.com. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center or to make a donation, visit SacLife.org.

Women’s Empowerment receives $25K from Kaiser

Women’s Empowerment recently received $25,000 from Kaiser Permanente to empower women experiencing homelessness in Sacramento with the tools to secure a stable job that leads to a livable wage so they can provide a healthy home for their families during the pandemic. Funding will support Women’s Empowerment’s employment-readiness program, including mental health assistance as well as domestic violence and substance use support groups.

“Kaiser Permanente has been a longtime funder of our programs, and we are honored that they continue to support our comprehensive work to ensure women and children can rise from homelessness during the pandemic and prolonged housing crisis,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment.

Women’s Empowerment provides a two-month employment-readiness and empowerment program, paid job training, childcare and support services so all women and their children can break the cycle of homelessness. Women’s Empowerment offers the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women experiencing homelessness, and their children. On average, 70% of women in the program find housing during the ongoing housing crisis. Last year, 142 job placements were achieved by Women’s Empowerment graduates. Since its founding in 2001, the award-winning organization has graduated 1,740 women and their 3,864 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation, visit Womens-Empowerment.org.

“At Kaiser Permanente, we believe everyone deserves a safe and healthy place to live. Stable housing is critical to health,” said Trish Rodriguez, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento. “We are proud to support the work of organizations like Women’s Empowerment so they can provide resources for women to have a healthy home, stable employment and support for their overall well-being.”

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. It is recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of members and communities served. Kaiser currently serves almost 12.5 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Kaiser Permanente’s expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, visit About.KaiserPermanente.org.

Sac Life Center Receives 4D Ultrasound from Knights of Columbus Fair Oaks

Members of the Knights of Columbus Fair Oaks Council gather around the ultrasound machine they donated to the Sacramento Life Center along with the pregnancy center's staff

The Knights of Columbus Fair Oaks Council recently donated a 4D Voluson S8 ultrasound machine worth $47,000 to local nonprofit Sacramento Life Center, which provides free medical services and resources to low-income pregnant women and teens. The local Knights of Columbus group secured the machine, thanks in part to the nonprofit 4US Adopt A Center that provided a quarter of the funding needed.

“We are so very thankful to the Knights of Columbus and 4US Adopt A Center for this amazing piece of technology that we never could have afforded without them,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “Thanks to this machine, our patients will not only have more information about their baby’s health, they will be able to see facial features and a detailed portrait so they can feel even more connected.”

Now in its 50th anniversary year, the Sacramento Life Center offers compassion, support, resources and free medical care to women and couples facing an unplanned or unsupported pregnancy. The Sacramento Life Center’s licensed Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic includes a primary clinic and mobile clinic that provide all services for free, including pregnancy tests, STD tests, ultrasounds, pap smears, well woman exams, patient advocacy for men and women, education and resource referrals. Staff also assists patients in signing up for Medi-Cal Presumptive Eligibility for Pregnant Women and provides a wide range of baby supplies through its onsite baby needs closet, including diapers, clothes, formula, wipes and more. The nonprofit also offers a 24-hour hotline and program for women who have experienced pregnancy loss.

In 2018, the Sacramento Life Center achieved accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, which ensures the group has met nationally recognized standards for the provision of high-quality health care. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center’s Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic, visit SVPClinic.com. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center or to make a donation, visit SacLife.org.

“Weaving through our web of contacts to get this ultrasound donation accomplished really connected individuals who demonstrate America’s best,” said Henry Luckie, Knights of Columbus Fair Oaks Council member. “We are proud to help the Sacramento Life Center in their work.”

The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic family fraternal service organization. It provides members and their families with volunteer opportunities in service to the Catholic Church, their communities, families and young people. For more information about the Knights of Columbus Fair Oaks Council #6066, visit KOFC6066.org.