Society for the Blind Receives $15K from Wells Fargo

Society for the Blind in Sacramento recently received a $15,000 grant from Wells Fargo to provide education, training and assistive devices to Sacramento-area seniors who are blind or have low vision. The funding will support Society for the Blind’s Senior IMPACT Project that empowers people age 55 and older with alternative, non-visual techniques and skills that enable them to perform daily tasks and activities so they can maintain or increase independence.

“As the senior population in Sacramento continues to expand, so does the need for services like our Senior IMPACT Project that help seniors not only cope with vision loss, but also regain their independence,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “We are so thankful that Wells Fargo has invested in active aging and vitality of older adults in our region.”

Society for the Blind’s Senior IMPACT Project includes an eight-day retreat offered monthly at Society for the Blind that gives seniors an immersion experience where they learn alternative techniques and skills to travel safely, efficiently and independently. They practice techniques and use adapted tools to perform tasks of daily living including cooking, cleaning, shopping, home maintenance, organization, personal finance and more. They learn how to use the latest in assistive technology to operate computers and mobile devices for home, school and work, and they learn Braille. Participants receive individualized attention from instructors and mentors who are blind or low vision, can join discussion groups with peers on issues around vision loss, participate in community activities, attend monthly peer support groups in English and Spanish, and attend workshops throughout the year. For those unable to attend retreats, Society for the Blind sends instructors to their homes to teach skills and offer resources.

“Wells Fargo understands the importance of empowering individuals who are in need of critical community resources,” said Kären Woodruff, community affairs senior consultant. “Our investment in this program builds confidence and independent living skills for these seniors and goes a long way to strengthen and reinforce the efforts of Society for the Blind’s overall programming.”

For more than 60 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for 6,000 youth, adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

Wells Fargo provides monetary support, expertise and volunteers to national and local nonprofit organizations and causes that align with their business priorities, values, business expertise and geographies. The company focuses its philanthropic activities on creating long-term strategic relationships with nonprofits and other organizations to create innovative, sustainable solutions to meet local needs. Wells Fargo supports thousands of national and community-based nonprofits annually to help revitalize and strengthen communities. The company is among the top corporate cash donors among U.S. companies, donating $286.5 million to 14,500 nonprofits in 2017 to support critical social, economic and environmental challenges. To learn more, visit WellsFargo.com.

Sacramento Life Center Receives Health Care Accreditation

The Sacramento Life Center has achieved accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. The independent evaluation ensures the Sacramento Life Center has met nationally recognized standards for the provision of high-quality outpatient health care. Sacramento Life Center, which provides free medical care to women and couples facing an unplanned pregnancy, joins more than 6,000 ambulatory – also known as outpatient – health care organizations across the country.

“I am proud to announce that after a rigorous process, the Sacramento Life Center has received its official certificate of accreditation,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “Every day, we strive to provide the highest level of medical care to the women, teenagers and couples that walk through our doors seeking our help. This accreditation ensures Sacramento Life Center will continue to provide high-quality health services for our community.”

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 two Mobile Medical Clinics that provide all services for free, including pregnancy tests, STD tests, ultrasounds, peer counseling for men and women, education and resource referrals. The nonprofit also offers a school-based teen education program, a 24-hour hotline and a program for reproductive grief. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center’s Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic, visit www.svpclinic.com. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center or to make a donation, visit www.saclife.org.

The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, founded in 1979, is the leader in ambulatory health care accreditation. The association accredits a variety of organizations including ambulatory surgery centers, office-based surgery centers, endoscopy centers, student health centers, military health care clinics, and large medical and dental practices. The association serves as an advocate for the provision of high-quality health care through the development of nationally recognized standards and through its survey and accreditation programs. This accreditation is recognized as a symbol of quality by third-party payers, medical organizations, liability insurance companies, state and federal agencies, and the public. For more information, visit www.aaahc.org.

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Community members are invited to go underground on Oct. 27 to attend Cabaret on K, an evening of musical performances with a nod to Halloween, featuring a haunting mix of cabaret, jazz, classical and musical theatre pieces by Sacramento group Rogue Music Project. Guests are welcome to come in costume and will enjoy complimentary desserts and drinks for purchase.

The event, sponsored by Capital Public Radio, will take place in the Capitol Plaza Ballrooms basement, 1025 9th Street in Sacramento, and will raise funds for Women’s Empowerment’s job-readiness programs for homeless women and the group’s onsite center for homeless children. Nearly a dozen local artists will display and sell their work, with 50 percent of art proceeds donated to Women’s Empowerment. Tickets are $50 at www.womens-empowerment.org. Guests must be age 21 or older.

“Cabaret on K is the perfect opportunity to have a positive impact on your community while celebrating Sacramento’s thriving arts scene,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “Guests will enjoy live music and art while helping to end homelessness for women and their children.”

Women’s Empowerment was featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show in 2015 for offering the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women who are homeless and their children. The award-winning organization has graduated 1,543 homeless women and their 3,710 children. Last year, 92 percent of graduates found homes and 77 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training. The program combines self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to help homeless women across diverse ages, races and cultures. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation: www.womens-empowerment.org.

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Since United Way California Capital Region held its inaugural Day of Caring in 2013, 3,692 volunteers have donated 18,054 hours of service for 182 projects benefiting nonprofits and schools across the region.

“This is the single largest volunteer day in our region,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “This is our opportunity to volunteer our time and energy as we dig our hands in to help the nonprofits and schools that do so much for our community every day.”

Day of Caring is part of United Way California Capital Region’s Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer: www.yourlocalunitedway.org.

100th Formerly Homeless Woman Graduates From Paid Job Training Program

Women’s Empowerment’s paid training program, The Get A Job Kit, celebrated its 100th graduate in July. The program also graduated its first two lead supervisors who will oversee production. The Get A Job Kit provides formerly homeless women with 120 hours of training in production, customer service, quality assurance, forklift operation, shipping and receiving industries. Over four weeks, trainees are paid to assemble the Get A Job Kits to fill customer orders while receiving hands-on training, performance evaluations and relevant job experience. Women’s Empowerment is one of the only nonprofits in Sacramento providing paid job training to formerly homeless women, allowing women to gain financial stability while getting the work experience they need to succeed. More than 70 percent of The Get A Job Kit graduates have secured stable employment.

“We serve many homeless women who are ready to work but lack current job experience or have been out of the workforce for more than three years. The Get A Job Kit offers an innovative solution to this problem, providing women with hands-on training, invaluable work experience and a paycheck,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “I could not be more proud of the 100 women who have worked hard in this program and now are more prepared than ever to land a job that supports their families.”

The Get A Job Kit was launched under Women’s Empowerment’s name in 2014 after the business was donated by local entrepreneur Shirley Willey who created and ran the business for nearly 25 years. The Get A Job Kit has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and CNBC, and in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. The award-winning kit is an all-in-one career organizer designed to help organizations across the country empower job seekers of all ages and backgrounds. All profits from the sales of The Get A Job Kit are reinvested in the program, ensuring homeless women can continue accessing this vital paid training. Since launching the small business, Women’s Empowerment has sold more than 20,000 kits to Career Technical Education programs, high schools, veteran programs, nonprofits, vocational and technical colleges and anti-recidivism programs. For more information or to purchase The Get a Job Kit: www.getajobkit.com.

“The Get A Job Kit was the next step I needed to regain my confidence and fill that gap in my resume,” said Get A Job Kit graduate Kristin Hawkins who is now working as a property manager of a 48-unit community where she now lives. “And to receive a paycheck was so helpful. I really earned that paycheck by working hard every day.”

Women’s Empowerment was featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show in 2015 for offering the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women who are homeless and their children. The award-winning organization has graduated 1,527 homeless women and their 3,684 children. Last year, 92 percent of graduates found homes and 77 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training. The program combines self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to help homeless women across diverse ages, races and cultures. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. For more information: www.womens-empowerment.org.

Society for the Blind Receives $10K from Senator Lions Club for Device Lending Library

Society for the Blind staff members show Sacramento Senator Lions Club representatives the device lending library that the club helped to fund with a recent grant.

Society for the Blind received a $10,000 grant from the Sacramento Senator Lions Club to fund a device lending library in the organization’s Low Vision Clinic. The lending library will allow patients to borrow low vision devices such as hand-held magnifiers and portable electronic devices to determine if they are a good fit. These devices enlarge text or convert text to speech so people with vision loss can continue to read.

“Thanks to the Sacramento Senator Lions Club, our patients will now have access to vital assistive devices that allow them to maintain their independence,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “We could not have established this much-needed lending library without this grant.”

Society for the Blind operates a full-time Low Vision Clinic in Sacramento and a satellite office in Roseville. It is one of the longest running community-based clinics in the region. The Low Vision Clinic provides care, vision rehabilitation, low vision devices and transportation assistance to more than 375 people each year. Clinics are staffed by three optometrists with special training in low-vision eye care and serve patients with cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other congenital and degenerative eye diseases. Clinic staff includes an occupational therapist who works with patients with some functional vision, teaching them techniques to use their remaining vision safely and effectively and providing training on assistive devices.

“The Senator Lions are pleased to make this gift in celebration of the Lions Club International Centennial,” said Senator Lion Vicky Brady, who coordinated the Centennial Gift. “Our longstanding dedication to assisting people with vision loss continues through this contribution to Society for the Blind.”

For more than 60 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for 6,000 youth, adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

The Sacramento Senator Lions Club was chartered in Lions Clubs International in 1954. The Senator Lions Club belongs to District 4-C5 and resides in the Crocker Zone of the Sacramento Region. The club participates in local community service projects including sponsoring the UC Davis Children’s Hospital; providing meals, toys and clothes to the needy via their Salvation Army partners; sponsoring the Sacramento Zoo’s Sensory Garden and Fairytale Town’s Japanese Garden; and more. To learn more, visit SacramentoSenatorLions.org.

Women’s Empowerment Gala Raises More Than $214,000

Five hundred guests at Women’s Empowerment’s 17th Annual Celebration of Independence Gala raised more than $214,000 to support the organization’s job training program for women and mothers experiencing homelessness in Sacramento. The event, which took place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Sacramento, had 75 graduates of the program in attendance dressed in ballgowns donated by the community. The evening included a formal dinner, live and silent auctions, live music and inspiring speeches from program graduates.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg presented Amanda Buccina and Rennie Jemmings of Sutter Health with the 2018 To Heal the World Award, created in honor of Women’s Empowerment’s founding social worker Erie Shockey. The award recognizes a local hero who inspires others to engage in social change and make Sacramento a better place for all. The two nurses were honored for providing street medical care to people who are homeless in Sacramento.

“This event is a powerful reminder that when we come together as a community we can break the cycle of homelessness,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “From the generosity of our donors to the inspiring words of our program graduates, the Gala was a magical night of celebration. The critical donations raised that night will fund our vital mission of ending homelessness through empowerment and employment.”

Women’s Empowerment was featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show in 2015 for offering the most comprehensive job-readiness program in the Sacramento area designed specifically for women who are homeless and their children. The award-winning organization has graduated 1,527 homeless women and their 3,684 children. Last year, 92 percent of graduates found homes and 77 percent found jobs or enrolled in school or training. The program combines self-esteem courses, job training, health classes and support services to help homeless women across diverse ages, races and cultures. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and receives no government funding except for in-kind rent from the County of Sacramento. To make a donation: www.womens-empowerment.org.

United Way Helps Sacramento Region Claim $10M in Tax Refunds

Nearly 8,500 households in the Sacramento area took advantage of United Way-led free tax help programs for the 2017 tax year, resulting in more than $10 million in money claimed through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), other credits and refunds. The in-person Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, led by United Way California Capital Region with support from Citi Community Development, helped 7,422 local households, and United Way’s MyFreeTaxes.com helped 1,066 users file taxes. Thanks to two-year funding from Citi Community Development, free tax help was significantly expanded across the region in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties this year, increasing the number of households helped by more than 2,500 and resulting in more than a $3 million increase in refunds for the region compared to last year.

A limited number of appointments are still available this summer for households looking for help with late filing and which earned $54,000 or less in 2017. IRS-certified volunteers will provide free basic tax return preparation with electronic filing and will help local households claim tax credits, including federal and state EITC, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. This year, more households are eligible to earn up to $6,500 in federal and state EITC, including those who are self-employed. To make an appointment, call 2-1-1 in Sacramento, or (916) 498-1000 if living outside the city, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

“This free tax help is crucial to ensuring our local families are financially healthy, and we are grateful to our funders and partners and 433 volunteers who have already served more than 16,000 hours to help local families,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region.

Funding support from Citi Community Development is enabling United Way California Capital Region to increase the capacity and reach of the local VITA program to meet additional need and demand this year and next. The funding is helping to expand the number of sites offering free tax preparation and to increase the number of volunteer tax preparers.

“Nearly 20 percent of households in the Sacramento region are living on low incomes, and nearly half lack the savings to sustain an unexpected shock to income,” said Vicki Joseph, Northern California market manager for Citi Community Development. “By expanding access to free tax preparation services, United Way is enabling more families in need to benefit from this vital tax credit and helping to build their financial resiliency.”

Local households that made $66,000 or less in 2017 were eligible to file state and federal taxes online for free at MyFreeTaxes.com, sponsored by United Way Worldwide. The site provided households with free tax help so they could maximize refunds and credits and save an average of $200 in preparer fees, guiding users through federal and state filing with software powered by H&R Block.

Other sponsors of United Way’s 2018 free tax preparation programs include the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, SAFE Credit Union and SMUD. For a list of collaborating partners, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org/VITA.

United Way California Capital Region is leading these free tax help programs as part of its Square One Project, a 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of local students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Household financial well-being is a key factor in student success. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, the local United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones for success in college or career. To donate or volunteer, visit YourLocalUnitedWay.org.

Citi Community Development leads Citi’s commitment to financial inclusion and economic empowerment for underserved individuals, families and communities across the U.S. Through innovative collaborations with municipalities, community groups and leading nonprofit organizations, the group harnesses Citi’s expertise, products and services to help expand opportunity for all. For more information: CitiCommunityDevelopment.com, @Citi on Twitter, YouTube.com/Citi, http://Blog.Citi.com, Facebook.com/Citi and LinkedIn.com/company/citi.