Client News

Holiday Gifts Needed for Women and Children Who Have Experienced Homelessness

Local residents can bring joy this holiday season to women and children who have experienced homelessness in Sacramento by contributing to Women’s Empowerment’s Holiday Gift Drive. The group is seeking 320 unstuffed gift bags and specific fillers for children, teens and women by Dec. 12. For the wishlist of items needed or to make a donation, visit womens-empowerment.org.

Each holiday gift package will include gloves, hats, socks, art supplies, water bottles, journals, holiday candy, gift cards and more. For those who prefer to make a financial donation, the average cost of a gift package is $40, but any amount is helpful. Gift cards are especially needed, including $20 cards for Target, Walmart or Amazon, and $10-$15 cards for fast food restaurants, Jamba Juice and Starbucks.

“The women and children in our program have worked so hard to get to where they are today, and this is a special way for our community to provide joy and encouragement during the holidays and the cold winter months ahead,” 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 women and their children can break the generational 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 despite 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 1,781 women and their 3,893 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation: Womens-Empowerment.org.

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.

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.

Local Crafters Needed for Holiday Craft Party for Unhoused Women, Children

A volunteer helps a woman and child make jewelry

Local crafters are needed to lead projects at Women’s Empowerment’s upcoming Holiday Craft Party for unhoused women and children on Dec. 17. Volunteers will create a craft project, provide the supplies, and lead women and children through the project as they create holiday gifts for their loved ones. For each craft project table, supplies are needed for approximately 200 people, and Women’s Empowerment can provide additional volunteers as needed. Volunteers are needed by Dec. 2. For more information or to sign up, visit womens-empowerment.org.

“This is a season when most people get to experience the dignity of giving, but for women and children who are experiencing homelessness, this is often not an option,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “Our craft volunteers give women and children the opportunity to create meaningful gifts for people they love. We are so grateful for our volunteers who come up with such creative ideas for craft projects, from scented sachets and bookmarks to bracelets, dreamcatchers and picture frames.”

As part of the Holiday Craft Party, each woman and child also receives a holiday gift package donated by the community, including gloves, hats, socks, art supplies, water bottles, journals, holiday candy, gift cards and more. The average cost of a gift package is $40, and items are needed by Dec. 12. Gift cards are especially needed, including $20 cards for Target, Walmart or Amazon, and $10-$15 cards for fast food restaurants, Jamba Juice and Starbucks. For the wishlist of items needed or to make a donation, visit womens-empowerment.org.

Women’s Empowerment provides a two-month employment-readiness and empowerment program, paid job training, childcare and support services so women and their children can break the generational 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 despite 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 1,781 women and their 3,893 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation: Womens-Empowerment.org.

Women’s Empowerment Receives $35K from Wells Fargo

Women’s Empowerment has received $35,000 from Wells Fargo to provide workforce development skills, paid job training, job search assistance and housing support for women experiencing homelessness in Sacramento.

“For the past 14 years, Wells Fargo has helped to sustain our organization while also funding our new, innovative programs that meet the current needs of women experiencing homelessness,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “This year is no exception. As we face a prolonged pandemic and ongoing housing crisis, Wells Fargo has once again stepped up as a leader in our work to ensure women and children can overcome the highest obstacles as they work to break the cycle of homelessness.”

Women’s Empowerment is a Sacramento nonprofit providing a two-month employment-readiness and empowerment program, paid job training, childcare and support services so women and their children can break the generational 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 despite the ongoing housing crisis.

“While Wells Fargo invests heavily in sustainable and innovative housing solutions, we understand that housing alone isn’t enough to end homelessness,” said Kären Woodruff, senior vice president of social impact, Wells Fargo. “Women’s Empowerment’s proven track record shows that providing job training and supportive services allows women to take back their life and create a stable future.”

Wells Fargo has been one of Women’s Empowerment’s most consistent funders and has given more than $527,000 to the nonprofit since 2008. Last year, 142 job placements were achieved by Women’s Empowerment graduates. Since its founding in 2001, the award-winning organization has graduated 1,781 women and their 3,893 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation: Womens-Empowerment.org

Women’s Empowerment Receives $50K from Kelly Foundation

Women’s Empowerment has received $50,000 from the Kelly Foundation to sublease housing at a discounted rate to women experiencing homelessness in Sacramento. This year, the Sacramento nonprofit created its subleasing program for graduates of its program who are working but still cannot afford a home during the ongoing housing crisis.

“To afford a one-bedroom apartment in Sacramento, a woman now must make at least $26 per hour, yet on average our graduates earn about $17 per hour in their first three months of work,” said Lisa Culp, executive director, Women’s Empowerment. “That would be impossible math if it weren’t for generous donors like the Kelly Foundation stepping in and helping us create a solution that works. Our graduates need housing they can afford with mid- to entry-level salaries so they can retain jobs, secure promotions, rebuild credit and qualify for market–rate housing.”

Women’s Empowerment is a sublessor at an apartment complex in downtown Sacramento, subleasing four apartments to qualifying graduates for a 12-month lease. Each tenant is carefully screened and charged rent equal to Women’s Empowerment’s rent payment. She meets at least monthly onsite with a housing specialist, and if needed with a social worker and employment specialist. Women’s Empowerment has three additional graduates subleasing other homes, and the organization is in final negotiations with a gated development that would allow them to sublease multiple cottages for up to 24 months while women work to improve their credit score, rental history, savings and move up the career ladder to afford market-rate housing.

“Women’s Empowerment directly impacts the lives of women ready for change, and we are excited to partner with an organization that helps the community thrive one life at a time,” said Shawn Kelly Devlin, chairman of the board of the Kelly Foundation and River City Bank. “We’re confident this donation toward housing will support women in need to become self-sufficient after experiencing such challenging circumstances.”

Women’s Empowerment provides a two-month employment-readiness and empowerment program, paid job training, childcare and support services so women and their children can break the generational 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 despite 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 1,781 women and their 3,893 children. Women’s Empowerment is funded through private donations from the community and grants. To make a donation: Womens-Empowerment.org

Brothers Jon and Bob Kelly, who ran the Sacramento NBC affiliate KCRA3 for decades, established the Kelly Foundation in 1988 as the formal vehicle for making charitable contributions to the communities in which they lived for much of their lives and achieved success in business. Jon Kelly founded River City Bank, and in 2009 the River City Bank Foundation merged with the Kelly Foundation. The Kelly Foundation is one of the largest charitable-giving foundations in the Sacramento region. For more information: KellyFoundationSacramento.org.

Society for the Blind to Hold Resource & Tech Fair Nov. 5

Residents from across Northern California who have vision loss, as well as their family and friends, can explore the latest in accessible technology and the region’s top resources at Society for the Blind’s Resource and Technology Fair on Nov. 5 from 10am-2pm at 1238 S Street in Sacramento. Representatives from area nonprofits, technology vendors, Department of Rehabilitation, blindness advocacy groups and independent living resources will be onsite, and the event will include light refreshments and door prizes. More info: SocietyfortheBlind.org/events/the-2022-resource-technology-fair.

“We are thrilled that our annual Resource and Technology Fair is back in person this year,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “This is a great opportunity for people with vision loss and their family and friends to try out the newest accessible technology and learn about community resources.”

At the event, California Braille and Talking Book Library will present new resources for accessing information online, and North State Assistive Technology will present new wearable devices. Cohosted by Society for the Blind, California Braille and Talking Book Library, and North State Assistive Technology, the fair draws more than a hundred visitors each year.  

“We are proud to once again take part in this valuable showcase of regional vendors and public service providers dedicated to technological and lifelong learning opportunities for blind and otherwise print disabled residents of Northern California,” said Mike Marlin, director, California Braille and Talking Book Library. “The timing is perfect as we launch our assistive technology lending program this fall.”

The California Braille and Talking Book Library is a branch of the California State Library which cooperates with the Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled. Books and players are provided by the Library of Congress. The California State Library directly administers the program in Northern California. Eligible residents can check out Braille and audio book titles, as well as magazines, movies, newspapers and more, for free. Braille e-readers and the equipment needed to use audio books, are mailed postage-free to and from library patrons. For more information, visit BTBL.ca.gov.

North State Assistive Technology is located at Society for the Blind in Sacramento. Store hours are by appointment to learn more about Braille products, calculators, canes and accessories, clocks, large print keyboards, fun and games, health aids, kitchen products, marking and labeling, personal organization, sewing items, tools, watches, writing aids, video magnifiers and more. Product demos are available. To learn more or shop online, visit NorthStateAT.com.

Society for the Blind also partners with these resources and more to provide virtual miniature Resource and Technology seminars each month. For more information: SocietyfortheBlind.org. For 68 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 more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to donate: SocietyfortheBlind.org.

United Way Seeks Volunteers for Free Tax Prep Program

Volunteers are needed to help families across the region file their taxes and apply for tax credits as part of United Way California Capital Region’s Free Tax Prep program. No experience is needed, as participants receive training to become IRS-certified volunteers. The training includes five full-day sessions and an open-book test at the end of training for certification. Volunteers must be signed up by end of November. Tax preparation certification training begins Nov. 5. For more information or to sign up to volunteer: YourLocalUnitedWayFreeTaxPrep.org.

“Our Free Tax Prep volunteers play a big role in ensuring local families receive help applying for the maximum tax benefits for which they are eligible,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “Many families in our region have earned these tax credits, but do not know they are eligible. These are important funds they can use to meet immediate needs and increase their household’s financial stability.”

Each year, United Way and hundreds of volunteers help families and individuals earning less than $66,000 annually file their taxes for free. Last tax season, our Free Tax Prep program helped more than 4,000 families receive more than $9.5 million in tax refunds, including CalEITC.

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.

Local Youth with Disabilities Invited to USBGA Golf Clinic

Local youth with disabilities or special needs who are interested in learning golf or improving their game can participate in a youth golf clinic during the United States Blind Golf Association’s 76th Annual National Tournament, this year to be held in Sacramento at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex from Oct. 24-26. The USBGA Junior Golf Program youth clinic will take place on Oct. 24. Participants can drop in anytime between 2:30-5:30pm at the Haggin Oaks Golf Academy located on the back side of the driving range. No RSVP needed. For more information, email Mike Firpo at mfirpo@tftgs.org.

“Our hope is that many of our junior golfers will be impacted enough to break down the barriers they may encounter because of their disability, achieve their goals and accomplish their dreams,” said Bob Banks, leadership committee member, United States Blind Golf Association.  

The United States Blind Golf Association is an organization for individuals with visual impairments to learn, compete and challenge the game of golf.  Through youth and adult clinics and championship tournaments, the association brings skills, values and opportunities that make a lifelong difference. For more information: USBlindGolf.com.

The youth golf clinic portion of the tournament also is supported by Society for the Blind, First Tee – Greater Sacramento and Youth on Course.

“This clinic is a fantastic opportunity for youth in our community who have disabilities including vision loss to perfect their golf game by learning from some of the nation’s best blind golfers,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “We are proud to support this event that is teaching kids with vision loss that they can live life to the fullest without sight.”

For 68 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 more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation: SocietyfortheBlind.org.

“We are excited to partner with other like-minded organizations to spread the word that truly Anyone Can Play this wonderful game,” said Michael Firpo, director of programs, First Tee – Greater Sacramento.

First Tee – Greater Sacramento has positively impacted young people in the community since 1983 with youth development programs running throughout the year, reaching more than 58,000 young people annually. First Tee – Greater Sacramento is one of First Tee’s largest chapters and serves as a leader in the field of programs for young people and people with disabilities. First Tee – Greater Sacramento serves youth ages 3-18 with a variety of programs including summer camps, after-school and Saturday programs, California Eagles (Special Olympics), adaptive physical education classes, competitive junior golf tour, Swing Club for the Blind, First Tee School Program and more. First Tee – Greater Sacramento has nine program locations in the greater Sacramento area. For more information: FirstTeeSacramento.org.     

Youth on Course helps young people grow and succeed on and off the course by providing opportunities to play, learn, grow and build relationships through affordable, inclusive access to play. More than 130,000 members have access to play nearly 2,000 golf courses for $5 or less, benefit from career opportunities through the caddie and internship program and receive college scholarships. Since 2006, more than two million subsidized rounds have been played by Youth on Course members and more than $2 million have been awarded in college scholarships. Headquartered in Monterey, Youth on Course serves the United States and parts of Canada. For more information: YouthOnCourse.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.