United Way Seeks Gifts for Foster Family Holiday Market

Community members can help foster youth and their families in San Juan Unified School District in Sacramento by purchasing gifts and other needed items for United Way California Capital Region’s upcoming San JUANderful Holiday Party. Families attending the invitation-only event will have the opportunity to choose from gift cards, household items, shelf-stable groceries, toys and children’s clothes. Items are needed by Dec. 11 and can be purchased through United Way’s wishlists: www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org/HolidayGiving.

“At United Way, we believe families know what they need to thrive, and we are here to provide support,” said Dr. Dawnté Early, president and CEO, United Way California Capital Region. “We have been providing academic support to foster families in the San Juan Unified School District this year, and we are thrilled to offer this holiday market so the families we have worked with can choose gifts and other items that will best prepare their foster youth for success in school and later in life. We hope our community will join us in supporting these wonderful families during this holiday season.”

United Way’s Foster Youth Support program with San Juan Unified School District provides academic intervention and supportive services to district foster youth in kindergarten through eighth grade. Primarily funded through a grant from the Sacramento County Department of Child, Family and Adult Services, program staff works with each student and their team of caregivers, family, teachers and counselors to connect youth and caregivers to school and community resources, including transportation support, academic assistance, health services, behavioral health support, housing, food, clothing and more. United Way also provides literacy tutoring and homework support outside of school hours.

“Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, foster youth have shown remarkable resilience facing hurdles in academic achievement, lack of family support and challenges accessing necessary resources at school,” Dr. Early said. “Our local United Way has a long history of working with foster youth, providing literacy support and working in schools. This joint effort with the San Juan Unified School District adopts a whole-child focus that builds social and emotional wellbeing and provides trauma-informed support for youth and their families so they can succeed academically.”

Founded in 1923, United Way California Capital Region has been a transformative force in the Sacramento community for more than a century, serving Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties. The local United Way’s Square One approach to ending poverty is grounded in a public health model and uses a threefold strategy to address community needs from birth and beyond: helping kids excel in school, investing in families and strengthening schools. At United Way’s core is the philosophy that families possess the blueprint for their success. United Way supplies books to young children, provides literacy tutoring, addresses housing and food security, leads the region’s largest tax preparation initiative and launched Sacramento’s first guaranteed income program. United Way works across diverse school districts, providing case management for foster youth and leading the Community Schools initiative in West Sacramento. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org.