Recently, Interfaith Community Services launched a new nutrition support and social services program to increase the wellness and independence of vulnerable North County seniors. The Senior Connections Program includes a mobile food truck, which provides seniors with easily accessible lunches, as well as socialization and wellness activities in San Marcos and Vista. Facilitated by a three-year grant from the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, and through a partnership with Dreams for Change, a fellow San Diego-based non-profit organization, the Senior Connections Program began operations in November 2014.
The Senior Connections program implements a food-friends-health approach to improving senior physical and mental wellness. Because the North County area is geographically spread out, the truck will act as a mobile resource center for local residents. By providing seniors access to a meal, as well as bringing them together in a social and educational setting, Interfaith Community Services is offering a holistic, all-encompassing service to participants.
The food truck, named Thyme Together, served its first meal on Monday, November 10, 2014 at Vista Village Mobile Home Park in Vista. The food truck lunches and accompanying activities are held Monday through Thursday every week at two mobile home parks and two faith centers along the Rte. 78 corridor, including El Dorado Mobile Home Park in San Marcos, Vista Village Mobile Home Park in Vista, San Marcos Lutheran Church and St. Francis of Assisi in Vista. The schedule for the lunches is as follows:
Mondays 11:30 – 2:30, Vista Village Mobile Home Park, Vista
Tuesdays 11:30 – 2:30, San Marcos Lutheran Church, San Marcos
Wednesdays 11:00 – 2:00, St. Francis of Assisi, Vista
Thursdays 11:30 – 2:30, El Dorado Mobile Home Park, San Marcos
Participating seniors order their three-course lunches from an Interfaith Community Services staff member and are then invited to socialize while they are served their meals. Following finishing their lunches, seniors are welcome to participate in the day’s activity.
Interfaith is looking forward to growing the program in the coming months and thanks the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation and Dreams for Change for their participation and support!
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Interfaith Community Services received $300,000 from AT&T to expand the Transitional Youth Academy program to El Camino High School in Oceanside, CA. The program currently serves 55 students at Oceanside High School and boasts a 100% high school graduation rate among its participating students. With AT&T’s support, the program will expand to serve an additional 60 students at El Camino High School.
The Transitional Youth Academy blends academic support with comprehensive mentoring, leadership development and employment training to ensure high school graduation and enrollment in college. Founded in 2005, the program has now served over 500 students. Last year, 100% of students successfully graduated from high school, and 90% enrolled in higher education.
The Transitional Youth Academy is unique in that it provides support for vulnerable students beyond the academic school year. Each summer, the program staff continues to mentor students as they complete paid internships in high growth industries such as nursing and technology support. The internships develop confidence, increase leadership skills and improve civic engagement. They also encourage students to stay in school and work towards high school graduation. Over the next two years, the Transitional Youth Academy will serve a total of 115 students from both Oceanside and El Camino High School.
“Interfaith Community Services is very excited to nearly double our mentoring and leadership development program,” said Greg Anglea, Executive Director of Interfaith Community Services. “Funding from AT&T will empower us to expand the Transitional Youth Academy beyond Oceanside High School and bring this much-needed program to El Camino High School. We are deeply committed to ensuring that all Oceanside students successfully graduate from high school and are college and career ready.”
It takes attentive professionals and a relentless focus on results to put students at risk of dropping out of high school on the path to graduation. Because of Transitional Youth Academy’s demonstrated success supporting and motivating traditionally underserved students to stay in school and prepare for their next steps in life, the program has been named as one of just 30 recipients nationwide that will share in nearly $12.5 million from AT&T.
These contributions are a part of AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature education initiative focused on school success and career readiness. With an unwavering commitment to data-driven education outcomes, AT&T Aspire has impacted more than 1 million students since its launch in 2008. “AT&T is thrilled to support Interfaith Community Services and the Transitional Youth Academy program through our Aspire commitment,” said John Osborne, Director of External Affairs for AT&T. “Solving the drop-out crisis and preparing kids for college and career success takes more than just in-school support. The Transitional Youth Academy is a model program for Oceanside and the San Diego region. AT&T is proud to be a partner in this effort.”
Through a competitive request for proposal process, 30 schools, school districts and non-profits, including Interfaith Community Services, were selected from more than 1,100 nationwide. Programs were evaluated based on their effectiveness helping students graduate ready for career or college. Selected programs use evidence based approaches to serve students and are able to demonstrate quantitative results.
A component of AT&T’s collaboration with Interfaith Community Services supports student mentoring. Research has shown that a caring adult in a young person’s life impacts their success. According to a recent report, students with mentors are more likely to aspire to enroll in and graduate from college than those without mentors (76 percent vs. 56 percent).
Interfaith Community Services looked back at its past and into its future at its Annual Meeting held Tuesday, Oct. 7 at Temple Adat Shalom in Poway, one of the agency’s founding congregations.
The 300 or so staff members and supporters of the North County provider of comprehensive basic needs and social services for people in need got the first look at a 45-foot-long timeline detailing many of the 35-year-old organization’s most significant moments. They then participated in a strategic visioning exercise aimed at helping Interfaith to determine its near-term priorities.
Executive Director Greg Anglea also announced a donation of up to $1.1 million from philanthropist and longtime ICS supporter Mel Cohn to name the Cohn Family Executive Director Chair for the next 10 years, a gift that Anglea said “goes to the core of who we are” – an agency leading the way to help people help themselves.
Before looking ahead, Anglea took a moment to salute 27-year volunteer Josie Bojorquez, presenting her with the Saemi Award. Interfaith annually presents the award to a volunteer who best exemplifies the ICS spirit of giving.
Bojorquez “helps in a profoundly steadfast way,” said Anglea, spending nearly every Tuesday afternoon in the development office processing each gift that arrives and sending a personal thank-you note to each donor.
Two former clients shared their personal stories with meeting guests, detailing how Interfaith’s programs and staff members helped them to move on from difficult circumstances into more stable living situations.
Continuing and enhancing that kind of work is at the heart of the strategic visioning process in which the meeting guests then participated. People at each table engaged in discussions of what are the community’s most urgent needs and how Interfaith should move forward to meet those needs.
The results were compiled and will be passed along to Interfaith’s board of directors for consideration at its meeting later this month.
Philanthropist Melvin Cohn, a longtime supporter of Interfaith Community Services, has added to his generous support with a commitment of up to $1.1 million to name the Cohn Family Executive Director Chair for the next 10 years.
The donation will include grants of $50,000 each in 2015 and 2016 from the Betty and Melvin Cohn Endowment Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation. Beginning in 2017, the $50,000 annual distributions will come from the new Cohn Family Endowment Fund for Interfaith Community Services, to be established with a gift of $1 million.
“Throughout our history, the Cohn family has created a remarkable legacy through their support of Interfaith. Again, the Cohn family has stepped up with this generous gift; they are truly the heart of Interfaith,” said Executive Director Greg Anglea
Cohn and his wife, Betty, who passed away in April 2013, have offered generous financial support and participated personally as leadership volunteers at Interfaith Community Services for more than 20 years. In 1991, they funded the Tikkun Home, an Escondido residence for mentally ill women. The name Tikkun Home reflects the Cohn family belief in Tikkun Olam, Hebrew words meaning “to heal and repair the world.” The headquarters of Interfaith at 550 W. Washington Ave. in Escondido is named the Betty and Melvin Cohn Center in honor of their gift that helped secure and support this centerpiece of the agency.
“This is a strong endorsement of our organization, leadership and the work we do to help people in crisis,” added Anglea.
Interfaith Community Services provides a wide range of programs to help hungry, homeless, and low-income people throughout North San Diego County. Programs include food and basic needs, shelters and housing, employment services, family and social services, children and youth programs, senior services, veterans assistance, and addiction recovery. Each program is designed to “help people help themselves.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded Interfaith Community Services a $3 million grant through its Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. This award will provide new federal funds to Interfaith Community Services to help end veterans homelessness in San Diego County.
Grant funds will be used to provide wraparound services – including rental and utility assistance, financial literacy training, transportation, and individualized case management – to low-income veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The program’s goal is to provide struggling veterans and their families with rapid assistance to prevent homelessness, as well as to restore housing stability for homeless veterans.
Through a partnership with People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), Interfaith Community Services will work to prevent and combat homelessness, provide immediate assistance and prevent homelessness for more than 180 low-income veterans and their family members over the next year.
“Ending veterans homelessness is a top priority for our organization,” said Greg Anglea, Executive Director of Interfaith Community Services. “We are deeply committed to ensuring our nation’s heroes receive the support they deserve. This new grant award will provide crucial funding to end homelessness among San Diego County veterans.”
Through the SSVF program, the VA has helped tens of thousands of veterans exit homelessness and prevented just as many from becoming homeless. According to the 2014 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, nationwide homelessness among veterans has declined 33 percent since 2010.
Interfaith Community Services has been “helping people help themselves” in North County San Diego since 1979. The organization provides a wide range of programs designed to empower hungry, homeless, and low-income community members to begin a pathway toward self-sufficiency. Each year, Interfaith Community Services serves more than 19,000 community members by providing basic needs and nutrition support, social services, shelters and housing, employment development, youth programs, senior services, veterans programs and addiction recovery support.