Monthly Archives: March 2018

John Baker- PR Director International Organizations-20,March,2018

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Program:Randy introduced the speaker, John Baker of Voices for Children (VFC).John spent 20 years as a Navy carrier pilot, pit crew at Indy 500, PR Director of international organizations, crew and navigator of an ocean sailboat racing team, husband, father and grandfather. But nothing brings him the satisfaction of being a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).
How do children enter the foster care system? They are abused, abandoned or neglected by their parents and the County takes over and chaos ensues. Some stats for foster kids: 48% graduate HS, 2% college, 25% are incarcerated in their lives, make up 25% of sexual trafficking victims, average time in foster system is 40 months, minimum time 18 months, ages 0-17.99 years, many are severely affected by fetal alcohol and/or drug syndrome. SD county has ~5000 foster kids at any time. How to help these kids? 38 years ago Voices for Children was created to train and administer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA’s). CASA’s are normal people that want to help and make a huge difference. Normally, each foster child receives 40 mins. / year of attorney attention and 40 mins. / year of a judges time, and 1 hr / month from a social worker that has a case load of 25-30 kids, all of which is grossly inadequate. CASA’s make up the difference by getting to know the child and assessing the need for additional services. They work with the foster parents, teachers, doctors and courts. As a sworn officer of the court, CASA’s have access to sealed records that allow them insights that aide in helping the child. CASA commitments/requirements: 15-20 hrs. / month, 18 months minimum per child, one child or set of siblings at a time, must be 21 years, clean driving record (<3 points), and pass background check. John has had a few cases so far and shared the experience – some success and some failure. First was two brothers, separated. A sophomore that couldn’t read when they started, he graduated and is now in his second year at city college. The older brother dropped out of city after a couple weeks and is back home with his abusive father, watching TV and collecting food stamps.

Nicole Ketcher-Resource Development Director Operation Hope-13,March,2018

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Randy introduced the speakers.
Nicole Ketcher- Resource Development Director at Operation Hope She started at Operation Hope May 2017. She grew up in Vista and has been active in the Community throughout her whole life. She has a BA in Sociology from the University Of California Riverside. She is certified in Crisis Intervention in Domestic Violence and Sexual assault.

Evan Hodges- Volunteer Coordinator. He has been with Operation Hope for 2 years. He was a member of the staff team during the transition from a winter shelter to a year round program. He was a fundraiser for The Make A Wish Foundation.

Operation Hope is a year round shelter. They have 45 beds and 12 rooms. They were a winter only shelter and in 2016 they changed to year round. Their rooms are single dorm rooms. Their clients come in ready to work in their program, which is intense, and they have case managers. They gave examples of success stories: They have a family that owned a beautiful home, They were involved in a car accident and the Mom is now a paraplegic. They couldn’t keep up with all the medical expenses and they ended up sleeping in a car. They have been working hard to meet their goals and now will be moving out to their own apartment soon. Another story was of a family where the dad was a veteran with a special needs child, and a teenager. Both parents are working, but their credit rating became bad and they were unable to get an apartment. They have been there 7 months and will be getting an apartment soon.

The programs at the shelter are very individualized, to achieve success. They do drug testing, so they do not qualify for federal money. The shelter is a collaborative effort by churches and members of the community. They house 350 adults and 125 children each year. They have a staff of 16 and an annual budget of $725,000.00

There are many volunteer opportunities, including: after school club for the children, reinforcing good education Kid’s hour, where they can lead children in various activities.
There were many questions; Rob- Could they post previous meals? -A- Evan is working on it Dave- What is the average stay? -A- 30 to 90 days, but they will extend if necessary Julie- What are some volunteer opportunities? A- 1. front desk 2. the boutique area, since they have an influx of clothing. 3. One on one guidance to help set up mock resumes and Interviews. Keith-How do clients find you? A- Some walk-ins, mostly Internet Who do you serve? A- Families and single women Jim- Do you serve women in domestic violence issues. A- They are not a safe house, They will direct those victims to other shelters. Dave- How are you funded? A- 92% private funds .They do not qualify for federal funding. Joanne- Do you take single men? A- No.

Sarah Heirendt – Director for Hands of Peace – March 6, 2018

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Knox Williams introduced our speaker Sarah Heirendt, who is the San Digo director for Hands of Peace. She is responsible for overseeing a three week summer program that brings together 50 Israeli, Pakistani and American youth in Carlsbad and other year-round projects in the San Diego area to promote peace. Hands of Peace is an interfaith organization that empowers young people to help be a voice for change. Itwas founded in 2003 in Chicago as a way to bring people together around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.They bring effective communication and listening skills and create education on daily Israeli / Palestinian conflict.There are three phases of the program: Dialogue and building bridges Leadership development and growth Education and leadership development Alumni of the program continue to engage in peace process annually. Some alumni have become journalists. There are 48 participants per summer, 30 host families and 200+ volunteers. Over 1000 people are engaged overall. Rotary District 5340 continues to support the program in many ways. How to get involved: Host a family Volunteer time and talent Encourage teens to apply Attend events Create a scholarship fund. There will be a fund-raising event at The Crossings in Carlsbad on Sunday, April 29 from 5:30-9 pm. The theme is “Ride the Peace Train.” Go to www.handsofpeace.org for more info and to purchase tickets.