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Quarterly Newsletter

September 2020
Dear Friends and Supporters,

I sit here today in a state of gratitude as we manage through a ‘global pandemic’ and massive civil unrest. Either of these state of affairs alone are difficult to manage but together they highlight the problems that are often ignored.  Be it injustice or the disproportionate rates of COVID-19 in communities of color, the residual effects of both are wreaking 
havoc on families. So, early on we decided to maintain our focus on the families we serve. Many nonprofits feared for their survival as States and Counties had to shift their funding priorities to address the social and medical costs of responding to COVID-19. Understanding the special responsibility that an agency like ours has during times like this – we have remained open. Decisions were made to sustain the Agency while allowing us to support families dealing with the challenges of homeschooling, food shortages, and isolation from needed resources. 

In moments like these our mission and values matter to the people and communities we serve. We continue to provide everything from case management, family preservation services and respite care to telephone therapy sessions.  We even managed to run an in-person summer youth program (see below for the video).  

The pandemic and the civil unrest are both unresolved threats that continue to challenge us in ways we never experienced. For our part we will remain steadfast in our efforts to support families.  I thank each of you for your overwhelming support in helping us care for those that are in need during these perilous times. 

Our actions and how we care for one another during this period will matter and is surely making a difference in the lives of those we serve.

In Gratitude,

25 years ago, Family Support Services ran our first Summer Backpack Drive. Every year since, we have collected school supplies so that the students we support have all the tools they need as they return to school. As we begin this school year, no parent could have anticipated having to weather a global pandemic while also supporting their children's academic needs as they begin their school year via  distance learning. While we cannot stop COVID-19, we wanted to make sure that a lack of school supplies was not going to hold kids back this school year.
 
Our donors and supporters exceeded our expectations with their participation in our Summer Backpack Drive! Through the generous donations and contributions received, we collected and distributed 102 backpacks to children and youth in our programs. Additionally, we raised over $5,000 in donations which will go towards our continued support of our youth and caregivers as they navigate this uncharted territory of distance learning. These donations are so special to the students and caregivers we work with. It helps relieve stress and opens up opportunities. We are truly grateful to know that we have the support of our donors, funders, and other supporters during difficult times such as these. THANK YOU!
Kinship Summer Program!
We did it!  After 12 weeks of sheltering in place Donna Moore, Program Director of our Kinship Program was determined to design a summer program for youth that would bring them out of their houses to connect with their peers and enhance their social skills while also providing their caregivers a much needed respite. Our summer program during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed the youth in our Kinship program an opportunity to come together for some much needed interaction, so that they could play, learn and be creative in a safe and healthy environment.  Alameda County laid out strict rules for in-person summer programs during the pandemic and we followed those rules daily for 6 weeks without incident.  Although the program had to be much smaller, we served 40 youth whose caregivers were extremely appreciative. The youth arrived daily at 9:30am, masked up, happy to be out of the house and ready to engage with their peers all day.  

The 6 week program was awesome - we are so thankful to our government and private foundation funders for helping us to make the summer program a real success.  

Please, take a few minutes to view the video above and see the smiles, the joy and some of the activities the youth were able to participate in.
It brings us so much joy to announce our 2020 Thanksgiving Program! This year we will not receive food donations due to safety concerns related to COVID-19.  Instead, we will be holding a Thanksgiving drive thru style event where caregivers will pick up a grocery store gift card on Thursday, November 12th. We plan to give at least 80 families a $50 grocery store gift card. We cannot wait to share the pictures so be on the lookout for yet another awesome event!
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