From the Executive Director’s Desk
Dear Community Support Network Supporters,
I wish you all a warm and bountiful season. As the holidays draw near and we gather with friends and family this Thanksgiving, there is much that each of us can be thankful for. As a leader of a nonprofit that does its best work through a community of giving and committed people, I am very appreciative of the support we have received so far this year. From scores of volunteers, to surprise donations of organic produce and warm winter clothing, to a front page Press Democrat article featuring our Sanctuary House youth, to receiving generous foundation grants, CSN has much to celebrate and be thankful for.
I hope you will take the time to read through the stories of the amazing work that is happening at all of our CSN properties this year. These quick articles represent just a sample of the generosity and good work that has buoyed our residents on to greater wellness and independence.
One of the year’s developments that I am most excited to share with you is that CSN has been asked to open a new apartment complex for former foster youth. A cohort of After 18 Foster Youth and our community partner, VOICES, invited CSN to spearhead this project and base it on our current Sanctuary House program. The youth and leadership at VOICES approached us with the idea after seeing transitional age youth (ages 18-24) with complex trauma and addiction backgrounds having successful recovery experiences at Sanctuary House.
What they saw were consistent positive outcomes like this from one of our youth:
“After I came back from a meeting where I was told my symptoms were so intense I would need to be on SSI because I couldn’t keep a job, I felt so discouraged, like I was never going to be able to be successful and that I would be homeless again. But staff at Sanctuary House kept encouraging me and helped me get through some of my trauma barriers. Sanctuary House gave me the safety and support I truly needed. Now I have been able to keep my current job for almost a year now, and I am living on my own and supporting myself! I didn’t think that was going to be an option for me without the safety net I got at Sanctuary House.”
We hope you are as encouraged as we are and are excited to see this new concept become a reality. CSN is currently exploring locations for this project, which we are calling Sanctuary Villas. The community, including Sonoma County Community Development Commission, Human Services Department, VOICES, TLC Child & Family Services, and Social Advocates for Youth, has rallied around us and shown tremendous support as we embark on this process.
Please enjoy CSN’s Fall Newsletter, and consider making a year-end donation to support the essential work CSN is doing in helping all of our residents in our current and future programs to grow and reach new heights.
Tom Bieri, Executive Director
2016 Outcomes and Successes
- Four ladies from Brown Street became employed and graduated to independent housing this year.
- The residents’ garden at Bridges was productive this year, yielding bell peppers, lemon cucumbers, mini watermelons, zucchini and three kinds of tomatoes. Transitioned now to a winter garden, the residents are looking forward to a harvest of pumpkins and kale.
- A group of CSN staff attended this year’s Drug Abuse Alternatives Center (DAAC) training where they gained insight into addictions issues affecting Sonoma County, and will be able to apply their training to enhance our services to clients.
- For two years running, Stony Point Commons has ranked in the top three of 18 Sonoma County programs funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- Three residents from E Street house are taking classes at the SRJC.
- Four E Street residents are involved in the community in various volunteer/paid positions, including supporting the animal shelter and the community gardens.
- Six E Street residents are improving their health through athletic pursuits, such as Pilates, boxing, biking, hiking, and weight lifting.
- A resident at Sanctuary House celebrated one year of sobriety.
- All Sanctuary House residents are either in school (SRJC), working, and/or volunteering.
Dollars and Sense
$16-30/day permanent supportive housing at CSN
$76/day for substance abuse treatment
$117/day for detox
$139/day for jail
$190-4,000/day for inpatient care
Breaking the Cycle of Youth Homelessness
At Sanctuary House this year:
93% of residents (ages 18-24) have not returned to homelessness
100% of residents report using positive coping skills learned at CSN have helped them in their recovery from addictive behaviors and/or trauma
93% made gains in income/employment and/or education
Making the Grade in Social Rehabilitation
Across CSN’s Social Rehabilitation properties in 2016:
63% of CSN residents stepped down to a lower level of care.
84% of residents report using positive coping skills learned at CSN have helped them in their recovery from addictive behaviors and/or trauma
CSN Executive Director Receives Regional Leadership Award
This October, Tom Bieri, CSN’s Executive Director was awarded a 2016 Nonprofit Leadership Award from the North Bay Business Journal. In answering the question as to what most helps him in doing this job, Tom answered: “Evidence-based practices like Seeking Safety have made the difference for CSN and for our clients. Having great counseling models with proven results and built-in tracking has been key in equipping our staff and supporting our clients with the care they need. Of course, having an exceptionally talented staff to implement these practices is even more valuable to me and to the residents of our homes.”
Our deepest thanks go out to committed community members who support CSN staff and clients by pitching in to enrich our homes, gardens, common areas and therapy groups. Your generosity makes a world of difference to our residents as they continue to work on improving emotional and physical health, and learning positive coping skills on their path to recovery and independence. Here are some of our volunteer highlights from a wonderful year of progress at CSN.
Volunteers Lend a Hand at Five CSN Properties for Day of Caring
Every year thousands of volunteers across Sonoma Country come together to clean up and make home improvements at the properties of up to fifty nonprofit and other organizations for Day of Caring. This year CSN was grateful to have participants from the City of Santa Rosa and County of Sonoma help out at four of our homes, while volunteers from Keysight came out to another of our properties through The United Way of the Wine Country.
CSN’s E Street, A Step Up, Hope House, Bridges, and Sanctuary House properties underwent repair, cleanup, paint, and landscape projects all day at the hands of dozens of dedicated volunteers. Thank you City of Santa Rosa, County of Sonoma, United Way of the Wine Country, and Keysight!
High School Students Pitch In
Cardinal Newman High School deployed teams of teens to CSN properties again this year for the school’s annual service event, “Washing of the Feet Day.” This outreach, held on the Thursday before Easter, places student volunteers in the community working to benefit nonprofit organizations. Young volunteers came to CSN’s Brown Street and Hope House for a morning of painting, raking, weed pulling, trimming brush, cleaning, and more. Our thanks goes to Anne Del Monte for organizing the effort, and to the hard-working students of Cardinal Newman High School for making a difference at Brown Street and Hope House.
The Fine Art of Volunteerism
The residents at A Step Up have learned a lot from volunteer and art mentor, Jeannie Bailey. Jeannie, who recently completed her studies in the Alcohol and Other Drug Studies (AODS) program at Santa Rosa Junior College, created a “Self-Care through Art” curriculum, volunteering to share it with the A Step Up residents.
As an intensive treatment program, A Step Up specializes in recovery from trauma and addiction, and Jeannie’s art group has been a valuable way for clients to tap into art, forging a deeper understanding of themselves through it.
Over the course of several months, Jeannie has guided residents to explore different artistic mediums and methods, including a mask project exploring identity, ongoing collage projects and even an outdoor mural on the property. Through art, residents are building insight into overall wellness and a deeper understanding of how to care for themselves. These are skills useful both while they are in treatment and when they graduate and move onto independent living. The art group has been a favorite of residents throughout the semester, and has begun regularly welcoming residents from other CSN properties too! Even more exciting to residents and staff is the news that Jeannie became part of the staff at A Step Up this October. Welcome Jeannie! We are thankful for your volunteerism and excited to see what the future holds as a CSN staff member!
Investing in our Youth
“What are you setting money aside for? What are your goals?” These are some of the questions Rich Strauch brought to the youth of Sanctuary House in his financial literacy workshops from Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking. Strauch encouraged our youth to set immediate, short- and long-term savings goals and to develop life hacks that help them reach those goals. Thank you Rich, for volunteering your personal time and expertise, and thank you to Wells Fargo for a generous grant that supports the youth in our Sanctuary House program year round.
Extra special thanks to:
Lynn Eckert for year-round landscape work at Sanctuary House. Lynn’s hard work and steadfast commitment is deeply appreciated by staff and residents.
Pat Donegan for donating warm coats and interview essentials to the young people of Sanctuary House.
Ché Casul of Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County for reaching out to our Sanctuary House youth and connecting them with volunteer opportunities in their neighborhood and throughout the County. To read the front page Press Democrat article about the Sanctuary House youth pitching in on a Habitat build, visit CSN’s website at www.communitysupportnet.org or google “Press Democrat Sanctuary House.”
Goats Give Back
At a recent visit to Redwood Hill Farm, CSN clients from Bridges and A Step Up met the adorable producers of delicious donated yogurt and kefir received at our homes every month: goats! Staff and residents enjoyed an afternoon picnic and walk through the redwoods with Redwood Hill Farm staff as they learned about dairy operations, visited with the herd, and even got some cuddles from the summer’s baby goats. Thank you to Sue Bice and Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery for arranging the tour and seeing to it that our residents receive fresh, healthy dairy (even some lactose free!) products every month.
Surprise! It’s a Veggie Delivery!
This fall we were delighted to be selected for produce deliveries from Porter Creek Ranch. Loads of fresh, organic tomatoes, pears, potatoes, garlic, onions, beets, carrots, and squash were donated to CSN residents at the height of the late summer harvest. Thank you Brianna Wood for the work your family does to farm the land at Porter Creek Ranch, and for sharing your harvest with our residents.
Looking for ways you can give? For groups and/or individuals interested in volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For donations of goods and services, email email@example.com. To make a monetary donation, you may send a check in the enclosed envelope or donate electronically at www.communitysupportnet.org
CSN operates 9 homes, serving 200 clients annually with generous support from:
- Codding Foundation
- Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
- Community Foundation Sonoma County
- Sidney Stern Memorial Trust
- Ernest & Ruth Finley Foundation
- Wells Fargo Bank
- Whole Foods
CSN’s undergoes an extensive reporting and auditing process to assure financial transparency and accountability. Our 2015 audit included the following quote in a letter from the auditors, “Without any reservation, the auditor feels the organization appropriately followed all accounting rules and that the financial reports are an accurate representation of the organization’s financial condition.”
CSN Awarded $25,000 to Coordinate Trainings in Sonoma County
CSN has become a community leader in not only helping individuals recover from trauma and addiction, but training other providers in doing the same. This spring, CSN was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Wine Country Weekend Fund of the Community Foundation Sonoma County, to bring training for Seeking Safety, as well as two other evidence-based programs, to 60 providers of health, homeless, mental health, and other human services. This grant allows CSN, in partnership with Face to Face and the Behavioral Health Division/QPR, to bring to the larger Sonoma County care provider community, evidence-based programs that have garnered outstanding outcomes in the lives of CSN’s 200 annual clients. These trainings and the implementation of the programs will benefit approximately 7,000 low-income Sonoma County children, youth, adults, and seniors struggling with addiction, trauma, suicidal thoughts, and/or homelessness.
Looking Ahead: What’s Next for CSN
Hope House on the Horizon
CSN is eagerly awaiting the final licensing approval that will allow us to open the doors of Hope House. All estimates place the opening at December 2016 or January 2017, and we are thrilled to be staffing up and getting the home ready. CSN and our partners, Sonoma County Behavioral Health Division and Telecare Sonoma ACT, are looking forward to welcoming 12 Sonoma County residents back to our community from placements outside of the county.
In a recent letter of support, Sonoma County Department of Health Services Behavioral Health Director, Michael Kennedy, said that Hope House, “will house 12 individuals at any one time…improving their lives while saving Sonoma County over three million dollars per year. This savings can then be re-invested to serve more Sonoma County residents who are experiencing mental health issues.” CSN is proud that our quality programs not only change the lives of our residents, but our work free up funds so our county can serve even more os those who need it most in our county.
Setting our Sights on Sanctuary Villas
CSN is pleased to announce a new initiative as we seek to house and support an even greater number of the homeless and former foster 18-24 year-olds of Sonoma County. Sanctuary Villas, a permanent supportive housing project to be located in Santa Rosa, will be a sister program to our current transitional age youth (TAY) home, Sanctuary House in Cotati. Our new initiative will feature an off-site healing center run collaboratively with our community partner, VOICES, which will aid in supporting youth residents of as they take steps past homelessness and into independence. When completed, Sanctuary Villas will provide 8-14 beds of permanent supportive housing for former foster, at-risk, and homeless TAY. CSN is building partnerships to secure funding for this much-needed supportive housing for the foster/TAY population in 2016/17. Check back with us at www.communitysupportnet.org for updates on this exciting new initiative.
Save the Date
- Friday, June 23, 2017
- CSN Luau
- At Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens
- Featuring live entertainment, fresh harvested abalone, Hawaiian roast pig and delicious Jackson Family Wines
- For sponsorship and ticket information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org