Blog

The Ripple Effect Is Real

Ripple Effect – The continuing and spreading results of an event or action.

When giving back to your local community there is a ripple effect that you may not directly see, but we do. When you donate money to must! charities or volunteer your time it makes you feel good. From there, that allows us to do the work we do. Like our recent project, Boys & Girls Club – Shandon, or a commercial kitchen renovation at El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO).

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Meet Kacie Pechota, our New “Office Ninja”

I am so excited to let you know we have a new employee at must! charities and we’d like for you to meet her. Welcome Kacie Pechota, our new “Office Ninja” (best title ever!). Kacie began working with us last month assisting me in the office, and I am thrilled to have her as part of the must! team. I interviewed her recently so you could get to know her. ~ Becky

Becky: Tell us about yourself…

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Update on December must! month

Here is an updated list of who’s taking part in the December must! charities month. We are beyond thankful for these partnerships. Please go supports these folks and by doing so, you help our community.

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Giving Back: Coats for Kids and must! charities

At must! charities we feel it is very important to give back year-round. That said, we know that so many people really think about it more around the holidays. We wanted to take a moment to mention our amazing Youth Board members and their work with Coats for Kids.

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Thank You to JB Dewar for their September Fuel Fundraiser for must! charities

We cannot thank JB Dewar enough. Their September Fuel Fundraiser brought $8,753.73 to must! charities. Please read the whole story at this link.


Check Out this Interview with our Executive Director, Becky Wells Gray

I was first introduced to Beth Wonson in 2015. A colleague recommended I reach out to her, as I was looking to hire a third party professional development consultant to assist must! with one of our projects. As part of must! charities funding model, we often underwrite the costs of professional consultants to come in and assist non-profits in areas of need. Beth and I had a connection right off the bat. She was instrumental in helping non-profits navigate through challenges, provided confidential coaching for leaders, as well as transform leadership through better communication. She was instrumental for our organization as well, as I began taking some of her training courses and have learned some amazing leadership skills from her.

 

Click on this link to hear the interview with Beth Wonson…(or read the transcript)

 

 

 


Hope for Joey: CASA Success Story

There are over 500 kids in our county who are under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court and need a Court Appointed Special Advocate.  CASA advocates make recommendations to the court, based on the best interest of the children. Kids like Joey.

Joey was less than a year old when he was placed in protective custody. His mother brought him to the local hospital. He was very pale, congested, and coughing. Joey’s mother was incoherent upon arrival to the hospital and passed out several times. Hospital staff notified law enforcement who arrested the mother. She later admitted to being addicted to heroin and methamphetamine.

Joey was transferred to the Neo-Natal Unit and diagnosed with Failure to Thrive, based on parental neglect. He could barely eat or drink, and the back of his head was severely flat. This baby was in very critical condition.

CASA volunteer, Denise, was assigned to advocate for him and foster placement arranged. Joey is now almost two years old and Denise visits him weekly to observe his development. She has a very supportive relationship with the foster mom, attends medical appointments and occupational therapy sessions with Joey and reports he is making good progress.

Denise is dedicated to Joey’s recovery and said although he faces many challenges she will stay by his side to ensure he grows up in a safe, nurturing, and permanent home.

This is just one example of lives positively affected by a CASA volunteer advocate. 


A Chance at ECHO: Tom and Jolie

ECHO, El Camino Homeless Organization is a transitional shelter in Northern San Luis Obispo County that is helping families and individuals find permanent housing. ECHO is for people who are ready to make a change in their lives. People like Tom, Jolie, and their son.

Tom wandered into ECHO confused, hungry and tired.  Over lunch he talked about how he, his partner and their son were sleeping on friends’ couches after he lost his job over a year ago. Though he just took a job working for a landscaper, he had no food and no place to stay. 

The next day, his family moved into ECHO. Case management worked with Tom on a monthly budget and provided tools to save and spend wisely. Tom and Jolie ate dinner and breakfast every night at ECHO and packed lunches each morning so they would not spend any money on food.

They were careful not to spend unnecessarily and truly used the resources at ECHO to help save the most they could. ECHO connected Jolie with CAPSLO for daycare options for their son. Once they got him into a daycare, she began working part time at a store in Paso Robles.

Tom and Jolie saved $10,000 during their stay at ECHO.  Using the computer at the shelter, they began looking for a home to rent.  Soon, they moved into their own permanent and stable housing.

Tom talked about how he will be forever grateful for that one afternoon when he wandered on to the ECHO campus and realized that if he wanted to, ECHO could provide him with the stability and support he needed to make a positive change in his life.

ECHO gave Tom and Jolie a second chance and their story is just one example of a life positively affected by ECHO.


Success Story: Julie and ECHO

ECHO, El Camino Homeless Organization is a transitional shelter in Northern San Luis Obispo County that is helping families and individuals find permanent housing. ECHO is for people who are ready to make a change in their lives. People like Julie.

Julie and her daughters moved into ECHO at the end of March. ECHO Case Managers helped Julie apply for a Housing Choice Voucher through HASLO. Julie also worked with a financial counselor from her church to create a plan for paying off debt and budgeting for her future.

Since Julie was recently sober, she enrolled in a Drug/Alcohol program and began taking classes twice a week. With help from Department of Social Services she enrolled her daughters into daycare through CAPSLO head start program. She found employment through the DSS work program called Welfare to Work and began working immediately part time. After she completed the program she secured full time work.

ECHO helped Julie transition temporarily into Anna’s House. This was a great place for her because she was living with other women in similar circumstances and had use of the kitchen, had her own room and bathroom with her girls, and had a great support system from other women living at the house.

ECHO Case Managers continued to check in with her during her 2 months at Anna’s home and helped her fill out applications for various apartments that would accept her voucher. She found housing at the end of October and moved into her new apartment on November 1st.

ECHO gave Julie and her girls a second chance and his story is just one example of a life positively affected by ECHO.


Charlie and Greg: Success at CASA

Did you know there are over 500 kids in our county who are under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court and need a Court Appointed Special Advocate? CASA advocates make recommendations to the court, based on the best interest of the children.

Let us share with you what that looks like for a child in our community. CASA volunteer Greg has been advocating for Charlie, a 17-year-old. Charlie’s mother is deceased and he has had no contact with his biological father and very limited contact with other relatives.

Charlie has been in 7 foster homes in the past 5 years. His autism diagnosis has added more complexity to his case. Transition is hard enough for any child, but for youth with autism, it’s monumental. Greg has made these foster home transitions much easier by being a stable, consistent and caring presence for Charlie.

Greg spends quality time with Charlie and takes him into the community every week, helping him feel more comfortable in new situations. They go bowling, to the archery range, play board games, go shopping, and play at the park. Greg has also been instrumental in keeping Charlie connected with some of his extended family members. Greg also holds the Educational Rights for Charlie. He attends all of the educational meetings to advocate for his best interests and is in regular contact with his teachers.

As Charlie gets closer to graduating high school, Greg is starting to focus his efforts on ensuring that Charlie receives services to help him gain needed independent living skills.

This is just one example of lives positively affected by a CASA volunteer advocate.