Ripple Effect

Just as our leaf began to touch a small portion of our region, the excitement from the donors pool as well as the positive effects from our projects have begun to ripple out of the north county and truly making a difference in the lives of others throughout the entire region of San Luis Obispo County and beyond.

6a00d83453633269e201156f16f27c970c-320wiboys and girls club | june 2012 – December 2015

The program at the Boys and Girls Club sought to increase the services offered to children by a robust board recruitment, retention, and training program, investing in high-level exective staff, commit time and resources to serving on the board. This club is now in the place of expansion and soon to be a county wide organization, as they take the leadership helm of the region, are in the process of a name change and have hopes to begin a pilot summer program in San Luis Obispo in 2016. Must! charities is funding a portion of their expansion model as we wish to see all children in need of a Boys & Girls Club be served.

real food for real children | june 2013 – june 2015

Real food for Real Children expand on existing program to reach 2,500 children within the 2 years of the project, increase nutritional density, be self-sustaining after program period, and ultimately will reach all at-risk children in the North County. 21 different site locations served free lunches to kids ages 0-18 over the 2014 summer, a growth from 6 two years prior prior years. In 2014, in the North County we served 11 different sites, and the South County now has 10 different lunch sites. Our afterschool snack locations exist in 18 different locations, with 4 of those being in the south county. The vehicles purchased for the food bank are serving families and children throughout the entire county, allowing the foodbank to securely deliver refrigerated food to all areas of the county.

Hands On Approach: Interview with Partner Advisory Board Member, Lisa Lewis

We sat down with Lisa Lewis, must! charities Partner Advisory Board member, active community member, not to mention standout mom to five.  You may recognize her from numerous For Sale signs in Northern SLO, as Lisa is a realtor with Re/Max Parkside Real Estate.  Yes, we had the same question also – how is she able to wear so many hats yet still devote time to must! charities?
LISAJLEWIS-photo (2)You not only contribute to must! charities projects but you decided to be a part of the Partner Advisory Board – what motivated you to do so? 

I have been involved with many organizations throughout the years and I like to be actively involved.   I helped out in the classroom and within the community but when I started in Real Estate, I felt that it was important to take it one step further, and by being on the board or within a committee I could help make greater change.  I have been an Ambassador with the local of the Chamber of Commerce, I was a founding member of the Atascadero Women in Business, and the greeter with Rotary (which I was very good at :).  I felt that being on the Partner Advisory Board would allow me to further be involved outside of just donating money.  I take a hands-on approach on everything I do and I want to be fully vested into the cause.  A portion of all of my real estate sales go right back into must! charities.

What do you like best about must! charities?

I like that must! is helping local non-profits and charities by going into that business, working with that business in identify the wants and needs of that businesses, solving problems and making that business a greater organization.  must! does not just give money to the non-profits and walk away.  must! donates their time, energy, and knowledge into that business and in turn the community truly benefits.  I also love how some many local business are involved with must! and they always have little events to help raise money and spread the word.

How did you first hear about must! charities?

I have known Becky for years, we used to volunteer in our kids classroom and became friends.  I ran into Becky one day and she told me what she was doing with must! and I jumped at the opportunity to help.

Has there been any project or collaborator that you’ve been especially enamored with or felt a special tug?

My grandfather started the Boys and Girls Club in La Habra many years ago and so it has always been close to my heart.  I love must! helped turn this Boys and Girls Club into one of the best in California!

Were your parents philanthropic?

My mother Sandi is a retired principle with the La Habra School District and through the years was always heavily involved in non-profits and charitable organizations.  My mother was also La Habra Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 2014.  My grandfather was also a past Citizen of the Year.  I come from a very large family and we learned at a young age to take care of everyone and everyone work together to accomplish the greater goal.  I raised my five children the same way that I was raised.
Thank YOU Lisa, and thank you to generations before her that instilled philanthropy as part of everyday living.

Where a Couple of Glasses of Vino Can Take You

It’s about 1997 and a couple of old buddies are sitting around sharing a “bit” of vino. Isn’t that how all good stories are forged? It’s no different for must! partner, Bella Luna Estate Winery whose partnership between Kevin Healy and Sherm Smoot formed over one such glass (ok, perhaps a few glasses). They never looked back.

untitledToday, Bella Luna Estate Winery’s five acres in the Templeton gap produces predominately Italian varietals, making small lot productions of premium wine. But it’s not just Bella Luna’s vines that are deep in Central Coast soil. Sherm’s father started a business on the Central Coast in 1947, raising his family in the North County. While Sherm has a story or two for every bend and fork in the road, there is no making light of his passion and allegiance to the region. For over 30 years, he was an aviator who flew all over the world – ask any aero-aficionado and they will know his name as well as his feats.

It made sense for him that after a successful career in aviation, he settle back into Northern San Luis Obispo County. And the pull and tug of the North County is one reason why he listened to Doug and Sabrina Kruse when they said they had a project he may want to align himself with.

Enter must! charities. Sherm likes to keep it local and knows that funds he raises for must! charities are infused directly into his community. And he is a numbers guy who respects accountability. Another win for must!, which holds project collaborators accountable to regular financial and project deliverable reporting.

Since becoming a partner with must! charities, Bella Luna has hosted winemaker dinners and bottling parties, proceeds of which go to must! charities. Wanna see what Sherm is all about for yourself? Bella Luna is now open 7-days a week and he is usually around, ready to share his passion about wine along with a few great stories from his aviator days.

Boys & Girls Club – A Success Story

–written by the Boys & Girls Club of Northern San Luis Obispo County

FullSizeRenderWe were first approached by Madyson’s grandmother in Spring of 2013, desperate to find a place for her four-year old granddaughter to spend the summer.  Her first question was, “What do you do when a child runs away?”  Further discussion with the family helped us understand that Madyson would need some special attention.  Her young age, behavioral issues, and lack of experience with a structured program were all cause for concern.  Nonetheless, we were determined to give Madyson a chance to find her place at the Boys and Girls Club.

Early on Madyson struggled with following directions, sitting for organized group activities, and focusing on summer learning activities.  She had difficulties keeping her hands to herself and her method of communicating with other members was yelling and grabbing.  Hiding under tables and behind doors was frequent when she did not want to participate in our programs or did not her her way, and she received several disciplinary write-ups during her first months.

Over several months staff worked with her on proper ways of communicating, using words to explain how she feels and get her needs met.  We also worked with her on socialization and provided individualized help to accommodate her learning style.  It became apparent that Madyson loves to he a helper and we used this framework to help her understand and follow club rules.  Madyson is now a wonderful club member who participates fully in classes, Power Hour, and group activities.  She shows up with a huge smile and willingly engages with others.  For the 2014-2015 school year, Madyson has not received a single disciplinary write-up and in fact, was honored as Youth of the Month for January.

Madyson’s mother Jessica, ins a single mom living and working in Atascadero.  She felt that Madyson thrived at the Paso Summer Camp so she has continued to bring Madyson to after-school program on a daily basis.  Jessica leaves work at 2:30 to bring Madyson from her school to the Club and returns at 6:00 to pick her up.  Last year Madyson was able to attend the summer program in Atascadero.  Jessica says that an Atascadero after-school program would be an “answer to her prayers” and “that her employer would be thrilled as well.”