Success Story: 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 Henry.

Henry was an engineer from Southern California. A couple of years ago, he started having trouble with his eyesight and was struggling at work. At the same time, his wife became sick and passed away. His world was shattered. He stopped caring about anything, including his bills. Soon, he lost his home and was living in his car.

After several months, he woke up one day sick and tired of being sick and tired. He knew his wife would want better for him and he vowed to make a change. First, he scheduled his eye surgery. Second, he researched homeless shelters and applied at ECHO.

During his stay at ECHO, Henry was focused on finding a job, willing to relocate to do so. He accepted a position in Davis and found a home to rent. Henry says being at ECHO is exactly what he needed to get back on his feet and the support of case managers helped make that possible.

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

Success Story: Boys and Girls Club

The Boys & Girls Club provides educational support, dropout prevention, and guidance. They are a safe place to learn and grow – all while having fun. There are children in our community that without the Boys and Girls Club, would have no place to go after school. Kids like Stephen.

Stephen has been attending the Boys and Girls Club since kindergarten. He had always been a ball of sunshine, but last year the staff saw a dramatic shift in Stephen’s behavior. It became rare for Stephen to have a good day.

Stephen was running away, lashing out at other club members, and openly defied staff direction. Finally, he was given one last chance. The Club developed a safe place plan for when Stephen started to feel overly stressed. This safe place not only provided a break from the stimulation, but also de-escalated situations early enough where Stephen began to recognize the triggers and could catch them early. He also was able to apologize for his missteps.

Stephen is now the number one helper behind the desk and his resilience is a source of pride for his family and his club. Stephen is a prime examples of what the Boys and Girls Club strives to do. Support, engage, improve and impact children’s lives.

Success Stories: CASA

Currently there are over 490 kids in our county’s court system who are waiting for a CASA volunteer advocate. These children deserve to have a voice in how decisions are made and most of the time it is the voice of the volunteer advocate who can make a huge difference in that child’s life.

Let us share with you what that looks like for children in our community.

CASA volunteers, Martin and Rose have been advocating on their cases for two years. Martin is advocating for 16-year old Joe and Rose is advocating for a 4-year old girl, named Wendy. Although these children differ in many ways, both were abused and neglected and suffered due to the mental illness of their mothers.

When Martin met Joe he was overweight, low self-esteem in additional to behavioral issues. Martin and Joe’s bond grew with trips to the gym, as he gained confidence in his new found strength.

Rose quickly identified that Wendy’s grandmother, who had custody could not navigate the child welfare system because of a language barrier. Rose became an advocate, not only for Wendy but also for her grandmother.

Today, both Joe and Wendy are adopted and living in loving and happy families.

These stories are proof positive that CASA volunteers can make a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children.

* Names and details have been changed to protect identities