Representative Garamendi Honors Caminar’s Director of Supported Housing as a Woman of the Year

Representative John Garamendi of California’s 3rd Congressional District held his 4th annual Women of the Year event on Thursday, October 19. Honorees included 38 women who have made significant contributions to their communities. Among the Women of the Year honorees was Caminar’s Director of Supported Housing for the Solano Region, Tranine Chisom.

Passionate about improving support for people with mental health disabilities and those who experience housing challenges and homelessness, Tranine has dedicated her career to community service. She works tirelessly with property owners, and city and county officials to increase and leverage affordable housing resources for our most vulnerable citizens.

Tranine is also actively involved with Housing First Solano, where she serves as Board Chairwoman. She was instrumental in developing and now implementing Solano County’s Neighbors Helping Neighbor-Forward Together 5-Year Strategic Plan to address homelessness. As well, she is actively engaged with the Solano Napa Habitat for Humanity program; she participates as a crew member on community building days and also serves on the Family Selection Committee to identify families most in need of a Habitat Home.

Tranine is a humble and passionate person dedicated to serving her community. We are so happy to celebrate her accomplishments and this well-deserved honor, and we are grateful she is a part of our Caminar family.

Thank you, Tranine, for your dedicated work to help people obtain and maintain housing and to create systems change.

Caminar Volunteer Recognized by Peninsula Health Care District

Back in February, Caminar’s wonderful and tireless volunteer, Martha Mirabella, was among those recognized by the Peninsula Health Care District at its 9th Annual Community Partners Award Ceremony.

We are grateful for the countless hours of hard work and positive energy Martha has dedicated to support Caminar’s San Mateo County region and agency administrative team. Martha manages the upkeep of our filing and records, which ensures an organized, efficient, and productive office.

Our sincere thanks to Martha, and all of our dedicated volunteers, for helping us to serve individuals and families in our community who are in need. And, many thanks for the Peninsula Health Care District for recognizing one of our own!

 Caminar CEO Chip Huggins with Martha Mirabella

 Caminar CEO Chip Huggins with Martha Mirabella

Young Men’s Service League Gives Ultimate Gift and Renovates Playground

On Sunday, October 8, the playground used for children’s therapy at our Julian Street facility received much-appreciated attention and improvements from the Rancho chapter of the Young Men’s Service League (YMSL).

YMSL is a mother-son organization dedicated to serving local communities and enhancing mother-son relationships. The young men and their mothers participate in a four-year program of philanthropy, education, and leadership. In addition to other efforts and projects, every year each chapter gives the Ultimate Gift. The Ultimate Gift provides substantial support and a transformational project to a program or philanthropy to better help them serve the needs of their community. We are grateful to the YMSL Rancho chapter for choosing our Julian Street playground to receive their chapter’s 2017 Ultimate Gift.

YMSL members arrived in force on Sunday with smiles and a strong work ethic in tow. The volunteers renovated the playground to not only improve the aesthetics but also to improve the safety and usability of the space. A thorough power washing of the jungle gym and area ensured a clean palette. The area around the jungle gym area was then completely filled with bark, making it much safer. Lovely plants were added and a beautiful mural was painted to add a pop of color. As well, the team donated basketballs, a hoop, whiffle balls and bats, sidewalk chalk, a new ball pump, and other recreational equipment. To top it all off, YMSL also contributed a much-needed storage bin, a patio set with a new umbrella, and a hose.  

Our staff was thrilled to see the improvements and our littlest clients are in for an exciting week as they rediscover the magic of this playground.

We are profoundly thankful for the time and effort these young men and their mothers dedicated to our program and playground. Their hard work and caring will greatly benefit these children who are in need of a fun and safe place to play and express themselves.

Caminar Solano Clients Connect and Socialize at Annual Labor Day Picnic

Over the long Labor Day weekend in September, our Solano County region hosted its annual Labor Day picnic for Caminar Solano clients. The picnic was held at Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo and offered clients an opportunity to connect, socialize, and support recovery during a fun-filled afternoon.

Picnic-goers enjoyed a filling and delicious barbeque, which was catered by our wonderful staff and made possible through a grant. Raffle prizes were given for the best dance moves, which encouraged all to get up, move, and have fun.

Our staff and clients alike thoroughly enjoyed connecting with and building community. We are grateful for the generous grant from Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit for the festivities and for all who took time from their holiday weekend to join us.

Colleagues Enjoy BAYMEC’s Progress Never Stops Brunch

On Sunday, colleagues from Caminar and The LGBTQ Youth Space joined other community leaders and members at the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee (BAYMEC) Progress Never Stops brunch.


BAYMEC, a four-county lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) political action committee (PAC), has lobbied and fought for LGBT civil rights and a more equal and inclusive society for 33 years.

Held at The GlassHouse in San Jose, the brunch included networking with local elected officials and community leaders, the opportunity to meet candidates for public office, and a program of dynamic and inspiring speakers. An event highlight, the keynote address featured California Attorney General Xavier Becerra who received a standing ovation from the more than 400 in attendance.

Our organization was well represented by Cassie Blume, Director of LGBT Programs, and Adrienne Keel, Outreach Coordinator, from The LGBTQ Youth Space and Harriet Pecot, Caminar’s Associate Director of Major Gifts. The LGBTQ Youth Space also staffed a table at the brunch and spoke with attendees about programs and services offered to LGBTQ youth in Santa Clara County.

Proceeds from the event will help to elect LGBT candidates and champions of LGBT rights to local office in 2018.

Team Caminar Walks to Stomp Out Stigma at NAMIWalks Silicon Valley

This past Saturday morning, Team Caminar joined forces with others in the Silicon Valley to walk together to raise funds and awareness to help change perceptions about mental illness. Team Caminar included our CEO Chip Huggins, Nikki Luistro and her sister, Maryanne McGlothlin, a group from Redwood House, and board member Samyukt Bajaj. 

Held at the Guadalupe River Park in San Jose, this year’s event included 1,130 participants and has raised $216,628 thus far, which is over 75% of the goal and still going!

NAMIWalks Silicon Valley is just one of over 80 events in 2017. Each NAMIWalks is a 5K event that raises awareness and funds for NAMI organizations across the country. Last year, NAMIWalks all over the United States collectively raised nearly $11 million. So far this year, almost $9 million has been raised!

Thanks, Team Caminar, for spending your Saturday morning stomping out stigma!

Rainbow Social Celebrated Donors’ Generosity, Highlighted Programs’ Reach

On Friday evening, we welcomed friends and supporters to our downtown San Jose LGBTQ Youth Space drop-in center for the Rainbow Social. The social celebrated our LGBTQ programs for youth and adults, highlighted how the programs are responding to growing community needs, and thanked our generous supporters.

Our CEO, Chip Huggins, kicked off the evening by welcoming guests and emphasizing the great work the center does to address the need for a safe and supportive place for LGBTQ youth and individuals in the community. Chip then introduced Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, a longtime LGBTQ Youth Space proponent, and LGBTQ advocate.

Supervisor Yeager also remarked on the importance of the LGBTQ Youth Space and the services it provides to the community. He noted that the need for the program motivated his involvement in securing County funding to fund a portion of center operations through 2021. Supervisor Yeager spoke to the County’s commitment to the LGBTQ community. In 2016, the County of Santa Clara opened the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, the first in the nation at the county level dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community. As well, every weekday, the rainbow and transgender pride flags proudly fly at county offices.

Cassie Blume, the Director of LGBTQ Programs, expressed gratitude to Supervisor Yeager for his unwavering support of, and deep commitment to, the work of the LGBTQ Youth Space. She then spoke quantitatively of the reach of the LGBTQ Youth Space. Over 4,500 individuals were served at the center in the last year—including dreamers, homeless youth, those needing health and wellness care, foster youth, and young adults with few other places to turn. And, an additional 8,400 people were touched through outreach and education programs in the community, including the Youth Speakers Bureau. The multigenerational LGBTQ Wellness program reached close to 1,000 people through its peer support, mental health advocacy, and outreach and education activities. Cassie emphasized that this work is made possible by the compassion and generosity of donors, and expressed appreciation to all the donors in attendance.

Forest, a non-binary youth whose pronouns are “they/them,” then shared an inspiring and thoughtful story of how the program transformed their life. Forest spoke eloquently about the loneliness and isolation felt upon realizing they were different than peers, yet the feeling of immediate belonging upon finding our LGBTQ Youth Space. Hope, Forest said, is the greatest thing the program offers to the community. Denise, Forest’s mom, spoke of how the program helped her; it provided her the opportunity to connect with other parents of non-binary youth and helped to better understand and deepen her connection with her child.

The remarks concluded with a lovely song on a rainbow-painted ukulele by an LGBTQ Youth Space participant.

We were thrilled so many of our friends joined us for this special evening. In addition to Supervisor Yeager taking time from his busy schedule to celebrate with us, several representatives of faith-based communities attended, as did representatives from the business community, including PwC and Silicon Valley Business Journal.

We are especially thankful to PwC and Vivienne and Moez Virani for their generous underwriting of the evening.

Learn more about our LGBTQ Programs:

LGBTQ Wellness and The LGBTQ Youth Space are programs of Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley (FCS), a division of Caminar.


Safeway Foundation Awards Grant for Jobs Plus Program

Safeway Logo Sized.png

We are excited to announce that Caminar’s Jobs Plus program has received a grant from The Safeway Foundation. This grant was made possible through the People with Disabilities campaign.

During July, Safeway customers and employees voluntarily contributed to The Safeway Foundation’s People with Disabilities campaign at check stands throughout Northern California, Nevada, and Hawaii. The campaign raised over $1.1 million to fund a variety of local organizations that are at the forefront of assisting people with disabilities. The Safeway Foundation supports causes that impact the lives of employee and customers, such as Caminar’s Jobs Plus program.

Our Jobs Plus program, which will benefit from the grant funds, provides individuals with mental, developmental, and physical disabilities opportunities for job training, placement, and supported employment services. Our goal is to increase self-sufficiency and life satisfaction for adults with disabilities by partnering with employers to place and retain clients in meaningful, competitive employment positions.

The Safeway Foundation’s past support of Jobs Plus has helped open the pathway for hundreds of people with disabilities to move from hopelessness and economic distress to the fulfillment of meaningful employment. One such person helped by Jobs Plus is Jay.

Jay had been working professionally for several years but lost his job during a time that he struggled to manage his mental health condition. The sudden loss of his income plunged Jay into legal troubles, and he found himself homeless. Jay found the help he needed through Caminar’s mental health services. Once Jay’s condition stabilized, and he was in housing, his case manager linked Jay with the Jobs Plus program. The program staff found that Jay’s job skills were still strong and that he was ready to get back to work. Working with his coach, Jay started his job search and soon secured a job with a good company that was glad to have his skills and experience. Jay’s coach checks in with him regularly and has helped Jay successfully navigate the pressures of work while caring for his mental wellness.

We are grateful for the Foundation’s continued investment in Jobs Plus, which will support our capacity to provide these life-changing services to the people like Jay, who most need them.

Supervisor Horsley Recognizes Outgoing Board Member's Service to Caminar

During our May Board of Directors meeting, San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley presented outgoing board member Carol Whitfield with a commendation for her service to Caminar.

Supervisor Horsley thanked Carol for the six years she served as a member of the Caminar Board of Directors, during which time she helped the organization increase in size by nearly 50 percent.

Carol’s energy targeting growth in fundraising and merger opportunities was unmatched, and her successful business career helped guide Caminar to become more efficient in its operations and marketing efforts. Her involvement with Caminar’s annual fundraising event, In Concert With Caminar, has resulted in over $1.4 million dollars raised for the organization. She guided and led the expansion of board member recruitment, attracting prominent community leaders, who expanded the organization’s fundraising capacity and network. As well, Carol worked tirelessly to create the merger opportunity with Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley.

We appreciate Supervisor Horsley’s recognition of Carol for her outstanding service to Caminar and commitment to help those in San Mateo County. We, too, are tremendously grateful for Carol’s unwavering support of Caminar. We are thrilled she will remain actively involved in Caminar as part of our Advisory Committee.

carol whitfield recognition.JPG

FCS Division Participates in National Night Out

On Tuesday evening, August 1, our Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley (FCS) division participated in two National Night Out events held in San Jose.

National Night Out is an annual event that recognizes the role we all have in building neighborhoods that safer, more caring places to live. Across the country, more than 38 million people and 16,000 communities came together to build and enhance relationships in their neighborhoods. San Jose hosted several events, and FCS was thrilled to have a presence at the gatherings at both St. James Park and Emma Pursch Farm Park.

We appreciated the opportunity to connect with neighbors, share information about our services, discuss community concerns, and hear from speakers, including Mayor Sam Liccardo.

Special thanks to our FCS Substance Use Services and Teen FAST Program teams for heading up our participation!

San Mateo County Clients Celebrate Summer at Caminar’s Annual Picnic

San Mateo County clients enjoyed our annual client picnic on Friday, July 21, 2017. Set in San Mateo’s Central Park on a beautiful afternoon, the picnic included lunch and plenty of entertainment.

Our clients were treated to a hearty lunch buffet of classic picnic fare: barbecue, rolls, salad, fruit, macaroni salad, fruit salad, and an array of sweets for dessert. During lunch, clients and staff lined up for a caricature artist, who quickly drew humorous portraits for all. More fun and games began once appetites were satisfied, including bingo, potato sack races, water balloon toss, arts and crafts, ping pong, and corn hole.

Staff loved seeing clients outside of program offices, dressed up for the occasion, having fun, and soaking in the sun and festivities. Our guests enjoyed socializing outside of the office with other clients, friends, caseworkers, and staff members. A thankful client expressed gratitude to Caminar for life-saving services and a few guests particularly appreciated seeing one of our Bridges to Wellness nurses enjoying a chocolate cupcake, with the reminder that sweets are okay in moderation!

We are appreciative of all who joined the fun and enjoyed a lovely afternoon in the park. 

SAMCAR Foundation Grant Awarded to Caminar

Caminar is honored to receive a grant from the SAMCAR (San Mateo County Association of REALTORS®) Foundation, which strives to financially assist local nonprofit organizations that improve the quality of life for residents in San Mateo County. The SAMCAR Foundation has been a generous, ongoing supporter of our supported housing services since 2011.

With the contribution from the SAMCAR Foundation, Caminar will continue to help people in the San Mateo community with severe mental illness (SMI) obtain and maintain suitable housing. SAMCAR Foundation’s grant will support our supported housing services in San Mateo by helping defray costs associated with housing and emergency housing support. With supported housing, our clients are able to maintain a healthy living situation within the community and begin the journey towards recovery.

We are grateful for the SAMCAR Foundation’s contribution; grants from community partners like the SAMCAR Foundation help us further to our mission to improve the quality of life for people with mental illness by providing opportunities to live in the community with dignity and independence.

WRC Clients Speed Over to the Sonoma Raceway for Fun in the Sun

The Wellness Recovery Center was able to secure an in–kind donation of Sonoma Raceway Tickets for clients to enjoy. The tickets were obtained by the mother of a WRC client who has expressed her appreciation and support for all that the WRC does for her child. 

In total, the tickets have a retail value of $750.00. We are very thankful for this donation, as it has provided a brand new experience for many WRC clients. The event consisted of hot cars, hot sun, and lots of fun!



Solano County WRC Clients Treated to a San Francisco Giants Walk-Off Win

Clients of our Solano County Wellness and Recovery Center (WRC) enjoyed San Francisco Giants baseball on Tuesday evening, July 18, 2017. As with previous outings to local events, this trip to the yard was made possible through a collaboration with the Community Access Tickets Service (CATS).

WRC clients reveled in an exciting game between the Giants and the Cleveland Indians, complete with a 10th inning walk-off win for the home team. Clients and staff also enjoyed the relatively-warm San Francisco evening, ballpark food, and camaraderie.

We remain greatly appreciative of the generous support of CATS, which allows clients to attend sporting and entertainment events at no cost and fosters positive community participation and integration.

WRC Collaborates with Another Chapter

Caminar’s Wellness Recovery Center Solano Region is collaborating with Another Chapter. This organization "encourages a love for reading and is committed to providing access to books to children & adults in need." Their mission is to share the joy of reading and connect with the local community by providing free books.

The WRC just received their 1st donation of books from Another Chapter and clients absolutely love the periodicals, books, and magazines provided. Natalie from Another Chapter will visit the Wellness Recovery Center every 30 to 60 days to enrich our clients with the gift of reading! 

You can see all the wonderful things that Another Chapter is doing here:


1st book donation

1st book donation

3rd Annual Mental Health Symposium Highlights

On May 18, 2017, more than 200 guests convened at Filoli for our 3rd Annual Mental Health Symposium. We would like to thank our illustrious speakers who shared new research and generous sponsors who made possible this valuable educational event.

PANELISTS (Click on the presentation title to view the slides):

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this special evening! Our very special thanks to photographer Michael Collopy.