Caminar Connections Spring 2019 Edition

We are pleased to share with you our spring edition of edition of Caminar Connections, our newsletter highlighting all that our supporters help to make possible for people in our communities in need.

This newsletter shares highlights of our 2018 Annual Report, including our fiscal year 2018 statement of financials, highlights, and impact. In addition, this edition features the story of Eddrena, who with the help of Caminar’s Supported Housing Program, has finally found a safe place to call home, heal from past trauma, and move forward in health and wellness.

Thank you to all of our supporters and donors who help to provide life-changing services to individuals and families as they move toward resilience, wellness, and independence. 

Caminar Welcomes Mark Cloutier as CEO

Mark Cloutier, MPP, MPH

Mark Cloutier, MPP, MPH

After an extensive search, the Board of Directors is excited to announce that Mark Cloutier, MPP, MPH, has joined Caminar as CEO as of January 31, 2019.

Mark brings a unique set of skills and experience to his role at Caminar. With Master’s degrees in public policy and public health, he has extensive experience in leadership roles in esteemed nonprofit and philanthropic organizations in the Bay Area, including Horizons Services, San Francisco Foundation, the Center for Youth Wellness, Kaiser Family Foundation, and San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Mark has dedicated his career to increasing access to quality health and supportive services and improving communities’ overall health and well-being.

Mark says, “Improving the health of communities begins with understanding the role of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and social determinants of health in predisposing individuals, families and communities to poor mental health and physical health outcomes. Caminar is in a unique position to address the comprehensive needs of individuals, families and communities though our trauma informed, evidence based clinical services and our collaborations with government, nonprofit and community institutions to focus on and remedy root causes.”

Read today’s press release announcing Mark’s appointment here.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We hope your 2019 is off to a wonderful start.


Your support makes so much possible for our clients, including the opportunity to express and heal themselves through the arts. This beautiful photograph of the Golden Gate Bridge was taken by a client in our Expressive Arts program, which offers group workshops with Teaching Artists, including world-renowned photographer Michael Collopy.

Bridges are rich in symbolism, emblematic of connections, progress, and transitions. This photo represents the photographer's personal journey of wellness and recovery, made with the help of Caminar, while also invoking the journeys of clients and their families across our organization, and even our own.

2018 was a year of great connections and progress for Caminar, including the acquisition of Healthy Partnerships in May and the merger with Project Ninety in June. Combined with the merger with Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley in 2017, we have greatly strengthened our capacity agency-wide to support and empower the complex needs of the most marginalized local individuals and families as they move toward resilience, wellness, and independence.

Last year, thanks to the generosity and compassion of our donors, we served more than 20,000 individuals on their journeys toward progress and positive transitions.

Throughout the year, we look forward to sharing with you more stories about the life-changing services you help to make possible. Our 2018 Annual Report will be ready next month. And, we have great transitions on the horizon, including introducing and welcoming a new CEO to Caminar soon. Stay tuned!

Please mark your calendar for our 16th Annual Circle of Support Luncheon on April 26, 2019, in Menlo Park. The event will feature David Sheff, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction.

A Look Back at 2018

With 2019 fast approaching, we look back on Caminar's impact in 2018.

Because of the generosity of our donors and funders, more than 20,000 people last year made progress in overcoming major life challenges and moved toward greater resilience, wellness, and independence. 

From all of us at Caminar and our Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley, Healthy Partnerships, and Project Ninety divisions, thank you!

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Michael Finds Resilience with the help of Integrated Health Care

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With the help of Bridges to Wellness, our integrated primary and behavioral health care program, Michael* has a new-found healthy lifestyle and is working on remaining stable and resilient through life’s up and downs.

Over a year ago, Michael, who is in recovery for severe mental illness, was connected to Bridges to Wellness by his mental health case manager. He received an alarming wake-up call when the Bridges to Wellness nurse reviewed with him the initial wellness lab test results. In addition to having extremely high levels of cholesterol, Michael was pre-diabetic. Smoking 40 cigarettes a day also was affecting his health.

Motivated by the test results, Michael decided to make changes in his life. With the support of the nurse, he set wellness goals and created a plan. Encouraged by the Bridges to Wellness team, Michael began taking daily walks, which he found reduced his urge to smoke. Through the program’s smoking cessation group, he learned effective strategies, connected with peer support, and eventually quit smoking completely.

Using his savings on cigarettes, Michael joined a local gym, where he works out most days. Now he is maintaining a healthy body weight and his cholesterol and glucose levels are within a healthy range.

Michael is feeling, breathing, and looking better now than he can remember. His own determination and resilience, along with support from our mental health and Bridges to Wellness program professionals, have helped him enjoy a healthier quality of life.

With philanthropic investment, we aim to expand these integrated health services to reach more clients in San Mateo and Solano counties and to add services in Santa Clara and Butte counties.

* Name changed to protect client privacy

Offering Support for the Butte Region

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As our Butte Region team members work diligently to support our clients and their families impacted by the devastating Camp Fire, we feel just how precious a community of support truly is. Our hearts go out to all who are affected by our state's wildfires. We are filled with gratitude for everyone working on the ground to support safety.
Caminar’s history of service in Butte County began in the mid-1970s in Paradise, with the operation of a 12-bed transitional residential home, Creekside, for people with severe mental illness. Creekside closed in 1983 due to changes in mental health funding, yet Caminar’s service to Butte County’s communities has continued and grown.
Today, 29 staff members serve more than 250 local residents annually. Our clients work in Caminar-run businesses that serve their neighbors, including the Sensible Cyclery, which refurbishes and resells bicycles, and Pro-Touch, which provides cleaning and landscaping services for local businesses. Our Friendship Circle brings together people with developmental disabilities for social activities and field trips in the community. The Avenida Apartments provide permanent supportive housing for people living with serious mental health conditions, helping to ensure these neighbors avoid homelessness. Through Jobs Plus, young adults and adults reenter the workforce in meaningful jobs, with the on-the-job coaching they need and deserve to succeed.

If you would like to help our Caminar Butte community begin to move forward and recover from this disaster, specific items are needed, including

  • Blankets

  • Toiletries – soap, shampoo, conditioner, combs, brushes, lotion, lip balm, etc.

  • Jackets – various adult sizes

  • Gloves

  • Beanies

  • Socks – all sizes, adults

If you are interested in donating these items, please contact our development office at 650.513.1509 or

If you prefer to donate cash, so needed items may be purchased, please go to and put “Butte” in the “Tell us why you donated” box.

To download a flyer with this information, please click here.

Thank you for your compassion and kindness for our Caminar community in the Butte Region. 

One Warm Coat and Caminar Will Make a Difference


Caminar is grateful to be included as one of One Warm Coat’s registered agencies to distribute coats to people who we serve who are in need. With colder weather coming, a warm coat can help make a warmer, healthier winter for someone in your local community.

Does your organization want to make a difference this season? Consider holding a coat drive! One Warm Coat makes it easy and Caminar would love to partner with you to distribute the coats to those in need. Check out all the resources you need to hold your own drive in six easy steps.

One Warm Coat is a national non-profit organization that works to provide a free, warm coat to any person in need. One Warm Coat supports individuals, groups, companies and organizations across the country by providing the tools and resources needed to hold a successful coat drive. Coats are distributed in the communities where they were collected, to children and adults in need, without charge, discrimination or obligation. Since One Warm Coat’s inception in 1992, they have worked with our volunteers to host more than 27,000 coat drives and have given away more than 5 million coats.

We look forward to helping those in need and warming our community this coat at a time.

For more information on how to partner with Caminar on a coat drive, please contact our Development Department at 650.513.1509 or     

Mental Health Awareness Month

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The month of May marks Mental Health Awareness Month. As you may know, mental health challenges are quite common.

In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH),

  • Approximately 1 in 6 adults in the U.S. lives with a mental illness.

  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 have or previously had a mental disorder.

  • 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.

  • 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.

  • 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

  • 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.

  • Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.

Unfortunately, research shows that many people do not reach out for support.

This May, let’s bring awareness to this important health issue and encourage friends, family, and colleagues to better understand the significance of mental health. Here are a couple of resources to start the conversation:

Together, we can support those who most need it and ensure no one feels alone in their mental health journey.

Caminar Achieves Another Three-Year CARF Accreditation

We are pleased to report to that Caminar has been re-issued CARF accreditation for a period of three years for the following services:

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  • Community Employment Services: Employment Supports
  • Community Employment Services: Job Development
  • Employment Planning Services
  • Assertive Community Treatment: Psychosocial Rehabilitation (Adults)
  • Case Management/ Services Coordination: Psychosocial Rehabilitation (Adults)
  • Community Integration: Psychosocial Rehabilitation (Adults)
  • Crisis Stabilization: Psychosocial Rehabilitation (Adults)
  • Residential Treatment: Mental Health (Adults)

By pursuing and achieving accreditation, Caminar has demonstrated that it meets international standards for quality and is committed to pursuing excellence. 

This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be given to an organization and shows our organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality. 

We are delighted that CARF surveyors identified many areas of strength. To list just a few:
“The staff members at Caminar are an inspiration for the work they do on a daily basis. They are strong believers in the rights of persons served and demonstrate this to the clients on a regular basis.”
“Clients stated that they appreciate the staff and the services. One person said that she is grateful for the services because, without them, she would have been living in her car and been without income. All clients interviewed spoke of their satisfaction with the services provided.”
“All clients said that staff members are warm, welcoming, energetic, respectful, and engaging… Caminar seems to do very well at hiring staff with both skills and heart.”
“A strength of Caminar is the large array of services that it provides. This allows continuity of care that clearly promotes the recovery of clients who require longer-term assistance.”

CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process and continuous improvement services that center on enhancing the lives of persons served. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. 

We are grateful to the entire Caminar team who contributed to this success!

Announcing our Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report

We are pleased to share with you our 2017 Annual Report, which details the life-changing work you make possible. 

Caminar and Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley merged in January 2017. Together, we have more than 120 combined years of service to people in need and have expanded our reach and strengthened our capacity agency-wide to help our most vulnerable community members. 

This Annual Report reflects the combined organization and the combined impact: Over 14,000 children, teens, and adults were served last year through our programs of recovery and positive solutions! We hope you enjoy learning more about our expanded organization and the dynamic portfolio of transformative service made possible by your generosity and compassion.

Should you have any questions about what you read in the Annual Report or about our programs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Development team at 650.513.1509 or We’d love to hear what is important to you.

Thank you for your compassion and generosity. Because of you, individuals and families in our communities have comprehensive support on their roads to resilience.

Looking Back At 2017

As we start 2018, we look back on the Caminar's impact in the last year. The work our donors and funders make possible changes lives; the generosity provides people with complex health needs the opportunity to move from crisis to independence. 

One in five of our neighbors will experience a mental illness. Approximately 10.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders. Approximately 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness. And, approximately 24% of state prisoners have “a recent history of a mental health condition.”

At Caminar and our Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley division, we offer care tailored to the needs of each individual, allowing us to effectively address complex needs and empower people to transform their lives. Because of community support and the tireless work of our staff, people like Thomas and April have a safety net and many lives were changed.

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Following our January 2017 merger with Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley, we have expanded our reach and strengthened our capacity agency-wide to help our most vulnerable community members toward an improved quality of life. We look forward to continuing this work in 2018!

Building Confidence, Achieving Goals: April's story of Resilience


Three years ago, April was spending the nights on the streets or in local parks in the bushes. April found the strength and courage to not only realize she needed help, but to ask for help from the Butte County Department of Behavioral Health. April was referred to Caminar and became a tenant of Avenida Apartments and an employee of Caminar’s vocational training program, Sensible Cyclery.    

When April started at Sensible Cyclery, it was difficult for her to make eye contact with her colleagues and her supervisor when speaking with them. After a few months, there was a dramatic change; April started to build the confidence she needed in order to achieve the goals she set for herself.

After completing and graduating from Sensible Cyclery, April enrolled in Butte College to take courses to become a computer programmer. April is now finishing her last semester and has been handpicked for an internship at a local computer programming company.

April is moving to a regular, non-assisted apartment in the community as of December 1, 2017. April did not have to leave Avenidas, and when asked why she was, she simply said that she wants someone else to benefit from the help and opportunity that she had from Caminar’s services.

Sincere thanks to April and Scott Walker, Program Manager for Sensible Cyclery, Pro-Touch and Avenida Apartments, Caminar Butte County Region, for sharing this inspiring story of resilience. 




Butte Region Updates and Celebrations

On Tuesday, November 20, our CEO, Chip Huggins, visited our Butte Region for a full day of updates, meetings, and celebrations. 

To kick off the day, Chip met with Butte County Department of Behavioral Health Assistant Director, Don Taylor. The two touched base on the status of programs and shared agency updates. Chip next met with Harry Ellis and Gina Muse from the Department of Rehabilitation. The three reviewed to current caseloads and discussed the referral process from the DoR to Caminar.

After his meetings, Chip toured Sensible Cyclery, one of our social enterprises, and chatted with crew members and Avenida tenants. Next, Chip held an all-staff meeting and provided agency updates, answered staff questions and listened to client stories. After the staff meeting, Chip joined our Friendship Circle Thanksgiving Feast. He even carved the turkey for clients, who delighted in his presence and the delicious food. 

A fitting end to the day, Chip joined the staff for dinner. All enjoyed spending time with colleagues outside of the office and celebrating the start of the holiday season.

Butte Region clients and staff greatly appreciated and enjoyed the visit and look forward to more visits, updates, and celebrations in the coming year. 


2016-2017 Client Satisfaction Survey Results

We are pleased to share the results of client satisfaction surveys from the 2016-2017 fiscal year. These results show our staff's commitment to Caminar's mission and to helping to empower the most vulnerable members of our community to reach their potential and thrive. 

Butte County


Jobs Plus - San Francisco, San Mateo, and Solano Counties


San Mateo County


Solano County


Caminar repairs bikes for homeless at "Project Homeless Connect"

It is with great pride that Caminar in Butte County participated in April's "Project Homeless Connect." Close to 700 Butte County residents (the majority homeless) attended the event and were given access to food, water, clothing and showers, as well as health screenings, pet care, identification cards and bike repair.

Caminar's Sensible Cyclery was on hand and repaired more than 40 bicycles. 

Information and services for housing, employment, public services, health care, addiction treatment, legal services, contraceptive services and children’s services were also provided.

In her article, Chico Enterprise Record reporter Ashiah Schraga wrote:

Caminar’s Sensible Cyclery vocational program participants Nate Russell and April Grous stayed active across the way, repairing bicycles for free all day.

“It’s really cool that we’re able to do this and help (people) out,” Russell said. “There’s nowhere else that they can go.”

“Some (repairs) are pretty minor, others are major, but we do what we can,” added Grous, a resident of Caminar supportive housing complex Avenida Apartments. “It’s kind of a way for me to show my appreciation, to help others.”

For the complete article, CLICK HERE. 

Caminar's Butte office was in the news earlier this year with a feature piece on the amazing garden on site at Avenidas Apartment. To read that article, click here. 

Community garden at apartments for mentally ill continues to thrive


For some, the jewel of the garden is its juicy tomatoes. For others, it’s the crisp kale and red-leaf lettuce.

The community garden at Avenida Apartments on The Esplanade is a peaceful place where residents can learn about fresh, healthy foods and how to grow them.

The facility, operated through a partnership with Butte County Behavioral Health and Caminar, provides housing for those with mental illness and physical or developmental disabilities. Employment opportunities and work training are offered through Sensible Cyclery, an on-site used bike shop, and Pro-Touch, a grounds maintenance and janitorial service.