Caminar Connections Summer 2019 Edition

Summer greetings!

We’re happy to share with you the summer 2019 edition of Caminar Connections, our quarterly newsletter of stories and insights from the transformative work you make possible for individuals and families.  

Let us introduce you to Karina, who found gainful employment, self-esteem, and confidence with the help of Caminar Jobs Plus. We also bring you photos and highlights from this spring’s 16th Annual Circle of Support Luncheon, which focused on “A Family’s Journey with Addiction.” And our CEO, Mark Cloutier, reflects on his almost five months at Caminar. 

Lives change at Caminar . . . thanks to you. We hope you enjoy reading how your help so positively impacts your community.


Jobs Plus Helps Karina Reach For Her Goals

Craig Wiesner, Karina, and Derrick Kikuchi in front on Reach & Teach on 25th Avenue in San Mateo.

Craig Wiesner, Karina, and Derrick Kikuchi in front on Reach & Teach on 25th Avenue in San Mateo.

With the help of Caminar Jobs Plus, Karina has found gainful employment, self-esteem, and confidence to continue her education and fulfill her dreams.

Before Caminar, Karina—a 19-year-old student at the College of San Mateo—was shy, antisocial, and had trouble being independent. Going out by herself caused anxiety.

Referred to Jobs Plus from the Department of Rehabilitation, Karina worked with her Caminar Job Coach to determine the type of work she’d like to do. She realized that working in a small, family-owned retail environment would suit her well. With the guidance of her coach, Karina learned skills for interviewing and working in retail and began to believe in herself.

We feel very blessed to have Karina working with us. She is wonderfully dependable, thorough, thoughtful, and has become an integral part of our team. We’re also excited and proud that she has started taking classes at College of San Mateo. We’re grateful to the Caminar staff for all their support.
— Derrick Kikuchi and Craig Wiesner, Reach & Teach Co-Founders

Today, Karina works at Reach & Teach, an independent book, toy, and fair trade store on 25th Avenue in San Mateo, where she has been for almost a year. She helps with pricing, creating displays for products in the shop, customer purchases, and a variety of data entry tasks. Reach & Teach Co-Founders, Derrick Kikuchi and Craig Wiesner, feel blessed to have Karina working with them. She is wonderfully dependable, thorough, thoughtful, and has become an integral part of their team.

Karina’s time at Reach & Teach has taught her to manage her time, work with different people, and socialize better. It has given her more confidence and self-esteem, and she feels useful knowing she can help her family and help her bosses run the store. Karina states, “I am learning how to manage when I am overwhelmed and believing that I am capable of doing certain things I did not know I was able to do.”

Staying in school, continuing to work at Reach & Teach, and earning a degree in Psychology is Karina’s goal. She is grateful to her Jobs Plus team for helping her to achieve something she was previously so afraid to do. And, we are all delighted to see Karina thriving in work, school, and life.

I am learning how to manage when I am overwhelmed and believing that I am capable of doing certain things I did not know I was able to do.
— Karina

Special thanks to the corporations and foundations that support Jobs Plus through their philanthropy. Our 2018-2019 fiscal year funding partners include Genentech, the Safeway Foundation, and the Wells Fargo Foundation. Thank you for empowering people to overcome barriers to employment and thrive as employees and coworkers.

Caminar Jobs Plus San Francisco Team Honors Manpower Government Solutions

The DiversAbility Breakfast, sponsored by the Department of Rehabilitation and San Francisco City College, was held on Thursday, October 4, and recognized employers whose hiring practices create employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Caminar’s Jobs Plus San Francisco team attended the event and was thrilled to honor Brett Berning and Jennifer Larsh of Manpower Government Solutions for their hiring of Jobs Plus candidates. Manpower Government Solutions is committed to driving results and increasing placement opportunities for those with disabilities.

We are so grateful for the strong partnership between Manpower and Caminar Jobs Plus and look forward to connecting many more Jobs Plus candidates with gainful employment opportunities at Manpower.

Peter Davis of Caminar, Brett Berning and Jennifer Larsh of Manpower Government Solutions, and Tina Zhong and Angelina Hong of Caminar at the DiversAbility Breakfast.

Peter Davis of Caminar, Brett Berning and Jennifer Larsh of Manpower Government Solutions, and Tina Zhong and Angelina Hong of Caminar at the DiversAbility Breakfast.

Jobs Plus Team Attends Gatepath Congresito

Our Jobs Plus team attended Gathpath’s Congresito, a fun and informative event for families receiving services from the Gatepath Regional Center. The Caminar table included information about our Jobs Plus program, a leading provider of job services and vocational rehabilitation for every person motivated to succeed in the competitive labor market, including new collateral created for Spanish speakers. The event was a great success, with many people stopping by the Caminar table to learn more.

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Caminar Jobs Plus Partners with Microsoft

Caminar Jobs Plus is thrilled to partner with Microsoft for no-cost computer training for our Jobs Plus clients in San Francisco! This tremendous opportunity will allow our clients to gain invaluable skills—and confidence—to help them find and maintain competitive employment.

The partnership will soon expand southward and offer the same services to clients through Microsoft’s Palo Alto and Santa Clara stores.

We are grateful to Microsoft for their generous support of our clients as they move toward resilience, wellness, and independence.

Inclusive Fun in San Mateo County

On August 2, the San Mateo County Commission on Disabilities hosted the 1st Annual Inclusion Festival. Our Supported Education and Jobs Plus programs were delighted at the opportunity to attend this wonderful event at Burton Park in San Carlos. The team, including Chris Robinson and Jerry Hill from Supported Housing and Joseph Lazaro from Jobs Plus, enjoyed meeting community members, relating Caminar's mission, and sharing details on our programs that support and empower those in need.

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

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

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San Mateo County

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Solano County

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Safeway Foundation Awards Grant for Jobs Plus Program

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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.

Meet Ryan Taylor: A Story of Achievement

Ryan Taylor is an industrious guy and loves to work. He recently celebrated his two year anniversary as an employee of Kmart in Paradise and has taken on a second job at Feather River Hospital as an Environmental Specialist. Just two years ago, as a recent high school graduate of Paradise High School, Ryan was unsure of where to start or how to apply for a job.

Ryan has a learning disability and was referred to Caminar’s Jobs Plus services through the Butte County Department of Rehabilitation. He viewed any communication, instruction, and advice as being negative, he did not have a driver’s license, and he had never used public transportation before. These were just a few challenges he had to hurdle before entering the job market.

Through Caminar’s Jobs Plus program, Ryan was assigned a Job Developer who met with him weekly to discuss what kinds of jobs he may be interested in and a job placement plan was developed for him. With consistent training, practice and direction, Ryan started riding the bus routes in Paradise and Chico until he was able to get around both areas independently. He received coaching on how to apply and interview for a position and after being hired at Kmart was offered on the job training by Caminar’s Jobs Plus staff to help Ryan adjust as a new employee at no cost to Kmart.

Now, Ryan is full of confidence, has a strong sense of personal responsibility and a strong work ethic. He has his driver’s license, used his own money to fix his truck and gets high praises from his employers. Ryan is delighted with himself and is grateful for the support that Jobs Plus program has given him.   Ryan stated that being employed, especially in a hospital environment has given him “a lift”, a positive feeling that he has never experienced.  Congratulations, Ryan!