Molly's Story: Wellness is Support

Dokie Riahi, LMFT, School-Based Clinical Counselor, FCS division, accompanied by her service dog Boston, catches up with Molly.

Dokie Riahi, LMFT, School-Based Clinical Counselor, FCS division, accompanied by her service dog Boston, catches up with Molly.

Growing up, Molly had little stability in her young life. Fortunately, she could count on her teachers. It was through the intervention of a teacher, who noticed how Molly was struggling, that she found her way to our Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley division’s on-campus counseling services.

Molly was in the 8th grade when she started therapy and showed signs of severe depression. During sessions, Molly revealed to her therapist the extent of the emotional trauma in her life. Her parents both struggled with substance use. They held themselves together enough that Molly had a home in San Jose and food, yet they were unable to provide crucial nurturing and guidance for their only child.

Our therapist provided Molly with a safe place to work through her trauma, develop tools to manage her depression, learn and practice social skills, and build her resilience to cope with her ongoing life challenges.

When Molly transitioned into high school, our junior high therapist ensured that she connected with our therapist at her high school, Dokie Riahi, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). This proved essential. Molly’s mother would pass away during her freshman year. Dokie was there for her.

Today, Molly is in her senior year of high school. She works part-time and just received her driver’s license. She’s convinced that her father won’t live to see her graduate. In therapy, Molly has a safe place to talk through and face her fears, prepare for the future, and learn tools to cope effectively with the effects of stress and trauma.

Thanks to the resilience Molly has built through consistent therapy, she has maintained her mental wellness and avoided decompensating, despite the stress with which she lives. She hasn’t followed in her parents’ footsteps of addiction. She’s stayed in school and secured employment. And, most critically, she’s held onto hope for her future.

“I can’t believe that there was a time that I couldn’t motivate myself even to get out of bed or take a shower,” says Molly.

Thanks to the consistent, high quality mental health care our donors and funders make possible, Molly has had support throughout the critical years of her adolescence. And that, paired with Molly’s spirit and dedication, has made all the difference.

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. 

STEP Update: Expanding Services for LGBTQI Communities and with NARCAN Training

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A few months ago, we featured our Supportive Transition Empowerment Program (STEP), a program of our Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley division, on this blog. STEP provides addiction and recovery treatment services for adults in recovery while they are incarcerated and as they transition back into the community following release. Clients receive continuing care on their recovery journeys.

Since that introduction, the team has been working hard and expanding their reach, especially in support of LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex) communities.

The program has been providing well-received group services to individuals who are LGBTQI and housed in the men’s dorm at the Elmwood Correctional Facility. Given the success of the men’s program, the team is now exploring opportunities to start groups on the woman’s side at the Elmwood facility and to expand to the Main Jail.

Recently, representatives from the program visited New Haven Inn, an LGBTQ+ friendly temporary housing facility in San Jose. New Haven Inn is the only exclusive LGBTQ+ shelter in San Jose and the STEP team looks forward to working with New Haven Inn to direct clients to their specialized and culturally competent services, as well as to provide services directly to New Haven Inn’s population.

In addition to the expansion of important services specifically for LBGTQI communities, STEP will soon begin partnering with in-custody doctors at the Main Jail to provide training for Naloxone (NARCAN) distribution after a client’s release. Naxolone is a medication designed to reverse opioid overdose; proper use also requires careful monitoring after application. Training will instruct clients on how to administer NARCAN and will distribute the medication for the trained clients to have on hand in the event of an emergency in the community. This is an exciting move forward in the battle against opioid overdose.

The team is also expanding from a staffing perspective. A volunteer from the LGBTQI community will partner with the STEP group facilitator to provide support groups at New Haven Inn. The team also has welcomed two new Transition Counselors.

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Finally, STEP Manager Joseph Iacocca, LAADC/CADC-II, reported that the team was delighted to receive and screen 43 referrals last month. Six referrals were placed in treatment, 10 were placed in recovery residences, and the others are currently working with their Transition Counselors as they prepare to integrate back into the community.

We appreciate the dedication of the STEP team as they serve their clients and our community!


Santa Clara Region Substance Use Programs Career Fair this Month

Our Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley division just announced two career fairs for our Substance Abuse Programs in Santa Clara County.

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We are looking for substance use clinicians and professionals with CCAPP credentials to join our team.

Please join us!

Wednesday, March 20 or Friday, March 29
2202 N. 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95131
3:00 - 6:00 PM

Expect to:

  • Meet hiring managers

  • Find job opportunities

  • Interview on the spot

  • Learn more about our Substance Use programs

Please bring updated copies of your resume.

Available opportunities include Substance Use Clinician and Case Manager, Substance Use Services

RSVP or contact us with questions at jobs@caminar.org
Visit our website at www.caminar.org/careers
Download our event flyer here.

Reservations open for the 16th Annual Circle of Support Luncheon

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Reservations are now open for the 16th Annual Circle of Support Luncheon.

Join us on Friday, April 26, in Menlo Park for this special community event featuring advocate and author David Sheff.

Tickets are complimentary and must be reserved in advance. Click here to reserve.

This year’s luncheon will feature David Sheff, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction (recently adapted as a feature film) and Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy.

Proceeds from this event strengthen our circle of support for vulnerable individuals and families. With your support, we prevent and alleviate crucial issues affecting health and wellness, including mental illness, addiction, and family violence. Guests will be invited to make a donation in support of this work at the event.

For more information about this year’s event, underwriting opportunities, and hosting tables of your friends, please contact our Development Department at 650.513.1509 or development@caminar.org or visit the Circle of Support Luncheon website.

We look forward to seeing you!

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.

Palo Alto Rotary Club Donates Gift Bags to our LGBTQ Youth Space

Adrienne Keel, Director of LGBTQ Programs at our LGBTQ Youth Space, and Harriet Pecot, Caminar’s Director of Development, stand alongside bags of gifts for the Youth Space from the Palo Alto Rotary Club.

Adrienne Keel, Director of LGBTQ Programs at our LGBTQ Youth Space, and Harriet Pecot, Caminar’s Director of Development, stand alongside bags of gifts for the Youth Space from the Palo Alto Rotary Club.

We are so grateful to the Palo Alto Rotary Club who met on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and put together bags filled with lots of goodies for our LGBTQ Youth Space. The bags included lip balm, hand sanitizer, gum, stress squeeze balls, LGBTQ bracelets, Starbucks gift cards, and a note from the club. Our Youth Space participants, who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and ally youth and young adults ages 13-25 who live in Santa Clara County, greatly appreciated the thoughtful and generous gifts.

Adrienne Keel, Director of LGBTQ Programs at our LGBTQ Youth Space, and Harriet Pecot, Caminar’s Director of Development, were delighted to be present that day and share with the club members the work of the Youth Space and Caminar.

Sincere gratitude to the Palo Alto Rotary Club for including our programs in your service projects and for all you do for our community!

Happy New Year!

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

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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


Gabby's Story: Finding Wellness and Hope for her Family

Your support opens the door to wellness and recovery for local families, like Gabby* and her children.

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When Gabby began meeting with one of our counselors, she was coping with depression and in the early days of recovery from substance abuse.

What hurt most was feeling she had failed her kids. Seeing them taken away because of her drug use had left her without hope. She saw no path forward.

Thankfully, Gabby was connected with our Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley (FCS) division’s community of support. With her counselor’s expert guidance, Gabby delved into the complex issues underlying her depression and addiction and the choices she had made.

One day, she confided that her boyfriend was growing increasingly controlling. Linked with one of our domestic violence survivor specialists, Gabby learned about “red flags” of unhealthy relationships and the effects on children, and assessed her risk factors. When she was ready, she had the support needed to end the relationship safely and to begin to heal.

Thoughts of her children, the encouragement of her team at FCS, and new wellness strategies empowered Gabby to build her resilience and persevere, even at the hardest times. The day came when Gabby and her children were reunited.

“Today we’re living a new life,” says Gabby, who stays connected with her counselor for regular check-ins and treasures her weekly support group meetings with other survivors of domestic violence.

Now, thanks to our compassionate donors, Gabby and her children have a trusted place to turn when they need support along the path toward resilience, wellness, and independence.

* Names changed to protect confidentiality.

Meet Our STEP Team

From left to right: Tiffany Cordero (Admin), Joe Iacocca (Program Manager), Amy Brinks (QA), Robert Thomas (Clinician), Jessica Ruddle (Clinician), Eric Covotta (Clinician), Karen Reed (Clinician), and Lori Freitas (Clinical Lead).

From left to right: Tiffany Cordero (Admin), Joe Iacocca (Program Manager), Amy Brinks (QA), Robert Thomas (Clinician), Jessica Ruddle (Clinician), Eric Covotta (Clinician), Karen Reed (Clinician), and Lori Freitas (Clinical Lead).

Our Supportive Transition Empowerment Program (STEP), a program of our Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley (FCS) division, serves individuals in the Santa Clara County criminal justice system.

The STEP team provides addiction and recovery treatment services for adults who are incarcerated and in need of continuing care on their recovery journeys.

The team collaborates with clients, families, and systems to prepare for each client’s reentry into the community and then continues treatment upon release. This innovative and seamless coordination of care seeks to prevent relapse, promote well-being, and provide needed supports during the critical transition period following release. Some clients have been incarcerated for some years; the team helps to alleviate the disorientation and isolation clients can experience when adjusting to life outside.

The program has grown and expanded since it began two years ago, and now also offers culturally competent services for adults who are LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex) at the Elmwood Correctional Facility.

Clients participating in the STEP program access four service components:

  1. Assessments: The assessment component identifies a client’s individual needs and strengths. The counselor uses the information from the assessment to develop a transition plan, identify resources to which to connect clients post-release, and place the client in outpatient treatment and a recovery residence. Ongoing assessments are conducted to monitor a client’s motivation for treatment and evolving treatment needs.

  2. In-custody psychoeducation: Our in-custody treatment team provides psychoeducational groups, process groups, and referrals with a transition plan.

  3. Treatment: Our transition team meets with the client two weeks prior to release to help arrange for post-custody treatment, medication, transportation, and housing.

  4. Post-release: Our team links clients to treatment and recovery residences and assists clients in navigating the reentry process.

Sasha Contreras, our clinician who provides outpatient treatment to the LGBTQI population as they are transitioned from in-custody to the community, and Roxanne Stone, who facilitates groups in the Main Jail and Elmwood.

Sasha Contreras, our clinician who provides outpatient treatment to the LGBTQI population as they are transitioned from in-custody to the community, and Roxanne Stone, who facilitates groups in the Main Jail and Elmwood.

In addition, the team has resources to provide each client with a gift card for a hot meal, new clothes from the clothes closet, bus tokens for transportation to appointments, and other items that make transitioning from custody to the community more manageable.

STEP Manager Joseph Iacocca, LAADC/CADC-II, and the team are focused on continually increasing the quality of care provided to clients, while also increasing support from the community to help clients stabilize as they are released from custody.

Over the past six months, STEP has placed an average of 14 clients each month in treatment programs and 17 clients in recovery residences. The program is expected to grow, increasing the number of clients they serve and helping them transition back into the community from incarceration.

You can find the STEP team at 2202 North First Street in San Jose. To learn more, please contact Joseph directly at jiacocca @ fcservices.org.


Local Elementary School Donates Warm Coats to Caminar Clients

Harriet Pecot, Caminar’s Director of Development, with over 100 warm coats donated by Laurel Elementary School in San Mateo.

Harriet Pecot, Caminar’s Director of Development, with over 100 warm coats donated by Laurel Elementary School in San Mateo.

Look at all these warm coats!

We are delighted to be the recipient of Laurel Elementary School’s One Warm Coat Drive, held in October. Laurel Elementary, a school located just around the corner from our San Mateo Headquarters, collected over 100 warm coats for children and adults and donated them to Caminar clients.

We delighted in sharing these gifts, which have been distributed to vulnerable members of our community and will help to keep them warm and healthy this winter. Since many of the coats were for youth, we loved giving them to young clients in our Santa Clara Region, especially those who participate in our LGBTQ Youth Space, our Positive Solutions Program for family violence and abuse prevention, and our Substance Use Disorders Services.

We are so grateful to the students, parents, and staff members of Laurel Elementary who generously donated new and gently used coats; Thank you!

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.

One Warm Coat and Caminar Will Make a Difference

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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 winter...one coat at a time.

For more information on how to partner with Caminar on a coat drive, please contact Harriet Pecot at hpecot@caminar.org or 650.513.1509.

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.

Highlights from our LGBTQ Wellness Program

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We’re proud to share these updates from our LGBTQ Wellness team!

From July 2017 to June 2018, LGBTQ Wellness’ programs and services reached 1,255 members of our community.

The team accomplished this through:

  • 18 Outreach tables

  • 31 Workshops, presentations, and trainings

  • 5 Hosted and co-hosted community events

  • 39 Community stakeholder meetings

  • 150 Peer support connections

We share these numbers with gratitude to everyone who took part in programming over the year!

Click here to get up to speed on the LGBTQ Wellness program’s offerings, including the relaunched Speakers Bureau and new OUT TO social gatherings.

Highlights from our Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley Division

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We are delighted to share a few highlights of what our donors helped to make possible for our Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley division over the last fiscal year.

While this list could be quite lengthy, we have selected just a few examples that illustrate ways that, together,we are building on FCS’s 70-year tradition as a trusted, pioneering community resource.

With gratitude . . .

Across all our programs, we reached more than 19,000 people in fiscal year 2018 (7/1/17 to 6/30/18)—11% more than in the prior year.

And that doesn’t include most family members of our clients and entire school communities influenced by the consistent presence of our highly-skilled on-campus therapists.

Over the last year, we expanded our Substance Use Treatment Services, becoming the first provider in the Santa Clara County to offer the full ASAM continuum of outpatient services.

As a larger organization, Caminar adopted a new mission statement this spring, one that encompasses the breadth of services being offered in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Solano, San Francisco, and Butte counties: To empower and support individuals and families to move toward resilience, wellness, and independence.

And we have a number of exciting initiatives that took root in fiscal year 2018 to bloom in this new year!

This spring, we were invited by Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Programs to be part of a special mental health initiative. Through this grant, our LGBTQ Wellness and LGBTQ Youth Spaceprograms are among a select group of organizations in Northern California that now are working to reduce stigma around mental health topics.

In addition, Kaiser Permanente renewed its support of our innovative trauma-informed schools initiative, Healing and Reduction of Trauma in Schools (HARTS), for the 2018-2019 school year.

In August, the first full-time Medical Director in FCS history began work.

In November, we will open the first peer respite home in Santa Clara County. This program will offer a safe and supportive voluntary option for adults living with mental health conditions who are experiencing or at-risk of a psychiatric crisis. Across the country, this model of support has proven effective in offer a healing alternative to hospitalization. The program will be based on 3rd Street in San Jose, in a great house that Caminar acquired through this summer’s merger with Project Ninety.

Thank you for all you do to advance our mission in the community.

We value the partnership and support of our donors, partners, and supporters; honor the courage and resilience of our clients and their families; and celebrate the dedication, talent, and heart that our staff bring to their work.

Join Us for NAMIWalks Silicon Valley

 
Join Team “Caminar & Friends” for NAMIWalks Silicon Valley!
 
NAMIWalks, now celebrating its 16th anniversary, is NAMI’s largest and most successful mental health awareness and fundraising event in the country. Join the movement to raise awareness of mental illness and raise funds for NAMI's mission to help individuals and families right here in our region.  
 
Caminar is a sponsor of NAMIWalks Silicon Valley, and we hope you will join us to improve the lives of those in our communities... one step at a time.
 
NAMIWalks Silicon Valley will be held on Saturday morning, September 22, and is a 3.5-mile walk along the paved Guadalupe River trail into Downtown San Jose, then back to Arena Green West. 
 
Register now to be part of Team “Caminar & Friends”!
 
As a member of our team, you aren't required to pay a registration fee or fundraise for this event. NAMI San Mateo and NAMI Santa Clara, of course, appreciate your support.
 
We hope to see you on September 22 in San Jose!

Building Circles of Support, Strengthening Families

We are delighted to share with you a story of resilience and hope, which was featured at this year's Circle of Support Luncheon. With the help of our Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley Division's Teen FAST Program, one family built circles of support and strengthened their family.

The Teen FAST program engages and empowers at-risk youth to make positive life choices. And, it works with the entire family to build and enhance the family. The Luna family's journey with Teen FAST is no exception.

Please enjoy this video of how the Luna family learned to communicate and work together to find hope and stability.