Community Chest was recently featured in the Visionaries newsletter. Click here to read more
Community Chest in the News
This week we sit down with Therapist and Community Advocate Adrienne Sutherland and Youth Enrichment Specialist Darren McKay from the Community Chest: A multifaceted non-profit based out of Virginia City who cater to the needs of people in Rural Nevada. Find out how they are increasing mental health services in the rurals, providing educational services to people who need them, inspiring community service and how they build the collaboration within the community to get it all done. This truly is a unique social service organization. Click here to listen.
Comstock Youth Works Student - Jenna Burns
Jenna recently competed in the moonbuggy competition in Hunstville, Alabama. This competition challenged students to build a vehicle and race it over a course with obstacles designed to have the look and feel of the Moon's surface. Jenna co-piloted the vehicle into third place in the rookie teams category.
Nice job Jenna!
This is a watershed year for Storey County!
After more than fifteen years, countless federal, state and private foundation proposals after numerous legislative hearings, bill drafts and testimony after years of volunteer architectural design, youth-led conceptual design and multiple stages of plans for the structure after input on its use from focus groups, families and the youth this center will serve after partnering with multiple non-profits to provide medical and dental care, childcare, youth and arts programs after securing facility support from Storey County, engineering, soils and environmental reports I can report to you that we have raised the necessary funds to begin construction on the Storey County Youth and Community Resource Center in July 2010.
In little over a decade we have raised more than one million dollars a sum unthinkable when we began so long ago. It is because of the belief in this project by so many that soon our county will have the resources for its youth and families. We are indebted to everyone for their patience, their perseverance, and their steadfast support for the ideal of building a healthy community a community in which everyone thrives.
However, we still need help raising the additional 1.3 million dollars to finish construction on the Community Center. We will be hosting our first annual benefit on March 26th, 2010. Our mission is to spread awareness about the services we provide and raise the additional money needed for the Community Center. This will be the first of many events to come.
Nothing happens in a vacuum and this project exemplifies what hundreds and hundreds of hands can do when they share a common dream. Most important, this project signifies hope for a healthy Storey County future something we desperately need in the face of our dire economic circumstances.
Community Chest would like to honor Nevadaworks for the innovative way in which it partners and works with community-based organizations such as ours. Its staff are people-friendly, supportive, and personally invested in what we do. Nevadaworks has in many cases provided creative solutions that have helped to increase the ability of our programs to succesfully provide needed services to the folks we serve. Thanks to Nevadaworks' support, we have been able to provide critical services to at-risk high school students for almost 10 years, expand to assist students as far away as Yerington, and provide internet access, job coaching, and employer support through our Business and Development Center. Thank you Nevadaworks for your belief and support in what we do!
Jackie Weinland, senior at Bishop Manogue High School, is truly a remarkable youth who has participated in Community Chest youth programs since she was a child. She now works for our Comstock Kids After School Youth Program where the lives of Hugh Gallagher Elementary children are enriched through her positive influence. Her leadership in Global Voice has allowed her to perform some incredible service projects with youth at several locations in Mexico. The picture features Jackie with a child from Love In Action orphanage in Chapala, Mexico.
The Community Chest Workforce Development Program started in September of 2009 and has successfully provided job skills to over 35 individuals, placed 19 in employment, and enrolled 3 at Western Nevada College. Our success is attributed to Community Chest's long standing relationships with its constituents in Storey County, area non-profits, and County & State agencies.
Community Chest Inc. is a non-profit organization serving children and families in northwestern Nevada since 1991. Currently, we provide a diverse range of services which include: 1) counseling, 2) family advocacy, 3) youth enrichment programs, and 4) employment placement assistance. We provide holistic solutions with the goal of building and sustaining strong families and communities. Our mission is to act as a catalyst for change and a center for resources to help people help themselves, as together we build healthy families and communities. This being our mission, clients receive more then just simple assistance in their job search. When needed, they or a family member are referred to other beneficial programs within Community Chest or outsides agencies.
The employment placement program at Community Chest assists clients in all phases of employment: job search, training and placement. We work closely with each client and provide continual and personalized support. In order to participate in the program, the client must actively engage in the following sessions and workshops:
i. Initial Assessment ii. Weekly Check-ins iii. Monthly Workshops
Our clients are professional, dedicated, and skilled individuals looking for employment. The client needs to actively engage with his/her Case Manager, Jessica Paz-Cedillos, at Community Chest. As a result, we focus on those individuals who are serious about finding and retaining employment.
One of our current clients, Justin, came to Community Chest seeking employment assistance. He had lost his previous job due to his severely deteriorating eye sight. Justin, a construction and logging worker since age 15, had no health insurance and was barely paying his rent and utility bills. The Case Manager and the Lions Eye Foundation of CA-NV set up an appointment to address the one barrier that was preventing Justin from retaining employment. On June 16th, 2010, Justin will have his first eye surgery in San Francisco, all expenses paid, to remove the very advanced cataracts that were a hindrance to his job search. In addition, Justin has been offered employment contingent upon the removal of his cataracts. This is just one of our many moving success stories.
The work we do is possible because of our supporters, donors, and local constituents that believe in our mission. For more information feel free to contact Jessica Paz-Cedillos at 775-847-9311.
In 2003, Community Chest applied for, and was accepted to be featured on the Visionaries Public Television Program narrated by the actor Sam Waterston. This program, now in its tenth season, profiles thirteen innovative non-profit organizations (per year) throughout the world that are involved in social change. CCI was selected from over 6,500 applicants.
Visionaries is a non-profit organization that, in addition to doing these documentaries, teaches aspiring filmmakers how to make compelling feature-length films. From the outset CCI staff saw this as an opportunity to reach a larger audience specifically to bring issues of poverty and hunger into Americas living rooms and, most important examples of how these very personal issues could be addressed and ended locally.
After two and-a-half years of effort and countless conversations about how to wake America from its slumber, the film crew, led by director/producer Jody Santos, arrived in February. She and her three assistants spent a week interviewing Community Chest staff and constituents. They followed us nearly everywhere into our homes, our daily routines, and the prison where we teach poetry, the early childhood Classroom on Wheels, and the drug and alcohol prevention groups run in neighboring communities. They went into the schools, they filmed the surrounding landscape and in the end, captured I believe, what we set out to do: build a healthy community for all people who live here.
Prior to their arrival in northern Nevada, Jody and her interns spent seven months following Vilmaria Harvey and her children through the Boston shelter system. This segment of footage is devastating: she left her husband due to abuse and is fighting a lung disease. Her children suffer immensely from the poverty this separation caused. She is put in the awkward position of choosing between their survival and hers. The two segments of film have been woven together to present one family's ordeal with homelessness and a model for prevention work to illustrate that localized social change can be done almost anywhere if there is a will to do so. Translation: Vilmarias life could be defined by choice not desperation.
I have no doubt the documentary will be met with various levels of relief, anxiety, and frustration. But I also hope that in some living room across America, Jody and her colleagues will have shown the viewer what their hands and hearts can and must do.
In the end, all we have is hope; civilization requires a just template for living. This documentary is not a panacea; it is a step toward fulfilling the human contract: all people must live with food, shelter, safety, and education. These are not my words, but our words.