We go into their home and we teach them how to cook, budget and shop. We teach them how to launder their clothes. We teach them how to take the bus, and how to get back and forth to different things in the community.
I think personally it would give me a great feeling to know that Beth had a place she could call her home long after we were gone -- and I know that is true of other parents that we know.
The neatest thing about living in my own place is cause I love it here... I can do things on my own.
My dream was always living in a house and I got that dream, and I made that dream come true.
I really like it. This is the best place I ever lived, and my Dad was so happy when we found out about this program and found this place.
Plato famously said, “The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future in life.” At HOPE we could not agree more. We believe that education is an important contributor to our resident’s ability to become increasingly self-reliant.
Beyond the philosophic, there is countless economic evidence that education is key to financial stability and greater independence. According to the Economic Report of the President, published in 2015, “College graduates make about twice as much every year as high school grads.” At HOPE we recognize the unique challenges that those we serve face when entering the job market. In turn, we are proud to be part of a partnership that strives to remove as many of these barriers as possible and puts in place supports to give our residents the very best chances at success.
That is why in 2010, with the vision and direction of Harbor Regional Center and California MENTOR, HOPE helped to develop our College to Career (C2C) program that offers dorm like housing near the campus of Long Beach City College. Students receive a full range of both on-campus and residential supports by service providers who offer both academic counseling and also assistance with independent living skills.
Of course our residents are no different from any student; each person brings their unique inspiration to why they are pursuing education as a pathway to independence. For Taylor Smith, a C2C enrollee in Long Beach, it was his interest in public safety that started him down the path to hopefully becoming a peace officer one day. He is currently studying administrative justice due to his strong impulse to protect and serve his community.
He admits that moving to his HOPE home was a big first step toward independent living. He is up for the challenge, and knows it will be hard work. But Taylor is also still a college student who just enjoys the opportunity the C2C program provides to socialize with his peers in a nonjudgmental environment. In the end, he is glad that this program has given him the chance to make proud the people he loves in his life.
His dorm mate, Morris Mordado, also sees his time in the program as instrumental to learning how to become independent and take better care of himself. “Living on my own is a big difference, cooking for myself is completely new. Before I moved out I lived with my family,” he shares.
Currently Morris is majoring in graphic design and radio / television production. After he graduates he wants to work in a production studio. He has a clear goal to one day be employed in the entertainment industry where he will hopefully do design, art, editing, or cinematography.
Lastly, Javier Reyes Jr. echoes a similar sentiment about living on his own for the first time. “I have to shop for myself, clean for myself, and do laundry.” He says that this transition process has been aided by observing his friends in order to learn their routines. He is currently studying horticulture and hopes to get a job in that industry after graduating.
California MENTOR director, Roxanne Carter, tells us though that it isn’t always easy for C2C students to find the major that interests them and leads to academic success. Javier, she shares, was not doing well early in the program as an art major. Things turned around after his counselor dug deeper and helped him to identify what he was really most passionate about studying: he did enjoy drawing, but he really loved creating images of plants. From those conversations, they discovered that he also had a knack for science. From that point on Javier found greater success after switching to become a horticulture major.
So now he is working on combining his passion for horticulture and art. Javier is really excited about a suggestion made by one C2C service provider to consider creating children’s books based on plants. He hopes to one day work on cartoons and video games that contain characters that are fruits & vegetables. At the moment he says, he is just focusing on living independently and getting his homework done.
HOPE is inspired everyday by the will-power of our residents to continually strive for more full, involved, and impactful lives. Education is essential to each of their journeys toward greater independence, and with the generosity of our donors, volunteers, and advocates, HOPE and our partners will be there to support them every step of the way.
HOPE’s 9th Annual Charity Golf & Tennis Classic is right around the corner on Tuesday, October 25th. For those involved in this premier fundraising event, excitement is building as we countdown to the morning’s shotgun start and opening serves. Once again, Rob Fukuzaki, weekday sports anchor for ABC7 Eyewitness News and host of Sports Zone and Rams Primetime Saturday night with Jay Mohr will be our tournament’s Master of Ceremonies.
This tournament raises substantial income to fund the acquisition and renovation of new HOPE homes and the daily operations of our nonprofit organization. It is also an outstanding opportunity for HOPE to bring together donors, colleagues, volunteers, vendors, and corporate clients to celebrate our impact in the community…and participate in the some friendly competition for a good cause!
This year’s tournament theme is “Creating Independence,” and proceeds raised through sponsorships, advertisements, player & dinner registrations, opportunity drawing tickets, and donations will be used to renovate several newly acquired HOPE homes. Most homes require upgrades to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, while many also require special remodeling to meet the specific needs of our residents. Proceeds from the Tournament help us to do just that. Through creating safe, stable, and affordable housing options, which are tailor made to the needs of our residents, HOPE is empowering people with developmental disabilities to live as independently as possible-- increasing their quality of life, supporting their long-term security, and assisting them in becoming contributing members of their community.
To match the importance of this event, the fundraising goal that is set for this year’s tournament is high. HOPE is confident that with the continued support our outstanding sponsors and donors, our goal of $160,000 will be met and surpassed. We are happy to announce that with six weeks remaining we have reached 75% of this financial target. The biggest impact is made though the generosity of our Sponsors where we are able to truly raise the funds we need to do the work we do. There are a variety of sponsorship packages available, with benefits ranging from preferred seating and starting holes, VIP gifts, marketing and media exposure, and more. To secure your sponsorship please visit our event homepage at www.hope-homes/tournament/.
Players will have a fun and challenging day of competition at Ocean Trails, at Trump National, and the Peninsula Racquet Club in Palos Verdes. Check-in for golf players open at 9:00 AM and for tennis players at 11:00 AM. Secure your registration as an individual here. Spots are limited so don’t wait!
There are many other ways to participate in this important day; tournament dinner tickets can be purchased here, with the evening’s festivities starting at 5:30 PM. Join us for an night of delicious food, great company, and a program that will include stories of courage and success, as HOPE residents are empowered to reach their potential.
This year’s Annual Journal & Tournament Guide will feature our annual report, moving stories on the achievements of HOPE residents, and stunning photos of our annual impact. Purchasing an ad will expose your brand to HOPE constituents throughout the year-- well after the tournament's conclusion. Please visit our event homepage at www.hope-homes/tournament/ to purchase an ad this year.
WIN A VACATION
Opportunity drawing tickets can also be bought to test your luck at winning one of three amazing vacations to Orlando, New York City, or Pebble Beach. Grab your tickets today! For trip and contest details visit our opportunity drawing page.
Lastly, for those wanting to assist in coordinating this meaningful and exciting event, consider joining our day-of volunteer support team. Where else will you have an opportunity to have fun, spend a Tuesday looking at amazing ocean views, AND make a difference in the lives of people with developmental disabilities? There are morning, afternoon, and evening shifts to accommodate your availability. Register here to tell us how you'd like to help!
For questions or comments about the 9th Annual Charity Golf & Tennis Classic email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free (877) 311-HOPE. See you in October!
HOPE's Opera in the Garden was a celebration of its accomplishments in the area of providing stable, affordable homes for people with developmental disabilities. With a special performance by opera singer, Rebekah Rota, this event raised funds to support the operational and housing expenses at HOPE. A special thank you to all of our donors and Patricia Del Monico for her support in hosting this event.
Roberto Santos admits that he was not always artistic; in fact, he couldn’t draw growing up prior to a car accident that put him in a coma and left him with a traumatic brain injury.
“I don’t know what it was,” he says, “but all of a sudden I could recreate pictures that I saw.”
Roberto lives in a HOPE home in South Gate. He is a tall, young man with kind eyes, and he speaks in a deliberate, thoughtful manner.
On most afternoons you will find him huddled over his sketch book, drawing images of his favorite animals, cartoon characters, and sports teams.
Living with traumatic brain injury means living with physical, cognitive, or behavioral symptoms that can include confusion, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, and headaches, just to name a few. Roberto shares that he turns to his art when he is uneasy or frustrated.
“When I finish a drawing it actually makes me feel better…that I was able to take the time and effort to do something positive.”
Currently his art work is spread out on a table in his kitchen. This room is his favorite place to draw and where he creates most of his work. The space is clutter free with wide windows, and an abundance of natural light. Roberto takes a seat and opens a large portfolio. He begins to methodically finger through drawings, periodically pausing to show his renderings of the iconic cartoon characters Mario, Yoshi, and Pikachu. Next up are the characters of the show Family Guy, then Dracula and a few unfinished pieces he is still working to complete.
His excitement grows as he comes across the drawings he created for HOPE. A few months back Roberto was asked to consider what having safe, stable housing meant to him, and if he wouldn’t mind creating a few “Home” themed drawings that represent those feelings. He graciously agreed and was excited about the idea that his work might be used by HOPE to raise awareness and promote our mission.
They drawings are idyllic depictions of homes-- some on quaint neighborhood streets, while others stand alone with strong roofs and mosaic shaped walls. His drawing style is warm, charming, and containing whimsical tones that might leave a viewer nostalgic for his or her childhood home.
He sees himself continuing to pursue art well into the future because he also believes it is a way to connect with people in his life. He enjoys creating drawings as gifts for friends, but then breaks with this chain of thought to share how art also creates a bridge to cherished family memories. Roberto brings out a drawing of a long, pink flamingo. He tells of how it represents his grandmother who passed away several years ago. “We spread her ashes at the Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas. She loved it there, so I made this to honor her.”
To Roberto, art is therapeutic. It calms his irritability, it is an outlet for his memories, a way to show respect to his family, and an opportunity to contribute something beautiful to his community. His talent and motivations are inspiring to HOPE, and they perfectly demonstrate how providing stable, affordable housing can play a role in empowering people with developmental disabilities to use their many abilities to reach their full potential.
Homes are an essential part of our lives. They can invoke the feeling of warmth, family, security, and joy. It is important to also be mindful of their immense environmental impact. The nonprofit housing sector acknowledges this issue and must collectively take steps to contribute to a solution. Back in April, HOPE announced an initiative to partner with Solar City in an effort provide housing that increasingly “treads lightly on the earth.” During the final week of June and first two weeks in July, multiple teams of technicians from Solar City were onsite installing solar power systems at 11 HOPE homes in the cities of Norwalk and Long Beach.
Solar City is a full-service solar provider and national industry leader. Their solar photovoltaic panels generate energy at a lower cost that energy generated from coal, oil, and natural gas. They are a full service firm that facilitates planning, permitting, instillation, ongoing monitoring, and repairs as needed. For HOPE, who is leasing the equipment from Solar City, it was important to partner with a company with a long track record of guaranteeing stable energy sources for residents at an increasingly affordable rate. Estimates have projected a 30-35% decrease in energy expenses.
HOPE prides itself on owning the best maintained home on the block. Property improvements are scheduled to ensure safety for our residents, but also to maintain the value of our housing stock. Associate Director at HOPE, Denise Fanelli, informed that in recently years HOPE had enhanced HVAC systems in many of these homes. “Air conditioning is so important to our elderly residents, as well as those tenants with serious medical conditions. Leadership at HOPE felt it was important to counteract any increase in energy usage in our portfolio due to installing these units.” Utilizing solar panels at these homes does just that.
We are proud of this decision to continue to implement environmentally friendly and fiscally sound investments in the lives of our residents and community. Our objective has been achieved by decreasing our use of carbon based electricity while lowering utility costs for our tenants.