Real People, Real Impact
At CommUnify, we strive to make an impact on the lives of the individuals and families that need and support our services. Stories like these are what we work towards everyday!
Maria's Success Story
Maria G.’s two children both participated in CommUnify’s Early Head Start and Head Start programs. During their time in the programs, Maria was actively involved with and supported the agency in many ways – eventually becoming President of the Parent Committee and proving to be a dependable and organized individual. When a position opened in CommUnify’s Children’s Services Department, the agency offered Maria employment without hesitation.
“Head Start is not just for children,” said Lorraine Neenan, Children’s Services Program Director. “It serves two generations: children and parents/guardians. We help parents to be the primary teacher of their child by providing parenting education, community resources, and financial literacy. Maria is a terrific example of our program's vision – children and families navigating through life successfully.”
“This preschool program allowed my family to become self-sufficient, and grow as individuals,” continued Maria. “Today I'm happy and grateful to have the opportunity to also work for the agency. Head Start and Children’s Services has been a tremendous blessing in my life and in the life of my kids.”
The Golden Girls' Success Stories
In 1990, Blanca became disabled at her workplace. She was grateful to receive disability benefits but she didn’t want to just sit at home, so she decided to “give back” by volunteering to help seniors in her community. “I love to care for people,” she says. Thirty years later and now a senior herself, Blanca, along with three other dedicated volunteers, serve a daily meal to seniors at the Veterans Memorial Building in Carpinteria.
Blanca speaks lovingly of her three longtime co-workers – Chicki, Margaret and Lupe – and the bond they have formed over decades of volunteer service to the Senior Nutrition program. “I love them like family.”
Like the popular TV show from the 1980s, these four women have developed close relationships with each other, and with many of the regular noontime diners, eating together and socializing. If there is a birthday, they have a cake with candles. If it is a holiday, they celebrate with special décor and music – even handing out presents at Christmas.
Rosanna & Suzanne's Success Story
“My 88-year-old mother [Rosanna] fell and broke her hip while visiting us,” said Suzanne B. of Santa Ynez. After the accident, Suzanne and her husband made the thoughtful decision that Rosanna should come live with them in their home. But preparations needed to be made for the octogenarian to settle safely and comfortably in her new abode.
Suzanne called to request grab bar installation in the bathroom of her home that her mother would be using. A Senior Home Repair technician came out right away to install the safety measure at no-cost. “Such fast service,” said Suzanne.“Physical therapists that came to the house to help mom recover from her fall also endorsed the services of Senior Home Repair.”
As Rosanna became more comfortable in her new home, she began to thrive in the warm and lively family environment. “Mom keeps saying how wonderful it is to be around her whole family,” said Suzanne. “She looks and feels better. Mom never used to eat – now that’s what she lives for,” her daughter said laughingly.
Family & Youth Services
Jose's Success Story
At 14 and in his first year of high school, Jose was kicked out for fighting and placed on probation – unfortunately not an unusual occurrence for a young man growing up in “gang territory.” At his probation hearing, Jose learns about Los Compadres, and how the program for at-risk youth could help him with school,and with meeting his probation requirements. He was immediately receptive to the help. Jose has admitted that, without this intervention, he was certainly headed toward gang life.
At his first Los Compadres appointment, Jose meets Joshua Hurst, program mentor and community educator. “Josh is a cool guy, very respectful, and he does a lot for you.” Josh tells us that, initially, he listens to “his guys” and their complaints. Then together they figure out how to manage those stresses, often related to parental control and school structure.
With the support of the Los Compadres program, Jose has successfully completed probation, getting his grades up, and is now ready to enter 10th grade at Lompoc High School. Jose is taking ownership of his future.