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August Newsletter - In This Issue
Students kicked off the new school year in style!   On August 7th, young residents  of Lincoln Plaza Apartments in Hanford eagerly lined up to receive free backpacks - an effort that was made possible thanks to a $10,000 Wells Fargo grant.  The same grant allowed  delivery of new backpacks to 3 additional multi-family sites including Caliente Creek in Arvin, Solinas Village in McFarland and Washington Plaza in Earlimart.  Together, SHE staff, Wells Fargo representatives, and  Assemblymember Rudy Salas  and his staff were on hand to distribute the backpacks. The backpacks contained school supplies like notebooks, paper, pencils, pens, highlighters, markers, and crayons.  These months can be a stress ful ti me for families due to the high costs associated with back to school s hopping and the Wells Fargo grant allows them  to offset many of these costs.  This is the third year SHE has partnered  with Assemblymember  Rudy Salas and his staff for this  pr oject. Lincoln Plaza r esidents also received complementary haircuts provided by Lawrence & Company College of Cosmetology. 

GREAT NEWS:  Self-Help Enterprises is hiring! SHE offers an exciting work environment where you can bring your high caliber skills to a true career opportunity and impact the world around you.

Our Team works collectively with a shared mission of working with families to build and sustain healthy homes and communities. 


Self-Help Enter prises offers great benefits including year-round, stable work; medical, dental, and vision insurance; 401K; paid holidays; and more.

Our dedicated Board Members generously contribute their time and professional expertise to Self-Help Enterprises. Each month, we will introduce you to two of our Board Members. 


Susan Zachary-Kreps brings over 37 years of extensive experience in education as a speech therapist and a special education administrator for the Tulare County Office of Education, where she supported programs for students with autism and students with visual and speech impairments. While at Visalia Unified School District, Susan supported programs for students with mild and moderate impairments, and diligently worked to develop programs for students with emotional disturbance.
Working with small rural school districts in areas of high poverty made her acutely aware of the need for safe, affordable housing that provided children with much needed stability. This motivated her to become involved with Self-Help as a Board Member. She has served on the SHE Board for over 8  years and is currently serving on several sub-committees including the Executive, Scholarship and Community Development Committees. Susan continues to share her boundless passion and wisdom with those around her.
Now retired, Susan continues to mentor special education teachers through Brandman University and the Tulare County Office of Education IMPACT program. She enjoys volunteering for Read for Life and the Visalia Arts Consortium. 


Yolanda Meraz is one of our newest Board Members. She is a marketing and product development professional with more than 15 years of experience in the areas of financial services and community outreach specializing in immigrant and underserved communities.

She is currently the Outreach Associate for Self-Help Federal Credit Union (SHFCU) in Modesto where she supports and leads outreach efforts to local, statewide, and national organizations. Previously, as the Marketing Manager, Yolanda developed and implemented the SHFCU's Dreamer Loan, an innovative product designed to cover the cost of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) government registration fees. She also lead the implementation of SHFCU's rebranding that included website, marketing collateral, and all employee communications.

Previously, Yolanda was the Marketing Director for Community Trust Credit Union in Modesto where she co-created Money$ense, an award winning bilingual financial education program. 

She is an active member of the New Leadership Network and the Inspire Women's Network. 

In her free time, Yolanda serves as a Board Member for Great Valley Academy, a pioneering educational charter system that builds tenacious, confident, and compassionate adults through their proven educational theories and values on child development and neuroscience.

On August 15th, Self-Help Enterprises held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of the new Sierra Village apartments, a 44-unit affordable rental community located at 1375 N. Crawford Ave.  in Dinuba.
Sierra Village is a  highly energy efficient and transit-friendly project Sustainable features include solar PV, water conservation measures, and a vanpool program in partnership with the California Vanpool Authority that will transport residents from Sierra Village and the surrounding area to and from work. The project's solar panel system will offset the power used in the common area, residential loads, and community center, making Sierra Village a grid neutral Zero Net Energy project. This will result in reduced utility bills for residents and the property, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. 
Sierra Village is being financed through a combination of HOME funds, Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program funds, and low-income housing tax credits. The AHSC program is administered through a partnership between the Strategic Growth Council and the Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) and is funded by Cap-and-Trade proceeds.
Dinuba has a large population of agricultural workers, with many families working in the fields and in local packing plants. Many of these families often live in over-crowded conditions and in substandard housing, not earning enough to afford market-rate housing.

"We believe strongly that a decent place to live is one of the basic building blocks for families and for the stability and success of children," said Tom Collishaw, President / Chief Executive Officer of Self-Help Enterprises. "Sierra Village brings a much-needed housing opportunity for working families who need and deserve affordable housing. We're proud to be part of the Dinuba community."



In response to the region's critical food insecurities, this summer, Self-Help Enterprises partnered with Kern County Superintendents and EOC of Fresno to provide nutritious meals  to stud ents at several multi-family sites. 

As research has shown, many families often struggle to access healthy meals during the  summe r.  When youth are undernourished, they experience more heal th  p roblems than their peers, and ultimately their school attendance, attention, and academic performance suffer.  Research indicates that school m eal programs positively impact a child's nutritional intake, particularly for children living in food insecure households. 

This summer, we served close to 4,000 meals to kids (18 and younger) in the following sites: 
  • Rancho Lindo in Lamont
  • Solinas Village in McFarland
  • Casas de La Vina in Madera
  • Del Rey in Del Rey
  • Goshen Village II in Goshen
  • Lincoln Plaza in Hanford
  • Biola Village in Biola
These activities are part of a larger effort by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's summer nutrition programs that enable school districts and other eligible community-based organizations to offer free, healthy meals to children and youth in low-income neighborhoods.

In partnership with Imagine U Children's Museum and the Tulare County Office of Education, Self-Help Enterprises was awarded a $10,000 grant from Step Up  that we used to develop the first-ever STEM Program for middle school youth in Richgrove. Step Up is a regional initiative focused on creating more opportunities for at-risk youth to make positive contributions to their communities.

The Veterans and Affordable Housing Act of 2018  (Prop 1) is a $4 billion bond to build and provide affordable homes for veterans, working families, people with disabilities, Californians experiencing homelessness and others in need of an affordable home. The measure dedicates funding to build and preserve housing, including supportive housing, and provide homeowner assistance through a variety of proven and effective existing housing programs.

  • Veterans 
  • Working Families 
  • People with disabilities
  • Californians experiencing homelessness
  • Victims of domestic violence
  • Agricultural workers 
  • 1 in 3 Californians are unable to afford their rents 
  • Many people are spending more than 30% of their incomes and some as much as 50% of their incomes on housing. 
  • California is home to the highest number of veterans and unaccompanied youth and minors experiencing homelessness 
  • Many families are doubling and even tripling up in overcrowded housing, trying to avoid overwhelmed shelters in our neighborhoods. 
One million Californians are impacted by unsafe drinking water each year.
 Imagine turning on the tap in your home and having contaminated water come out. Imagine the stress of having to buy bottled water for drinking, cooking, and even bathing. For one million Californians, many of them low-income, unsafe water is a daily, life-defining reality.

Lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation,  SB 844 and SB 845  (Monning, Vidak) to create a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to ensure that ALL California communities have the resources they need to provide safe drinking water.  We cannot let this opportunity slip away. One million Californians are counting on this legislation to pass by Friday - and they need you to act. Legislators have until  this Friday to pass this historic legislation. 

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8445 W. Elowin Court, Visalia, CA 93291
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  This institution is an equal opportunity provider.