There is a Christmas carol that says, this is the “hap-happiest season of all” and according to a poll last year, 63% of Americans agree. This is a time to celebrate, wish people a merry Christmas and happy holidays. It is time to spend with family and friends, watch holiday specials on tv, attend Christmas parties, enjoy a pumpkin-spice latte, and generally be happy about life. At Family Assistance Program, we work hard during the holidays to brighten the lives of the people we serve. From giving out holiday meals, helping with bills, providing Christmas presents, we are able to brighten the lives of many families in our region.

This is also a time when some people (as much as 23% by some surveys) suffer from holiday blues. For these people, they feel even more isolated and alone. Feeling depressed around happy smiling people can reinforce a sense of not being normal. If you see someone who looks a little down, be nice, but please do not push the issue. If you are having a party or family gathering, think about inviting some friends who may not have anywhere to go. Whether it be due to not having a family, being estranged from family, or just geographically separated, being alone on Christmas day can be very sad. Even if they choose not to join you, having been invited helps them feel they have choices, and that is powerful.

And for those who have a family with a Christmas morning filled with toys and happy children, congratulations. I hope you are able to take a moment, sit back, and take it all in. Be fully present in those moments. Take a mental snapshot of how the experience looks and feels. These are the memories that get us through the tough times.

Darryl Evey
Executive Director
The Family Assistance Program received $1 million donated from The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to help with a solution to end youth homelessness. This money will be used in the expansion of Family Assistance Program’s current youth drop-in and community center in Old Town Victorville, located on the corner of 6th and C Street. This expansion will add 20 beds to create an emergency shelter, a commercial kitchen, and a tiny home village with 14 tiny homes. This will be the first tiny home village created exclusively for transitional age youth that are experiencing homelessness in the state of California.

Many complain about the homeless population in our community, but The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is investing in the solution to the problem. “I am excited that the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has recognized the need for youth specific services and is supporting this innovative project. If we do not end youth homelessness, we will not stop the pipeline of people who have had their childhoods destroyed by housing insecurity. This project will set these young people up for a lifetime of successes.” says Darryl Evey, the executive director of Family Assistance Program. This project will connect homeless youth with emergency services and our other transitional programs that include wraparound care in a part of our community that truly needs it. Family Assistance Program is currently providing homeless youth services through their youth drop-in centers, youth shelters, and transitional homes. This project will provide housing to any youth experiencing homelessness aged 18 - 24.
“We are deeply honored to support the Family Assistance Program and their first ever Tiny Home Village to help combat homelessness for the young adults impacted in Victorville,” said Chairman Ken Ramirez. “Our youth are the future and no young adult should ever have to experience not having a roof over their head. Investing in infrastructure that will provide future generations with the necessary resources to thrive is a top priority for San Manuel.”
“I am incredibly excited to see the increased services and tiny home village that will assist our most vulnerable youth population at the Family Assistance Program in Victorville. Youth homelessness is a critical issue that non-profit organizations like the Family Assistance Programs are tackling head-on. The generosity of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and their commitment to bettering our community is unmatched.” – Assemblymember Thurston “Smitty” Smith.

For more information about how you can become involved in being a solution to homelessness, please visit our website or email our Director of Development and Media, Angela Sorrell – [email protected].

See media press release here:
Hope House is happy that the holidays are here! The month has already brought one party for our families and more to come. This week Hope House was invited to our first Christmas party of the year. The party hosted by CHOICE Medical Group and Today's Woman Foundation. The whole party was wonderful, they thought of everything, down to the kiddos favorite foods.

Dinner was provided with the children having chicken tenders, mac and cheese, fruit...all kinds of goodies!
Dinner was followed by arts and crafts, then the big guy "Santa" arrived.

Santa climbed into his sled and began passing out gifts to each family. Hope House felt the women and their children were tended to with such care and kindness. It always touches our hearts to see there are so many awesome hearts out there that care as much as we do!

Hope House sends a HUGE Thank you out to Today's Woman Foundation and the Doctors with CHOICE Medical Group. We truly appreciate your kindness and humanity!  

Happy Holidays to you all!!

At Next Step, the core of our program is our housing and case management, but we are also working very hard to further develop our PAROLE RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. During this last month Next Step Reentry has had the opportunity to provide 25 parole participants with rental assistance, which provides our participants with monthly rent for anyone in danger of losing their housing or simply needs rapid rehousing assistance. We have plans to expand this program and increase the number of participants we are able to serve and help. This month, we were able to disburse a total of $43,563.90 towards helping people keep a roof over their heads and warmth in their bodies. In addition, we continue to take in new participants into our housing program and took in 3 probation participants and 2 parole participants. We are also very excited to be working with our in-house life coach Yvette Abreo, she is assisting us to develop tailored life coaching lesson plans for participants to assist in their taking control of their lives. We are also coordinating with her to implement the CARE Curriculum weekly groups, we look forward to achieving much success with her help.

Happy Holidays!

One night a concerned father called our emergency youth shelter because he needed a place for his 17 year old daughter to stay. He recently was awarded custody after the mother was lost in a tragic incident. The youth didn’t have a relationship with the father and didn’t feel comfortable staying with him. When she arrived at Our House she did not have an idea of what she wanted to do with her life. A case manager sat down with the client and started having a conversation with her to explain the program. She seemed intrigued and set goals for herself.

Case managers continued to encourage the client to thrive for herself and start taking positive steps for her future and well-being. Once she saw the support she had, she right away wanted to get things done. She enrolled in school and wanted to start working. She built her resume and within a couple days, got an interview. With assistance from the shelter, the client was able to get proper clothing for her interview and got hired on. Case managers kept in touch with dad for any signatures required and his participation in our program, as well.

The client is now a full time student finishing her senior year of high school, working part time at a nearby fast food restaurant, and is taking necessary and motivational groups that we provide for our youth. This client has been a huge role model to other clients and shown how to be successful in our program. We feel extremely proud of her progress and we will continue to guide her through this rough patch and show her that she is worthy of a successful and healthy future.
Please join us in giving back to our human trafficking victims and their children this Christmas. Go to our Amazon wish list or drop off at our office at 1255 East Highland Ave, #210, San Bernardino. Please contact our Outreach Coordinator Bernadette Valdez for any questions at: [email protected]

Our next Human Trafficking Advocate certified training will be held in February 2022, starting February 1st. Please watch our Facebook page for more details on how to sign up or contact our Outreach Coordinator Bernadette Valdez at [email protected].

This month we are hearing from Myeesha Arranaga, one of our HT Advocates. Myeesha has been working at Open Door for the past 2 years. She is dedicated and passionate about what she does. When asked why Myeesha works at Open Door, she responded,

“Doing this work, you understand very quickly that you are going up against the tide. Many don’t realize the work that we do can be some of the most difficult, heart-wrenching frustrating work possible. Working with marginalized and underserved populations, a population that has heavy intersectionality of years or even decades of unaddressed childhood/adult trauma, homelessness, mental health, substance abuse, social & family services, coupled with the stigmas and criminalization that comes from being trafficked. Having to prove that you were trafficked and prove to other agencies that these survivors are “worthy” of services. The majority of the time when we’re working with survivors they don’t believe that they were trafficked or victimized because they are used to every outside source judging them and telling them that this is what they choose or they ran and left their trafficker too late and because of that they’re not eligible for services and or not believed to be a victim. Many times, because of how they are presented they are not seen as victims who deserve empathy or victims who have experienced trauma and hardships but criminals or hyper-sexual individuals. Can you imagine the frustrations to prove that you were a victim even when your head hasn’t reconciled the fact that you were vulnerable at some point and this thing that they are feeling isn’t love but a trauma bond. That at some point because of those vulnerabilities you were sought after, hunted down, conditioned, and then eventually found yourself caught up deeper than you imagined. Only to be told that this is what they wanted all along! They need to be validated, to be seen, heard and believed. Many times, as an Advocate of the Open Door or as an ambassador of Family Assistance Program we hear “Oh you’re with that program?” “You take everyone!”. Or “You guys are too nice or too lenient”. “Too soft too understanding,”. I choose to believe that Open Door is a soft and safe place to land when they are ready. Someone to believe them, encourage them, support them, empower them, help them reach new heights, ground them and open their eyes to new things! Just like we would hope someone would do or could have done for us. Is it hard? At times, absolutely. But it’s worth it and our participants are worthy of the effort. Even if it is for a brief moment while we are in contact with them. Hopefully, at some point, there has been a seed planted along the way and they can look back days, months, or years later and see that those little seeds produced a tree far greater and maybe just maybe bear fruit to help those who come after us.” - Myeesha Arranaga
The month of December is a tough one for a lot of the youth in our shelter with the holidays approaching. The staff at My Place try to make it as joyful as possible for them and decorate for the holidays with the supplies we have. This month we could use your help and are looking for Christmas decorations to help decorate the shelter. We are also asking for donations of gift cards so we can provide gifts for our youth under the tree. Thank you to the amazing couple that donated a Christmas tree with lights. Together we can make this holiday season merry and bright for the youth experiencing homelessness.
The Community Center staff and The Fam Spot staff and kids participated in the 74th annual Victorville Christmas parade. The Grinch joined us and put smiles on everyone’s faces. The community did a great job ensuring that everyone felt the Christmas spirit. We enjoyed being a part of this event and are already looking forward to next year. 
Join us this Saturday December 18th 11am - 5pm at the Victorville Old Town Street Fair starting on 7th Street & B Street!

This is the last Old Town Street Fair of 2021, join us as we share holiday cheer. We will have a special guest from the North Pole who will be providing toys for the children. Families will have the opportunity to take free photos with Santa.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still affecting our community, luckily, the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program makes a difference in people's lives. Most of our applicants are not familiar with today's technology. We help ease the stress of 112 people a month by assisting them with the application process. The state program promises to pay 100% of rent owed. We have participants who have received payment and have one less worry this holiday season. They are extremely grateful for Family Assistance Program staff for providing them support every step of the way. 
Join us on Tuesday, January 4th from 6-8pm for our monthly Taco Tuesday fundraiser! Thank you to the Steven Dhillon Law Firm for sponsoring this event! Join us at Viva Maria for Taco Tuesday and raise some money for a great cause! We will have raffle prizes to win. Viva Maria has a variety of street tacos for us to enjoy, as well as a full menu and bar. See you there in the new year!

If you have a raffle prize to donate email [email protected] 
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