Regional Access Project Foundation
Regional Access Project Foundation Spring '16 Newsletter
In This Issue
CEO Report
Spring has sprung, but before winter passed into history the RAP Board sprang into action by welcoming four new members: Jan Pye, Van Tanner, Beatriz Gonzales and Tricia Gehrlein were welcomed aboard the board at the Feb. 24 Board meeting. On the other hand, the entire RAP organization was sad to say goodbye to Jean Benson who had decided to step down at the end of her term. Jean will be missed but she promised to keep tabs on us to make sure we are doing our job!
Pictured: Jean Benson with board member Joe Hayes
Mental Health Priorities
At the March 23 meeting, the Board decided to continue to allocate funding in line with our Mental Health Initiative to the following three programs/projects:

-Focus on Student Success (FOSS) a program which utilizes an "evidenced based" curriculum aimed at high risk kids (ages 6-11) in the Desert Sands Unified School District. The program provides mentoring and life skills to 40 youths and their family members.  


-The Riverside County Latino Commission for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, Inc. will be establishing two youth residential substance abuse treatment facilities.  

The program will provide intensive support and resources dealing with substance abuse disorders.


The program will serve 49 boys and 49 girls a year.


-The Coachella Valley Economic Partnership's (CVEP) Health Career Connection will receive funding to create five internships at the county's Riverside University Health System- Behavioral Health Department.

Community Cancer Event
I was pleased to attend the event presented by Coachella Valley cancer agencies including Gilda's Club Desert Cities, Susan G. Komen Inland Empire, Pendleton Foundation and the America Cancer Society. The event was held on January 30at the La Quinta Civic Center Park and included a cancer memory walk, resource fair and several speakers. RAP is pleased to fund this great collaborative of agencies working together to provide better resources to their clients.

  Check out the full Desert Sun story
Cancer Group
C ollaborating 4 Clients
Lastly, I want to congratulate the Collaborating 4 Clients Collective Impact partners. This is a collaboration of the Desert HealthCare District, United Way of the Desert, FIND Food Bank, University Health System - Behavioral Health Department, ACT MS, CVEP's Work Force Excellence, along with RAP. The community meeting held on March 2 at the Westin in Cathedral City was attended by more than 100 community leaders representing education, healthcare, workforce and nonprofits serving youth, seniors etc.

Dr. Gary Painter of the University of Southern California's Price Sol Price School of Public Policy presented "Moving from Data to Story: Preparing for the Needs Assessment and Baseline Analysis."  His presentation was well received and we eagerly anticipate the next stage of this important work.
Lety De Lara, CEO

RAP's Mental Health Community Input Meetings

RAP Foundation is holding five Behavioral Health Forums during the month of April.  Nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, governmental agencies and school districts are invited to provide feedback on some survey questions to assist RAP's Mental Health Initiative Committee in determining the next Mental Health Initiative 'Request-for-Proposals (RFPs).  RAP will provide an update at each forum as to the programs that were funded as a result of its three RFPs in 2015.  Finally, governmental agencies Riverside University Health System-Behavioral Health and Desert Healthcare District/Foundation have been invited to provide updates on programs and cvHIP, an online resource directory.
  • April 4 at the Riverside County Workforce Development Center in Indio
  • April 6 at the Mecca Boys and Girls Club
  • April 11 at RAP office located in Palm Desert
  • April 13 at the Desert Hot Springs Health and Wellness Center

Four New Members Take Places at Board Table
The ranks of the Regional Access Project Foundation's Board of Directors recently swelled to 17 with the addition of four new members.
"We feel extremely fortunate to have the expertise and commitment of these four community-aware residents on our Board," says RAP CEO Leticia De Lara. "They bring a lot of experience to RAP and they will lighten the load in terms of committee obligations."
Two of the new members have experience serving as city council members in the Coachella Valley-and one of those has previously served on the RAP Board.
Jan Pye One of the "new" members is former Desert Hot Springs City Council Member Jan Pye, who previously served with the RAP Board until city council duties forced her to step aside from the local nonprofit.

"I would like to again serve as one of the RAP Foundation Board of Directors appointees, first because I miss the community service opportunity it provides," the long-serving DHS council member says. "Second, because I believe in the work of the Board and the opportunities-both financial and technical-that the Board's actions offer to community-based organizations in eastern Riverside County."

Jan is also a member of the DHS Women's Club, the Palm Springs Cemetery District and the DHS Elks. She holds a master's degree in Accounting & Financial Management from Keller University.

Van Tanner Another new Board member with city council experience is Van Tanner, who currently serves on the Palm Desert City Council.

"I have a passion to give back to the community," Van says.
The president and CEO of Desert Empire Insurance owned and operated that business for almost 35 years.

He holds a business degree from William Jewell College, and is a member of the YMCA, Discovery Museum, Living Desert, Desert Sands School District Building Corp. and the CVAG Energy and Environmental Resources Committee.

Beatriz Gonzalez A familiar name to residents of the eastern Coachella Valley is Bea Gonzalez, who serves as an Administrator with the Coachella Valley Unified School District and is currently the Coordinator of Afterschool Programs.

"I am humbled and excited to be considered for a position on the Board," she says. "I am very well aware of the important role RAP has in the community, and I feel I will be able to contribute to its success."

Beatrice is a member of the Riverside County Latino Commission and the Behavioral Health Commission.

Tricia Gehrlein Regional Director of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation in the Coachella Valley, Tricia was Grants and Program Manager in the western Coachella Valley for the Desert Healthcare District until she joined the Clinton Foundation in 2012.

"Having worked with RAP for the past seven years, I am familiar with the history, mission and goals of the organization," she says. "I am familiar with the work RAP engages in on a daily basis to fulfill the mission in a strategic and collaborative manner."

Tricia serves numerous local organizations, including an Advancement Board Member for California State University, Palm Desert campus; member, Board of Governors of JFK Memorial Hospital; member, Riverside County Health Coalition; and on the Strategic Planning Committee for First 5 Riverside, among many others.
Riverside County Launches 'Peer Navigation Line'
Sometimes, kids just need to talk to someone who understands them.
In an effort to clear away some of the confusion that young people experience when trying to access help through the myriad crisis help lines and other services available, the County of Riverside has launched a new "Peer Navigation Line."
Operating under the umbrella of the County's "Riverside University Health System--Behavioral Health," the Peer Navigation Line is designed to quickly and simply connect youths quickly and simply with the exact service which can answer their needs, whether it has to do with domestic issues, drug abuse, trouble in school, bullying, transportation . . . or even if it's just a sympathetic voice from someone who's been there.
"The biggest reason for the Peer Navigation Line is that there are so many places you could go," says Robert Youssef, Community Resource Educator. "The Navigation Network helps to narrow down the choices, and we know how to get kids in touch with the exact service that they need, without wading through a lot of different options . . . and maybe running out of hope."
The toll-free Peer Navigation Line (888-768-4YOU) had a "soft launch" on March 1, and a publicized full launch is planned for April 1.
We tried it, and we liked it!
Foundation Search
The Foundation Center is the nation's leading authority on institutional philanthropy and serves grant seekers, grant makers, researchers, policy makers, the media and the general public.
This online resource service is available free to nonprofits free at the RAP office. Contact Amalia Coyt at: or call at 760 674-9992 to make a reservation.
"Jump!," a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting seniors in achieving what's left on their "bucket list," recently availed itself of this opportunity.
"We operate on a minimal annual budget so the free service that RAP offers to its local nonprofits is priceless," says Jump! Founder Webb Weiman. "Being awarded a Grant is tough enough, but the RAP Foundation certainly makes the process a lot easier."

Coachella Valley Youth Leadership (CVYL) Update
Coachella Valley Youth Leadership has made some great strides in the past month. Mentors are working at Cahuilla Desert Academy, Bobby Duke, and Coachella Valley High School.  There are 45 boys participating in CVYL activities in a 10-week curriculum at the school sites. 
Students are referred by counselors and school staff.  The program then meets once a week for ten weeks during the final period of the day.  Students benefit from the mentoring of specially-trained community volunteers who work to encourage positive behavior in the students. 
CVYL mentors say that they are beginning to see the transformation into young men who are making more positive decisions in their lives.  The students are learning the importance of respect, love, trust, and dignity.  The goal is that the students will improve their behavior at school and home and contribute in a positive manner in their communities.

"The work Coachella Valley Youth Leadership is doing with 27 of our 7th and 8th grade young men is remarkable," says Michael Reule,  Principal at Cahuilla Desert Academy. "The students truly respect the role models who come in once a week to meet with them, build relationships, and speak about their lives. We expect the students to not just do better in school and to be more likely to graduate, but to also make a positive influence with other students and in their communities. Thank you for caring about the next generation!"

Pictured is mentor volunteer, Andres Saenz Jr. Field Supervisor at Coachella Valley Housing Coalition addressing students at Cahuilla Desert Academy in Coachella
4th Annual California CareForce Coachella Valley Expedition April 8-10
California CareForce will fly into the Coachella Valley April 8, for their 4th Annual "Coachella Valley Expedition".
CareForce's mission is "to provide free health, dental and vision care services to inhabitants of California."
Medical Services include general medical exams, diabetes screening, flu shots and HIV testing.
Dental services include fillings, extractions and cleaning; while vision services include eye exams and free eye glasses on site.  
Beginning at 6:00 a.m., patients will be served in the clinic areal in small groups on a first-come, first served basis.

RAP was a proud sponsor of the FAFSA event held on February 17.
 Pictured: Left to right:
Student Cristal Salcido, UCR Riverside, Michelle Siqueiros, VP, Campaign for College Opportunity, 
Linda Vasquez, Director, Campaign for College Opportunity, and Fatima Salcedo, CSU Fullerton

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