Volume 8, Issue 2 | April 2022
The Uptown Update
Season of New Beginnings
Neighbors Walking While Raising Funds
Upcoming Uptown Annual Walk-a-thon
Last year's youngest Uptown Walk-a-thon supporter hydrates before the walk.
The Felty family at last year's walk (Vyanhn, William, and son Benji)
A favorite Uptown Spring tradition is on its way. Our annual 5K walk is happening Saturday May 21st. Our walk will start at the University Christian Church at 3900 Cleveland Avenue in Hillcrest. We will walk to Uptown on 30th Street, tour the Uptown CSC facility at St. Luke's Episcopal Church at 3725 30th Street, and then return to University Christian Church for light refreshments.

Our walk is a wonderful opportunity to be out celebrating the fresh Spring weather and flowers, while at the same time helping provide basic necessities for neighbors in need and raising awareness about the issue of homelessness. Sometimes walkers have had important conversations with folks resting on the sidewalks informing them about Uptown services.

Magical conversations have been known to happen during Uptown walks. Several years ago, our current Board President Jude Litzenberger of Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego asked a new visitor at her church to join her at the upcoming Walk-a-thon that coming Saturday. As she got to know this man, she learned that his passions and heart matched the mission of Uptown and JD McDonald later became a beloved Uptown Operations Coordinator, who served Uptown faithfully for 5 years and still comes by to say hello whenever he's visiting from Nevada.

You can support people experiencing homelessness who benefit from Uptown services by forming a walking team through your own organization, by sponsoring walkers, or by giving a donation. Your $30 registration donation also includes light refreshments so if you cannot join the walk at this time, we would love you to join us for refreshments after the walk. To get started you can view or print a copy of our registration packet. Thank you for participating and supporting Uptown!
This organization formed their own Uptown Walk-a-thon team and wore matching t-shirts!
Some of last year's Uptown Walk-a-thon walkers, including board members Linda Newton and Karen deLaurier, with the Executive Director, Alisan Rowland, enjoying a tour of Uptown
Dignity: Why This Volunteer Serves Uptown
As a volunteer at Uptown Community Services, and one who has experienced extreme homelessness for ten years while living under a bush, I have a deep appreciation for the services provided for the homeless residing in the Uptown area of San Diego. I had often received services at Community Centers in the past, but what stands out to me about Uptown CSC is the access to a shower and a restroom to provide for basic human needs.

In my time as a homeless woman, opportunities to clean myself or use a restroom were few and far between. My options for bathing were to jump, fully clothed, into an apartment building’s pool and leave quickly, or to use the open faucet that was meant for surfers after coming out of the ocean. This had put me into unsafe situations more than once. Without access to a restroom, I developed a bladder infection from having to “hold it” for long periods of time.

What sounded like the most logical solution, yet turned out to be the most degrading, was when I used my General Relief money to buy a yearlong pass at a Community Recreational Center in order that I may have access to the showers. The management of the Center was fine with my being there, but I was subject to abuse by other members who felt they had the right to chase me out of “their” Community Recreation Center, despite the fact that I possessed the same pass that they did.

Uptown Community Service Center’s mission statement is “to help our unhoused neighbors and those in desperate need without discrimination or prejudice to live in dignity and become self-supporting members of the community." I am very grateful to Uptown CSC for providing a more dignified option to fulfilling basic human needs. Until the foundation of the most basic needs are met, one cannot focus on the next level of needs to aspire to in becoming self-actualized.

By Joyce, Uptown Volunteer
Showers of Blessings with New Shower Kits
Amelia Broadnax, Uptown Operations Coordinator and Alan Nichol, Uptown Board Member, show off our new shower kits.
Contents of a shower kit; some shower kits also include feminine hygiene products
It all began when Janet Nichol, spouse of Uptown Board Member Alan Nichol, found out that some grant money was being offered through their Unitarian Universalist denomination. She and Alan began to investigate and research what was required to apply for the grant. Knowing that hygiene products were always needed for the shower program that St. Luke's Episcopal Church and Uptown offer collaboratively, they began drafting a grant application to fund shower hygiene items. They brought the grant draft to the Executive Director, Alisan Rowland, who completed and submitted it.

After being awarded the grant, Uptown Board Member and volunteer Alan Nichol worked with the Operations Coordinator, Amelia Broadnax, to identify which hygiene items to purchase. Now Uptown clients coming for a shower will have the opportunity to get a shower kit including a practical mesh bag including:
  • soap
  • shampoo & conditioner
  • deodorant
  • toothbrush (with cap)
  • toothpaste
  • socks
  • feminine products (for women)
The mesh bags will enable clients to carry their hygiene items with them and keep them for future showers, and to carry other important items with them as needed.

With well over 2000 showers provided for clients since the shower program began, St. Luke's and Uptown have helped clients obtain much needed hygiene to be healthier and maintain their own sense of personal dignity. As the Nichol family stated in their grant application "For these unhoused individuals, having access to a hot shower is the first step in reigniting a feeling of dignity and hope, raising the spirit, and creating a sense of worth. Having access to a shower and clean clothes are more than a matter of hygiene, they are a matter of humanity."

If you discover a grant that Uptown CSC might quality for, you can contact our Executive Director, Alisan Rowland at executivedirector@uptowncsc.org.
Uptown Volunteers Gordon and Pam Adler of Mission Hills United Church of Christ staffing the shower
The Morning Grind: Changing Behaviors
In March of 2022, Uptown CSC's new Operations Coordinator, Amelia Broadnax, collaborated with Juan Zaldivar of Family Health Services to launch a new life skills group every Thursday morning at 9 am called "The Morning Grind." Amelia knows that once a person gets housed, staying housed is often a challenge. The goal of "The Morning Grind" is to create a group where Uptown members can learn the type of skills that both prepare them for life as a newly housed individual, and help them to remain in their housing.

Sitting down with a cup of coffee and a breakfast snack eases the way into conversation about topics like "stages of change" and "how to create productive positive boundaries." At a recent gathering Amelia used examples our members can relate to in order to explain Grimley and Prochaska's "Stages of Behavior Change." For example, in the "Precontemplation" stage someone living without shelter accepts the situation as it is. In the "Contemplation" stage this person gains better understanding of their problem and starts to desire a change in their life. In the "Preparation" stage this person starts preparing to get housed. For example, they are likely to have a conversation with a housing outreach worker about the possibility of getting housed. In the "Action" stage this client makes the decision to get housed and starts working with a housing navigator to get matched to a place to live and move in. Finally, in the "Maintenance" stage members work to sustain the change they are making, learning that relapses, or slipping back into old behaviors, is often a part of the process in moving towards being able to sustain a new behavior (in this case, permanent housing).

In addition to gaining a better understanding of how to change and maintain life enhancing behaviors, our members also have an opportunity to provide each other with community and support, making "The Morning Grid" a really great way to wake up and start the day.
New Community Partners Visit Uptown
New community partners joined us for our Community Linkage Event on March 18th. A representative for Housing Help SD joined us at Uptown to raise awareness in the community about the new website he was a part of establishing which was launched in April of 2021. The website, HousingHelpSD.org, was launched by a collaborate of organizations whose goal was to prevent unnecessary evictions. According to the website, the website was launched because "avoidable evictions destabilize families, harm children, perpetuate systemic inequality and increase health risks, especially during the COVID pandemic. Eviction is costly and difficult for both tenants and landlords, and a very inefficient way to collect tenant debt. Other large urban areas have established community and government interventions that reduce avoidable evictions. The Eviction Prevention Collaborative is working to implement these proven strategies in San Diego." Providing a resource on how to access rent relief and legal support, this website is an incredible benefit to any families who find themselves in a crisis where they may be evicted.

Another new visitor, Karen Fontenette (pictured above), manages a food pantry in East County named Heaven's Windows. Their food pantry provides children's meals and diapers. Karen shared that she's always open to feeding kids in special programs who are food insecure. "We like to feed kids year round," Karen explained, pointing out that the summer school break is coming up.

Volunteers of America also joined us, offering members information about the outpatient residential treatment services they offer for people struggling with addiction or who have recently transitioned from incarceration.

Returning community partners filled the Uptown courtyard, such as: Community Law project (offering free legal support), Vista Hill Central Family Recovery Center (providing information for how clients can into outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs), and Mental Health Systems (MHS) Storage Connect Center II (offering free storage).

For information about upcoming community events, like and follow us on Facebook.
Volunteers of America
Vista Hill Central Valley Recovery Center
Community Law Project legal team
Storage Connect Center II
Youth Making a Positive Difference
St. Augustine High School Sophomores have been serving Uptown members as volunteers every Wednesday since October of 2021. Jessica Brophy, Biology Teacher and Director of Christian Service (pictured above) reached out to Uptown last year to develop an ongoing program with Uptown CSC and St. Augustine High School students. Each Wednesday morning four different high school students visit Uptown. While here, the students help with various volunteer tasks. Sometimes they help staff the shower program, helping to clean the bathroom in between showers and provide clients with shower supplies. Other students help prepare bags of food for our daily Uptown clients or food bags for our Drive Thru Super Food Emergency Pantry, which provides food to families in need on Mondays and Fridays from 3-6 pm.

The students have a great opportunity to experience what volunteering and service is all about. And they learn that people experiencing homelessness are their neighbors too. Our mail room and shower volunteers love interacting with the students who bring their youthful vitality and positive attitude to all they do at Uptown. As one Uptown client remarked "those students are so well behaved!"

Our student volunteers will be away on summer break until September of this year and they will be greatly missed. Uptown is incredibly grateful to the students for enhancing the experience of Uptown volunteers and members. What a joy it has been for us to be a part of these students learning experiences as they consider the ways their future careers will make a positive difference in the world.
St. Augustine student prepares the mop bucket to clean out the shower.
St. Augustine students prepare emergency food bags.
Souper Bowl of Caring Success
Mission Hills United Church of Christ raising money for Uptown while eating scrumptious soup
Some of Uptown's partners including Mission Hills United Church of Christ and Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego raised money for Uptown CSC during the Souper Bowl of Caring season.

The tradition of raising money to feed hungry people during the Super Bowl season began in 1990 when Reverend Brad Smith of Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia South Carolina prayed that as people enjoyed the Super Bowl football game they would remember people without even a bowl of soup to eat.

Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego received a special offering on Super Bowl Sunday (in addition to inviting congregants to bring in canned soup). Mission Hills United Church of Christ raised funds for Uptown with a phenomenal soup contest, proving that raising money to help others can be fun, engaging, and delicious. The UCC choir's soup won first prize, but Uptown CSC was the real winner.
Mission Hills United Church of Christ Choir wins the award for the best soup with Uptown board members Karen deLaurier and Joan Anderson proudly cheering them on
Mission Hills United Church of Christ Youth Group celebrates winning second place with some outstanding chili!
Current Center Needs
We are always in need of donated items for immediate use by our clients. At this time, we are most in need of the following:
  • KN95 Masks
  • Paper goods (bowls, plates, plastic silverware)
  • Plastic, paper, Ziploc, or other re-usable bags
  • Blankets
  • Jackets (all sizes)
  • Men’s underwear (M, L, XL)
  • Men's and Women's Socks
  • Pet food
  • Backpacks
  • Camping gear
Click here for more donation details.
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We've ventured into the Instagram world, and we would love for you to join us! Follow us on Instagram @uptowncsc.
What Does an Uptown Client Look Like?
The numbers and percentages below from December of 2021 describe some characteristics of Uptown members. We know that each person who comes to Uptown is more than a statistic and that each person has an individual story. And the demographic information about our clients below also helps us to understand a part of who our members are so that we can better support them on their journeys to improve their quality of life.

To get to know our members better and see stories of their progress, like us on Facebook or visit our website.
Get Involved!

Volunteer for 3-4 hour shifts on a regular or on-call basis. Get started here.

Donate Goods in-person at our center. Travel-sized hygiene supplies, men’s clothing, underwear, socks, backpacks, sleeping bags, and blankets are always in big demand. Please check our website for COVID-19 updates prior to donating.

Shop at smile.amazon.com and choose Uptown Faith Community Service Center as your charity. Shop through smile.amazon.com to ensure Uptown receives all donated funds.

Donate Money online, in-person, or through Uptown’s fundraising events. Donation details here.

For all business mail and mailed monetary donations, please address to:
Post Office Box 3810
San Diego, CA 92163-3810
Thank you for assisting in our efforts to simplify our mailing system.