Member Spotlight: Dedicated, Caring, and Empowering
For 126 years, Children’s Home Society of California (CHS) has adapted to the changing needs of children and families. Since 1891, CHS has worked diligently to protect our community’s children and strengthen their families through diverse programs and services.
The mission of CHS is to reach out to children and families at risk with a range of services that ensure ever child the opportunity to develop within a safe, healthy, and secure environment.
We asked them a few questions about how they keep their organization running and some of their favorite stories from staff and volunteers. To learn more about their individual and one-on-one mode and the work that “warms your heart” keep reading.
What makes your organization stand out?
Children’s Home Society of California (CHS) has been around for over 127 years so there is a lot of history here. The agency was originally founded as a children’s home and later transitioned to adoptions. Since then, CHS has evolved throughout the years to adapt to the needs of the communities served, as well as here in Oakland. I like that we’re able to shape the programs for the families here. And that our families are able to have a say in what goes on. Our families and their suggestions make it a really cool space.
What’s your hidden talent?
Our caring and creative staff. Agency-wide, we have 147 staff members, so we have an abundance of knowledge that we are able to tap into. We take an idea and we make it happen. We also have all the families that we serve. A lot of community resources and information comes from them, we are able to share with other people come from the families because they are the real experts.
Why does your organization support literacy and early education in Oakland?
The organization as a whole really sees the value in early education. We service eight counties throughout and have offices all over California, with much emphasis on ensuring we’re reaching the 0-5 kids. We know that there is a lack of preschools and quality day care centers and we want to offer an alternative to that by giving parents the tools and language to encourage early literacy. We provide workshops for parents and we love hearing about how parents are then able to use these resources and apply them to their own lives. We’re here to bridge the gap and cast a net for families to catch the ones that are slipping through the cracks. It’s about bringing more information and resources to parents.
Share an impact story.
I’m a firm believer in creating spaces where kids and parents can sit down and read. We have a corner where parents can sit with their kids and hang out.. Whether it’s reading a book or coloring together. I love when I offer to read to a kid and they say yes. It warms my heart every time.
We have a lot of families that come in from nearby shelters. There’s one family that comes in at least once a week and every time I see this toddler she asks me to read a book to her. Despite them living in a shelter, this little person is on track developmentally and it’s amazing to see how on top of it her mom is.
Why did you join the OLC network?
We’ve been attending quarterly meetings and events for a while now and it was only a matter of time for us to join. We joined to partner with other agencies, learn about opportunities, and advertise our events and programs. We don’t use social media so being able to be part of a network that has a big reach is huge for us. It’s great to share our experiences as well as learn from other organizations and how they approach literacy.
If you could describe your organization, what would they be?
The organization: Dedicated, caring, and Empowering. We are dedicated to the families we serve, we care about them and we empower them to advocate for themselves.