Wishing You a Happy Holiday- See you in 2020

The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County’s offices in Santa Cruz, Live Oak, and Santa Cruz are closed Friday, December 20th until Thursday, January 2nd, 2020.

As we take time with our friends and families during the holidays, we rest knowing that because of your support of our family of 18 programs, this year we were able to provide essential, impactful services for so many in our community.

This week we wrapped up our final project of the year, Adopt-A-Family, in a flurry of activity and giving. Hundreds of generous adopters came to our warehouse in Watsonville to bring the gifts they curated for families in need. Volunteers, donors, dedicated AmeriCorps fellows, Volunteer Center staff members, and our local nonprofit partners came together to fulfill the holiday wishes of 460+ families struggling to make ends meet.

This annual project serves as a testament– when people are connected to the causes they care about and are given the right tools and support – everything changes for good.  Through these real connections, we power personal happiness, strong families, healthy businesses, and vibrant communities. 

Together, we are creating a movement that inspires the generosity of those around us.

Here are some of the biggest accomplishments you helped to power in the past year.

We connected 14,000 people with volunteer opportunities last year, where they contributed $11.3 Million in donated time to make our community a better place to live, work, learn, and play.

Just ask Marilyn Rocky, Principal at Del Mar Elementary School in Live Oak, where many of her students face challenges simply getting to school.  On one very special day this year,  200 skilled Kaiser volunteers assembled the $25,000 in materials donated by Kaiser to build a greenhouse science lab, create an outdoor lunch area and classroom, and place seating throughout the campus.  Neighborhood and UCSC volunteers then refurbished this Life Lab garden and spread 10 yards of mulch.

We connected 7,700 of our neighbors to trained volunteers, resources, and programs that helped them chart a path to a better life.

Through our programs, we tackle some of our community’s most pressing issues – Poverty, discrimination, homelessness, mental health, senior isolation, criminal justice – and together, we get real results for people like Dorothy, a senior who lives alone and had this to say about our Matter of Balance program,  “I am so appreciative of this program.  I have learned to be more aware of my surroundings, safety and how to improve my environment.  I feel so relieved to have taken the steps to ask for help.  You helped me open a door to a better future.  Thank You!”

Or Karla, who has worked with her volunteer Literacy tutor for two years and successfully became a Citizen this year.

“The Literacy Program completely changed my life, my family’s life. When we learn English, we recover ourselves and our dignity,” states Karla.

Or JD, whose struggles with autism and bipolar disorder left him living on the streets and in trouble with the courts, where he could never afford to pay the fees that came with his court-ordered service.  The Volunteer Center recently took on the Court Community Service Program and JD became the first recipient of our low-income fee-waiver, which 70% of program participants now use.  For the first time in a decade, JD has successfully cleared all of his outstanding Court cases by performing community service, and we were able to enroll him in Community Connection, where he has received support for living with a mental illness.

Additionally, our community relies on the great work of so many small, local nonprofits and part of our mission is to support them as well.  Each year we connect 500 nonprofit, school and community partners with tools, resources, and volunteers to power their mission and this year was no different. In the past year,  our nonprofit partners used our web-based tools to reach 58,000+ people and raised over $500,000 in our crowd-sourced fundraisers – The Human Race and Santa Cruz Gives.

All this is because of your support.   

At the Volunteer Center, everything we accomplish is through the generosity and grace of people like you who are willing to share time, talent and resources to make our community thrive.

Behind every one of our programs are dedicated volunteers who bring their positivity and resourcefulness to the table.  They inspire us to have a deep commitment to everything we do. If you are interested in joining our efforts, we encourage you to take advantage of our website to learn more about volunteering. If you want to take immediate action, we encourage you to view our Holiday Giving Guide.

If you believe in the efforts we are making in our county, please consider donating and finally, we invite you to sign up for our monthly newsletter so we can stay connected in the new year.

Happy holidays and we look forward to connecting with you in 2020!

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