Follow fun updates as well as interesting stories about clients, volunteers and supporters of SFBFS

November 23, 2011

A new citizen

Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) is proud to announce that Seham, a student in SFBFS’ Adult Education program, took the oath of United States citizenship on November 16, 2011 at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. Saham joined over 1,700 other new citizens in a ceremony that lasted over five hours. During the ceremony, the new citizens filled out Social Security forms and were encouraged to register to vote.

Saham, a native of Sudan, came to the United States six years ago after spending seven years in Egypt. In early April 2011, she enrolled in English as a Second Language classes at SFBFS. In August, she announced that she had two weeks to prepare for an English language test in order become a U.S citizen. Seham was tutored intensively by volunteers and she passed the test.

As a result of her hard work, she and her children, who automatically became U.S. citizens when Seham took her oath, now have all the rights and privileges that go with citizenship. Seham was joined at the ceremony by her husband, Mustafa, her son Ahmed and her daughters Amal and Mhath. Dan Allen, SFBFS Adult Education Program Manager, attended the ceremony on behalf of SFBFS. Congrats to Saham!

Written by Dan Allen, Adult Education Program Manager

November 22, 2011

Parent Education Program

Cat (Caty) Gomez was born in Columbia, Tennessee. She is a mother of three wonderful children, a wife and has three cats and a dog that she adores very much. One might say that Cat has her hands full, but she still manages to volunteer ever week at the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS). Even though Cat is so many miles from her hometown, she has found a second place to call home; at SFBFS where she volunteers her time in the Mother-Baby program. This program offers assistance to parents or guardians of a child between 0-24months, providing them with formula, diapers, baby food, clothing and a one on one visit with a volunteer mentor.

Cat has a lot of background experience working with children and families including experience at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, CA as a pediatric nurse and also at the children’s hospital in the well- baby clinic. Although, she has a heart for medicine she wanted to try something new and different for a while. She decided to get her paralegal certificate and work part-time in medical malpractice. She really enjoyed this experience which allowed for more time with her family. It also gave her the opportunity to enjoy her other interests like watching old movies, walking, hiking and yoga.

Cat is no stranger to volunteer work. She has been volunteering ever since she was a young girl in high school. She first started volunteering her time at the Nursing Mother’s Counsel in the bay area. For Cat, the rewards of giving to others are so much more than anyone could imagine, and this is just one out of several reasons why she continually volunteers her time. She is a woman who believes learning is lifelong challenge. Cat recently completed UCSD’s Certified Lactation Educator Program to help assist moms/families with breastfeeding. Cat volunteers at the Mother-Baby program as a mentor where she gives positive and informational advice to women regarding breastfeeding and offer any support to women who choose to breastfeed.

If you ask Cat why she thinks breastfeeding is so important, she shares, “I am passionate about helping mother’s breastfeed and receiving up-to-date information about the risks of not breastfeeding to help parents nurture healthy children.” She believes if more parents would breastfeed, the positive emotional and physical outcomes for both mom and baby would be incredibly positive for the environment and our society.

Cat is very excited about the Mother-Baby program relocating and expanding into SFBFS’ new Education and Technology Center across the street from SFBFS’ existing site in Oak Park. During this time, the name of the program will also change to Parent Education and is going to be offered at SFBFS’ North Sacramento facility as well. The program curriculum will change slightly to serve children up to age five and require an orientation and parenting classes where clients will receive points to acquire clothing, diapers, baby food, formula and other items. The program’s goal will continue to provide families and their children with the skills and resources to help enhance all the aspects of their lives – health, education, emotional development and safety.

When Cat first became a volunteer at the Sacramento Food Bank/Family Services (SFBFS), she had just returned back to California after twenty years. This experience reconnected her with her local community and she feels it is a gift to volunteer with all the moms and babies that come into the program. She is thankful for meeting such a great group of volunteers and is grateful for this experience and learns something new each time she comes while having the opportunity to help others.

Written by Lorena Carranza, Parent Education Program Manager

November 17, 2011

Computer Clubhose and Youth Academy visits UCDMC

On Friday October 21, 2011 participants from Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services' (SFBFS) Computer Clubhouse Youth Academy attended a special field trip to UC Davis Medical Center. Mrs. Meyers , a mentor and tutor in the Computer Clubhouse, organized this opportunity for the students. The field trip was a great way for students to visit with an organization that is very important to our community. That afternoon, a handful of SFBFS staff and volunteers led 25 children to the UC Davis Medical Center.

Upon arrival, students signed in and made name tags at Education Building Lecture Hall with Felicia Espina Miller. This made the students feel like they were at an adult conference! Once everyone gathered in the classroom, we met Dr. D. Latimore, who is the Dean-Student Resident of Diversity. He spoke with the children about the importance of college and stressed how higher education is not an unreachable goal, but something that is attainable by every student in the room. One of the most memorable quotes by Dr. Latimore was, “School is not hard. What is hard is trying to raise a family on minimum wage or less is what will be hard.” Dr. Latimore’s speech was full of wisdom, encouragement and humor.

The excitement was not over; we were then introduced to some of the medical students who inspired the Clubhouse students to realize that a college education is attainable for everyone. Each medical student shared their background and their approach to pursuing their goal of working in the medical field. The medical students engaged us with a power point presentation about taking patient history. They ended the presentation with a Q & A informational session between the medical students and SFBFS youth.

The group then went upstairs to work with medical students and participate in hands on demonstrations called “Doctoring Skills Workshop.” The children role-played being doctors and nurses where the health screenings are performed. The students were very enthusiastic to work with the different tools used by doctors such as the stethoscope and blood pressure pump. Students also learned about how to know to engage with the patient to obtain a thorough medical history.

The field trip ended with delicious dinner and a promise to return to the School of Medicine in the near future. The youth at SFBFS wrote thank you letters to Dr. Latimore, Ms. Espina and the medical students for taking the time out of their busy schedules to conduct this field trip for us. We send out a very special thank you to Mrs. Meyers, who worked very hard to put this whole thing together for all of us - we can’t say thank you enough!

Written by Hope White, SFBFS Youth Education Program Assistant

Halloween Celebration at SFBFS

All of the children in Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS)’ PlayCare program, their parents and guests were invited to a fun Halloween party provided by SFBFS staff and volunteers. Everyone enjoyed various activity stations including a dress-up station for the children and moms who did not have a Halloween costume. A few of the children and moms visited the face painting station, while others painted a wooden mask of their choice; a monkey, pumpkin or Frankenstein. The children also had opportunities to win prizes playing bingo.

In the Halloween party not only did the children have fun, the moms, too, got to have fun with their children . Moms took part in most activities. We had a station where children and moms raced to eat worms from a muddy plate (gummy worms covered in chocolate pudding). In our last station we had a mom, who volunteered to be part of the activity, to be transformed into a mummy. The children covered her from top to bottom with paper towels. At the end each child had the opportunity to take a photo with the mummy.

After having a good time, our celebration had to come to an end. Even though we still had more activities planned, we did not have enough time. The children finished the day by trick or treating throughout staff offices. At the end of the party, the children left happy with their masks, treats, snacks and prizes.

Written by Antonia Ramirez, SFBFS' PlayCare and Youth Academy Programs Assistant