in the news template blog-list | Saint John’s Program for Real Change
 
         
April (left) surprised her sister Jenifer (with Saint John's CEO MIchele Steeb, center) by travelling from the Philippines to witness Jenifer sing for our 600+ Party for Change guests!

A Sister’s Story

If you’ve ever been in a support-person role (and most of us have), you know how difficult it is to navigate the obstacles, emotions, logistics and, in most cases, unfavorable circumstances associated with the person you are trying to help. Add to that the frustration and heartbreak of doing everything you know to be physically, financially and emotionally possible, and still your loved one flounders. The family and friends of…

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Turning the Tables

Ten times per year, we hold our popular Guest Chef Dinners at Plates Café, where 200-250 members of our community gather in support of our program to enjoy a delicious meal-with-a-meaning, prepared and presented by a local “guest chef” with the help of our Employment Training Program participants. Each fall for the past three years, we’ve turned the tables with a “Reverse Guest Chef Dinner,” where together with the support…

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CONGRATULATIONS TO COUNCILWOMAN ANGELIQUE ASHBY AND SIERRA HEALTH FOUNDATION PRESIDENT & CEO CHET HEWIITT, OUR 2018 CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE!

It is our great pleasure to announce the recipients of our 2018 Champions of Change awards, Sacramento City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby and Sierra Health Foundation President and CEO Chet Hewitt! The award, now in its second year, recognizes those who exemplify Saint John’s core values: Love, Courage, Effort, Gratitude, Respect, Community and Growth. Please consider joining us, if you haven’t already reserved your ticket, at our November 3 Party for…

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A Giant Hip Hip Hooray for Allstate Agent and Saint John’s Volunteer Zachary Wandell

Recipient of the 2018 Ray Lynch Community Service Award! Sacramento Allstate agency owner and community volunteer extraordinaire Zachary Wandell has been awarded the prestigious 2018 Ray Lynch Community Service Award, and we couldn’t be prouder! The award is Allstate’s top national honor commending an agency owner or financial specialist for giving back and supporting people and organizations in their local communities. The award, established in 2000 in memory of Allstate…

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From the Mouths, and Eyes, and Ears, of Babes

More than three million children witness domestic violence in their families each year. Three million. Think about that for just a moment, and your heart hurts. The things they’ve seen, the things they’ve heard, the travesties they’ve endured, for most of us this is simply unimaginable. 47 percent of the children that arrive at Saint John’s suffer from anxiety or depression as a result of their homelessness, and more than…

Dr. Olliver Jean Rogers

Real Change Becomes a Reality

We are so very proud to announce that one of our favorite supporters, volunteers, and yes, a former Saint John’s client, Pastor Olliver Jean Rogers, earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Counseling from the Pacific Northwest Seminary on September 20th! Way to go Dr. Rogers! Olliver earned her pastoral ministry from the Church of Transformation in Leesville, Louisiana in 2008 after 11 years of sobriety from a debilitating cocaine…

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Time to Get Out Your Purple Purse!

For the third year running, Saint John’s will be participating in the Purple Purse Challenge, a 31-day national campaign that unites nonprofits in a competition to raise funds for life-changing services to help domestic violence survivors. Sponsored by the Allstate Foundation, one of our strongest supporters, this fundraising effort is held each year throughout the month of October, recognized nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Some eye-opening, heart-wrenching statistics that…

Graduate & Class Representative Julianna M.

Julianna’s Story

Julianna came to Saint John’s straight from treatment on September 18th, 2017, as there was no other place to go. Coming from a life of domestic violence and addiction, her partner was incarcerated for attacking her in her seventh month of pregnancy. And because of her addiction, CPS took custody of her children, and gave her little to no hope that she would ever get them back. Reunification, they told…

Alumnae Lucy G. Photo courtesy of Brenda Bisharat photrography.

Lucy’s Story

Suffering from depression and PTSD, Lucy was lost – to herself and to her children – and ended up self-medicating, and self-destructing, with drugs and alcohol. After finding the strength to enter rehab, and celebrating six-months sobriety, she knew she needed more. Finding Saint John’s was her salvation. “Saint John’s changed everything for me,” observes Lucy. “Life is still scary at times, but now I can deal with it. Saint…

Alumna Lupe S. ~ Photo courtesy of Brenda Bisharat Photography

Lupe’s Story

Living couch to couch and abusing drugs, Lupe knew she had to make a change, but she faced unforgiving stigmas in her traditional Mexican family. She was at the point where she was going to lose her kids. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired! Lupe faced her fears and stood up against the threat of her family disowning her. I just said, “This is where I…

On November 4th, 2017, Mandy and her children shared their story at our annual fundraiser Party for Change.

Mandy’s Story

I met with Mandy at Saint John’s and was immediately overwhelmed by the feeling that everything would be OK. Mandy’s quiet strength and honest gaze just made me feel safe. What’s remarkable is how far she’s come in just a short amount of time. It was a little over two years ago on Christmas day that this beautiful mother of six children was balled up in the corner of a…

Photo courtesy of Brenda Bisharat.

Jamie’s Story

Jamie was worried that her abusive roommate and want-to-be suitor would soon turn on her young daughter. She was repeatedly turned down at shelters because her abuser was not her partner, until she found Saint John’s. “Saint John’s changed my life,” says Jamie. “When I walked in, I thought it was beautiful. I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” While in the program, Jamie lost her daughter’s father in a…

Jennifer R.  - Saint John's Alumna. Photo courtesy of Brenda Bisharat.

Jennifer’s Success Story

Following the death of her beloved mother and having her son survive a stabbing that left him permanently blind in one eye, Jennifer found herself homeless at 40 years old, and suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). She became agoraphobic — afraid of stepping outside– and afraid of even letting her daughter walk to school by herself. Jennifer and her young daughter resorted to wandering the streets of Sacramento, sleeping…

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Saint John’s – A Symphony of Moving Parts

When Catia Saraiva-Munoz discovered Saint John’s Program for Real Change in her quest to partner with a community-based non-profit, she was more than impressed by what she found. “This is not a typical charity that provides food and shelter to the homeless,” explains Saraiva-Munoz. “This program delivers tangible results. It addresses all of the many facets that lead to homelessness including unemployment, mental health, parenting skills, addiction, domestic violence and…

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Erika’s Success Story

There is a Walmart parking lot in North Sacramento where Erika and her 12 year-old daughter Gabby spent some nights. They had free Wi-Fi and Erika would let Gabby play on her phone to pass the time. Homeless off and on for almost five years, every day was an exercise in survival. Erika and Gabby would slip into the bathroom at Walmart to wash up, hoping none of the store…

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Maria’s Story

She remembered it like it was yesterday – the events of that night forever seared into her memory. Maria, a former addict, thought she was finally getting her life together. After living crammed in a van with family members for four months, including her sister and the father of her child, she had finally scraped up enough money to get an apartment. Unfortunately, the sense of relief she felt was…

Adrianna Kathleen Granlund

Adrianna’s Story

If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies – Anonymous I had the pleasure to sit and chat with Adrianna, a graduate of Saint John’s Program for Real Change, and soon came to realize that she is an incredible example of how to overcome adversity through perseverance and faith. My first thought, upon hearing her story, was that it would have been easy for Adrianna to give up. A…

Wendy

Wendy’s Story

“It started with the electricity being turned off,” says Wendy, a mom of two and a resident of the Saint John’s Program for Real Change. Within one month of the lights going off, Child Protective Services (CPS) showed up at the kids’ school even though they were both showered and fed. What could have precipitated such a swift response from CPS? When I sat down with Wendy to discuss how…

Kaira (left), after receiving her high school diploma -
 another step towards real change!

Kaira’s Story

As we begin a new year I would like to invite you to meet someone who has given me a completely different perspective on my life. And this is by no means a temporary effect, it is daily. I think about her daily.  When I visited the program at Saint John’s in December I had never been to the facilities. I had been to the fundraisers and was incredibly touched…

Natisha

Natisha’s Story

“I had a happy childhood,” Natisha began. It was an upbringing she shared with two half siblings, her mom and her grandmother – both functioning substance abusers, a habit Natisha would seemingly inherit years later as she veered away from her happy beginnings down what was soon to become a dark path. At 18, following her high school graduation, Natisha got a job, married and flirted briefly with crack cocaine….

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Simona’s Story

Jan. 2016 – Simona had hit rock bottom—emotionally and financially. The crash was painful. Over the course of 16 days, she had left an abusive boyfriend and watched her father take his last breath. Then she did what she had always thought was elusive, she stopped drinking. Simona finally faced herself brutally and honestly. She wanted change and is now five months (as of Dec. 2017) into Saint John’s Program…

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Chef Arturo Vargas Brings in the New Year!

This January, we welcome Chef Arturo Vargas as our first Guest Chef for Saint John’s Guest Chef Dinner Series! “Teaching and cooking has been my lifetime commitment and passion from the beginning, in Mexico and beyond. After learning about Saint John’s Program for Real Change, meeting some of the wonderful residents, and touring their beautiful facility, I knew I could make a difference!” shares Chef Vargas Chef Vargas first learned…

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Santa Joe is Coming to Town!

“I had an alternative sentencing from the Sacramento Court for an expired registration. Instead of paying the fine, they gave me 10 hours of community service. The court handed me a list of all of the different places to choose from, and I chose the closest one to my house… Saint John’s.” Little did Joe know that he would continue to volunteer at Saint John’s for the next 11 years!…

Teach a Person to Fish & They Eat for a Lifetime

I heard about Saint John’s from a couple at my church, Fair Oaks Presbyterian, who have been helping prepare and serve dinner at Saint John’s for 10+ years. They bring various family and friends with them to serve the monthly taco night at Saint John’s, which I have heard is one of the clients’ favorite dinners! My husband and I knew we wanted to serve people and we like to…

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HomeAid Sacramento-People Building the Way Home

Saint John’s Program for Real Change is known for inspiring almost magical, personal transformations within the women and children who temporarily call its facilities “home.” Living and learning in the safe and nurturing environment of the sanctuary buildings and grounds, Saint John’s Program participants enjoy the support they need to rebuild and transition their lives. Personal improvement is celebrated, positively ongoing and, at its best, generational. These wonderful life-affirming impacts…

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Family & Relationship Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The meaning of domestic violence and our struggle to understand, intervene, and treat the injury and aftermath continues to evolve. Advancing from the early definition of the man who abuses his wife physically, the breadth of domestic violence awareness has grown to better capture how violence in familial relationships impacts the victim, survivor, abuser, and radiates out to family members and social relationships. We…

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The First Steps to Success

Like all of the women at Saint John’s Program for Real Change, Sandy and Starr share common qualities – courage, resiliency and strength. And, like all of the women who step through the red door at Saint John’s, they have had their share of adversity and despondency including depression, drug and alcohol dependence, abusive relationships, dysfunctional families, and homelessness. But at the heart of their stamina is a belief in…

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The Red Door Stories-Alicia

An innocent, newborn baby…what, exactly, did Mikhayla do to deserve the cruel life she was given? Why did she have to endure a world of such pain few of us can fathom, from the day she was born? The ninth child in a hopelessly broken family, the cold, cruel answer is…nothing. Nothing at all. Like all children, her lot in life was not of her own choosing. Her innocence became…

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11-Year-Old Leah Nelson Throws Saint John’s a Surprise Party

To promote and encourage random acts of kindness, Leah Nelson, an 11-year-old visionary from Sacramento, created BecuzIcare11 in July of 2016. Leah’s message of kindness is spread through Rainbow Loom bracelets, made of rubber bands, which are given to people to encourage paying kindness forward. Her pay it forward initiative, has gone viral receiving over 100 million views on social media. Leah has fundraised thousands of dollars to “pay it…

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The Red Door Stories-Sabrina

At just nineteen young years of age, Sabrina found herself sleeping under a bridge, alone in the cold, and pregnant. Born into a world filled with alcoholism, drug abuse, and violence, she had never known a life without utter chaos. And now, she too was bringing another new life into that same dark place. As a child, she vividly remembers her father chasing her mother through the house, screaming at…

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Sheila’s Story

Sheila, a 54-year-old native of Hawaii, has long been haunted by her younger brother’s untimely death at 18—something for which she blames herself. She has cowered under a shadow of whiskey and methamphetamine—a darkness that took control of her life for nearly 40 years before she found Saint John’s Program for Real Change. Sheila’s self-destructive behavior began in her teens. As a young addict, she dropped out of high school…

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THIS PAST OCTOBER WAS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

Written by Tara Cryderman, Psy.D, Assistant Director of Integrated Health Services and Susan Barron, Ph.D., Director of Integrated Health Services   Since first proclaimed in 1987, October has been Domestic Violence (DV) Awareness Month. During the month of October, we seek to increase awareness of DV as a societal problem that affects women, men, and children, extending through individual families and often over generations. DV is a devastating problem occurring…

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Breaking the Cycle

Written by Abra Ruthenbeck, Director of Children’s Programs, Saint John’s Program for Real Change “Break the cycle of poverty and dependence one family at a time”. As the Director of Children’s Programs, I whole-heartedly agree with the Saint John’s Program for Real Change vison statement and I see it working every single day. At Saint John’s we are always asking ourselves, how can we measure outcomes? How do we know…

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Meal time at Saint John’s

Written by Ursula Whitfield, Director of Operations, Saint John’s Program for Real Change Meal time is a big deal here at Saint John’s for Real Change. Although we are on a shoestring budget and heavily rely on the generosity of our donor base, we somehow manage to feed all of the women and children we serve every day a nutritious meal. We follow the food guidelines of the California Department…

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An Open Letter to the Next President of the United States

Written by Michele Steeb, CEO, Saint John’s Program for Real Change Dear Madam or Mr. President-To-Be: Homelessness is one of the least talked-about problems in your campaigns so far. By every credible report, homelessness is ripping holes in the fabric of the country you’re about to lead. The good news is that it can be practically managed if we stop trying to address it with a one-size-fits-all solution. National data shows…

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Labor Day at Saint John’s Program for Real Change

Written by Susan Barron, Ph.D., Director of Integrated Health Services Labor Day is a holiday that highlights the contributions and achievements of the American worker. Since 1894 after a hard-won fight for workers rights and conditions, Labor Day has been our end of summer celebration appreciating workers and the products, goods, and services provided by them to our community. The labor force in the U.S. has been declining over the…

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ABOUT A BITE BAKERY BOOSTS BUSINESS WITH SAINT JOHN’S

From Day One, Jennifer Kaye knew she eventually needed to add employees with restaurant and food service experience to her business.  About a Bite Bakery, launched in 2011 as an online baked goods company run out of a warehouse in Gold River, Jennifer was introduced to Saint John’s in 2012 when a friend invited her to lunch at Plates Café.  That day marked the beginning of a beautiful partnership. “I…

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Perseverance with Lilly C.

After 30 years shooting heroin with her husband, Lilly found a higher power in Jesus and was sober for 17 years before relapsing with alcohol. Because she was in and out of jail for 10 years for stealing to support her addiction, much of the time Lilly’s four kids were left in the care of their grandmother. Lilly had no idea how damaged she was inside; she never believed she…

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Launching a New Life – Saint John’s 2016 Graduation

Written by Rob Stewart     This will be tough. Tough to put into words the powerful, life altering, joyous event I and hundreds of others had the pleasure to witness last week, the 2016 Employment Training Graduation of Saint John’s Program for Real Change. I have been emceeing events for 20 years, mostly in the past five years here in Northern California. I do not compare events. Each has…

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Experiencing Gratitude with Jessica L.

Born to a family of addicts, Jessica began to drink heavily after her brother passed away from an overdose. Shortly thereafter, two cousins were shot and killed in separate incidents, all leading to an addiction to meth, add the loss of her job and her home, and an abusive relationship. She began to sell meth to support her habit, ultimately landing in jail for possession. “Saint John’s gave me the…

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Grantee Develops Big Data for Big Change

Originally posted at www.wheatridge.org   In March 2016, Amy was at the lowest point of her life. Recently released from Sierra Vista Mental Health center after attempting suicide, she knew she needed something different to break her 15-year cycle of addiction. “I just couldn’t go to another recovery home,” she remembers. “I thought: this is it for me.” And that’s when an online search brought up Saint John’s Program for…

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Why is Real Change So Difficult?

written by David Flanagan   Many people celebrate the new year by writing down a list of new goals and resolutions for change — I’m going to lose ten pounds. I’m going to be a better parent. I’m going to wake up earlier and go running. And more often than not, even the most well-meaning advocate for change somehow finds themselves right back where they started, living each day like…

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Documenting Real Change with Elisha

I am nervous. I am about to meet Elisha, a 33-year old mother of four and a participant in Saint John’s Program for Real Change. I have been asked to document her life story. Perhaps she is as nervous to share her history as I am to chronicle it. Founded in 1985, the Sacramento-based Saint John’s program has been providing women like Elisha with the support and resources to escape…

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Pursuing clarity with Jackie T.

  “I learned how to address my issues; Saint John’s helped me to find myself and I gained confidence.  I was so inspired by the stories of the other women.” Addicted to meth and alcohol, Jackie started using at the age of 13.  Moving through her addiction from Las Vegas to Riverside to Sacramento, she ultimately lost custody of her children, suffered from domestic violence and depression and ended up homeless. …

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demonstrating tenacity with Grace J.

     “Saint John’s taught me how to peel back the layers so I can heal – that’s just what I needed.” A meth addict for 10 years, Grace found herself homeless and lost her children to CPS. After her first stint at Saint John’s several years ago, Grace was clean and sober, earned her GED, was on her college’s honor roll and on her way to a better life…

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SAINT JOHN’S 10th ANNUAL TEA FOR REAL CHANGE SET FOR MAY 18

Event to Honor 2016 Mothers of the Year, Sacramento River Cats CEO Susan Savage and Saint John’s Alumna Alicia Portillo Sacramento, CA, May 6, 2016 – Saint John’s Program for Real Change, Sacramento’s largest shelter and the only one focused exclusively on women and children, will hold its 10th Annual Tea for Real Change on Wednesday, May 18 at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, 1209 L Street, from 2:00 p.m. to…

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SAINT JOHN’S RALLIES SUPPORT FOR BIG DAY OF GIVING MAY 3

Plates Midtown, run by Saint John’s Program for Real Change, to Serve Free Food and Drinks to Donors on May 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Beginning at midnight on May 3rd, 2016, the Sacramento community will come together for a 24-hour fundraising challenge, the BIG Day of Giving! Raising nearly $9 million last year in support of some 570 local non profits, the community will come together from…

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Choosing to be at Saint John’s

It’s been just over a year since I left behind a lifelong career working in Finance, HR and Operations in the high-tech world. Something about hitting that mid-century mark in life, getting two of three kids through college (and the third well on her way), and having achieved a C-suite title at a tech start-up but still not feeling satisfied made me realize it was time to take the leap….

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I wanted to do something that was socially rewarding – Chef Scott

  From 23 years as a sous chef at five star restaurants and country clubs to feeding over 100 homeless women and children a day, Chef Scott rises at 5 am daily and joins a crew of volunteers to feed some of Sacramento’s most vulnerable and marginalized population; the clients of Saint John’s Program for Real Change. Operating with food donations, a crew of volunteers and a limited budget, Chef…

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The Gift of Recovery: My Story

Written by Paul Mitchell   April 29, 1987. It was a Wednesday, two days after my 17th birthday. I remember both days. On one I was at school early, trying to find someone who would get me high for my birthday, not wanting to use whatever drugs I had hidden away. On the other I was checking myself into rehab. I was what they call a high-bottom alcoholic and drug…

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2443 Fair Oaks Blvd, #369
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