September 16, 2013
I Care: Helping to strengthen at-risk families

bith.jpg Growing up in Southern California, Tyleasha Williams watched out for kids in her neighborhood whose parents were addicted to drugs or otherwise neglectful. Now at age 32, she is helping to strengthen at-risk families in some of Sacramento's roughest neighborhoods as an AmeriCorps home-visitor with Birth & Beyond, a family support collaborative funded by First 5 Sacramento. Williams sat down recently with Laura Torres, a single mother looking for guidance parenting her three-year-old daughter. Williams says Torres is a favorite client but many of her cases are not so easy with referrals coming from child protective services and area hospitals for child abuse prevention. She says providing families with the resources they need and some education is rewarding. "If we help the parents and we give them the knowledge, then they're able to set that foundation for their children," she says.


September 9, 2013
I Care: Grads of Women's Empowerment celebrate in style

LS I CARE GOWN GAL12.jpg In a glowing indigo evening gown, Shamica Howard is adorned with jewels like a princess being dressed by her ladies-in-waiting. Volunteer Ronnie Corrick, gives the royal treatment to the women who come to the donation boutique, graduates of Women's Empowerment, an eight-week job-readiness and empowerment program for homeless women and their kids. She fits them in stunning ball gowns donated by the community for the annual Celebration of Independence Gala, the nonprofit's largest fundraiser Oct. 3, chaired by Corrick. Some of the women didn't finish high school or attend a prom, so Corrick wants them to feel beautiful in their dresses while supporters get a chance to meet those helped by their donations. "It's a major transformation," she says. "Just seeing that is fabulous."



12th Annual Celebration of Independence Gala

When: 5:30-9 p.m. Oct. 3

Where: Red Lion Hotel Woodlake

Tickets: $100

Information: www.womens-empowerment.org

To suggest a community volunteer for the I Care column, contact lsterling@sacbee.com

September 2, 2013
I Care: Inspiring hope for those affected by mental illness

Thumbnail image for LS I CARE HOPE LINE 2.jpg Three years ago, Jennifer Buchanan lost all hope and attempted suicide. Today she inspires hope in others. From her apartment in Midtown, she answers calls on the "Hope Line," an after-hours emergency phone service offered to clients of Transitional Living and Community Support, a non-profit agency. Buchanan says her involvement in the program gave her the tools to cope with her mental illness and find housing. Now she wants to help others. Recently she joined the Speakers Bureau of the county's Stop Stigma Sacramento, a campaign to stop discrimination of people with mental illness, sharing her story at local events. She believes she may have even prevented a teen suicide after speaking at a high school. "Being able to help someone feel better - it's everything," she says. "If someone is having a bad day and they just need to talk, I listen."

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