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Featured in this newsletter:

Personalizing our membership appeal - July 25-28

Our 2011 Women's Fund issues to be researched

Mary's own words - a success story from St. Vincent's

Help us tell your friends about the Women’s Fund

Following a fantastic year for the Women's Fund, it's nearly time for membership letters to begin our new 2011-12 grant cycle. As you know, the funds we raise in one calendar year (2011) are granted to nonprofit agencies the following spring (2012).

Our fund has grown almost entirely by personal contact, and adding personal notes to our membership letters can mean so much. Here are some important things you can do to participate:

  • Mark your calendar for July 25-28 to come to the Carrillo Adobe (the original Santa Barbara Foundation at 15 E. Carrillo) between 10am and 4pm to write personal notes on the prospect letters of women who you know. Come any day(s) and times on a drop-in basis.
  • If you have a friend who has expressed interest in the Women's Fund, please send her contact information by email to: so your friend will receive a membership letter.
  • If you will be out of town during mailing week and want to do some personal notes ahead of time on post-its, contact Stina at the above email address to arrange it.

We would welcome some additional members to work with the committee on mailing details and set-up. Contact Carol Palladini, or 565-0342 to join us.

Mailing Week is a fun, snack-filled, social and very important time for the success of our Fund. Please join us!

You’ve selected our 2011 Areas of Community Need

Our members voted in May and selected these issues as the focus of our 2011 research:

  • Children, Youth and Family Services
  • Housing, Hunger and Poverty
  • Senior and Aging Issues

Our dedicated volunteer Research Committee has already started investigating these issues and the agencies working in these areas.

Mary’s moving story

And in case we've forgotten why we research issues and appeal to women to join or increase their annual membership, here's a story from a young woman whose life we touched with our $75,000 grant to St. Vincent's PATHS (Program of Affordable Transitional Housing and Services) in 2010. PATHS is a two-year residential program serving low-income single mothers and their children.

St. Vincent's measures its success one client at a time. Here is one of many amazing profiles of success: "Mary" tells her story in her own words.

"I was a high school graduate, working in a local coffee shop and doing my best to provide my daughter with a loving family home. My daughter's father suffered from mental illness and drug addiction, and I had also been addicted to methamphetamines at one time. But I attended 12-step meetings and was staying clean and sober one day at a time. The living situation had become unbearable as I suffered emotional abuse from my partner on a daily basis. I was concerned about my daughter's safety and how the arguing and hostility were affecting her. I was emotionally unstable and at high risk for relapse if I did not receive immediate intensive assistance.

St. Vincent's accepted my daughter and me into PATHS and began helping me examine my past choices and future possibilities. The most difficult challenge was breaking free from my partner's control and manipulation. I embraced individual therapy and attended all the Life Skills and Parenting classes without fail. I worked on self-esteem, put new parenting techniques to use and shared my success with my housemates. I learned to set boundaries and little by little I began to feel that maybe I could manage as a single parent after all. I enrolled in classes at Santa Barbara City College with eager anticipation but was soon distracted by more family drama.

Case management and counseling were indispensable. I went to AA meetings to keep my sobriety and attended Al-Anon to work on codependency and other self-damaging attitudes. My case manager helped me access Legal Aid and the District Attorney's Office in an attempt to bring my former partner's drug charges and probation violations to bear on custody agreements and visitation rights. I got a job at a local coffee shop and struggled to make ends meet without public assistance. My hard work and clear thinking were noticed and I rose to a supervisory position. The company sent me to management training seminars out of town and gave me more responsibility.

Suddenly life seemed to be working in my favor. My daughter graduated from preschool at Casa Alegria in a pink graduation gown, with my parents, siblings, and friends in attendance. I was promoted to Senior Manager of the local coffee franchise, with a generous salary that made moving out on my own a more tangible possibility. I found a new relationship with a wonderfully kind and caring man. I rented a townhouse with a small yard where my daughter could play. I was ready to leave St. Vincent's, a successful graduate of PATHS; ready to begin life on my own terms with the skills and support systems that I built for myself! I spoke at my graduation to all of the staff and other parents. Full of gratitude, I explained that my life was a "train wreck" when I came to St. Vincent's two years ago, and that I am living proof that with the right attitude and assistance from wonderful people like those at St. Vincent's, you really can make it."



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