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La Clínica Provides Essential Services to Oakland Students

La Clínica Provides Essential Services to Oakland Students

Vesper Society is committed to improving the health and well-being of youth and families. One way we do this is by supporting La Clinica de La Raza in Oakland, CA. La Clinica de La Raza works to improve the quality of life of the diverse communities they serve by providing culturally appropriate, high-quality, and accessible health care for all. Their eight School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) enroll students in a variety of services to meet their varied health care needs. In addition, students receive comprehensive assessments and health education counseling and are taught about things like nutrition, healthy relations, and reproductive health. Beyond health care, youth are welcomed and trained in leadership and self-efficacy that supports their ongoing success. As a partner with the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, La Clinica provides culturally and linguistically appropriate health services to over 5,700 children and youth annually. Students visit the SBHCs for a variety of reasons: perhaps their grades have dropped, they have disclosed self-harm, or a physician has determined the patient is experiencing traumatic symptoms. The SBHCs use a fully integrated clinical model that takes any path necessary to identify and address trauma and other behavioral health needs. Many youth in East Oakland experience multiple and continuous traumas and stressors, including family trauma, stress of immigration, unstable housing, and the continuous trauma of community violence. As a result of these ongoing stressors, young people in this community are more susceptible to anxiety, depression and self-harm. To address this challenge, La Clinica opened the SBHC at Havenscourt in East Oakland 2011. Vesper Society’s support has allowed La Clinica to expand their services by hiring a full-time behavioral health clinician. The program is a huge success. Since 2014, almost one in six students has received behavioral health services at the SBHC,... Read More

Welcome Street Level Health

Welcome Street Level Health

Vesper Society believes in a simple idea: a just society begins when everyone is well, and respected as a human being. Every day, we link arms with leaders of overlooked communities that want to create a healthy future, and help them devise ways to do it. Street Level Health is one of those leaders in Oakland, improving the health and wellbeing of underserved urban immigrant communities in the Bay Area. Over the past 15 years, their Health Access Program has supported thousands of low to no-income adults in the Fruitvale District of Oakland where 48 percent of households live below the Federal Poverty Level and 16,000 adults live at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Known to many as the “safety net of the safety net,” Street Level Health’s center in the Fruitvale District serves a marginalized population excluded from the Affordable Care Act. According to the California Department of Health Services, through a Whole Person Care Model they triage clients who are 93 percent foreign-born with 43 percent having resided in the U.S. for less than three years. This population of Limited Language Proficient adults face a multitude of barriers that include language and literacy skills, legal status, unemployment, and lost work opportunities due to long wait times at Federally Qualified Health Centers. Increasingly, they also serve a growing number of the working poor who are unable to afford Covered California and have incomes that exceed the eligibility requirements for public benefits (138% – 200% Federal Poverty Level, which for a single person is $16,395). In September 2016, Vesper Society partnered with Street Level Health to respond to the lack of access to culturally and language responsive behavioral health services. These services focused on immigrants who face psychological and physical threats associated with extreme poverty, emotional trauma, and the... Read More

Welcome Los Angeles United Methodist Urban Foundation

Welcome Los Angeles United Methodist Urban Foundation

Vesper Society is committed to improving the well-being of youth. So, we link arms with leaders and organizations creating long-term solutions in their communities. Today, we’re showcasing one of our incredible partner organizations, the Los Angeles United Methodist Urban Foundation (Urban Foundation), which encourages the efforts of other faith communities to find, embrace, and support overlooked youth and young adults who dream of attending college. The Urban Foundation’s Kid City Hope Place program recognizes the problem of educational inequity and severe economic hardship among the communities it serves in downtown and south central Los Angeles. With programs in leadership development, music and arts, college access, and college completion, Kid City provides mentoring, college knowledge, high-level math tutoring, and guidance through admissions and financial aid applications. As a result, students are better able to access opportunities, explore their intellectual curiosity, and discover their ability to advocate for themselves and their communities. Teens and adults find their voice and become self-empowered leaders. The program has helped over 200 college students apply and enroll in college, and up to 50 high school juniors and 50 high school seniors are welcomed into the program every year. Once in college, the commitment to community continues. Kid City’s approach to college success is about more than just getting a diploma. It includes helping students through inevitable struggles, honoring a commitment to lifting up the community, getting the most out of educational opportunities, and becoming leaders, change agents, and contributing members of the world. By empowering each person to “take responsibility for the things they care about” (Kid City’s definition of leadership), the benefits can be felt in communities long after a student has left the program. Vesper Society supports The Urban Foundation’s Kid City Hope Place program because we believe that by serving youth, we... Read More

Our Futures Are Intertwined; A Holiday Message

Our Futures Are Intertwined; A Holiday Message

Vesper Society believes in a simple idea: a just society begins when everyone is well and everyone is respected as a human being. Putting those words into practice in Imperial County meant working with Clinicas de Salud to strengthen their asthma and telemedicine services to improve access to quality health care for all residents. (Pictured above, Vesper President Miyoko Oshima and Clinicas de Salud CEO Yvonne Bell at Imperial Valley National Philanthropy Day 11/16/16.) Vesper Society was honored to receive the Distinguished Philanthropist Award for this work at the fourth annual Imperial Valley National Philanthropy Day in El Centro. Our commitment to community grows stronger each day by linking arms with leaders in these overlooked communities that want to create a healthy future. Our vision of a compassionate world that protects human dignity and enhances human potential calls us to build healthy communities that thrive and prosper. We support people and communities that care for each other and for the most vulnerable because it is in our common humanity that we discover what is most important in life. During this holiday season, we are guided by gratitude and love, both essential for a world that draws out the best in people. This is the new narrative of light we want to create with you as we enter a time of uncertainty and shadows. The candle of progress is flickering, and we intend to build beacons of hope. We wish you and your family warmth and joy. We wish you and your community bounty and health. Our futures are intertwined, whether we are in frontier towns, rural areas, or urban neighborhoods. We are grateful to have you in our lives and we send a simple holiday message. The Blessings of Peace The Beauty of Hope The Spirit of Love The... Read More

Interfaith Understanding Flourishes on Local Campuses

Interfaith Understanding Flourishes on Local Campuses

Vesper Society, rooted in the Lutheran tradition, understands and respects that everyone has their own faith and spiritual traditions that call them to serve. Every day, we link arms with leaders of all faiths and in all communities to create a better future. In the 21st century, we need to add another layer–that of interfaith understanding and interfaith literacy. To serve well in a global and local context, we must understand the traditions and values of others. For the past four years, Vesper Society has supported Interfaith Allies at California Lutheran University (CLU). Vesper Society extended its interfaith support to Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) in Berkeley when it merged with CLU two years ago. Last August, representatives of CLU Interfaith Allies had the opportunity to attend the Interfaith Leadership Institute taught at the Interfaith Youth Core conference in Chicago. The three-day event was an opportunity for CLU students to learn from other institutions across the country about their interfaith programs. The activities provided the participants with many examples of how to create a safe space where people from different religious backgrounds can work together for a common cause. While attending the conference, CLU students joined others to participate in the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s march to Marquette Park. This celebration sought to show that Rev. King’s fight for equality continues today. Strengthened by an interfaith perspective, this effort is expressed in cross-religious peace efforts. One student shared that, for her, the most memorable aspect of the walk was a reciting of the Quran. In the current atmosphere of Islamophobia, the ability for the Quran to be recited shows the progressive nature of the Interfaith movement. This growing movement is making a change in today’s world. Through Vesper Society’s support at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, the... Read More

Increased Access to Healthcare in Remote Humboldt County

Increased Access to Healthcare in Remote Humboldt County

Vesper Society believes that a just society begins when everyone is well and that rural areas need more attention. So we support organizations like Open Door Community Health Centers to provide services to those who would otherwise have no access to healthcare. Open Door Community Health Centers has been making a difference in Humboldt County for over 45 years. Humboldt County, tucked between the redwood-covered mountains of the Coastal Range and Trinity Alps to the south and east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, is two hundred miles north of the Bay Area and home to 130,000 people. Being roughly the size of Connecticut, incredibly remote, and with challenging roads, access to quality healthcare has become an increasing concern as the population ages—both the patients and the doctors who settled in the area in the early 1970s and 1980s. Relocation and retirement have taken their toll, and recruitment of new providers is difficult. The healthcare practitioners who remain are stretched to capacity. Travel to the metropolitan areas of San Francisco and Sacramento is challenging, costly, and time-consuming. No one wants to take a six-hour drive to see the doctor if they don’t have to, even if it is for specialty medical care. Starting as a single clinic open to those who could not access the private sector, Open Door Community Health Centers has expanded and evolved into a comprehensive system of 12 clinics, and is now the largest provider of primary healthcare on the coast. In 2014, in response to the closure of two rural health centers in the agricultural heart of the County known as the Eel River Valley, Open Door stepped up where access to care was being hit the hardest. Open Door is building a new state-of-the-art health center in Fortuna set to open in... Read More

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