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Style: Folsom | El Dorado Hills

Local Heroes

Dec 29, 2014 02:37PM ● By Bill Romanelli

Top (L to R): Karen Pantuj, Rozalia Melendez, Jasmine Hill Wilson and Patti Brush Bottom (L to R): Caylee Sanderson, Caleb Sanderson and Kylie Sanderson – Photos by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

The Young Family* only walked through the doors of Folsom Cordova Community Partnership’s (FCCP) Family Resource Center because they were out of options. The father was unemployed, they’d been forced out of Southern California’s expensive housing market, and the mother was experiencing emotional distress.

They’d never had to ask for government support before, but they needed food, diapers, transportation and health care. They left the Safety Net Services office with all that and the one thing they needed most: a sense of peace.

“Our vision is to create a unified, self-sufficient community in which children and adults are achieving their greatest potential,” says Chris Clark, FCCP’s resource development manager. “We want to break generation cycles of poverty by giving people the tools and resources they need to get back on their feet and out on their own.”

For an organization that has such a powerful impact on people’s lives, it also remains one of the most unknown. Although founded in 1992 as the Folsom Cordova Schools Foundation and serving children aged 0-5 exclusively, between 2005 and 2010 it expanded several times in order to provide more services to people of all ages throughout the community.

The need was, and remains, clear. The local unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent, with more than 50 percent of Rancho Cordova children eligible to receive free or reduced-cost lunches. In an average year, FCCP’s Safety Net program serves more than 3,000 local families with:
  • Nearly 1,500 food boxes through its Fresh Food program
  • 16,000 diapers
  • Nearly $4,000 in emergency shelter assistance
  • More than $40,000 to prevent evictions and pay for utilities
  • Classes and resources to help people learn parenting and life skills.

Importantly, however, FCCP is not about handouts. “Our goal is to help people become self-sufficient, not relying on public assistance, and we view our role in that process as one of a navigator,” Clark says. “We provide the map, but our participants drive the car in order to meet their goals and aspirations.”

There is no cost for FCCP’s services and anyone is eligible to request assistance (although most services are intended for low-income individuals and families). Costs are offset primarily through grant funding, along with private donations and two annual fund-raisers.

Altogether, FCCP operates on an annual budget of around $2 million which, simply summarized, is used to empower people to achieve their life goals and become independent. If FCCP leaders could have one wish, it’d be that more people know about the program.

“We’d like people to hear about our work and want to learn more,” Clark says. “We want people to get a fuller operation of what we do to help people find jobs, get off public assistance, become the best possible parents, and teach young people the tools they need to be successful, productive adults.”
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*Name changed to protect the family’s privacy.

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