Rod's House: Rod's House is the only organization in Yakima exclusively serving the needs of at-risk and homeless youth ages 14-21. One of the teens shared this story:
"I was homeless and couch surfing when I first came to Rod’s House. I had been using drugs for 3 years.
Coming into the House, the staff, volunteers and other teens gave me moral support. Everyone here encouraged me and believed I could get clean. After I got sober I decided I wanted to go to school. The staff then helped me get in to the YouthBuild program, where I was able to take classes towards my GED, help build a house and learn life skills. I have been clean since May 2013. I'm talking with my family for the first time in a long time because now I'm clean. I stay sober for them and myself and live in a sober house. In the future, I see myself going to college and getting a job in the medical field. I can't wait!"
La Casa Hogar: I have been a US legal permanent resident a long time, and I thought, becoming a citizen was something I wouldn’t be able to achieve, because I never learned how to read or write. La Casa Hogar made it possible, the citizenship class was really helpful. Working in a group of people with the same goal and willing to help each other motivated me to keep trying. After a successful interview, I left the USCIS office feeling like walking in clouds. Last thing I remember is the officer saying “congratulation you passed the test” then everything disappeared, I can’t tell you if I left walking, running or jumping, I was so happy. I greatly appreciate La Casa Hogar’s support I received in the citizenship class. The teachers and volunteers really care about you and motivate you to reach your goals. Finally I became US citizen and I’m very proud of this accomplishment. After living in the US for almost 30 years I am able to vote for first time in my life. Filiberto (62 years old).
Catholic Family & Child Services: Carroll Children's Center - Adam is 3 1/2 years. In the fall Adam had very little self control. He was very impulsive and did the first thing he thought. He could come up with ideas or solutions to problems but could not follow through. He knew "instead of hitting, use your words" but couldn't do that. After his experience at the Carroll Children's Center, not only will he say use your words--he will do it! He has learned solutions to solve his problems in ways that are acceptable to the rest of the class.
Catholic Charities Housing Services: ESL Class, taught by James Millikan, a local volunteer from Yakima, has led to great success, especially in the Lower Valley. Classes ran from early January until the end of February and consisted of everyday vocabulary, role-playing conversations, and pattern sentence structures. For the majority of the students, this was their first English class, including residents Liliana Gonzalez and Bertha Paredes Arias. Liliana and Bertha both shared the same interest in wanting to learn English in order to find a better job. Liliana, a resident of Gonzaga Townhomes for 3 years, said, “This was the first class or presentation I have attended at the apartments. I liked the class because I could understand what was being taught.” Bertha, a resident of Gonzaga for 6 years and mother of 3 young children, agreed. Both women have already decided that they will be looking for other English classes and learning opportunities in Toppenish after taking this course.
Greater Columbia 2-1-1: Our 2-1-1 Mobility Specialist received a call from a mother that had a unique transportation request. She needed to get her son from their home in Yakima to school in Wapato every week day. She had concerns with his current school and it was important for his well being that he attend school in Wapato. Although this request could not be accomplished by any one transportation provider, the Specialist was able to work with several providers to create a plan that met the needs of the family. Now her son can attend a school that better meets his needs everyday.
Yakima Specialties: Cody came to us through DVR services. With no work history he had thus far found it difficult to procede. With him, we completed a Career Based Assessment to identify his skills and abilities. We were able to refer Cody back to the Yakima DVR for Job Placement Services. Cody attended Job Club here at YSI along with weekly Job Development meetings. We created a working plan for Cody and in January he secured employment at one of our local hospitals in the kitchen as a dishwasher.
Lower Valley Crisis & Support Services: One of our advocates had a female client with two small children who had been a victim of all the components of domestic violence – verbal, physical, and emotional abuse. This client had been living in her car for a few days until she heard of our agency and the services we provided. She was placed in our shelter and was provided with advocacy, support, and resources. Over the course of the advocacy that the client was provided with, she was able to accomplish many milestones. The advocate assisted the client with the application process for DSHS to receive benefits and helped enroll for the employment placement programs through our local Worksource office. In addition, the client also enrolled for GED classes at the local community college. The client then decided to take the exam for her driver’s license which she passed. The client was able to enroll her children in a daycare center all the while working on her courses for the GED. I am happy to share that the client completed her GED and went on to continue courses for her Associate degree while holding down a part-time job which provided the opportunity for her and her children to move into her own apartment. In her spare time, she is also a Mary Kay consultant. She is just one of the over 1,000 clients who we have helped succeed in the Lower Valley.
Elmview: A disabled senior living one block from the senior center began receiving Meals on Wheels as she recovered from surgery. As she got better, Meals on Wheels volunteers asked her to come to the Center to eat. At first she refused. With persistence she came to lunch. She now walks to the Center daily, has new friends, and participates in arts and crafts activities. She feels more alive than she has in several years. She thanks us all the time for getting her out and helping her find her community.
Hospice Friends: We have been working with "Don", a 6'6'', 300 lb man since 2011. He needed a wheelchair due to 30 surgeries and 2 knee replacements. At first we didn't have a wheelchair that fit him. In 2013 we purchased larger wheelchairs. He was the first to get one of our bariatric chairs. The larger chair changed Don's life; He is more independent and gets out with his family more. He is grateful for Hospice Friends and appreciates our ongoing commitment to finding him a wheelchair that "fits" his size.
Edith Bishel Center for the Blind: There are several organizations in our community who help those with disabilities but one who focuses on the visually impaired is the Edith Bishel Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. They have helped over 80 members of the community become more independent and more financially stable by learning new skills which improve their day to day lives. One example is Della: Della lives in a retirement center in Yakima and suffers from Macular Degeneration. Slowly things have been getting harder for her and she is having trouble sewing and using the telephone. With the help of a special device purchased and instruction by the Edith Bishel Center, she is able to hem her own clothing now. She also received a telephone amplifier so she is able to hear who is calling and maintain her independent living. Thank you to Edith Bishel for their impressive work to help those with disabilities in the community.