Hawks, Honkers and Hoots!

By Margaret Snider  |  2017-08-17

Trek, a Swainson’s Hawk, will be one of the birds coming to the Rancho Cordova Library at 4 p.m., Thursday, August 24. Courtesy Kelli Moulden.

Bird Ambassadors Coming to Rancho Cordova Library

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG)  Hawks, Honkers & Hoots will present their program at the Rancho Cordova Library at 4 p.m., Thursday, August 24.  They have been an official group for five years.  “All of our birds have an injury that make them non-releasable to the wild,” said Kelli Moulden, one of the volunteers for the group.  The birds that are being cared for and given a home by the organization would have had to be euthanized if this option was not available to them.

The mission of HH&H is to inspire respect for local and migratory birds through customized and entertaining educational programs.  The first took place in an elementary school in 2011, and the group also puts on programs for libraries, retirement homes, festivals, and last month presented at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association.  “We’re known to have a lot of fun with our educational programs,” Moulden said.  “We feel like if you are laughing, you are learning, and you’re probably going to remember it.”

None of the staff are paid, all are volunteers.  “Everybody does it because we love the birds,” Moulden said.  Of the five staff, four previously volunteered for a rescue organization and two actually rescued raptors for them. 

Their birds currently include Ms. Murphy, a red tailed hawk; Mr. Bolt, a peregrine falcon; Ms. Digger, a burrowing owl; Mr. Trek, a Swainson’s hawk; Mr. Whoo-Dini, northern pygmy owl; and Ms. Whisper, barn owl.  As well, they have Mr. Chuckie, Mr. Frankie, and Mr. Duncan, domestic ducks.  Depending on how the birds are doing on a particular day, Moulden and her associates will typically bring four of the birds to a presentation. 

 “The public has just been very, very supportive of our organization,” Moulden said.  “We’re really so blessed for that.”

For more information on the organization or to donate, please see http://www.hawkshonkersandhoots.org

Congressman Ami Bera to Hold Town Hall

By Jack Miller  |  2017-08-18

Congressman Ami Bera

Event planned for Cordova High Performing Arts Center

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG) - Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. will hold a town hall tomorrow Saturday, August 19 to discuss health care reform and hear directly from constituents on what matters most to Sacramento County. Bera believes that health care in America should put patients first, and focus on reducing cost while increasing the number of people insured.

As a doctor, Rep. Bera is uniquely qualified to discuss health care reform. Before he was elected to Congress, Bera served as Sacramento’s Chief Medical Officer, directed care management in Mercy Healthcare’s seven-hospital system, and taught medicine at UC Davis.

Media attending should RSVP to Jack Miller at jack.miller@mail.house.gov

What: Town Hall with Congressman Ami Bera, M.D.

When: Saturday, August 19 at 10:30 AM

Where: Cordova High Performing Arts Center, 2239 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova 95670

Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/HZfWJ1kSNst

Doors open: 10:00 AM

Press set up: 9:30 AM

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Condor Earth Expands Into Rancho Cordova

Story and photos by Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-08-17

President and CEO, Robert Job. Condor’s expansion into Rancho Cordova marks the company’s first foray into the Sacramento region.

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG) - The next time you’re walking through a tunnel to reach your seats at a stadium or dropping your kids off at school, take a second to think about what steps were taken to ensure that tunnel you are traversing, or the buildings your kids will learn in are environmentally safe and structurally sound.

These thoughts will land you at the core of what Condor Earth’s business services include, which are simultaneiously varied and technically detailed, to the extent that even the company’s President and CEO, Robert Job, has a hard time sizing up.

“We are a fairly diverse service provider, so it’s really tough to give a two-minute pitch on all we do,” said Job, who got his training as an engineer from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.  He joined the company in 1989 after a stint working as an engineer for the retail gasoline pipeline sector.

To encapsulate, Condor’s team of roughly 50, engineers, geologists, environmental specialists, construction inspectors and management professionals provide a broad range of investigative and compliance-driven services for both public and private entities. This may include evaluation and remediation plans for storm water management and permitting purposes, construction site geotechnical services, such as slope stability evaluations, shoring and retaining wall design, or soil stabilization, as well as environmental services for evaluating, monitoring and mitigating soil and groundwater contamination, chemical security and hazardous waste and materials compliance.

Condor’s expansion into Rancho Cordova marks the company’s first foray into the Sacramento region. Its new 3,344-square foot facility is now home to five full-time employees and will serve primarily as the company’s site for most of its industrial and environmental compliance operations. 

Condor’s headquarters remains in Sonora. Job and other employees work out of both the Sonora office and the new location in Rancho Cordova, which, explains Job, was chosen to both put the company in closer proximity to the offices of state regulatory agencies, with which it must work and meet with regularly, and closer to a wide pool of talented potential workers.  The company also has an office in Stockton.

“Our move was strategic,” says Job. “We were formally operating this division out of Roseville, but since we must meet with and interact with clients closer to the Sacramento area, it made sense. In addition, there is a huge talent pool in the area that is extremely solid.”

Condor Earth is 70 percent owned by its employees through an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), with the remaining 30 percent of the stock owned by senior staff.  The ESOP, established in 2004, serves to give employees roles valued roles as company and project stakeholders, not just service providers.

“We are very proud to be an employee-owned company, empowering our employees to think like owners, advocating for the clients’ best interest and benefiting from a job well done,” said Job.

The company has a long and distinguished client roster that includes Adventist Health Sonora, Mercy Medical Center, Merced, the Manteca and Stockton unified school districts, the California State and Regional Water Quality Control Boards, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the state departments of Health Services and Fish and Game, as well as the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.

Currently, Condor is working with the Oakdale Irrigation District (OID) on construction of a 6,000-foot water system tunnel. The $16 million project is roughly half way done, scheduled for completion in early 2018, according to Job.

“We are working to significantly improve the reliability of the main canal system for the OID,” Job said.

Condor’s roots trace back some three decades.  Its original founders came west as employees of Gulf and Western Corp. to develop and manage structural engineering plans for the Jamestown gold mining operation.  Gulf and Western morphed into Paramount Pictures, then Viacom.  The founders eventually formed their own company, which would become Condor Earth, incorporated in 1983 as Condor Minerals Management, focused on providing geologic and permitting services to the mining industry across California and Nevada. 

With a mining support services playing such a key role in the company’s history, it isn’t too difficult to see how Condor has emerged as a leader in the geotechnical/geological evaluation and engineering design of small-to-mid-sized tunnel projects, including water system tunnels.

In fact, says Job, the company’s long-term focus is on storm water systems, whether designing new water tunnel systems or providing engineering expertise for shoring up older systems, for which there is a growing market.

“I would say our long-range, strategic focus is in water resources management and infrastructure feasibility investigations,” said Job. “So, our move into the region (Rancho Cordova, specifically) was to be closer to clients, closer to the agencies we must work very closely with, with respect to our work in water systems analysis and design.”

Condor’s history of tunnel design expertise includes another, slightly more whimsical component. The company has provided engineering design services for more than 200 wine cave projects for several California wineries.  Storing wine below ground makes sense from both an economic and marketing standpoint, says Job.

“Your ROI (return on investment) with a wine cave (barrel storage system) versus a surface warehouse alone is a good reason to store below ground,” says Job.  He says high humidity in wine caves is estimated at between 70 and 90 percent, which is good for the wine.  In addition, gross volume losses through evaporation each year are significantly lower for underground wine barrel storage vs. above ground, and, since the temperature inside a wine cave hovers between the ideal range of between 58 and 62 degrees, the wine is very happy down in a nice, cool cave.

“We don’t build wine caves, but we design them,” says Job.  “And we have a long list of reasons for why you would want to build one.”

Whether its water or wine, Condor is on a trajectory for growth, which will likely lead to an expansion of the employee roster in the Rancho Cordova location over the coming year.

“I’m getting ready to work on our five-year strategic plan,” said Job. “The emphasis is on water, waste water storage and run-off projects, and the growing demand for our services in this area is supporting about a10 percent growth margin.”

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DOVIA: Leading the Leaders

By Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-08-16

(L-R) Mariann Eitzman, volunteer coordinator, Bayside Church, Roseville, Rachele Doty, volunteer coordinator for First Call Hospice and vice chair, DOVIA, Sacramento, and Meredith Holkeboer, Volunteer Services Assistant/Pet Therapy Coordinator at Shriners Hospitals for Children, Sacramento, at a recent workshop lead by Eitzman on giving presentations. Photo by Jacqueline Fox

DOVIA Sacramento Supports Non-Profit Volunteer Managers

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - With few exceptions, among the most important individuals behind any successful nonprofit organization, including its return on investment, are its volunteers. But how do you find them, keep them motivated and give them the tools to they need to effectively make an impact?

Enter DOVIA, or Directors of Volunteers in Agencies, which has chapters across the country, including Sacramento.  The Sacramento Chapter is currently celebrating 40 years of service, providing some 100 volunteer managers from a vast range of non-profit agencies, most of whom are members, with the support they need to successfully build and serve their core of volunteers.

DOVIA workshops and trainings offer ideas for learning how to motivate volunteers, as well as avenues for members to connect with other volunteer leadership professionals and collaborate and exchange ideas.

Rachele Doty, is the volunteer coordinator for First Call Hospice in Citrus Heights. She also serves on the board of directors as vice chair for DOVIA, Sacramento.  She views the organization as an indispensable resource, where, through workshops, trainings, networking and annual conferences, she can access an evolving and valuable exchange of information on relevant issues facing professional volunteer managers, no matter the size or scope of their agency’s mission.

“I have just on-boarded 20 new volunteers at First Call Hospice, so I have been utilizing every tool and workshop or training I have under my belt through my membership with and my role on the board of DOVIA,” said Doty. “The agency is absolutely critical for anyone who is working with volunteers. You get the support you need to promote your own growth but also the growth and development of your volunteers, whether you’re part of an executive team or some other administrative department.”

Dues for membership to DOVIA are $55 for one year for those who are signing up as an employee of a non-profit agency, and that fee allows for the bundling of two employees from the same agency.  For individual memberships, the annual fee is $30.00, all nominal fees for access to support for trainings that often non-profits themselves simply don’t have the resources to provide, despite their dependence on volunteers.

Lynne Moore is a member support specialist with the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California Council, one of 112 councils in the nation.  She and several colleagues from her agency recently attended a DOVIA workshop at Bayside Church in midtown, Sacramento focused on delivering effective presentations to volunteers. For her, the workshops and DOVIA membership provide unsurpassed support and education needed to oversee the some 300 volunteers that support her council. 

“I get so much from my membership,” said Moore. “I have a lot of moving parts in my job and a lot of changing faces, so it’s critical that I keep up with new trends in recruitment and retention of volunteers. We depend so much on our volunteers and they deserve the best leadership available to them.”

The biggest challenge many non-profit organizations face with respect to volunteers, says Doty, is finding them.

“That’s an ongoing battle for everyone in the capacity of recruitment,” Doty said. “One of the things we focus on with our workshops and trainings is how to utilize all of the available tools out there to reach potential, new volunteers. That includes social media apps, creating events to attract volunteers and how to effectively get the message out to volunteers in the community about your organization and its mission.”

Meredith Holkeboer is the Volunteer Services Assistant/Pet Therapy Coordinator at Shriners Hospitals for Children, Sacramento.  To say she’s landed her dream job would be an understatement.  She also finds her membership with DOVIA as invaluable. It has provided her with the tools to network with other volunteer coordinators and share ideas for how to keep volunteers engaged and impassioned about their work.

“The unpaid volunteers that support us are critical to our mission, so I am always on the search for new tips and ideas for how to work more effectively with our volunteers at Shriners,” Holkeboer said. “I get a lot out of my membership. I learn new things every time I attend a workshop or a conference and I am reminded that I’m a part of a unique group of leaders out there who are overseeing people who make a choice whether to keep showing up and helping out.”

DOVIA will cap its 40th year with participation at the upcoming annual conference on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at Shriners Hospital. The AL!VE Hybrid Conference: Take the Leap | Embrace Change, will feature presentations for DOVIA members by four internationally renowned volunteer leaders with workshops centered on navigating organizational and professional changes.

DOVIA, Sacramento offers two, two-day trainings each year as a part of its membership focus, as well as monthly workshops, speaker events and other educational sessions.  These are open to both members and non-members.   Next year, the chapter will be taking a deep dive into the world of corporate giving, offering members in-depth trainings centered on how to make and maintain strong relationships with corporate giving managers who oversee employee volunteer pools in the community.

Presentations are planned by the heads of corporate giving departments from various companies who will provide DOVIA members with insights on how to recruit from their employee base and what their companies look for when determining which non-profits to support—something that can shift from year to year, depending on the nature of the economy and community needs.

“We are very excited about our plans for working with corporate giving representatives next year,” said Doty. “Corporate support is very important to every non-profit, regardless of the size or what their particular mission is, so that is one huge part of what we’ll be focusing on next year.”

Other areas of focus for upcoming workshops will include stress management, supporting volunteer managers with tips and tricks of the trade to keep their volunteers from overpowering or, in some cases, de-railing the mission. And, just as importantly, training support will provide members with ideas for keeping their sanity when volunteers drop off, a phenomenon that, unfortunately, “goes hand-in-hand with our profession,” Doty said.

To find out more see www.doviasacramento.org/

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Veteran's Appreciation Picnic Coming August 26

By Elise Spleiss  |  2017-08-16

All veterans are welcomed to the resource and appreciation picnic. Photo courtesy American Legion Post 637

Annual Appreciation and Resource Picnic Provides Services

Citrus Heights (MPG) – The Citrus Heights American Legion Post 637 is once again gearing up to host the annual Veteran’s Appreciation and Resource Picnic to honor the area’s active duty servicemen and servicewomen, our retired veterans of past wars and conflicts, and their families. 

This free event will be held Saturday, August 26, at Rusch Park, 7801 Auburn Blvd. at the Gazebo/Pavilion from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All veterans and their families and friends are welcome.

The day will begin with the Citrus Heights Community Marching Band featuring some of its new repertoire. The Marine Corp Honor Guard will present colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem sung by Air Force Veteran Mary Jerue.  Post 637 Commander Paul Reyes, Mayor Jeff Slowey and Police Chief Ron Lawrence will greet attendees. 

A special ceremony will again be held to honor an outstanding veteran and this year’s Police Officer of the Year.

Lunch will be a hot dog and hamburger barbeque with all the fixings prepared by Wild Wade’s BBQ & Grill of Citrus Heights. GFWC Citrus Heights Women’s Club and the Lion’s club will provide dessert and drinks. Music will be provided by DJ Carlos Verrett.        

Dozens of veteran and non-profit resources including VA representatives will be available to retired and active duty veterans. Be sure to look for the horses and canines; their programs have proven vital in helping our veterans re-enter society.  Scheduled children’s crafts and other activities will be provided by local Pageant ambassadors and princesses.  

Picnic sponsors and members of the community are generously donating gift baskets and other opportunity drawing prizes to show their appreciation to our veterans. Raffles will be held throughout the day.

Covered, accessible picnic tables are available or bring your own chairs, blankets and umbrellas.

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Rancho Cordova Artists Celebrate Summer of Love ‘67

By Margaret Snider  |  2017-08-15

Artist Elizabeth Hall with her collage, The Romance of Summer. Photo by Margaret Snider

Artists Celebrate Summer of Love ‘67

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG) - Since the year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Summer of Love, the Rancho Cordova Arts Council made that their theme for the art show now on view at Rancho Cordova City Hall. During that year as many as 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco to celebrate “hippie” fashions and lifestyle. The phenomenon occurred not only in San Francisco, but nationwide and worldwide as well.

Art work for this show used many types and combinations of media. “I feel most comfortable with collage so I decided to do collage for this,” said Elizabeth Hall, who moved to Rancho Cordova in January of this year. “It is my first time doing an image made completely out of paper, a true collage.”  She collected magazines over a period of time and used them in collages just for fun, and also for this piece, The Romance of Summer.

Artist Sid Wellman brought to light a work that he painted in 1967, which has never before been shown. He painted Sgt. Pepper ’67 when he was 19 and attending American River College. “I think it was Christmas Eve, and nobody else was around,” Wellman said. “My parents were back east and so it’s what happened that night.”  The painting’s title referred to the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released in June of 1967 and nicknamed, The Soundtrack of the Summer of Love.

Donine Wellman’s painting titled 67 Summer of Love showed a logo of the time along with the iconic Volkswagen van. This colorful painting, along with husband Sid Wellman’s, titled Flower Power, were finished with an epoxy resin for a striking glossy surface.

Vincent and Lois Bode are another husband and wife pair with work hanging at City Hall. Vincent Bode’s portrait, Brother Andy, is a giclée print of a painting commissioned by the subject, who earlier had taught at Christian Brothers School in Sacramento. “He was an original kind of hippie flower child person,” Vincent Bode said. “We knew him until he passed away. All of his relatives . . . nobody wanted that painting because they didn’t feel that it would portray him the way they wanted to remember him.”

Lois Bode’s embroidery Message of Love was indeed a work of love, taking well over 100 hours to create. She used many different and difficult to obtain items and worked in Brazilian embroidery, which is a highly textured, dimensional style using a high sheen rayon embroidery floss. “It was a challenge,” Lois Bode said. “I thought, I’m going to stick to this, I’m going to do it.”

Events of the time, besides the hippie movement itself, focused on civil rights and Martin Luther King’s influence, the Vietnam war, the continuation of the space program that culminated with the first moon landing the following year, and the first satellite television broadcast, which featured the live debut of the Beatles song, “All You Need Is Love.”

The Summer of Love ’67 art show can be seen at Rancho Cordova City Hall through October 21.

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Free Clinic, Free Fishing Day at Mather Regional Park

By Bruce Forman, CDFW   |  2017-08-15

The entire family can enjoy the free fishing day. Photo courtesy CDFW

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) “Fishing in the City” Program, in partnership with the County of Sacramento, are sponsoring an introductory fishing clinic on Saturday, September 2, 2017 at Mather Regional Park in Rancho Cordova.   The County of Sacramento is waiving the $5 parking fee prior to 1:00 pm. 

The CDFW provides free equipment loan plus tackle and bait, following a 30 minute clinic.  The clinic is scheduled at 8:15 with equipment loan from 9 a.m. to noon.  As this day is CDFW’s statewide free fishing day, anglers are not required to possess a fishing license; however, all fishing regulations are otherwise still in effect.

Mather Lake will be stocked just prior to this date with catfish. For other information, call (916) 358-1644. The phone is staffed only on Thursdays.

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August 21 event will cause solar production to dip but with no SMUD grid impact

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - The morning forecast for August 21 calls for darker skies in Northern California and across the country. That’s when a near-total solar eclipse will occur—from about 9 a.m.to about 11:30 a.m. for our region—during which time the sun will be obscured by up to 76 percent.

Given the growing penetration of solar energy in California, the electric utility industry and  other energy stakeholders have considered the potential impacts of  such a significant solar event.

SMUD has secured additional reserve power to ensure it’s able to meet the increased demand when the availability of solar reduces because of the eclipse. SMUD does not anticipate any problems meeting the Sacramento-area community’s demand for electricity.

SMUD, for its part, has almost 300 megawatts (MW) of solar power in its service territory. Approximately 140 MW is utility-connected solar generation and about 150 MW is “behind the meter”, customer-owned solar generation.

The timing of the eclipse is fortuitous for SMUD and for California in general as demand on the grid during those hours can be considerably lower than in the late afternoon hours.

Typically, solar production can be impacted by everyday weather events like cloud cover, which is why SMUD’s energy portfolio, including its renewable generation resources, is very diverse. By going the extra step and securing additional reserves, SMUD has the flexibility to manage the increased demand on the grid during the eclipse and the drop off in demand during the transition out of the eclipse.

For more information about SMUD and its award-winning renewable and energy efficiency programs, visit SMUD.org.

Source: SMUD Media

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Kavala Ranch Trail Project Recognized for Excellence

City of Rancho Cordova  |  2017-08-15

Residents using the Anatolia – Kavala Ranch Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail. Photo courtesy City of Rancho Cordova.

Rancho Cordova, CA (MPG) - The American Public Works Association’s (APWA) Sacramento Chapter named the City of Rancho Cordova’s Anatolia – Kavala Ranch Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail a 2017 “Project of the Year.” The award was presented in the Parks & Trails category at the APWA 2017 Project of the Year Luncheon last Friday, August 4th in Sacramento.

“The Anatolia and Kavala Ranch Trail connects the two neighborhoods and provides a safe path to walk to school or enjoy the beautiful wetland preserve. The City is honored to receive a Project of the Year Award from the Sacramento Chapter of the American Public Works Association,” said Albert Stricker, Public Works Director for the City of Rancho Cordova.

The APWA recognized the City’s demonstration of excellent project management, design, sustainability, construction, and community relations, in addition to the strong alliance with the project consultant, engineer, and contractor who worked together to complete the project.

In September 2016, the City opened the half-mile trail to the community, which serves as a bike and walk route for families going to school or nearby parks, and for residents exploring the community or getting exercise. At the ribbon cutting for the project, many residents stated that they were able to meet neighbors on the other side of the preserve, now only a short distance away, for the first time.

The Anatolia and Kavala Ranch Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail emphasizes the beauty of the natural environment, encourages active modes of transportation, and will be enjoyed by residents and visitors for generations to come.

Source: City of Rancho Cordova

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One Family’s Journey Out of Homelessness

Sacramento County Media  |  2017-08-15

Jessica Hodges smiles in front of her place of employment. Photo courtesy Sacramento County Media

​​Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - The path to self-s​ufficiency was not an easy or quick road. B​​ut today, Jessica Hodges, her husband, and their three children (ages six, eight and 10) are living the life they dreamed of, thanks to the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance, the Mustard Seed School and Mary House​.

Three years ago, their youngest child developed a cough that required two surgeries and resulted in scarred lungs.  Upon discovering that the cause was mold inside the walls, the family moved out of their apartment in a hurry.  This sudden move impacted their credit, which ultimately prevented them from finding permanent housing.  And, because the mold had contaminated all of their belongings—including clothes, photos and furniture—everything had to be abandoned.    

Around the same time, Jessica graduated from Kaplan College but was laid off from her job as a medical assistant for a local doctor.  

Jessica expressed her dismay at her living conditions and at the circular challenges—securing a job without a permanent address was an uphill battle, while finding a home without a job and with damaged credit was nearly impossible.

County Director of the Department of Human Assistance (DHA) Ann Edwards, confirmed the currently rental housing landscape is bleak for struggling families. Low vacancy rates and escalating rents - far above what many residents can afford, make finding housing difficult.

In November, County DHA Social Worker Samantha Sween partnered with Mustard Seed School Director Casey Knittel to stabilize the Hodges and to develop a plan. 

As the children attended the Mustard Seed School, County DHA staff and Mary House staff were assisting the family with services and supplies. 

The group effort paid off a few days before Christmas.  After three long years of sleeping on couches, in hotels and in their van, the Hodges—with only sleeping bags and pillows—finally moved into an apartment where they could start over. 

Much to their surprise, staff from the Mustard Seed School brought gifts for the children, ranging from clothes to iPads.  

“We didn’t have any furniture,” Jessica expressed with a smile, “But it was the most touching Christmas ever because I did not have anything to give them [until these gifts arrived]. They even brought a Christmas tree.” 

In March, bolstered by her degree, Jessica was hired by SMPP Rehab as a Medical Office Specialist. Her husband is attending school to develop new skills while caring for their children.  

Their three children miss their teachers and friends at Mustard Seed School, but are grateful they no longer need the assistance and for the first time in years, the family is doing great.​

Find out more about assistance programs available through the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance.

To apply for medical, food and cash assistance programs online please visit CalWIN.

Source: Sacramento County Media

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