During a standard day, many of us are challenged to wear a variety of "hats." Within our families and work places, we are often called on to be parents, business professionals, mentors and friends. At Sacred Heart Community Service, this is especially true. Each day, employees don their various hats to properly serve the 400 families who utilize their services daily.
The multiple services that SHCS offers to the community made it a worthy recipient of a $25,000 grant from the Sharks Foundation during the 2011-12 season. Recently, Sharks Foundation board members and staff visited SHCS to observe how this multi-functional organization operates.
Upon arrival at the SHCS building on San Jose's First Street, it was immediately apparent that the building was buzzing with activity. Volunteers were stationed outside to accept and sort donated and clothing from generous community members. Inside, San Jose residents were lined up to inquire about housing, employment options, and education for their children. For every question asked, SHCS provided an answer.
After observing the daily operations, a tour of the education wing provided a better idea of what the Sharks Foundation grant specifically funded. During the summer, the Academic Summer Day Camp fulfills the educational needs for children in grades 4-8. The lessons help participants reach the academic markers they were not able to meet during the regular school year. As a result, students continue to be engaged in learning and begin the school year on the same level as their peers.
The Sharks Foundation Grant also helped finance the "Familias Unidas con las Escuelas" (Families United with Schools) program which helps parents become more involved in their child's education. Roberto Gil, a program instructor, explained that a trend in bilingual families tracked by SHCS was that "parents would disconnect themselves from their child's schoolwork because they could not understand the language or they learned the techniques differently." With "Familias Unidas," available in both Spanish and English, parents participate in a 12 week program during which they learn about the school system, their child's teacher and how to utilize the school's resources. As Gil explained, "This way the parent is fully engaged in their student's work and the student has a higher success rate because encouragement is provided at school as well as at home."
Since 1998, SHCS has striven to "empower people to improve their lives." After observing the programs and services offered by the organization first-hand, the Sharks Foundation recognized that every hat being worn at SHCS is helping to brighten the future of San Jose families.
Go to www.sacredheartcs.org for more information on Sacred Heart Community Services.