La Luz Receives Impact100 Sonoma $100, 000 Grant!
On Saturday, July 23, La Luz received a milestone endorsement from the Sonoma community. We were awarded the annual $100,000 grant from Impact100 Sonoma, a three year old “giving circle” comprised of nearly 200 Valley women who each contribute $1,000, then visit and meticulously vet each applicant before awarding the grant.
This year La Luz’s grant proposal was called Fortaleciendo las Familias y Nuestra Comunidad–Strengthening Families and our Community, and was in the Social Outreach category of applications. The grant was to expand our Family Resource Center to meet the growing demand for programs and services, and to create a professional office environment to provide privacy, dignity and respect for our clients.
In their assessment of La Luz, the Social Outreach Committee found, “ La Luz is a well managed center for dozens of bi-lingual social outreach services for our underserved Hispanic community. For many of the services La Luz provides, it is the ONLY bi- lingual support services provider in Sonoma Valley. It is critical to the social and economic progress of our Hispanic and immigrant community. “
Over the past 5 years, La Luz has experienced a 400% increase in the number of walk-in inquiries each month. In 2007, La Luz responded to 200 walk-in inquiries per month. Today we respond to over 800 walk-ins per month. Despite this significant increase and due to the reduction in available funding, we have been forced to reduce our staffing at a time when we should be building capacity to respond to our community’s growing needs.
Yvonne Hall, La Luz’s Executive Director, says the Impact grant “will allow us to:
1) Expand and improve our ability to meet the growing demand for our programs and services. We will achieve this by hiring an additional part-time Family Advocate.
2) Increase access to mental health counseling and emotional support for low-income residents of our community. We will accomplish this by doubling the hours of our bilingual licensed MFT from 6 hours per week to 12 hours per week. This will position La Luz to build on the initial success of our mental health program, which was piloted last fiscal year with funding from the California Endowment. The program will provide individual, couples, and family counseling two days per week and a 12-week support group program for men, women, and parents. Child care will be provided on site.
3) Create a professional office environment that provides privacy, dignity, and respect for our clients. Currently, La Luz's reception, intake, and waiting areas share one cramped 13' x 13' space. Further, at any given time there could be 5-10 individuals who must wait outside until we are able to see them due to the fact that we do not have a designated waiting room. We will accomplish our goal by increasing our footprint by 500 square feet, and reconfiguring our existing space to allow for private offices for our Family Advocates, a private waiting room for our clients, and a private intake area. Lastly, we will enhance our entranceway making it easier for those who are disabled or the many that arrive with a child in a stroller to easily and safely enter and exit the building.
“A door has been opened for so many people with this grant,” said Claudia Mendoza-Carruth, La Luz board president. “We have hope. We have a great sense of pride in our community that we have so many generous people who gave their money and their time to help us.”