Join the conversation on the Neighbors Helping Neighbors podcast from Father Joe’s Villages. Join us for an inspiring episode as we dive into the world of philanthropy and community support with Father Joe’s Villages. In this special edition, we’re thrilled to highlight the upcoming Father Joe’s Villages Children’s Gala—an evening dedicated to empowering and uplifting the lives of children and families in need and an event that not only celebrates the power of philanthropy but also fuels the mission of Father Joe’s Villages to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.

 Co-hosts Maggie Durocher and CEO Deacon Jim invite you to participate in this meaningful discussion as we explore the impact of philanthropy on the lives of those served by Father Joe’s Villages. Join our guests, Eric Casazza, former Chair of the Father Joe’s Villages Board of Directors and Chair for the 2024 Children’s Gala, and Myrna Davalos, Director of Philanthropy at Father Joe’s Villages.

 From providing vital resources to fostering hope and resilience, philanthropy plays a pivotal role in transforming communities and creating brighter futures.

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Podcast Transcript: The Power of Philanthropy & The Children's Charity Gala
We are back and I’m Maggie the host of neighbors helping neighbors the podcast
from father Joe’s Villages this is a continuing Series where we talk about homelessness its causes and solutions to
the issue our guests include experts leaders people with lived experience and
unique perspectives on homelessness to learn more about our mission visit us at and follow us on social media at father Villages today we’re talking all about philanthropy and one of our exciting annual events the children’s charity gala to explore this topic with me are
Eric kasasa our former board chair and longtime supporter Mirna Davalos our
senior director of philanthropy and with me always is my co-host Deacon Jim the
president and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages welcome welcome thank for joining us thank you for being on the
show it’s gonna be exciting show will be yeah I’d like to start with introductions if you can tell me about who you are and the scope of your work sure my name is Eric Casaza I’m the managing partner of Digital Services for citen cooperman which is a top 20 audit tax and advisory firm in the United States and prior to that I was the CEO
and owner of a business here in San Diego that’s been around for the last 27 years and as you mentioned uh chairman
of the board of Father Jo’s Villages the past three years and on the board the last 10 years in total wow wonderful F
we’re lucky to have you we absolutely were lucky yes we were we miss you Eric is not too far away he remains tied to
us in many ways absolutely yeah I think we’ll touch on that in a little bit right um yeah thank you for having me
hello Deacon I’m sorry Deacon Eric I am as you mentioned M
Davalos I’m one of our senior directors of philanthropy at father Joe’s Villages and I get to connect with the community
in a really wonderful way I get to um bridge if you will a cause that many people in our community care about and show them how partnering with Father Joe’s Villages they can have a really great impact in our community um my career in nonprofit spans about 12 years with 10 years in philanthropy and I’ve mostly worked with organizations that service women children and families that need mental health services and advocacy for mental health services I been at father Joe’s Villages for about a year and a half and it’s really ever
since from day one and I’ve mentioned this to Deacon before I feel like I receive indirect affirmations that I’m where I need to be yeah just receiving them from the you know the community our clients our colleagues especially seeing the tremendous work that our colleagues uh do and the impact that they’re having in the community so it’s really an honor
to be a part of the team yes wonderful de well then as you mentioned I’m Deacon Jim and I’m blessed to to lead this great organization and I say lead but really the the passionate employees who we have 500 different team members who
we have each in the the respective disciplines they’re the ones that make it happen right and just to give our viewers and our listeners a sense of we
are as a whole and by the way next year we celebrate our 75th Anniversary it’s exciting 75 years with the oldest
homeless services provider down in Southern California and and also the largest by by measure of our breath and
and the depth of our services so we have a federally qualified Health Center with all its disciplin disciplines we have
primary care we have a a behavior health clinic including substance use disorder
treatment we have mental health clinicians there who help with individuals who have mental health challenges we have a dental clinic as
well Street Health we were out with Street Health the first one’s out there in 2019 it it’s grown tremendously why
because a third of the population who’s on the streets won’t access medicine in traditional way brick and mortar so we
take the medicine out to them tremendous success that we’re having you know there 600 people died on the streets last year
half of whom died from drug overdoses so the street Health team does tremendous work in fact we’re about to expand it
even further and we have psychiatric clinicians are out there as well it’s tremendous it was cited actually by the
County Board of Supervisors recently as a model at the uh the county wants to
use countywide and so we’re very we’re very pleased about that then we have therapeutic child care and you know the
focus of our gala this year and every year actually is on helping with the um
support that’s necessary there in order to deliver the services that the CH these children depend on they they come
to us academically emotionally socially delayed and unless we mitigate their circumstances they’re going to be the
future adults who are homeless and so that’s not going to happen not on our watch right so so we work with them very
very closely our employment center employment education servic is extremely important we know that with marketable
skills through our vocational training right through those marketable skills then there’s income and there’s
self-sufficiency so that’s that’s what it’s all about shelters over a thousand shelter bets each and every single night
it’s incredible and then we know that a shelter Is Not a Home ultimately so we are housing developers so we develop
housing most recent um we deploy just a couple of years ago St terresa of Kata Villa 407 homes the largest of its kind
ever in the history of San Diego and um we’re blessed to be able to have that over 500 people who either were taken
off the streets or were kept from falling onto the streets because that’s important as well we know that when
people fall onto the streets it becomes a lot more difficult for them and for
the community and more cost costly as well right so we have to keep them from falling on on onto the streets so
there’s there’s um a lot there within our program just a few things and that’s a worldwind I always like to give a
worldwind just so so that people recognize how comprehensive our services are and it’s those comprehensive
services that help people who we help into housing uh retain housing for uh
for the long term basically 96% basically are able to retain their housing long term and that’s that’s what
it’s all about we don’t want them back on onto the streets so anyway I’ll stop there we’ll talk more about some of
these pieces it’s a lot but that’s what and Eric knows it well because Eric’s been with us for for um a long period of
time and in the P past the podcast have focused on the various services and programs this one here I’ve been
particularly interested in because it talks about the community at the end of the day the community is what helps us
to do our work the majority of our funds come from philanthropy and so that’s why we decided to focus this uh this
particular segment on philanthropy so set the stage for us tell us why now in
particular it’s so important for the community to be involved it’s it’s you’re absolutely right Maggie this is
and we we know that homelessness is front in center it’s on everybody’s mind because it touches everyone touches all
the various communities and and people are wondering what is going on here it seems that things are getting worse they
hear statistics like for every 10 individuals who are helped into into housing 16 are falling into homelessness
that’s a recent statistic in the last year here in San Diego very frustrating it can be very disheartening and you
know I always remind the community that in the midst of that great things are happening in the midst of that we see
the Miracles happening at father Joe’s villages each and every single day not to negate the fact that things are in
dire out there they are uh but just to put things in perspective because if not for the great work of and an
organization like ours and other organizations as well other other homeless Services providers then the man
the situation would be would be much worse so I always like to remind people of that but and it takes the community
it’s impacting the community I think the community at this point wants to step up and wants to make a difference in the
lives of individuals and that that’s why we always invite the community to partner with us in our work and so that
they can see how effective we are in these lives and how efficiently we use those dollars because we have to be good
stewards of the of the funds that are entrusted to us so that so that they we are being most efficient with with the
funds so it’s it’s it’s a Time the time is ripe it’s right now um You Hear About
mental health challenges on for those who are on the streets substance use disorder the the community needs to rise
up and needs to be a part of solving it basically so there’s so many
organizations that are stepping up and taking on this challenge how how do you Eric decide which organization you’re
going to invest your time and your resources in what do you look for and what specifically Drew you to Father
Joe’s Villages well if I rewind back I think 12 years ago when I first got started with with Father Joe’s uh there
was a colleague of mine that was involved with Father Joe’s and uh I’ve been talking to him and I said you know I really feel like I want to give back
in the community and I want to get more involved and he started talking to me about father Joe’s and one of the
statistics that really stood out to me at the time was that people that go were going through the programs at father
Joe’s over 70 5% of them were returning to full-time employment full-time
housing and so to me I really looked at it not just as a stop Gap measure but really an answer and a solution and I
think just given the breath of Father Joe’s services um there was a way that I
could contribute my kind of time and talent and treasure you know and and kind of a mix of those three things to
what I thought would be able to make a meaningful impact here in the San Diego Community that’s really what drew me to
Father Joe’s what’s kept me at father Joe’s throughout that time period is really seeing how passionate the team is
with the entire team not just the leadership team but the 500 plus staff that the Deacon mentioned um in terms of
how passionate they are about the mission how giving and carrying and how good father Joe’s is being a steward the
financial funds as well um that are donated through the various Partners in the community and um and I’ve really and
as Deacon said it’s it’s a rising tide right so it is it is a challenge but there’s so much good work that’s being
done but it takes a village you know it takes not just the team at father Joe’s but the community as a whole to
volunteer and to provide support to really treat the entire individual which is the is really focus of solving
homelessness absolutely yeah you mentioned the breadth of our services that we really are unique in that way
that we are this centrally located um organization that offers this wide array
of services all in one spot it’s very special um you how about from a
philanthropic point of view you came you joined our team you have an army of volunteers and staff behind you what
Drew you to Father Joe’s such a privilege well every one of you has already kind of alluded to without
saying that we are so lucky in San Diego that we have so many organizations doing
critical and significantly important work so what really drew me to Father Joe’s Villages was our approach of
meeting people where they are and not only that you just mentioned it about almost being a One-Stop shop so not only
you know it’s like the meeting people where they are but having the ability to do that you know at father Joe’s
Villages our clients don’t have to bounce from agency to agency because we have you know shelter that’s what they
need we look after their health care their children um Employment Services all the things that that you guys have
already touched on um so meeting people where they are knowing that that’s what
we do and you know being having the ability to do that was really impressive
and having been here again you know I have to applaud our entire staff
everyone who volunteers everyone in the philanthropic community that trusts us
to advance our mission forward that really is part of what keeps me going yeah that’s great you know the point
that you ra you mentioned meeting people where they are that’s absolutely critical because everyone is at a
different stage in their Journey out of homelessness I like to say right and you can’t take a cookie cutter approach one
of the things we’re able to do is assess their particular situation and apply the correct resources in order to help them
out of their situation right so otherwise you’ll you’ll be spending too many resources that are unnecessary or
not enough resources and at the end of the day you’re not being effective for the individual not using the funds efficiently so that’s extremely
important the fact that we’re Nimble enough to be able to repurpose beds and Eric knows this very well if we see that
there’s there’s a growing need particular need in the community then we think about that we then we decide well
how can we meet that need so we reimagine our programs right and then
repurpose those beds and those dollars and in order to meet the need at any particular time yeah I’ve been with
Father Jo’s over nine years at this point and just in that period of time I’ve seen the
face of homelessness change on the streets right and I’ve seen the needs over time I mean I mentioned before 600
deaths most recently just three years ago there were less than 100 death best on the streets think about the
exponential increase there and the number from overdoses I mean it’s fanol is wreaking havoc on people on the
street so how do we father Joe’s religious respond to that how does the community a lot your homeless services
Community respond to it in order to really be able to help people out of their their
situations yeah and I think that um and we’ll get more into this into our philanthropic dollars and how they allow
us the flexibility to be Innovative in ways that we are um before that I wanted
to ask do you have any specific um rewarding memories or experiences that
you’ve had through serving with us many over the last the last 12 years or so I
think one that’s stands out in particular is the first time I brought my kids down to volunteer at father
Joe’s and we serve food in the in the family kitchen and one of my kids worked
hard which was good for them you know but but two uh they just they really interacted a lot with the other kids
that they were serving food to and I think it was so neat to to see that but
also it really just dawned on me that they could just as easily be them you know and thank goodness that there was a
program for these kids and these families that were serving the meals and giving them what they needed to have to
be back on their feet and so I think it was really profound and touching not just for me but for my my kids and my
wife as well absolutely I always encourage people to volunteer once you’re bit by the bug oh my goodness
it’s hard to walk away from the magic right absolutely oh for me yes so uh there’s a
couple of things quick two quick things that come up for me one of them is just I feel so inspired by our philanthropic
Community um you know and just that they trust us us they are such comp they’re
just such a compassionate group of people um you know we have people who
have been supporting father Joe’s Villages you mentioned the agency’s been around almost 75 years and we don’t have
donors that have been giving us that long but we really have you know the community has been supporting us for
such a long time and you mentioned allowing us to be Innovative um and they
really they truly give from their heart so that really just kind of takes my
breath away a little bit um the other one that comes up for me all the time is
the first holiday season that I was here yeah so I attended the children’s
Christmas party um I have two little ones a three-year-old and a nine-month-old now
and I was pregnant at the time with my now nine-month-old and um I will get choked
up um seeing you know the children’s Christmas party is just phenomenal it’s
an opportunity for the families to gather have a real Christmas are you know our communities there to support
them and the kids and children and there’s activities and it’s so much fun um I had to stop and take a breath
because there were so there were children and families of so many ages
newborns uh toddlers older kids teens and it that also took my you know took
my breath away so I have to pause and kind of absorb it if you will and I just
felt really proud because I was happy that these families and children were
safe yeah they were not on the street it was that kind of like moment of
realization like if they weren’t here where would they be so I was just so proud that they were at father Joe’s
Villages that they were safe and that they were together I’m so glad you brought that up
because you know another part of engaging with our donor base is sharing these stories with them and I know what
you’re talking about I’ve been to the Christmas party it’s magical it’s beautiful it’s moving and humbling you
can’t really put that into an impact report it’s hard to you know and so delivering these messages um to our
donors is so important and it’s another focus of ours this year so um thank you
for that you you mentioned Eric I’m gonna continue on the on along the lines
of what you just mentioned serving a meal remember a couple of years ago I was serving a meal father Joe’s and and
um it was with a group of high school kids and and we have different schools
that come and serve meals and I love that that’s their their volunteer and service programs that they have in their respective schools and so they um I was
standing next to a young woman I remember her name was Tiffany and at one point she said something I couldn’t hear
it was almost as if she mumbled it so I looked down at at Tiffany I said what was that Tiffany and she said and
initially she was to share it and then she did and she said you know just a few
years ago my mom and I were on that side right and it just struck me um and
this was a child who had been on that side had experienced it and now she was
it was this was an emotional experience for her serving this meal I could tell um because now she was better and her
mother and she had been helped by father Joe’s Villages and they were doing much better and and now she was with her
class and serving meals there right that’s there but for the grace of God go
I those are the types of experience that you never know what happens in your life that can throw you onto the streets and
and anyway I just when I heard you say about you know you serving a meal there with your children there um that that
Tiffany came to came to my mind Deacon Jim tell us how donations and
contributions help to this to contribute to the success of our organization philanthropy is a LIF spit of our
organization the majority of our funds come from philanthropy yes we have some some government dollars but even they
even the government dollars have to be supplemented so a lot number of our shelters that are that in which we
receive city funding as an example um philanthropy has to supplement that city funding otherwise we wouldn’t be able to
run these shelters right so so at the end of the day so philanthropy is the Hearts blood of our of our organization
and there’s some programs that um for which you can’t receive government funding for one reason or another and
those programs then are totally philanthropically funded the street Health Street Health is totally
philanthropically funded thank God that we have people stepping up and doing that uh we have through our children’s
programs through our family empowerment program we have various shelters that are not Government funding we have one
say margar of Katona Harbor that is for those expected mothers who if not for us
would be on the streets just last couple of years we’ve had 12 children born to
individuals to mothers within that program itself right and that was through the generous donation of of
Cristiano and Adriana Amon right who came up to approach me a couple of years ago and this was weighing on their
hearts and they were they they they know it’s hard enough to be on the streets and then to be a woman woman on the
street and then to be expecting a child they wanted to focus their dollars there I love it and so now we have this
program in place so philanthropy is what it’s all about I mean that’s it’s that
and so it takes that Community takes Community believing in not only the work that we do but believing that they can
make a difference in the lives of these individuals right and seeing that um and and that’s why you mentioned impact
reports sharing those impact reports so that individuals knowy you know your dollars are making a difference your
dollars are saving lives um and there’s just so much an impact report can do that’s why I always invite people to
come down so they can see the work you know fir life changing stories stories
stories are what it’s all about heaven knows we have so many data points in our in our brains right but at the end of
day behind every number is a life and and that’s what’s key Deacon you had mentioned the
changing face of homelessness and it is rapidly changing we see it in the news
uh we see it on our sidewalks um and it’s so important to tap into the
credibility and the experience of Father Joe’s Villages because we’re there you know on the front lines and and utilize
those flexible philanthropic dollars to create programs that maybe aren’t in the mainstream yet that aren’t being funded
by the government yet and to create programs that that fill those gaps for example Sober Sober shelter beds you
know our our general funding for shelter beds is for you know no barrier and some
people need a sober space especially as we’re taking on this you know fight against Fentanyl and opio use um we need
other options and so I think that’s another thing that’s so special about father Joe’s Villages is that you know
we have the expertise and we have the support and the trust of our donors and we’re able to make these kind of kind of
lead the charge on Street Health on sober beds on um St Teresa was you know
even came with a lot of opposition at first but um it’s really special
absolutely I think we probably won’t say it enough right the philanthropy allows us to be
Innovative you know and it allows us to continue to do our work meeting people where they are right well an example of
that is we and I alluded to the fact the substance use disorder that’s out there right there are not enough detox beds in
this County it will surprise people to know that in the entire County there’s 77 detox beds can you imagine over three
million people not three not that 3 million need detox but the point is for that in general population there’s three
there’s 77 B countywide none in the city of San Diego by the way and so that’s a need and we’re focusing on that need we
need to make beds available shelter beds available that focus on that population
because in all honesty they’re with us now these are individuals that are in our shelter beds now but we’re not being
as effective as we need to be with them and so what happens they cycle off the streets onto shelters and and and and
over and over again right so we need to really get to the heart of the issue there and and having these detox beds
get to the substance use issues so that we can really help them so that then they can stay off the street long term
and that’s what it’s all about so that’s just yet another example that’s we’ve been giving that a lot of focus um in
the last in the last year or so we’re going to do something about it here we must do something about I think it’s so
key that I mean an element of those philanthropy dollars go to fund that Innovation program right and allow us to
Pilot programs and see what’s working those are things that staff members can bring as well right and ideas that they
have and can flourish those allow those to to Bloom as well right right absolutely right Innovation is what I
all about and Eric knows we instituted Innovation lab a couple of years ago inviting Frontline workers who who are
living it each and every single day to come up with ideas so that we can better our our processes and and and programs
and and the like and it’s incredible that what’s come out of that creativity right so there’s all this good work
being done maybe someone’s sitting at home and they’re like I want to be involved or this is just resonating with
them but they don’t know the first step to take what would you recommend yeah I think first of all you
know jump in any anywhere you can I mean there’s certainly uh the website right there’s a phone number on
the website call and say I’d like to lend a hand and whatever that looks like for them or whatever they’re comfortable
doing from a whether that’s a volunteer component whether it’s uh coming to the gala which is coming up which would be
amazing to have people uh join us there as well or if they can donate something um part of their Time treasure and
talent I think there’s multiple ways to get involved I think Mna May uh be able to answer that even more detailed than I
can a little bit although I feel like you read my script or my notes because you took that right out of out of uh my
notes but you mentioned time talent and treasure it’s all philanthropy and it’s all necessary it all counts and it all
makes an impact um I’ll just share you know last year Vol um I’m sorry last
year we had 5200 over 5200 people come and volunteer at father Joe’s Villages
they I think they spent about a little bit more over over 52,000 hours
volunteering at father Joe’s Villages they did everything from like with you mentioning uh bringing your family
serving meals because we serve three meals a day every single day rain or shine so that’s always a big need we
have corporate groups that come and do beautification projects um you know
working with our children and just kind of if if someone has like a special talent maybe they’re retired or they
have some extra time and they think that our clients can benefit from it we’ll find a spot for them um anyone on our
team like Eric said finding us on the website or even giving us a call you’ll probably end up speaking with me or
someone on my team um you know we have donors too who give on a monthly basis you know in a
wide variety um you know $5 $10 month um and then it kind of goes up from there
people can consider you know adding a adding father Joe’s villages to their estate plan um they can host a a drive
do a blanket Drive in the winter we never have enough blankets during the winter and or diapers or diapers and
these last few Winters we know have been really intense uh there’s so many ways
so if people feel inspired and they really want to have an impact in the community we will match their talent and
their time time to whatever they could do absolutely you you mentioned
recurring payments I don’t think you said recurring payments but people give on a monthly basis recurring payments basically and I remember just a couple
of years ago there was a person who was noticed by the philanthropy Department that he had been giving $10 a month each
and every single month and it had been a number of years I never had reached out to us just had begun doing that and and
so Phil someone from the philanthropy Department reached out to him and invited him in for a tour and so I was
there for the tour and and um at one point we stepped into one of our one of
the courtyard what we call the jkc courtyard Joan cck Center Courtyard um
an angel was his his name by the way he looked up at one of the windows and he said you see that window there and we
said yes and he said my my family and I stayed there and so then he told us a story
about the fact that they fall into Hard Times initially living out of a car and then onto the streets and they happened
to come by onto our threshold in a sense or across our threshold um around it was
around a holiday season and one of the things he said he always remembered was how you mentioned the holidays the
holidays were made so very special for the kids at that point he was a child with his siblings right so that was
impactful to him and so now you fast forwarded a few years later we having this conversation and um he had been
giving $10 a month he was uh working for UPS at that point had children of his
own and made it a point always to impress upon um his children how lucky
they were and we tell him the story about his time at father Joe’s Villages
which had meant the world to him and so this was his way of giving back very
quietly it never made any hoopla about it had just begun giving $10 a month on on a monthly basis because we have meant
so much to him his siblings and his families right so these recurring payments are just powerful impactful
level yeah absolutely they are many ways right and we have our retail it’s all about philanthropy that’s whole part of
philanthropy as well retail we have retail stores across the city which you can come to the shops but you can also
shop online you can shop online that’s exactly right and and again it takes the community it takes the Community to be
able to donate these gently used items whether they’re household goods and
kitchen wear um Furnishings as an example it could be clothing it could be
cars and boats that are donated to us as well all these things we either sell them within the thrift stores or at our
auction houses and the proceeds go to to services so not only can you donate but then you can go and visit and also
benefit from the great merchandise as they have reduced places so it’s it’s a win-win so many ways in which people can
get involved that’s exactly right and Eric you and Jenny um your wife Jenny gracefully stepped up to the plate and
you are the chairs of our gal this year yeah can you tell us why you decided to do that and what significance this event
holds well I think the the gala one it funds the the therapeutic Child Care
Center which is just kind of a mission near and dear to our heart even within the broader father Joe’s Mission and
having been to roughly 10 Gallas I think now last last 10 years I can testify
that it’s really a it’s really a pinnacle event I think for both father Joe’s and for the San Diego Community
there’s other events like the 5K and things like that as well for people to get involved in but this is such a special kind of coming together of the
the staff and the leadership team and the community to recognize the great work that’s being done to recognize the
people that are supporting father Joe’s and for new people to get involved as well uh it’s going to be a fun night I
can tell you we’ve personally vetted all the cocktails some the food but then as amazing as that’s going to be that’s
really not what it’s about right it’s about really raising money and putting that to a great cause to make a
difference in our community so uh we’re proud and uh honored to be the ambassadors and the the chair uh post
chairs for this year’s Gala and we really hope that people will come out to the gala and and be there as part of
that event and support this great cost yes and there’s an opportunity in fact you can’t be there physically to go
online as well right we going to open it up the auction items will open up um for
people who can’t attend but would like to also particip if you’re out of town right you can definitely participate
online from anywhere where anywhere you are so the auction will go can you give us a little overview of the gala for
those who aren’t familiar kind of you know what it’s about the philanthropic impact and if you can tell us the theme
this year well yeah and Eric you did such a great job really talking about the gala uh you know you mentioned it’s
really our signature event um I’d call it a beacon even of the community coming
together to support and help Advance our mission forward um it’s you know and you
touched on all the all the fun stuff but at the end of the day it really is about um funding the you know the
philanthropic impact is great it’s a it’s and tremendous it’s about uh this
event raises funds that um help support the therapeutic child care center and
all of other programs that service our children and families um the therapeutic
Child Care Center I think is largely funded by philanthropic dollars absolutely so you know think of what
what where we’d be if we weren’t able to provide those Services last year was a
record-breaking year where we raised nearly $1.3 million we sold out the
event it was about 430 people about 20 local companies represented
um so it was you know and all of that goes really to ending the cycle of
homelessness for children and families who are experiencing that um and to touch on the theme of the gala it is
called Tales of Hope and that is really inspired by our clients and
recognizing that that anyone who’s experiencing homelessness that
experience doesn’t Define them it is a chapter in the story of their life and
you touched on this earlier Deacon on how we hear very frequently about the
crisis levels of homelessness here in San Diego and really across the country
but we really don’t hear about these Tales of hope you know at father Joe’s Villages we’re ending and preventing
homelessness for people every single day and those stories are not heard of often
enough um so Tales of Hope hope uh the other component I think of tales of Hope
is is is how our philanthropic Community allows that to happen because they trust
us because they’re engaged because they’re compassionate and dedicated uh they’re allowing for these Tales of Hope
to grow every single day yeah storytelling has been such a focus in
our organization this year and it’s been so meaningful and fun because like you
were saying the homeless population is extremely marginalized and to be part of
you know lifting up their voices and sharing their stories just here Deacon you’ve mentioned Angel the man who who
was in our shelter as a child and now gives every month you know the people who come through these difficult
situations are remarkable and they are forged like steal like we have met
remarkable people and to uplift their stories of resilience is so so cool so I
love that about the gala yes and I did you mention the date
Saturday yeah Saturday May 18th at the US Grant right yeah you can find more
information on AR Gaya on our website or give us a call
yeah that’s right so this $1.3 million I’m assuming you’re going to raise more this year
right we’re definitely committed to doing so all of that funding where does the money go Deacon it go we know the
children you know face unique challenges can you tell us about those challenges and the programs that go towards meeting
our little neighbors where they are sure absolutely well we have a preschool program and um at the in that preschool
program is for kids anywhere from newborns we have newborns as I mentioned before all the way up to about five
years of age or so and then they go off to to preset schools I’ll talk about those but these are these are kids who a
lot of them a lot of them come to us as I mentioned are very delayed in different ways and so I mean we had a child as an example came to us at the
age of 22 months and didn’t walk wasn’t making eye contact and uh we thought
there was something pathologically wrong with the child and it wasn’t that at all it was that the child had been in the
stroller the majority of the time in fact all the time because the mother wanted they thought she thought that was the safest place for the child on the
street um and and covered as well so hadn’t been making eye contact so
socialization skills weren’t there either um it was it was that’s the mother thought she was doing the best
for this child right was doing a lot of harm for this child can you imagine those of us who have children have children now have grandchildren they’re
on the floor constantly getting into everything that’s what they need to be doing and to learn how to crawl and the like well before too long it was
incredible how within a few months he was running up and down the hall just bring tears to our eyes right and making
contact and smiling right and that’s what children should be doing that’s an extreme example but it’s what you know
we experience a lot of delays when the children come to us so the we have the
professionals there are able to work with with these kids in order to help them out of these situations help them
develop so of course there’s there’s the Pediatric C from our federally qualified Health Center uh but then there also the
psychologists I worked with these individuals on behavioral modification as an example right just getting at the
developmental needs then um come school age they go off to school they come to
us in the in after school so we have programs you were alluding to this mid um we have different programs after
school tutoring and mentoring and help with school with homework and the like we need volunteers for that right people
Summer Camps summer camps right summer camps the kids love the summer camps because there’s some Ed educational
component to it but also some fun activities as well so there’s so many
aspects to this therapeutic Child Care Center because we need holistically to work with the the kids and with the
parents a lot of these parents don’t know how to parent well and so working with them and and helping them to become
good parents as well that’s a that’s a big part of it it’s a lot that goes into I think in addition to that there’s also
so there’s a component of have you know allowing the children to thrive in a safe space right you know with dedicated
income passionate professionals we’re parents we know and then there’s the also the other component of a parent
who’s experiencing homelessness having a safe place to leave their children while
they’re working on gaining employment gaining um housing or working on any of
the other things that they need right that’s also that’s exactly right that’s right it allows the parents to do do
what they need to do yes and they they they know that they can the kids we’re caring for them so yeah there’s a lot
that goes into therapy and and it’s all supported through philanthropy that’s the key all through philanthropy there
is no other type of funding there right de what is your call to action for the
community how can they come together to affect effectively address this issue
well I think throughout the segment I think we’ve been we’ve been touching upon various ways of doing that right so
volunteering is so extremely important you know the the value of those hours um
and we always put a value on it each and every single year I think last year for 20 for 2023 the value added up to close
to $2 million think about that we wouldn’t have been able them I didn’t have an additional $2 million to from my
budget to be able to and and so these volunteers allowed us to do that up to serve those million meals we serve each
and every single year so so pH philanthropy is very important and volunteering I should say you know when
we think about giving there we talked about recurring giving and that’s very powerful Legacy giving is so very
important planned giving right individuals who want to leave their legacy behind in a significant way and
we have so many people come to us wanting to do just that right so that’s an aspect also so we work with them as
far as setting up their trusts and and the like and then um I mentioned the retail stores right that’s that’s a way
of getting involved you know no no no amount is too small and no amount is too
large right um I mean we mentioned St Teresa of Kata Villa and thank thank God
for Terry Caster um who gave us $10 million which was a philanthropic portion for that building um and so you
know it’s across the board and but but the point is two points here we need the
community right and philanthropy is to Life’s blood of the work that we do
right otherwise we wouldn’t be able to do it yeah and talking about meeting where you know meeting our clients where
they are we also will meet the community where they are if they don’t know how to
partner with us you know share their time I mentioned that earlier give us a call find us we’ll figure out you know
where the best fit is for that person you know Deacon talked about PL planned giving we’ve mentioned Estate Planning
and all of those things and there could be something that that person hadn’t even thought of that they’re able to do
now that can impact the organization for a long time come to the
gala if you can’t come to the gala you know there’s opportunities you could donate a silent auction item or a live
auction item as well there’s other ways to be involved but it would be great to see people there on May 18th at the US
Grant yeah and we have various events throughout the year I mean we have the golf tournament Eric is a great golfer
by the way so he he comes to to the golf tournament I do not golf but but but the
golf tournament is also something that happens typically about September time frame and when we have our our famous 5K
right oldest one of the longest running longest running and we over 7,000 people always
blessed 8,000 last year and it’s just a great time it’s Thanksgiving morning
great way to start the morning you know it’s a period of giving thanks you give thanks by showing your gratitude right
and for how blessed you are and that’s a great way of doing it so yeah speaking of events that’s just another
opportunity you know if you don’t have the funds you know to to kind of make donations that’s another way come
support any one of our events that we do uh we can also take volunteers at all of
our events as lunte that’s right that’s right yes it all adds up so yeah well
before we end the show I just want to hear what are your aspirations for the future of your involvement in Father CH
Villages and for our programs yeah well after being involved for years you know Deacon knows I uh I’m not going far you
know and there may be an opportunity to get back involved at a more significant level in the future as well so um I
think when you think about father Joe’s it’s um ultimately the mission is to end
homelessness one life at a time right and an ideal word we wouldn’t need almost programs right but that we don’t
live in an ideal world that’s not the reality the reality is it’s a continuing challenging and changing environment
right that um both the the leadership and the staff has and continues to step up to and the San Diego Community needs
to continue to step up to that as well so I plan to continue to stay involved with Father Joe’s and do what I can to
help support the cause thank you yeah adding to that is just really
um continuing to connect with the community and hopefully inspiring them to connect with Father Joe’s Villages
you know homelessness is something that we can’t escape you know at the moment like you said not a perfect worlds we
hear about it on the news every every night is something that impacts everyone in the community and so I’m hopeful for
the future that we’ll be able to hopefully not have as many services like you said we’re doing a lot more with
affordable housing so I’m looking forward to seeing that continue to grow and just inspiring the community um like
I mentioned before our philanthropic Community there are so many that already trust us and I feel like the more people
learn about father Joe’s Villages uh they too will learn why we are trusted
Source it’s in that’s right well to your point Eric there will be poor always
that’s a sad reality especially in a town like ours because it’s very expensive to live here the economics
that’s the number one reason people falling into homelessness to begin with right it’s the economics I don’t anticipate that’s going to change
anywhere but upward right and so as a result um my hope is my prayer is that
we’ll have a robust enough system and I just don’t I don’t just meet father those Villages but the community where
we’ll be able to catch individuals either before they fall into homelessness I mentioned how how
critically impactful to an individual it is when they fall onto the streets and how much more expensive it is for the
community so we if we can prevent that in the various ways of being able to do that so coming up with programs ail to
do that or once they fall on to the streets have a robust enough program where we have what it takes to help them
off the streets pro pro provide the services that they need Ser the comprehensive services and then get them
into housing at the end of the day that’s what breaks the cycle of homelessness so my prayer is that that
would that will be even get even better at that we as an organization and we as a community I think it’s important for
people to understand too this is really a challenge across the region of San Diego not just the city of San Diego you
know it’s it affects kind of all areas of our County it’s something that I’m hopeful that everybody no matter where
they are in the broader San Diego area feels called to to help and participate in absolutely thank you well thank you
for being on the show Eric and M Deon jim I’ve enjoyed I’ve enjoyed having the
two of you thank you absolutely thank you well you heard it here folks we are
in this we are committed and we would love it if you would join us homelessness is a human story and father
Joe’s Villages is more than a service provider we are a movement and a catalyst for change in our community
join us in our next episode will bring you more important issues and solutions as ultimately we are all United as
neighbors helping neighbors to learn more about our Gala and the children’s programs that it benefits visit Gala until next time how will you get involved join us and take
action for our neighbors in need father Joe’s Villages is rebuilding lives and you can make a difference whether it’s
through cash donations volunteering your time contributing hoods or clothing
shopping at our thrift stores or online or participating in plan giving there are numerous ways to get involved take
action today at because together we are all neighbors helping neighbors