WIGS is specifically organized to minimize overhead costs and unnecessary meetings. We recognize how busy our members are and want to maximize the use of their time while allowing them to direct how best to use the groups funds.
The WIGS Oversight Committee, consisting of both Founding and Sustaining members, is responsible for organizing an annual spring members’ luncheon at which the Executive Director of PHP presents the various programs. At the Annual Meeting Members vote on the programs they wish to support and the Oversight Committee compiles the votes as a basis for their funding recommendations to the PHP Board. The WIGS Oversight Committee acts as an advisory committee to the Board of Directors of People Helping People.*
* Although the expectation is that these recommendations will be followed, as required by law, it is the Board of PHP that makes the final allocation.
2019 Funding amounts and program allocations
In 2019, $26,000 was raised to support PHP programs. At the 2019 luncheon, WIGS members voted to fund the following five PHP programs at the designated levels:
|S.Y.V. High School Mentoring||50%||$13,000|
|Services to Seniors||33%||$8,667|
Description of Funded Programs
The Food Program operates biweekly at Mission Santa Ines and at Creekside Apartments in Los Alamos. A total of 375 families are currently enrolled. Approximately 150 families are regularly being served in Solvang and 125 in Los Alamos. Volunteers make deliveries to approximately 25 families that lack transportation and approximately 50 families pick up groceries at PHP’s Service Center in Solvang or the Buellton Sr. Center. Families receive between one-three bags of groceries based on family size. Each bag of groceries weighs 16-20 pounds. The Food Program distributes nearly 263,000 pounds of food per year. Food is purchased from the Santa Barbara County Food Bank, donated by the Food Bank or USDA, and donated locally. PHP staff enrolls applicants, orders food, arranges for its delivery, maintains inventory, and prepares required reports. Volunteers donate over 3,000 hours annually to unload, pack, distribute, and store food as well as clean up and deliver bags of groceries. PHP maintains a food pantry at its Service Center that is stocked with canned and dry goods for emergencies. In addition, PHP distributes food from Albertson’s “Fresh Rescue” program four days a week at its Solvang, Buellton and Santa Ynez Centers. This produces 13,500 pounds of donated food annually. PHP, in conjunction with Crossroads Church in Buellton and the Sr. Center in Los Alamos together with supplies from the Santa Barbara County Foodbank also conducts a monthly farmers’ market distribution (80 clients) in each location. Last fiscal year PHP served 1,003 unduplicated individuals. Clients must meet Federal annual income standards of $18,210 for a single and $44,130 for a family of five.
S.Y.V. High School Mentoring
For the past 17 years, our Youth Services Specialist has provided academic and life skills coaching and mentoring for “at risk” high school students, with the goal to help them reach their highest potential and graduate onto higher learning. With an average caseload of 52-60 students (1-on-1 mentoring) each year and an additional 60-70 drop-in students throughout the day, the Mentor monitors student achievement and advocates for them with school counselors, teachers, and administrators in order to address the “whole child.” Access to PHP’s support services are an added resource for these students. This program is a resounding success with a nearly 100% senior graduation rate per year.
Services to Seniors
According to the “Age Characteristics Report,” of the CA Public Policy Institute, Santa Barbara County is experiencing an increase in its senior population greater than the national average. 14% of the County population is seniors with the Santa Ynez Valley leading the way at 17%. The senior population is expected to increase by more than 50% within 20 years. According to the Elder Economic Security Index published by UCLA, high local rents require an annual income of $27,631 to cover basic expenses. Low income and disabled seniors consistently report food as their top need with 1 in 4 stating that they do not have enough to live on. PHP continues to experience high levels of requests from seniors for rental and utility support; advocacy assistance to respond to government inquiries or complete forms; and numerous additional inquiries for supportive services which include in-home care, palliative care, support and treatment for memory patients and counseling for isolation, depression, substance abuse and family issues. Many seniors have no family or other network of support and are most vulnerable to even small negative financial impacts which can cause a crisis and even homelessness.
The work done at “Pirates Cove” by PHP staff has touched many students. Here is the story of two such students, Luis Garfias (LG) and Juan Zepeda (JZ), collected in a Q & A with PHP C.E.O., Dean Palius.
When did you first make contact with PHP staff?
LG The very first time I made contact was in my sophomore year. These were casual encounters with the staff in be- tween recess and lunch.
JZ I was also a sophomore. I remember being in the L5 student center room and seeing the staff in their corner cubes.
Why did you make the contact?
JZ At first, I wanted to play on the foosball table in the room during recess and lunch. That is where Ricky (PHP staff) made contact with me and started to talk to me about college.
LG I considered the staff to be friendly. I found talking to Arcelia, Ramona or Ricky enjoyable. I also recall Arcelia taking a group of us to Santa Maria High School for workshops that helped students prepare for college applications.
What was the extent of PHP help?
JZ Throughout high school I talked to Arcelia and Ricky (PHP staff ) and they both helped a lot. The most impactful encounter was Arcelia taking a group of us to Santa Maria High School to an afterschool workshop on preparing for the SATs.
LG I considered PHP a great resource for support to continue with my educational growth. It was not only the safe space provided at L5 but the opportunity to bond with my classmates in these field trips in preparation for the SATs and college applications.
What was the immediate and long term impact of PHP support?
JZ I really did not notice it at the time but they started to grow the seed in me of attending a university one day. I do not think that seed would have started to grow without them. I feel I needed it back then. As a high school student you need to be constantly reminded to think about your future and not just the present.
LG One of the things that I started to realize at this stage in my education is that opportunities don’t come to your door and one must do whatever it takes to get out of your comfort zone and find these opportunities. Making connections with Ricky, Ramona and Arcelia not only allowed me to take advantage of the services offered by PHP at the high school, but also helped me practice for the next networking opportunities I would have in college.
What education and work has followed high school?
JZ I graduated in 2014 from California State University, Northridge with a B.S. in Computer Science. I have worked as an engineer in a number of companies including Truevision Systems, Sonos, J2 Global, and Raytheon.
LG I graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and participated in Engineers Without Borders. My career has included work at Trikke Tech, Procore Technologies, and Apeel Sciences.
Today, LG is married and LG and JZ are giving back to the community. Both agreed that “they have received so much help from many programs, professionals, and friends that it’s necessary to complete the loop.”Their biggest accomplish- ment to date is the formation (with two additional friends) of the Four Ingenieros Foundation (FIF) which provides educational assistance to underrepresented students who want to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. More information is available at their website www.fouringenierosfoundation.org.
Does PHP make an Impact?
We are proud and privileged to do the work we do at PHP. We believe that this story speaks volumes about the impact of our work on this generation and those that will follow!
Other PHP Programs
PHP is a unique multi-program organization and has 15 other programs in addition to those described above. PHP has developed a model delivery system integrating services for infants, children, and adults into a “one stop” shop with multiple neighborhood access points. PHP continues to meet clients’ basic needs while working to reduce those needs.
Programs and services are organized into 4 major categories:
Basic Needs – Food Distribution, Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing, Utility and Transportation assistance, and clothing and housewares vouchers
Health Care – Community Healthcare Access, Children’s and Adult Dental Funds, Mental Health Wellness and Counseling, and Insurance Enrollment
Children and Youth – Youth Coalition (Drug Free Youth), High School Mentoring, Generation Kindness and Drug Free Clubs, Student Life Skills Education (Drug Abuse Prevention)
Family & Individual Support – Domestic Violence Prevention, Child Abuse Prevention, Parent Education, Advocacy, Family and Individual Strengthening, and Christmas Fulfill-A-Wish
If you would like to find out more about PHP and its programs and services visit their extensive web site at www.syvphp.org.