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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Local agency thriving with a little help from its friends


Last updated 9/14/2020 at 4:12am | View PDF

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Catholic Charities has been making monthly donations of non-perishable food items.

As many businesses, clubs and organizations face challenges due to the pandemic, a local non-profit is thriving due to a tremendous show of support from its friends in the community.

Shafter Healthy Start, which is operated by the Richland School District, has seen its coffers filled with the generosity of Shafter's business community and a multitude of residents who have stepped up in the midst of their own challenges to show support for the youth of Shafter.

The most recent gift came last week when the Shafter Kiwanis Club presented a check for$500 to the organization so it could purchase school items for At-Promise children. At-Promise is a program that helps disadvantaged youths by giving them positive reinforcement and opportunities. California lawmakers came up with the phrase at-promise to replace the term "at-risk."

During the school closure after the announcement by Governor Newsom in March, support poured in from the community. "Shafter Healthy Start is blessed to have a wonderful and caring community. As a family, we rise above challenges, even the covid-19, to help our families in need,"said Dr. Mayra Helo-Trevino, director of Shafter's Healthy Start.

Donations came from throughout the community, including Shafter Woman's Club, Shafter Rotary Club, GAF, Shafter Lions Club, churches, Kern County Network of Children, and Shafter Kiwanis. Numerous individuals also stepped up, including Craig and Debbie Haley, Phyllis Solko, Gloria Tapia, Melissa Bergen, Pastor Jim Neal and Cheryl Isaak. Shafter's Healthy Start continues to assist school administrators and staff by eliminating barriers that affect students' ability to learn by offering programs that help develop the child as a whole.

The Richland School District's leadership believes that a child's ability to learn is affected by social, emotional, health, and economic factors outside of the classroom. To ensure student success, the district established the Department of Student and Family Services. The department's priority is to assist and support teachers and administrators in eliminating barriers that are affecting student learning by developing and encouraging programs that address the whole child.

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Craig Haley of the Shafter Kiwanis presents Shafter Healthy Start with a check for $500.

Richland's Department of Student and Family Services is committed to developing, coordinating, and maintaining strong partnerships with local organizations and providing resources to Shafter citizens.

The department specializes in delivering services in the areas of transfers, child welfare and attendance, CHAMPS After School Program, Foster Youth, McKinney-Vento Youth, custody of student records, assistance with information on short-term independent study programs; the School Readiness Preschool, and school, community, county connections for families through the Shafter Healthy Start Family Resource Program.

With the support from local businesses, organizations and members of the community, Helo-Trevino said, Shafter's children are reaping the benefits even in this challenging time.


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