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Acres of Hope

01/31/2009 04:00PM ● Published by Super Admin

Individuals without the benefit of residential shelter or related support often find themselves homeless. If homelessness is all but a   societal-given today, it is also what it has always been: largely preventable. Look no further than Acres of Hope. Headquartered in Applegate, this local nonprofit is working to address high recidivism rates among the area’s homeless population.

“We assist homeless mothers with children who have a sincere desire to address and overcome obstacles in their lives,” says Regina Sarmento, executive director and developer of the program. “Many homeless individuals cycle from one program to another with no permanent solution. We exist to break that cycle for women who are ready for the hard work that it takes.”
The mission is ambitious, but so is Acres of Hope. Since opening its doors nearly three years ago, the nonprofit has served more than 30 women and 62 children. Eighty-six percent of its former residents are living healthy lives and are still connected to Acres of Hope in various capacities. “Homelessness is only one aspect of a long line of issues [we address],” Sarmento says. “Our focus is on quality of life. Our goal is to provide a safe environment where trust can be established. We challenge the belief systems that drive behaviors.”

Through its work, the Acres of Hope team has identified three common denominators of why people continue in destructive cycles – a lack of healthy support systems, an unwillingness to seek help because it hurts, and not applying information previously learned. The organization responds to these core issues by teaching residents how to establish healthy relationships through mentorship and “real world” friendship; evaluating residents in 25 measurable areas, and helping to establish goals in each; monitoring their success; providing practical classes, and awarding completion certificates when new behaviors are adopted.

While statistics may prove the program’s overall effectiveness – 7,983 beds were filled last year; 23,949 meals were provided; 86 percent of former residents are now living outside the program clean and sober – there is far more compelling proof. Acres of Hope has also helped Child Protective Services close cases, and played a key role in reuniting five families.

So what’s next for this boundary-breaking nonprofit? The operation of a new secondhand boutique in Roseville called ReNew, the proceeds of which will benefit Acres of Hope, a new slate of relevant classes for 2009, and the organization’s annual fundraiser – Taste for Hope. The event, which will be held on March 14, 2009, at the Sunset Center in Rocklin, will include delicious fare from local restaurants, entertainment and a silent auction. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available.

If you are still wondering if it takes a village to make a difference, Sarmento says, “We have so many loyal supporters to honor for sustaining us. We want to thank them for the difference they make in their community.”

To explore volunteer opportunities with Acres of Hope, visit acresofhopeonline.org, or call 530-878-8030.

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