JULY 2016


The full scoop on our people, programs & progress

Dear Friends,
In honor of this month's Venice YouthBuild graduation, this newsletter features  the students who completed our education, job training, and leadership development program. These students have overcome many obstacles, personal and academic, for a better future for themselves and their families. We are so proud of the work of this year's graduating class and we look forward to the great things they will continue to do. VCH again congratulates the Venice YouthBuild Class of 2016! 

*Above photo courtesy of Jack Prichett 
Keep Up the Public Support for More Housing and Services in Venice!
VCH has long advocated for, and provided, permanent supportive housing, voluntary storage programs and 24-7 access to restrooms to end homelessness and provide temporary, compassionate resources for unhoused residents until there is housing for all.  VCH owns and operates 77 permanent supportive housing units in Venice, Mar Vista and Del Rey, home to those previously living on our streets, and operates a small-scale, volunteer-led storage program near the Venice Boardwalk.  These valuable resources are NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH to meet the needs of Venice and surrounding communities. 
There are three motions moving through the City Council process, introduced by Councilmember Bonin, that represent a significant next step in increasing solutions to homelessness within our community.  They include, as widely publicized, an amazing opportunity to provide permanent supportive housing at the parking lot on Venice and Pacific that also preserves the existing parking and ensures a community process so that the project serves multiple community needs.  Additionally, VCH's longstanding goal of expanding the voluntary storage program to the Westminster Senior Center is included in one motion and there is a motion to ensure adequate 24-7 access to restrooms, an initiative that addresses public health issues for everyone - housed and unhoused. 
Many of you have already weighed in with your support for one or all of these projects -- signing our petitions, sending emails, writing letters to the editor.  WE URGE YOU TO KEEP DOING SO!   While we firmly believe the majority of Venice residents and stakeholders embrace diversity and inclusiveness, and want to see true and tested solutions to homelessness in and around Venice, there are also some who do not share our goals - and they are not shy about making their views public.  So, throughout this public process, which often can take much longer than we'd like, continue to support Councilmember Bonin in achieving these three goals until they are realized.   Please keep sending emails to elected officials, post support messages on your social media, respond to VCH's calls for actions, write letters to the editor, and anything else you can think of that shows, publicly, the broad support for these initiatives.   You can also register your support directly on Councilmember Bonin's website.  Please email Angelica Orozco, VCH's Director of Policy and Programs, at aorozco@vchcorp.org if you'd like to get more actively involved.
Save the Date for Jazz @ Lincoln Place!


Save the date for the 24th annual Jazz!
We are proud to announce that this year's event has moved to a larger location but will still remain in Venice, true to our roots. We look forward to seeing you all on September 18th, 2016! Invitation and details to come...

To purchase tickets or a sponsorship package, please CLICK HERE.

Please contact Myrna Bohan via email or at (310)573-8407 with questions, to join the event committee, volunteer opportunities, or for additional sponsorsh
ip opportunities.  
YouthBuild Graduation- Celebrating the Class of 2016!
Thursday, July 17th marked the exciting and hard earned conclusion of Youthbuild's Class of 2016 students.  It was a wonderful night where the students were able to see the culmination of their hard work and were recognized for their success.  Of the twenty students that were accepted into this year's cycle, ten were able to fight through their various challenges to complete the program.  Their hard work and dedication were rewarded and they were recognized in front of family, friends, VCH staff and the many great organizations that have partnered with or supported YouthBuild and VCH. 

Marcus Hamm took home the Youth of the Year award for his consistent hard work, great attitude and near perfect attendance. He also received awards for his attendance as well as his award for Community Service and Leadership.  Sarah Buso was honored for being elected to the Young Leader's Council.  Gelleck "Mendy" Mendarava was honored for Outstanding Academic Achievement.  Valery Proa and this year's student speaker were both recognized for Personal Transformation.  Marquise Tittle and Salma Moreno received awards for Career Development as they balanced jobs and school for the entire duration of the program.  Jesus Velasquez was recognized as Most Improved in Academics and Excellence in Construction.   

This year's speaker was the wonderful and inspiring Shamell Bell, of Black Lives Matter. Ms. Bell spoke of her past academic struggles and how
her persistence and resiliency enabled her to succeed. She inspired the entire room with her experience in the BLM movement and how it translates to the challenges that the YouthBuild students face daily. She discussed the disparities faced and how change will affect everyone in the future.
"The Black Lives Matter movement is based on LOVE. It is our duty to fight. We cannot and should not keep BLM out of the conversation. Imagine what the world will look like when we have racial and social justice and equality."

YouthBuild's End of Year Transition Retreat

Once again, YouthBuild partnered with A1 Ventures for this year's Transition Retreat.  This year's retreat was a memorable and challenging trip to Cal State University of Northridge.  Upon their arrival at CSUN, the students took a tour of the campus and discussed their next steps in their transition from YouthBuild to the either professional pathways or continuing their education.  After the tour, the students enjoyed lunch and then participated in a career preparation workshop.  Each of the students participated in the final installment of their mock interviews. After all of that was done, the students were trained up on ropes safety and completed a four obstacle ropes course which was capped off by zip lining! All of the students had to face natural fear of heights to get through the course and were rewarded for their courage by getting to zip line down.  
Student Appreciaton Day at Knott's Berry Farm

The YouthBuild staff decided to surprise the students with a trip to Knott's Berry Farm. The students were told that they were headed to another service project to work with a YouthBuild partner and were pleasantly surprised when the van pulled up to Knott's. The day was filled with fun and thrills, riding the various roller coasters and rides throughout the day. 
YouthBuild's Outstanding Participant of 2016
This program year, participant Marcus Hamm stood out amongst his peers for his hard work, dedication, and leadership to receive the "Graduate of the Year" honors. From the beginning of orientation and throughout the program, Marcus had a positive attitude and kind, helping spirit. This translated to almost near perfect attendance the entire cycle and even finishing his diploma credits early. But he wasn't done then; he continued to work towards other programmatic benchmarks such as completing 450 hours of community service to earn his AmeriCorps Segal Education Scholarship Award and even tutoring his peers to help them reach their program goals as well. Marcus truly embodied our YouthBuild spirit of positive transformation, empowerment, and social justice. He did this through his daily attendance, work ethic, leadership, support and respect of his peers, relations with staff and community partners, and always carried himself professionally and with a smile. Given all the challenges that he and all the program participants endure prior to during YouthBuild, this is a testament to Marcus' strong determination and character and the importance of the YouthBuild Program. Along with Graduate of the Year honors and his $1,500 AmeriCorps Segal Education Scholarship, Marcus Hamm also earned his OSHA-10 and CPR/First Aid certifications, the Outstanding Attendance award, and now is preparing to transition into college. The program is proud and excited for Marcus and all the graduates!

It Takes a Village...

The YouthBuild staff is not solely responsible for the successes of our YouthBuild students. Many dedicated volunteers, such as David Borden, spend many hours at VCH tutoring students one-on-one.

David Borden, a retired LAUSD math coach, has been tutoring YouthBuild students for over 3 years. David has not only spent time with students, but also with the YouthBuild staff to develop a more engaging and useful math curriculum. David's favorite part of spending time with students is watching them develop not only academically, but seeing their confidence grow. He commends their motivation and dedication to the program and commitment to redirecting the trajectory of their lives.
We're Looking for the Class of 2017!

The program is currently recruiting for next year's class so please refer anyone you might know who can benefit from our program, or apply if you're interested. We hold information sessions every Tuesday at 11am at Venice Community Housing (720 Rose Ave). The program will start soon in September so please connect with us! For more information, please visit the Venice YouthBuild page.  

By Barbara Milliken
Otis College of Art and Design Incorporates TLC into Its Design Week  
Volunteers from Otis, Professor Julie Cho, visiting graphic design Professor Rob Van den Nieuwenhuizen (http://www.drawswords.com) and several students, visited VCH's Transitional Living Center in June.  Staff and residents were included in the events, including a public lecture displaying the work of the designers, a tour and review of TLC, a workshop to brainstorm and fashion useful tools for the residents and a final gathering at Otis to review the "results."  
            Otis and VCH are already visioning other projects for an ongoing relationship to use design to inspire and facilitate our work with clients.  
Rob Van den Nieuwenhuizen and teacher Julie Cho exploring and assessing TLC's communal spaces. Photo: Hector Torres, Otis MFA 1 student

Students Theresa Lieu (l) and Frankie Hamersma (r) experimenting with tools for children to create easy-to-use type to produce interesting results. Photo:Hector Torres

Photographer Jack Prichett Captures YouthBuild Graduation and Students   
Photographer Jack Prichett (http://www.jackprichettphotography.com), encapsulated and memorialized the YB graduation ceremony and festivities, July 14, 2016.  
            In addition, he posed each of the 9 graduates for both formal and informal [or goofy, if desired] portraits and made arragements to print these at the venue.  Students were then able to take these home afterwards.  This is the second graduation Jack has photographed, as well as countless other VCH events.  

Jack Prichett photographing featured Youthbuild 2016 Graduation speaker Shamell Bell of Black Lives Matter.
Director Rick Solis presenting awards to graduates. Photo:  Jack Prichett
Jack Prichett showing his portrait results to one of the YB graduates.

VDS Volunteers Wrap Their Ideas and Conclusions 
Without doubt the 2nd Venice Design Series was a huge winner for all: attendees, sponsors, donors and especially VCH, bringing in a record-setting amount for the organization.  As occurred after the inaugural VDS, a "wrap" gathering with VDS Committee members was held to review the various events and plans.
            Nancy Griffin hosted the pot luck event at her home and members, including co-founders Jay Griffith and Linda Lucks, celebrated their success and laid plans for next year's VDS, #3.  Not all members were able to attend and VCH thanks all on the Committee for their very hard and brilliant work.  http://venicedesignseries.org
VDS Committee Wrap Party attendees: Sheila Goldberg, Barbara Milliken, Jack Prichett, Becky Dennison, Nancy Griffin, Donna Mander, Sylvia Aroth, Linda Lucks, Tom Paris (l to r).  Kim Marshall and Jay Griffith present, not shown. Photo: Kim Marshall

 If you're interested in volunteering, learn more about
our volunteer opportunities by clicking
here and/or by contacting
Director of Operations, Paola Fontana at pfontana@vchcorp.org or (310)573-8397.
Until next month,



The mission of Venice Community Housing is to reduce homelessness, maximize affordable housing, empower residents, provide social services, and advocate for public policy that protects and strengthens the economic, racial and cultural diversity of Venice and other neighborhoods on the Westside of Los Angeles.

Support Our Donation Center

Open the 3rd Friday of every month

Our Donation Center is open to all low-income and homeless individuals for "Shop Day" every third Friday of the month. Please consider donating your gently used clothing, small household items, personal hygiene, and cleaning products to those in need.

*Please make sure clothing is gently used and washed prior to donation*

Upcoming Shop Days:
August 19
September 16
October 21

Please bring donations to our office located at 720 Rose Avenue in Venice, Mon - Fri 10am-2pm. 
Did you know...
Venice Community Housing has THE ONLY crisis shelter in Venice? The TLC houses 8 formerly homeless families while they get back on their feet.


Quick Links

Are you a registered voter?
Voting is one of the most important rights we have as citizens. Familiarize yourself with the ballot initiatives and the candidates.

For a voter registration card, please contact our office at (310)399-4100 x200.

Wish List

From linens to laptops, Venice Community Housing is always seeking donations for our residents and programs. Please visit our online wish list to see if you can meet any of our current needs!

Shop to Support VCH!

VCH always supports shopping local, however it isn't always possible. 

To support VCH through your Amazon purchases, simply go to http://smile.amazon.com/ and add Venice Community Housing Corporation as your charity of choice!
Dental Assistance Needed
We are in need of dental assistance for our residents who do not have dental insurance. If you are able to provide help or can refer someone who may be of assistance, please contact our Family & Community Services Director, Bridgett Bell at bridgett@vchcorp.org

Faces of VCH

Sandy Glore came to Venice YouthBuild in November of 2015 as the John Muir Charter School Teacher. As the YouthBuild Teacher, she most enjoys giving students an opportunity to have a new take and positive outlook on learning.

Originally from Long Beach, CA, Sandy is a SoCal girl through and through and enjoys reading and enjoying the sunshine. She most enjoys the beach and hiking, but nothing too crazy like climbing cliffs.

Prior to joining VCH, she was at another JMCS site in the Moreno Valley. Sandy has taught in many places, but her most notable was a teaching opportunity in Guam! Her favorite movies are Disney and Pixar animated films.
P: (310)399-4100 F: (310)399-1130
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