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CURRENT ISSUE:  October 17, 2011
VOL. 49, NO. 18   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
 
Survivor’s story draws attention
 
Parish training to aid those who grieve
Aid groups honored for social work
 

Organizations that provide assistance to students trying to be the first in their families to attend college, to seniors who rely on public transportation and to the fight against bedbugs are among the groups that were honored with local grants from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development at an Oct. 6 lunch.

Eight groups, including a project at St. Anthony Church in Oakland, received $4,000 or $5,000 presented as the local grants, while four groups, including Oakland Community Organizations, received larger checks, from $30,000 to $40,000 as national grant recipients.

The CCHD funds will be used to start a new project for young people in confirmation classes, conducting workshops on leadership development and community organizing. The goal is to establish a youth local organizing committee to work with Oakland Community Organizations.

Four of the eight local grants went to groups that are working with young people. The youth theme was loud and clear early at the awards luncheon, when the master of ceremonies, Yessenia Saucedo, introduced herself. “I am 17,” she said, “and I am an OCO leader.”

She told the gathering that a previous CCHD grant to Oakland Community Organizations had been used to help develop youth leaders, so “we won’t just have parents and the elderly to fight against injustice.”

Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone briefly addressed the group of social justice advocates and organizers.

“The work you do for justice is not just simply giving a material thing to needy people, or devising a program to help people get out of poverty but you act out of your faith,” the bishop said. “You invest yourself in your gift. It becomes a truly human encounter. You invest yourself and it becomes a moment of solidarity and that is the moment of grace, where we experience the power of faith and love.”

Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, a Los Angeles minister and organizer, offered support to the gathering, listing ways faith works in organizing. She also praised the work of the Catholic organization.

“Catholic Campaign for Human Development makes organizing possible at a time many other funders do not,” she said.

The grants are made possible by contributions to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development’s annual collection. This year’s collection will be on Nov. 20.

Among the organizations receiving local grants are:

• Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative. The Richmond agency that works to support the healthy development of children in families in the Iron Triangle will use its $4,000 grant to fund its new project, Higher Up! Forum of Higher Education for Families, a series of workshops to support families about to send a high school student to college — who will often be the first in the family to attend college.

• Community Resources for Independent Living. The Southern Alameda County peer-based disability organization will use its $5,000 grant for its Disability Action Network for Youth, which is run by youths with disabilities who educate youths about disabilities and its anti-bullying program.

• St. Anthony Church — Casa de Esperanza, Oakland. St. Anthony’s Church, in conjunction with Mary Help of Christians Church plans to use its $5,000 grant to help its 100 confirmation students become community leaders. Eight workshops on leadership development and community organizing (with OCO) and four workshops on basic economics are planned.

• United Seniors of Oakland and Alameda County. The advocacy group of and for seniors will use its $4,000 grant to organize more seniors to take part in actions to improve services for seniors.

• Michael Chaves Center for Economic Opportunity. The $5,000 grant will help fund a new co-op, Bedbug Home Services, to educate about and eradicate bedbugs in Contra Costa County’s Monument Corridor in Concord. Not only does this provide work for the cleaners, but getting rid of bedbugs can help keep students in school. Some schools send home students who have bedbug bites.

• South Hayward Parish. A $4,000 grant will help the Homeless Angels Jewelry Making and Art Project, which assist low-income people in creating income-producing art.

• Women’s Action to Gain Economic Security. WAGES helps develop housecleaning cooperatives that use green products. The $4,000 grant will help the new Natural Home Cleaning Contra Costa co-op expand its operations.

• Youth Spirit Artworks. The Berkeley interfaith art jobs and job-training program will use its $4,000 grant to help the young artists sell their work on weekends, at fairs and festivals, beyond its studio.

National grant recipients:

• Congregations Organizing for Renewal. A $30,000 grant will help continue the work of the Southern Alameda County group of religious congregations, schools and neighborhood groups.

• Genesis. The regional organization is focusing on health care and transportation issues received $35,000. It helped get $225 million in federal funds released to local bus companies. “$225 million of your money,” said Mahasin Abdul-Salaam, co-chair of the transportation task force.

• Oakland Community Organizations. A $35,000 grant for Oakland Community Organizations recent accomplishments, including spearheading the Yes on Measure BB campaign, which ensured $20 million in continued funding for violence intervention, community policing and fire prevention.

• Parent Voices of Oakland. As a half dozen members of the group stood at the podium, one said, “Imagine us in our blue T-shirts walking into the Capitol. They say, ‘Here they come again. ” The $45,000 grant will help the agency support low-income families in need of child care.

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