Sanctuary Palm Springs Newsletter April 2021 Dear Friend of Sanctuary Palm Springs, On behalf of the Sanctuary Palm Springs staff, residents, and board of directors, I am thrilled to announce that as of April 6th, 2021, Sanctuary has become a program of Oak Grove Center. We will soon make announcements about this merger to the larger community through press releases and outreach on social media, but as a valued, long-standing supporter of Sanctuary Palm Springs, I wanted you to be among the first to hear about this exciting development. More information about this exciting new development in Sanctuary's growth can be found in the text below or by clicking this link to a short video. Merging Sanctuary under the umbrella of a larger foster care agency that has cared for thousands of foster youth throughout Riverside County for more than 30 years will ensure Sanctuary’s ability to continue to provide transitional housing programming for LGBTQ+ transition-age foster youth for years to come. Being part of Oak Grove Center makes Sanctuary stronger and increases our capabilities to continue our mission to prepare LGBTQ+ foster youth for a happy, successful adulthood.
Nothing about Sanctuary’s mission to serve LGBTQ+ transition age foster youth will change. We will continue to operate our Transitional Housing Program (THP) for LGBTQ+ foster youth. The program will still be called Sanctuary Palm Springs. And we will continue to stay true to our mission to prepare LGBTQ+ foster youth for a stable independence once they leave our care. Sanctuary Palm Springs will simply operate as a program of Oak Grove Center under Oak Grove’s California Department of Social Service’s license within Oak Grove’s 501(c)(3) corporate structure. And rest assured—money raised from our supporters for Sanctuary’s programs will stay with Sanctuary. Merging Sanctuary with Oak Grove is a wonderful step for both organizations. The majority of Sanctuary’s staff will become employees of Oak Grove Center where they will receive health insurance and other benefits that we have not been able to provide. In fact, the only position that will be eliminated is my position as Sanctuary’s Executive Director and CEO. Without the need to dedicate so much of the funds we raise to cover administrative expenses, donations to Sanctuary Palm Springs will go directly to supporting its programs and residents. An Advisory Committee comprised of former Sanctuary board members will be assembled, and two members of Sanctuary’s board of directors will join Oak Grove’s governing board-- all to ensure that Sanctuary’s dedication and commitment to preparing LGBTQ+ foster youth for a happy, healthy, and productive adulthood will continue for many years to come. Sanctuary will become a part of an enormously influential human services treatment organization that will have the power to inform and improve the care that LGBTQ+ foster youth receive at the local, county, statewide, and national levels.
Sanctuary residents will have access to Oak Grove Center’s broad range of supportive programs and services including arts and music programs, their THRIVE Independent Living Skills Program (with which Sanctuary residents have participated since our inception 4 years ago), sports programming, and access to comprehensive behavioral health services. So this step is simply an expansion of the solid relationship that Sanctuary and Oak Grove Center have already established. Founded in 1989, Oak Grove Center is a nonprofit Residential, Education, and Treatment Center (with multiple campuses) for at-risk and special needs youth. Oak Grove’s mission is to rebuild the lives of at-risk children and their families through educating, healing, restoring relationships, building character, and instilling hope. Oak Grove Center has earned a unique combination of prized licenses and accreditations, including Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
“Oak Grove is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of ALL young people, including LGBTQ + youth, and we are eager to embrace Sanctuary Palm Springs and ensure the health and wellbeing of the youth Sanctuary was created to serve,” says Tammy Wilson, CEO of Oak Grove Center.
I have loved every single day of my two-and-a-half-year tenure as Sanctuary’s leader. Together with Sanctuary’s dedicated staff and board, and our legions of supporters like you in our wonderfully generous Palm Springs community, we have built a strong, stable, and effective program. But having worked in the non-profit sector for nearly 30 years, I am convinced that Sanctuary’s programming will only grow stronger, more stable, and more effective as a program of such an established and respected child welfare agency as Oak Grove Center. It is with a great deal of sadness that I step aside from managing Sanctuary Palm Springs’ day-to-day operations (though I will be staying on as a member of the Sanctuary Advisory Committee). But it is with tremendous joy that I hand this special program over to an organization that is so perfectly equipped to make sure that the vision of Sanctuary’s founders to prepare LGBTQ+ foster youth for a happy, healthy, and productive adulthood will live on well into the future. Like the foster youth we serve, Sanctuary’s programs need and deserve a good home. We believe Oak Grove Center will be that good home. None of what we have accomplished at Sanctuary could have been done without your support. It is my sincere hope that you will continue to support Sanctuary Palm Springs’ programming as it operates under its new parent organization.
With much gratitude,
Rob Woronoff, MS Executive Director, CEO Sanctuary Palm Springs