Here are some highlights:
We hosted an afternoon with Chasten Buttigieg in January while he was in Palm Springs on behalf of his husband Pete’s then-presidential campaign. Chasten came to the house where he was given a tour, after which he spent more than an hour speaking with our residents. It was a wonderful discussion where he was asked questions about issues relevant to our residents’ experiences. First and foremost, they wanted to know about the kinds of supports a prospective Buttigieg presidency would offer young people growing up in the foster care system. Chasten made an immediate connection with our young people as he shared his own experience having been rejected by his family after coming out as gay in his late teens. His stories about having to fend for himself during his young adulthood resonated with them and it made them excited to be able to vote in their very first election!
All programs like Sanctuary that are licensed by the California Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing (CCL) are assigned a Licensing Program Analyst (LPA) who oversees the program, conducts site visits, reviews records, etc. CCL employs approximately 200 LPA’s throughout the state and for the first time they were required to attend a full day of training on the needs of LGBTQ foster youth. Sanctuary was tapped to deliver these trainings, which were held over the last few months in San Jose, Riverside, Sacramento, and Los Angeles counties. The state covered all related expenses. This was not only a vote of confidence in Sanctuary by our licensing entity, but it also spoke to the growing commitment of social service agencies throughout California to better address the needs of LGBTQ youth in care.
Sanctuary is proud to be a founding member of the newly formed Coachella Valley Coalition on Youth Experiencing Homelessness. This Coalition is designed to improve and expand services, referrals, and resources for youth who are homeless or who are at risk of homelessness throughout the Coachella Valley. The Coalition is comprised of several of our collaborative partner agencies throughout the area including Operation Safe House, Olive Crest, the Transgender Community Coalition, the College of the Desert, Coachella Valley Unified School District, Riverside County Department of Public Social Services and many others.
One of our residents recently transitioned out into the world just ahead of his 21st birthday. (Sanctuary is only licensed to serve young people until they turn 21.) This resident, who was not originally from Palm Springs, was with us for a year-and-a-half and had held down the same job for his entire stay with us. During his time with Sanctuary he learned life skills like cooking, doing laundry, and bicycle repair; he saved money, including establishing an employer-based 401K savings program; and he formed connections with local community members. He has decided to make Palm Springs his home for the foreseeable future so he can continue to go to work and live as an independent member of our community. We wish him all the best!
Lastly, in honor of the two original founders of Sanctuary Palm Springs, LD Thompson and David Rothmiller, along with the legions of local supporters they brought together to bring their dream of a safe sanctuary in Palm Springs for LGBTQ foster youth to life, we are thrilled to announce the addition of a Founders’ Page to the Sanctuary Palm Springs website. I invite you to take a look at this page where you can learn about LD and David’s journey to build the organization and see the long list of names of those whose dedication and commitment laid the foundation for all we are able to do to prepare our young adults to live happy and productive lives.
If your name is spelled incorrectly or is missing, please accept our apologies and contact firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest convenience and we'll be happy to make any necessary changes.
As always, we thank everyone in our loving and generous community for your continued support of our work to ensure the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQ transition age foster youth.
Rob Woronoff, MS Executive Director, Sanctuary Palm Springs