I, and everyone at Sanctuary Palm Springs, hope you continue to be well and safe as we all navigate our way through the new landscape of our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic. The pervasive spread of this virus has forced us all to make many changes in our lives and in our work. Sanctuary is no exception. In fact, as I reflect back over the last several months the word that represents the key to managing our way through this time is “Adaptability.” Like all organizations, Sanctuary has had to adapt to a new way of operating so that we are able to maintain our mission to prepare LGBTQ+ transition age foster youth for a happy, healthy, and productive adulthood. As I’ve discussed in recent Newsletters, the pandemic has forced us to seek the funding we need to operate from sources other than from the many events we typically held throughout the year. Thankfully, we’ve been able to secure funding from a number of foundations and of course, from our broad base of generous donors. But the adaptations we have made reach far beyond fundraising.
Like many of us, our young residents have had to drastically limit interpersonal contact. For young people who have been bounced around the foster care system from family to family and group home to group home, isolation can be especially debilitating. But thanks in large part to our dedicated staff; and to the personalized, consistent, individual therapy our residents receive from the treasure that is Dr. Jill Hingston, our youth continue to find ways to make connections. Those who have prioritized pursuing academic achievement have had to adapt to taking courses online. Our residents, like most young people, are extremely comfortable navigating the virtual world and so keeping up with their studies online is not especially daunting to them. But it has meant that they have even fewer opportunities to make new friends or even just to meet other people their age, as they were able to do when classes were help in person. But they have adapted.
And thanks to the generosity of our beloved Guardian Angel Denise Highiet, who established Sanctuary’s Ann Wilson Education Incentive Fund in the name of her deceased wife, two of our residents were able to receive financial compensation for completing their high school degrees. Since foster kids are moved and change schools so frequently, completing high school can be a much larger challenge than for other students. So this fund allows them to pursue their educational goals with a little less fear that they will not be able to save as much money as they would if they focused more on working than school. To donate directly to this program please click here http://weblink.donorperfect.com/2020AnnWilsonFund
Many of our residents do prioritize work over school, at least for the time they are with us, because they know that the more they are able to save, the easier their lives will be when we have to send them out into the world when they turn 21. But many of our residents’ jobs disappeared as the pandemic took hold. So once more we adapted. Our ever-resourceful Ellen Wolf was able to secure some funding from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous to help us pilot a new paid internship program. Obviously, many local businesses are struggling like never before and are not able to hire workers as they did before the pandemic. Our new internship program allows us to place our residents with local employers for an 8-week internship. The businesses get some free labor while our residents gain valuable work experience. And they also receive a stipend for their efforts thanks to this wonderfully generous donor whose support allowed us to find a creative solution to the employment challenges the pandemic presents. It’s a win/win situation for everyone. We will do our best to raise additional funds so that we are able to sustain this paid internship program well into the future as a permanent component of Sanctuary’s programming. To donate directly to this program please click here http://weblink.donorperfect.com/2020_Internship These are but a few examples of the ways in which our organization and the young people we serve are adapting to our new realities. And with the ongoing support of those who believe in our mission, we will continue to adapt and pivot and roll with the punches so that our youth will be able to leave our care armed with the skills, education, and resources they will need to make their way in the world.
Lastly, we are very excited to announce that the LGBT+ car club Great Autos of Yesteryear, which has supported Sanctuary through its annual car show in Cathedral City for the last two years, is once again making Sanctuary the beneficiary of this year’s online event called “Virtual Concours 2020”. Entrants will display photos of their classic cars on a special web site, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to Sanctuary. The Virtual Concours is open to all, so if you have a car you’d like to show off, visit their site and enter! Registration is open now, and the viewing and judging will take place November 13th, 14, and 15th. Full details at www.greatautos.org.