Interesting Info About BAHS
Two New Case Managers Take Key Positions at BAHS
Coni Serrano, a veteran social services employee (pictured above) has taken the reins at the Britton-Fuller Center following the resignation of Siedah Atherley. Ms. Serrano had joined BAHS three years ago following employment at a number of local and regional nonprofits.
Coni will be responsible for the case management duties for the BFC clients, day-to-day operation and maintenance of the building. Coni will report directly to Program Director Marianne Jackson.
Shannon Falk (See Picture in Employment Services) , has assumed the role of Case Manager for the Emergency Shelter. Under the direct supervision of the Program Manager, Shannon will be responsible for case management, report development and operation of the two shelter dormitories. Shannon will also share volunteer recruitment duties with Marianne Jackson, and teach the Employment Services class modules. Shannon is a MSW candidate at Walden University, and will be with us until at least February, 2018.
Executive Director's Message
My grandfather was a carpenter. I never knew him. But, in our basement we had a large wooden chest full of his old tools. Hand drills, mallets, mismatched chisel sets, and many I couldn't recognize because they were for a very special use or purpose. I used to open that trunk and try to imagine what I would build with this odd assortment of tools and gadgets.
In Junior High I was introduced to the wonderful world of what was then called "industrial arts". We would go weekly to the local public high school that had a "shop" and learn the basics of either car mechanics or woodworking. Naturally I chose the woodworking class.
I quickly became disillusioned when I was told that we wouldn't start with the complex tools, but rather with the basic skills of the hand tools. We learned the proper use and care of the hand saw, the screwdriver, and the hammer. I was frustrated because I wanted to work faster; I felt that I already knew the basics. It was not until the end of the school year, some eight months later, that we were allowed to actually work on, complete, and were graded on an actual "project".
Reflecting on that experience, I recognize that our very successful Employment Services Program (ESP) builds upon the same tried and true methodology. Many incoming clients have work experience, have successfully written resumes and have interviewed for employment. However, 90% of incoming adult clients enter Bay Area Homeless Services unemployed. Clearly there is a deficit that needs to be addressed.
Our ESP program works with each adult client to train, gain and maintain employment skills. We strengthen pre-employment skills with resume writing, critique and revision skills for particular jobs. Our staff works on presenting interview skills which are reinforced when community volunteers come twice monthly to conduct mock interviews. Feedback based on those interviews is shared with the client to strengthen any weak area, and support the strong skills. Finally, we continually stress the importance of maintaining employment as a means to long-term success on the road to financial stability.
Many clients feel that the ESP portion of their shelter stay was the most important. While they are grateful for the safety and security of the shelter, the skills learned in the ESP component are the ones that will lead to the most long-term stability and self-sufficiency.
By the way, if you have a few hours to spare we always welcome new mock interviewers. Call Marianne Jackson at 281-837-1654 for more details.
And please visit our “Current Needs” list on this website.
A successful nonprofit organization cannot thrive without a concerned, dynamic Board of Directors. When the Board fails, the nonprofit follows suit and often fails as well. Historically, boards fail because of a lack of involvement. This lack of involvement usually takes two paths. In the first instance, a nonprofit reaches out to "name recognized" board candidates. Usually, these high profile candidates have no ties to either the community or the mission of the non-profit. Their commitment to the nonprofit is solely their name value. In the second instance boards allow themselves to stagnate and treat board meetings as "business as usual".
One staff member recently commented that she had worked with other nonprofits and knew what problems grew out of Board apathy and lack of direction, she added "I'm grateful to be working here because I know that the Board is fully involved".
Board members also contribute their time by participating in random unannounced shelter visitations and serving on various subcommittees designed to strengthen the agency's long-term growth potential. They participated in a planned retreat last year designed to sharpen focus on growing the agency to meet our ever-increasing community need. As the results from that retreat were so positive, another was scheduled for February of this year.
Bay Area Homeless Services is fortunate because it is led by an experienced Board of Directors who do not fall into either of the categories listed above. They are, instead, primarily motivated by the mission of the organization, to assist people to become self-sufficient in these tough times. And, they are committed to the point of being true contributors to the cause. Each board member has contributed financially to the agency since the beginning of 2013, supporting our record-breaking "Mane Event" fundraiser, and greatly contributing to the much-needed Building Hope capital campaign which has led to our new (and beautiful) Brritton-Fuller Center for intact homeless families.
BAHS is fortunate to have this current group of community leaders serve on its board, and guide its future growth.