If you were asked to fill an imaginary pot of gold with the things that were most valuable to you, what would you include? Children in our after-school program at West Gateway Place – many with parents who were displaced refugees – filled their construction paper pots with treasures such as their parents… and their homes. For residents at the Studios at Hotel Berry, that treasure might be nutritious food and a sense of community.
In fact, kids, students, families, seniors, and those living with special needs all across the state of California regularly participate in engaging activities like these as part of Jamboree’s REACH approach to customized services that enrich the lives of residents. As an acrostic, REACH focuses on five simple values that frame our services, designed specifically to help residents succeed in work and life. Here are some ways REACH is uniquely customized for our Northern California residents.
Residents at West Gateway Place gather together to celebrate Nauruz, the New Year celebration of Afghanistan, demonstrating the wonderful diversity in the ethnic fabric of Jamboree communities. For adults, our REACH approach provides specialized services such as job search and resume assistance, which were a critical turning point on Basira’s journey from immigrant, to battered wife, to Woman of the Year. To REACH kids and students, our programs include creative and educational opportunities with simple activities like games, or a movie with popcorn that can help normalize life for these children of refugees, many of whom have experienced serious trauma.
For residents at The Studios at Hotel Berry – single, sober, or senior – the REACH approach is designed to support their specific needs. A food locker provides food distribution that helps residents make healthy meals, and a Friday cooking class uses produce from the food locker for a hands-on approach to eating healthy and learning about nutrition. A healthy lifestyle also includes exercise, and thanks to a local Tai Chi instructor who volunteers his time, the slow, gentle movements help increase circulation and balance. Residents take ownership in creating a great place to live with their neighbors by participating in various support groups, attending monthly resident meetings, and volunteering .
Hotel Berry’s studio apartments mean every resident lives alone, so social programs and activities are especially important. Regular Bingo nights, arts and crafts activities, and birthday celebrations help residents stay socially connected, and active. These types of activities are integral in providing stability and integration for daily living. Curtis has lived a Hotel Berry for seven years, and his recovery journey has had its ups and downs, but he’s proud to mark another six months of sobriety. Here’s what he has to say about his life today: “I used to hide in my room doing nothing. Now I come out and go downstairs, I meet people; I talk to them. I go to 12-step meetings and I socialize in an emotional support group. I’ve been to arts and crafts and help people with food and cooking for them. My life has changed and I am doing very well, I am happy, life is good!”