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June 2017 Newsletter

Introducing Independence High School

Hands4Hope is excited to announce that Independence High School has joined the Hands4Hope Service Learning School Club Program! After meeting with Independence Principal Alison Gennai to solidify a plan, Executive Director Jennifer Bassett and Youth Development Program Coordinator Nicole Craine met with the Independence Hands4Hope Club for its first official meeting on April 7.

Gennai noted, “Our mission is to create a safe, healthy, and encouraging learning environment in which students feel empowered to re-awaken their potential and believe in their future. We strive to create a program where students ignite their self-esteem and begin to view themselves as capable and valuable community contributors.”

Concluding, “A service learning program like Hands4Hope can be a very powerful tool to help us on this mission. Independence students would greatly benefit from the opportunity to come together in such a way in which they can give back and make a difference. Such an experience will surely enhance their satisfaction in life and excitement about the future.”

For its first project, the Independence Club has decided to plant pumpkin seeds to grow into Halloween pumpkins for the youth at New Morning Youth & Family Services. They also decided to coordinate a small field trip to Placerville’s Upper Room to serve dinner to attendees which they carried out on May 16.

The Club’s youth participants, who joined for the remainder of the school year, and two adult leads, are working together to develop impactful projects that fill unmet needs in their community. The Club has elected a youth leadership team for next year who will continue to build their Hands4Hope Club at school and in the community.

Hands4Hope cannot wait to see where the Independence High School Club will go with their projects and service learning!

Outreach Highlights: Senior Center Crafts & Games

Once a month, a group of Hands4Hope youth and adult volunteers visit El Dorado Hills Senior Center to lead the residents in crafts and games. Anne Rhea, a regular adult lead for the outreach, described the event, “When we arrive at 3 p.m., it’s snack time, so the kids help the Senior Center staff serve the snack, then spend some time chatting with the seniors. After that, it’s time for some fun and games. Typically, one of the H4H kids is tasked with coming up with an activity that we can do with the seniors. Past visits have included finger painting, playing board games, and batting a large ball about with some foam noodles (this one seems like a very popular game).”

The Senior Center Outreach at EDH Senior Center occurs on the second Monday of each month from 3:00 to 4:00pm, and usually has about four to six youth and two adult volunteers. The youth are generally middle to high school aged.

Not only do Hands4Hope youth get the chance to lead activities and assist the activity staff, but, according to Rhea, something else happens when the volunteers interact with residents; cross-generational communication occurs, and youth and senior citizens come together through shared interests and hobbies. “Unlike some of the other outreaches that are geared towards providing basic human necessities like food and clothing, this more intimate outreach is about the kids spending face-to-face time with senior members of the El Dorado Hills community—talking with them and playing games [. . .] All the seniors we visit have various levels of dementia but, regardless, the kids figure out how to connect with them on a personal level. I think everyone involved gets something out of these visits,” Rhea explained. The outreach encourages sharing experiences that offer teachable moments to both the youth and senior center residents.

“I am awed by the compassion and caring the kids bring to this outreach,” Rhea explained in describing her impressions of Hands4Hope volunteers who regularly assist with the event. “One time a few months back, one of our volunteers was a shy-looking little girl. As we gathered before going into the activity room, I wondered if maybe she was too young for this kind of outreach where knowing how to interact with seniors with cognitive issues can be challenging. But she absolutely blew my mind when I saw her running one of the board games with four of the seniors. She was kind, patient, and joyful. You can’t ask for more from a volunteer.”

The Senior Center Crafts & Games Outreach is a regularly occurring event available every month to both youth and adult volunteers. If you are interested in learning more or getting involved with this outreach, please contact Yoko Kono at

Youth Recognition Dinner - Save the Date

June 23rd, 5 P.M. - 7 P.M.

Bridlewood Canyon

Clubhouse and Pool

El Dorado Hills


Sunday, July 3rd

Hands4Hope is running the KidsZone Area!

6PM - 9:30PM

Target West Parking Lot

Spanish-Speaking Translator Needed for School Supply Drive

August 14th, 3:30-7:00pm at Schnell Elementary School

If interested, please contact Nicole Craine at

High School Updates


The Ponderosa Hands4Hope Club recently completed a neighborhood toy blitz for Shriners Hospital in which they collected 147 of toys and games ($1400 worth of donations!). After collecting and counting the toys for distribution, the club visited and toured Shriners to deliver the donations and learn more about the organization. The club also hosted elections for next years’ leadership team, and has now wrapped up the club for the 2016/2017 school year.

Union Mine

The Union Mine Hands4Hope Club recently donated $133.38 to New Morning Youth & Family Services after completing a fundraiser at Chipotle. They also held elections in early May for a new leadership team, since all of this year’s leaders are graduating seniors.

The Union Mine Club wrapped up the year with a pizza party in which they brainstormed project ideas for the next school year and discussed what impacted them most from their year with Hands4Hope.

Oak Ridge Even

The Oak Ridge Even Club wrapped up its club year on May 9th, celebrating its successes with end-of-the-year pizza and donuts, and handing out Certificates of Completion to participants who finished at least 20 hours of service with Hands4Hope. The Club’s president, Madeline Simko, also presented a Club President’s Award to Chloe Simon for completing 180 hours of service in the 2016/2017 school year through her continued involvement with the Even Club and GVCC Kids’ Oasis.

Oak Ridge Odd

The Oak Ridge Odd Club’s Children’s Committee recently completed a project in which it donated Star Wars-themed toys to Shriner’s Hospital. For this project, the committee also had the opportunity to visit and tour Shriners and learn more about the organization and its operations.

As a whole, the Oak Ridge Odd Club completed the 2016/2017 year on May 2nd. After completing elections for next year’s leadership team, the Club held a celebratory party, complete with pizza and ice cream sandwiches.


The Folsom Club held elections for next year’s leadership team in the beginning of May. They then hosted their final meeting on May 10th, and celebrated their successes with pizza and ice cream sandwiches. The group is anticipating that many of their participants will return to Hands4Hope for the 2017/2018 year, and cannot wait to see the service projects that the club will create in the community.

Adult Volunteer Spotlight

Our spotlight is on Cathy Simko for this month’s newsletter! Cathy has been a great help to H4H this year through her participation as an adult lead for the Oak Ridge Even Club’s Women’s Committee, her presence as a representative at Parent Advisory Council Meetings, and continued support of Hands4Hope through her daughters’ involvement in the organization. Read on to learn more about Cathy’s experiences with H4H.

How long have you been participating with Hands4Hope?

I’m not quite sure. Maybe 3 years?

Why did you join Hands4Hope?

[My daughter] Madeline is the one who found Hands4Hope, and I became involved because I think it’s important to support your kids through the activities that they are involved with. Turns out, Hands4Hope is a pretty awesome group!

What outreaches do you usually volunteer with? Which do you enjoy the most?

To be honest, I volunteer wherever Madeline tells me to. I’ve volunteered at various outreaches and my favorite so far was the community cleanup day with Grace Network at Grace City.

What is your impression/experience with Hands4Hope youth?

It always impresses me how the youth are so willing to get involved in outreaches. I love seeing the impact the outreaches have on them as they volunteer in activities that are outside their normal life.

Overall, what has your experience been like since joining?

My impression and experience with H4H is based on the influence and impact it’s had on Madeline, which is immeasurable. H4H gave Madeline the opportunity to develop into a leader through participation in activities that she was interested in. I remember the first time Jen called Madeline to ask her to help out with something. I don’t remember what it was, but it had such an impact on Madeline; that there’s another adult out there besides her parents who believes she has talents and gifts to offer. And that’s what I love about H4H; that it recognizes youth can do extraordinary things if given the chance and support to succeed.

Outreach and Service Learning Opportunities

Please note:

  • Monthly outreaches are opened for participant registration two weeks prior to the event date

  • To register for an event, you must activate your annual registration, if you haven't already.

Beary Special Playdate at

Sacramento Children's Museum

Wednesday, June 14th

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

NEW! The museum is closed to the public and only open to children with autism and their caretaker. This event occurs on the 2nd Wednesdays of every month from 5-7pm. Looking for 4 high school volunteers to reset exhibits, assist at different stations/exhibits and interact with children and their families

**High School Students Welcome**

Explorability at Sacramento

Children's Museum

Sunday, June 4th & 18th

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

NEW! This is a program for children with special needs and their family and friends. This event occurs on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month from 10-11pm. Volunteers will help lead various stations, help set and reset exhibits, and interact with the children and their caretakers.

**High School Students Welcome**

Kidszone at White Rock Village

Every Friday, June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30th

3:30 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.Come join the young residents of White Rock Village playing ping pong, video games, board games, foosball, as well as various outdoor play. Volunteers will assist with supervision, encourage teamwork and cooperation, gain leadership and communication skills, and have fun!

**8th Grade and Older Welcome**

EDH Senior Center Crafts & Games

Monday, June 12th

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Volunteers will spend time socializing, helping with arts and craft activities, and playing games with seniors with various levels of dementia, at Ramona "Moni" Gilmore Senior Center in El Dorado Hills.

**All Ages Welcome**


Mercy Senior Dinner

Drop off Tuesday, June 20th

11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Donate food items to feed low income seniors at Mercy Creekview Housing.

You will receive volunteer credit for your items.

**All Ages Welcome**

Mercy Creekview Manor Senior Dinner

Wednesday, June 21

4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Come prepare and serve dinner for seniors. The volunteers will also help with crafts before dinner.

**All Ages Welcome**

GVCC Saturday Cafe

Saturday, June 10th & 24th

8:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Hands4Hope volunteers work the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month helping distribute food and run carts.

**All Ages Welcome**

GVCC Kids Oasis

Saturday, June 10th & 24th

8:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Hands4Hope volunteers work the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month, reading books, playing games and doing craft projects with the young children in the Kids’ Oasis. The Kids' Oasis provides a safe and fun place for the children to wait while their families shop for free groceries and clothing at the Saturday Cafe.

**Middle School and Up Welcome**

Buddy Night at Sacramento Metro Church of Christ

Friday, June 30th

6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

NEW! Come and be a buddy to children with special needs and their siblings for a few hours while their parents get some much needed time off. This event occurs on the last Friday of the month from 6:30-9pm. There is an option to arrive earlier between 5:30-6:30 if you would like to enjoy free dinner with some of the children! Volunteers will stick with one or more children throughout the night to assist with various activities.

**High School Students Welcome**

Hope House

Wednesday, June 5th

5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Hope House is a transitional home for women, dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness through empowerment, encouragement, and love. Hands4Hope volunteers mentor the children at Hope House while their moms are in meetings and education sessions.

**High School Students Welcome**

Click here to find out more information or to register for any of these events.

*Please note: Elementary aged participants must be accompanied by a registered parent or at all Hands4Hope outreach events.

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