Empower Yolo’s recent Big Day of Giving campaign “Change Happens Here,” embodies the organization’s steadfast commitment to supporting survivors and families in need, enabling them to become independent, self-sufficient, and empowered.

Our community partnerships with organizations that support specific programs for Empower Yolo help us to be a safe haven, a place where change can happen. “We are truly grateful for our donors,” says Sonia Jimenez, Shelter Director, Empower Yolo. “We always want to acknowledge their generosity, and have a strong relationship with our donors; we want them to know they are valued and appreciated,” says Jimenez.

Some of the wonderful projects Empower Yolo is the beneficiary of are the following:

The Woodland Medical Group donated new playground equipment for Empower Yolo’s safe house. “The children love the play structure, which provides them with outdoor, physical activities in a safe space. This is an amazing donation that children at the safe house will enjoy for years to come,” says Jimenez.

The Rotary Club of Davis hosted its 23rd annual Big Gala raising funds to support Empower Yolo’s summer camp for the entire summer.

Empower Yolo’s Kids’ Camp offers an enriching 8-week program designed to provide daily enjoyable activities for children residing at the safe house. Integrating elements of fitness, wellness, and recreation, child advocates provide a diverse range of engaging programs, encompassing crafts, sports, outdoor pursuits, and exciting field trips. This camp not only aims to foster fun but also strives to instill essential life skills such as leadership, teamwork, friendship, communication, and responsibility in the youth. “These summer activities are so important to the families at the safe house because of safety concerns and limited resources the children are not able to participate in traditional camps. Empower Yolo’s Kids’ Camp bridges this gap, offering a warm, welcoming, and safe environment where children can thrive and gain new experiences in the summer,” says Jimenez

This past fall the Davis Sunrise and Woodland Sunrise Rotary Clubs joined together to support Empower Yolo’s Knights Landing Family Resource Center. The Rotary Clubs constructed a patio that is used to assist Empower Yolo in the distribution of food from the Yolo Food Bank. Approximately fifteen Rotarians joined in the two-day project, building about two hundred and fifty square feet of patio, using pavers.

Empower Yolo is also the beneficiary of ongoing support and projects from several organizations including:

Project Linus of Yolo County donates beautiful, handmade blankets for the children at Empower Yolo’s safe house and Bear clinic clients throughout the year. “These blankets are very special because we provide them for each child that comes to the safe house providing them warmth and comfort; the children can take the blankets with them when they leave the safe house,” says Jimenez

HOPE at UC Davis volunteers come once a week and plan an activity, such as vision boards, journaling, writing, and origami, with the children and adults at the safe house.

The Yolo County Library sends an activities coordinator once a week to the safe house who brings different art materials depending on the children’s interests and asks them what they would like to do for the next session. She also brings books for the children and adults and asks them if they would like any specific titles or types of books and when possible she brings them what they requested. “The children really look forward to these enriching, educational activities,” adds Jimenez.

We have several special donors that contribute to our backpack drive throughout the year including Woodland Haven Preschool, University Retirement Community, Pro Farm Group, NHORA Greater Sacramento, Yolo County Office of Education, and the Davis Police Department.

The backpack drive usually starts during the summer and continues throughout the fall. “We take backpacks and school supplies all year because we have children that come to the safe house starting new schools all year round; it’s nice for the children to receive new school supplies when they start school or are in a new environment,” says Jimenez. “Backpack donors are usually community businesses or individuals that have heard about Empower Yolo and what we do in the community, and they want to support the kids,” adds Jimenez.

The 3rd Thursday Humanitarian Day provides Empower Yolo bag lunches every month that advocates give out to unhoused clients. The group also donates beautiful hand-sewn toiletry bags filled with hygiene products. They made about 40 “Bathrooms to Go” last year for Empower Yolo’s clients.

Lastly, the Yolo Diaper Bank provides Empower Yolo families with all the diapers they request.

All of these wonderful projects help Empower Yolo better serve our clients. Empower Yolo supports survivors including victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, other crime victims, the unhoused, and families in need. Services include a 24-hour crisis line, safe shelter, legal advocacy, counseling, and support groups, CARE Team, housing services, food distribution, clothing closet, resource centers throughout Yolo County, benefits enrollment, immigration services, mobile medicine, After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens, youth services, financial empowerment services, free taxes, community outreach, prevention education, Empower Yoga, and so much more.

We are proud of the work we are accomplishing serving hundreds of clients across our programs. In 2023, 179 survivors of abuse, of which 79 were children received shelter or transitional housing for 10,413 bed nights.

Thank you to the community for its continuing support for Empower Yolo. We appreciate our community partners’ amazing contributions and we are thankful for all the donors that gave to our recent Big Day of Giving campaign. Your donations mean safe shelter, community programs for women and children, an escape from human trafficking, new playground equipment and summer camp for the children at the safe house, warm blankets, a fresh start, and a place for change for the most marginalized individuals in Yolo County.

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