September 24, 2012
By Allison Fletcher, President
After decades of advocating for and volunteering and partnering with organizations that focused on “Children at Risk,” which included a far reaching range of issues and projects, such as combating illiteracy among elementary school children, the Junior League of Oakland-East Bay, Inc. is pleased to announce its new impact area – Family Self-Sufficiency. We envision an East Bay where food, clothing, housing and jobs are plentiful—creating a community where families are self-sufficient and thrive.
In 2010, our Project Research and Development Committee embarked on an investigation of critical issues within Contra Costa and Alameda Counties in an effort to figure out the gap between the pressing community needs and the services currently available. The committee surveyed League members, talked to key community stakeholders, such as local law enforcement and Executive Directors of local non-profits, and conducted extensive research. Based on its findings, our membership selected Family Self-Sufficiency as our issue-based impact area.
We live in one of the most expensive communities in the United States and the cost of living in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties is staggering. A study conducted by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development found that the cost of living increased 19% for a family of four in both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties whereas wages only increased 2% in Contra Costa County and 4% in Alameda County. This is not helping sustain our communities. According to the Family Emergency Shelter Coalition in Hayward, in the course of a typical year, over 100 families with children will have to seek emergency shelter services.
So, how will we address Family Self-Sufficiency? In short, Our activities over the next 10 years or more, whether it is a volunteer shift with a local organization, training our members to become community leaders, or granting money from our Community Enrichment Fund, will focus on local issues around four guideposts: food, job, housing, and clothing. Not only do we plan to deliver critical services that meet the Oakland-East Bay community’s needs as well as its wants, but we strive to be the best by offering programs and activities at a level that surpasses those of other organizations with a similar focus.
It’s an exciting time in the history of the Junior League of Oakland-East Bay, and we look forward to sharing our initial successes with you this year! We invite you to visit our blog again soon!