Bakersfield CAMA Club takes on a worthy cause to help young adults
It was six long months of food sales, meetings and planning for the Bakersfield campus’ CAMA (Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting) Club to fulfill their goal of delivering 50 baskets of kitchen and household items to the local Covenant Community Services organization’s temporary housing residents.
Covenant Community Services is a Christian-based program that provides transitional housing, life skills education, mentoring and employment opportunities for foster youths 18-24 years old that have exited foster care.
Covenant has two transitional housing programs for foster youth. Building Blocks serves 18- to 21-year-olds and CHOICES THP Plus is a two-year program that has 50 young people enrolled, many of whom are living on their own for the first time.
“They picked this project and worked their little buns off to make this happen,” says Kimber Adyelotte, CAMA instructor and club advisor. “They had food sales every week to help these kids because nobody helps them.”
Months of food sales earned $850, which was used to buy items for the gift baskets. “We thought about the things our parents would have helped us with when we moved out on our own; things that young adults do not really think about as a need,” says Kimber.
25 laundry mop buckets contained soap, sponges, cleaners, mops and other cleaning supplies, while 25 kitchen baskets held such items as hangers, can openers, utensils, measuring cups, hand towels, pot holders and pasta strainers. “Some of these kids are starting out life with absolutely nothing,” says Kimber.
“To know that there is an organization out there that is fully dedicated to helping foster kids that have not been adopted, makes me feel good,” says Jody Crawford, CAMA Club president. “It was amazing and very fulfilling to help those kids out, and they were very appreciative.”
“The baskets provided for a huge need of necessities for former foster youth,” says Randy Martin, founder and CEO of Covenant Community Services and Covenant Coffee. Many of the students enrolled in their program also work at the Covenant Coffee shop or live in one of 12 units in the apartment complex nearby. Others are housed in other developments scattered throughout the city.
Costs to the young adults for single or shared housing is based on ability to pay and changes as young tenants gain higher-paying employment. Many are going to school part-time and welcome the support Covenant Community Services and Coffee provide.
“It (the cleaning supply basket) was really good. It helped me clean everything. It had a lot of good things in it – brand name stuff, not just Dollar Tree stuff,” says Adrian, who is in the Transitional Housing Program. “The scrub brush was especially useful.”
Some SJVC Bakersfield students had been in foster care and involved with the Covenant Coffee programs. “One of the Medical Assisting students was very impressed when we explained how we picked the items to go into the baskets,” says Jody. “She thought it was very thoughtful because the kids start out with nothing. She spoke from firsthand experience.”
“These baskets help prepare former foster youth for an independent life where they can learn cleaning skills and be successful,” says Balinda, a basket recipient who works at Covenant Coffee. “These type of projects help bring awareness to some of the issues former foster youth face.”
“Our mission is restoring lives and transforming generations,” says Randy, whose organization has over 120 youth participating in their programs on some level. “What those baskets really help us do is provide for a need and help our kids understand that there are other people in the community that care.”
Take a bow CAMA Club members: Jody Crawford, Kate Vanderford, Bethany McKanna, Nicole Hernandez, Destiny Salinas, Melissa Guillan, Martha Ocha, Maria Gomez and Asia Crouch.
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