From the Directors’ Den:

It seems spring flew by so quickly and already summer is here! Finally a much needed break for
kids from the daily grind of school but also the potential for boredom to set in once the excitement of free time wears off. Some families will be taking vacations, others opting to stay close to home while kids attend a variety of summer camp possibilities in our community. We are proud to be joining the ranks of summer camp providers for the first time this July with our “Life Through Food” 2 week day camp. We are excited about the opportunity to work with 16 kids for the first time as we bear witness to Justin’s House becoming a reality. We are thankful for all of the inspiring professionals who have volunteered to participate in our program, sharing their talents and wisdom, and we believe these 10 days will impact lives in a positive way. Stay tuned everyone- great things are happening!

Please share your thoughts with us at kellyv@justinshouse.org.

Sincerely,
Kelly Villarreal
Executive Director

1st Annual Chili Cook Off – A Huge Success!

Over 200 enthusiastic chili eaters and makers supported Justin’s House on Sunday, April 24th at our first annual Chili Cook-Off. We are so grateful to the 13 teams who provided great tasting chili and fantastic spirit with their rockin’ decorations and costumes and to the many volunteers who handled everything from check in to the snack bar, music, and games areas. We couldn’t have done it without you! Bragging rights for our three categories of judging go to:

Best of Show (Decorations): Rocky’s Island Hut
People’s Choice: The Green Team
Judge’s Choice:
1st – Stand Up For Kids
2nd – The Adams Family
3rd – Hot Mammas

Most importantly, we are so thankful to you – our friends, family and community members who came out to spend the afternoon learning about the mission of Justin’s House while having a great time listening to music, talking with friends, and eating some delicious chili! The event had many goals – spread the word about Justin’s House, recruit volunteers and participants for our summer camp, and raise necessary funds for the camp and other programming. You helped us reach all three! The event raised just over $5,000.00 which will provide camp for over 15 kids and support throughout the school year. Thank you! We also raised awareness in the broader Santa Clara community with this great article from the Santa Clara Weekly.

Keep your eyes open for news of our next Chili Cook-Off scheduled for 2017.

House Chores:

To ensure the ability of Justin’s House to accomplish its mission, this quarter our work will focus on:

  • Development of a year long plan for our camp attendees: We want to continue to provide support to those kids who participate in our “Life Through Food” Camp. Currently, the Board is discussing a variety of ways to connect some of our talented volunteers with the kids on a monthly basis for meaningful programming for the kids we serve as well as their families.
  • Recruit new kids who need our support: As we share the mission of Justin’s House with more people and other organizations, the need to serve more kids for future programs continues to be evident. The JH Board is thoughtfully considering how much we can expand our outreach while providing meaningful support to those kids we are committed to for the 16-17 school year. If you have ideas on how to leverage our small Board and great volunteers, please share it with us.
  • Location of a Space: Although we are going to be using the space provided by Bill Wilson Center for this summer’s program, we are continuing to look for our very own space where we can provide support, guidance and connection. We are in need of a permanent space from which we can operate and it is our sincere hope that you will join us in our efforts to find and/or fund a location for this very exciting and vital program. Send us your thoughts…we would love to hear from you!

Upcoming Events:

Life Through Food – Summer Camp: It’s Here! Our very first program with kids!! On July 18th we will kick off our two-week program,”Life Through Food”. This two-week day camp will feature full day programming for 16 students building life skills, self awareness, decision making strategies and more all through working with food and innovative volunteers. To learn more about this great program, click here.

How You Can Help Fill the House:

  • Donate funds to help cover the costs of our Summer Camp
  • Donate supplies and equipment
  • Provide partnership leads
  • Offer leads on resources