El Monte District parole deliver presents to Chapman House parolees
By DAPO staff
Parole Agents were in the giving spirit as they delivered toys collected from the Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) El Monte District to the female parolees at Chapman House. Agents acknowledged the parolees’ efforts in receiving treatment, employment and education services at the residential treatment program.
El Monte District with the support of District Administrator (A) Melanie Reyes held a toy drive for the months of November and December benefiting the female parolee participants at Chapman House Inc. in Long Beach.
Parole Agent Supervisors Karen Reed and MaiLeng Street, as well as Gender Responsive Agent Michelle Victor and Parole Agent Jennifer Mauricio, hand-delivered the toys to the women at Chapman House so they could in turn give them to their children. The Parole staff delivered the gifts in style, wearing Santa hats. Ester Chapman, of Chapman House, and Program Director Jackie Catlin were elated to see DAPO agents showing their support for the female parolees and their efforts in making a long lasting positive change in their lives. It was an event full of smiles and cheers all around. Maintaining a sustainable relationship with DAPO and their community partners is vital to the success of DAPO’s mission to rehabilitate and re-integrate parolees back into our communities.
CAC staff become Secret Santa for 10 families
By Lt. Robert Barrett, AA/PIO
California City Correctional Facility
Staff at California City Correctional Facility (CAC) answered the call to help out several local families who otherwise could not put anything under the holiday trees for their loved ones. Working with local schools and churches, Community Resource Manager Rebecca Dennis found 10 families looking for and needing holiday assistance.
The following departments at CAC; Education, Medical, Health Care Custody, Records, Facilities A, B and C, In Service Training, Investigative Services Unit, Operations, Business Services and the Warden’s Suite, took in these families and treated them as if it was their own family. Information was gathered about the families and lists were organized. Slowly staff started to bring in unwrapped presents, food and goodies to take care of these families.
On Dec. 13, the first set of holiday cheer left the institution led by Facility Capt. Lee Coontz and staff members from Facility C. Upon their arrival to deliver the gifts, the family met the staff and was surprised and overwhelmed, as present after present filled their small living room. The family was very grateful for what had just been delivered and after a few pictures, the staff were headed back to the institution for the next group to deliver their gifts.
Over the next week, CAC’s Secret Santas delivered presents to their special families. One by one, the families came out, hugged and thanked them and expressed their gratitude. Some families had only a mattress and a couch inside their home but by the time we left, the home was filled with smiles, hope and cheer, a bed or two, a stocked pantry and plenty of gifts for everyone.
The last stop on the list was the Desert Jade Senior Community. CAC staff have been collecting winter items over the past month to help out the local seniors living in this community. Over 100 gift bags were filled with beanies, scarves, gloves, personal and dental hygiene items and delivered door to door. Food was donated to the seniors for a Christmas dinner to feed the residents who will not be traveling or otherwise would be alone during the holiday season.
LA Central, Mid City Parole Districts hold annual food and toy drive
By Douglas Broome, Parole Administrator
Photos by Jesus Sanchez, Parole Agent II Specialist
The holiday season is once again upon us and in a continuing effort to help spread joy and happiness to families in need, the Los Angeles Central and Mid City Parole Districts hosted its annual Food and Toy Drive on Dec. 21. This event has proven to be a highlight in both districts efforts to assist ex-offenders in being afforded second chance opportunities to successfully reintegrate back into the community.
Over the years, this event has been successful in bringing former and current Division of Adult Parole Managers, Supervisors, Agents, Support Staff together for a worthwhile cause, providing food and toys to families in need. This year’s event was no exception.
Over 80 families were provided food baskets, toys, and clothes. Several of the districts employees donated money to purchase the food baskets, toys, and refreshments for the event. Additionally, the Marine Toys for Tots Campaign was instrumental in donating toys. With their assistance, every child was able to have gifts to open on Christmas Day.
Harold Dennis, a retired Parole Agent II Specialist, once again assisted in donating money and with the purchasing of the food. He, along with other retired parole agents, purchased and transported the food to the Alameda Complex. Additionally, the Inglewood One Stop and the owners of the Alameda Complex supported this year’s event by donating their time and resources to assuring that each family’s holiday season would be joyous.
Santa Claus, Agent Kevin Riley, made an appearance which delighted the families and provided excitement for the children. The event provided an opportunity for families and children to take pictures with Santa Claus, enjoy refreshments, and have the chance at winning raffled items. With each year’s event, the hope is that life-long memories are created and shared.
For the district’s newer agents and recent academy graduates, the food and toy drive is an excellent example of the differences between working in the community, providing assistance to families, and the interaction between parolees and DAPO employees.
The annual Food and Toy Drive continues to be truly a special event for the staff, families and children who attend. The warmth and gratefulness of the families and expressions of joy and happiness on their children’s faces is truly a blessing.
SATF’s Project Santa benefits local children
By Lt. Kevin Huffman, AA/PIO
Substance Abuse Treatment Facility
For the past several years Project Santa has become a tradition at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (SATF). The annual gift-giving event focuses on providing Christmas gifts to children and teens within our local communities. This year alone, Project Santa donated a total of 218 Christmas gifts. Each season, Christmas trees of “hope” are placed throughout the institution with a tag noting the age and gender of a child. The children receiving the gifts are selected by local community schools and groups. Each year with their generous desire to give, staff selects a tag, or several tags, from the Christmas tree, and return with their gift in a gift bag. The gifts are then passed out by staff to various organizations. Lt. Tony Gonzales III said, “The employees who choose to participate make this giving event a success each and every year. The joy and expression the holiday season can bring a child brings warmth to the hearts of our employees.Being able to provide gifts to the Alpaugh Elementary School students is exciting and we look forward to next year.”
Folsom prison’s refurbished bikes go back to communities
By Lt. Jack Huey, AA/PIO
Folsom State Prison
For several years now, Folsom State Prison (FOL) and the Cameron Park Rotary Club have helped children, homeless, and others in need through the bicycle repair program. This year, the bicycle repair program was also fortunate enough to help some of the recent Camp Fire victims by donating 70 bikes. This year the program has produced an average of 58 restored bikes per month going to organizations such as Veterans at Mather, the homeless at Union Gospel, and to El Dorado County Probation. The program has become a Christmas tradition where hundreds of bicycles are donated during the holidays. On Dec. 18, a total of 325 bikes were picked up at FOL and distributed to New Morning Youth, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Powerhouse Ministries, Alameda County Probation (who distributed them to various other organizations), Green Valley School, Shingle Springs Montessori, Child Advocates of El Dorado, Eldorado County Office of Education, and Union Gospel who delivered 70 bicycles to the Camp Fire victims.
The Cameron Park Rotary Club sponsors the bicycle repair program at the FOL Minimum Support facility and assists by collecting bicycles that are donated or thrown away by the community as well as by donating new parts to the program. Bicycles and parts are then taken to the FOL bicycle shop and refurbished by inmate Mauricio Argueta, who works full time at the shop. Once restored, FOL and the Cameron Park Rotary give the bicycles back to those in need throughout the area. Any bicycles that are beyond repair are stripped of any usable parts and added to the institution’s metal recycling program.
On Dec. 18, Alameda Deputy Chief Probation Officer Marcus Dawal received 100 fully refurbished bicycles from FOL Warden Rick Hill. In total, the Probation Department received 140 bicycles from this project this year. The bicycles were given to deserving children throughout Alameda County through various organizations.
Wasco State Prison-Reception Center gives generously during holidays
By Lt. Martin Herrera, AA/PIO
Wasco State Prison-Reception Center
GIFT BASKET CONTEST –The spirit of Thanksgiving was in the air as the staff at Wasco State Prison-Reception Center (WSP-RC) again demonstrated their generous spirit as they participated in the Annual Thanksgiving Basket Decorating Contest. A collective effort of WSP-RC staff and local organizations such as CCPOA, CCWA, Knights of Columbus, and worked together in gathering and contributing food to fill 100 baskets for this year’s list of families provided from local community of Wasco schools, senior citizen organizations and Sheriff’s station. Each basket was filled with enough food to feed a family of four to six and included a gift card for a turkey or a ham. The families were surprised and most appreciative, many of them could not hold back the tears as they received their basket and responded with joyful hugs. “This is what Thanksgiving is all about, being thankful for what we have and sharing with others. We (WSP) enjoy giving back to this wonderful community,” said Warden John Sutton.
ALLENSWORTH THANKSGIVING – Each year, each year under the direction of Warden John Sutton, the staff at WSP-RC drive to the small town of Allensworth to serve a Thanksgiving meal to the students and residents. This small town, located 30 miles north of Bakersfield, has survived difficult economic times throughout the 20th century. Today the town of Allensworth is a National State Park and remains home to a handful of families who are in need. During Thanksgiving, WSP-RC purchases enough food to provide a meal to these families. This year about 200 students, staff and residents of the town attended the event and enjoyed the holiday meal which consisted of turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Every year the staff at WSP-RC look forward to taking part in serving this wonderful community.
TOY DRIVE – This holiday season, WSP-RC staff were busy spreading Christmas cheer as they assisted Santa in delivering gifts to about 230 children from the local and surrounding communities. Individual wish lists were collected from each child and provided to the institution by the school staff. It was all in a week’s work for Santa and his helpers as they dashed through the community delivering gifts to the many children who eagerly awaited his arrival. Visits were made to Sunrise Villa, Semitropic, Karl Clemens, Teresa Burke Orthopedic, Broadway Head Start and Allensworth elementary schools. In addition to the gifts, the staff assigned to Facility B, raised funds and purchased 111 Build-a-Bears which were donated to the many toddlers and infants who were in attendance with their parents. Warden John Sutton was on hand at every stop, supporting his staff and sharing in the excitement as the children ripped open their gifts. “We are thankful for the opportunity to give back to the people and children of this community. Seeing the joyful smiles on the faces of all the children is truly priceless,” said the Warden.
CCI staff help children during holidays
By Lt. Elias Garcia, AA/PIO
California Correctional Institution
California Correctional Institution (CCI) staff along with staff from Kern County Sheriff’s Office and Stallion Springs Police Department hosted children from the Jamison Children’s Center in Tehachapi. They were treated to pizza and treats as well as bowling and making crafts. The event capped off with the children selecting toys. The Jamison Children’s Center temporarily houses children who are taken into protective custody by law enforcement agencies or social workers. CCI has hosted and participated in this event for over 25 years. Lt. David Crounse said he has been doing this event for 21 years for the kids and is his way of giving back to the community. Events like this demonstrate the generosity and the giving nature of the employees of CCI. CCPOA Chapter President Jeff Medovtich and his board members, presented the Jamison Children’s Center with a check for $500. It’s these generous contributions of time and money that assure the needs of children at the Jamison Children’s Center are met. There were 12 children as guests of honor for an event at Woodward West where athletes put on a demonstration while the children cheered and watched with excitement.
CCC staff ring bells in charitable fundraising contest
By Lt. Charlene Billings, AA/PIO
California Correctional Center
On Monday, Dec. 3, California Correctional Center’s (CCC) Warden Suzanne Peery, staff and canine Raider were accompanied by Santa Claus as they competed with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Susanville Police Department (SPD) in the Battle of the Badges Bell Ringing contest. All local Law Enforcement staff stood outside local stores in 14-degree weather ringing bells, passing out candy canes, and bringing holiday cheer to all while collecting donations for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign.
The lively event included SPD staff singing songs from the movie “Grease” on a karaoke machine and dancing in the Susanville Supermarket IGA parking lot. Across town, local CHP staff performed a dance routine with the Lassen High School Grizzliettes Drill Team in front of Safeway while collecting donations. Meanwhile, CCC staff danced and sang Christmas Carols with canine Raider and Santa Claus in the Walmart parking lot, as they handed out candy canes and took pictures with families.
All agencies rang in the Christmas season with impromptu performances, wearing holiday sweaters, Santa hats, reindeer antlers, and Christmas light-up necklaces. Karen McDaniel from the Salvation Army and Aaron Duerksen from JDX Radio station broadcast the event live allowing each law enforcement agency to give community shout-outs to aid in helping them win the challenge.
This year, the three law enforcement agencies raised a total of $2,164 for the Salvation Army, $764 more than last year. This is just one of the many local charities law enforcement participate in throughout the year. Others include collecting toys for Toys for Tots, food and presents for local senior citizens, donating money to Holiday with a Hero and the High School Lending Locker.
This year SPD won the challenge, bringing in a whopping $1,039, CCC came in second place with $654, and CHP following up with $471. This event was a delight as it brought smiles to so many people within our community and our local law enforcement. All proceeds collected for the Red Kettle Campaign will fund the Salvation Army Social Services Program throughout the upcoming year and will be used to help the local Lassen County families in need.
SVSP staff gives gifts, feeds hungry, raises money
By Lt. Eduardo Mazariegos, AA/PIO
Salinas Valley State Prison
Cops Giving Tree – On Dec. 14, law enforcement organizations came together to give back to the community of Soledad, CA. The 9th annual Cops Giving Tree sponsored by the Soledad Police Department, Salinas Valley State Prison, the Correctional Training Facility, local school districts and various other sponsors hosted 87 local disadvantaged families. The families were welcomed with dinner and gifts. Over 650 people received dinner and Santa Claus was on hand to brighten the children’s Christmas with gifts. SVSP Warden T. Foss and CTF Warden C. Koenig were on hand with Soledad Police Chief E. Sills serving dinner and passing out presents. Staff and inmates from the SVSP and CTF donated over $2,000 and 90 new bicycles toward the event. Warden Foss said, Staff at SVSP are such giving people. I am proud to be part of this wonderful event.”
Salinas Valley State Prison Angel Tree – Since 1997, SVSP staff have donated gifts to children in need from our local communities. This year was no exception. Staff generously donated gifts to children from Soledad, Gonzales, and King City. These gifts were personally delivered by SVSP officers to the families in time for Christmas. The special gift, with the child’s name and age, is written on an angle card and placed on the Administration Christmas Tree. The gifts are chosen by the children themselves; many asking for clothing and shoes.
Second Annual SVSP Holiday Gift Basket Charity Fundraiser – SVSP staff participated in a silent auction of 11 holiday baskets, raising $2,700 for community charities.