An incredible 2019 for Generations United (GU) included twists and turns as well as divine surprises, sacrifices and a willingness to reach well beyond our comfort zone. Critical choices paid off in ways we never imagined as we partnered with more community members and organizations, got closer to new children and families as well as grew our staff and funding to new levels. Thank you to many who trusted in us as we met our changes and influx of families to reach into our community like never before.
January found us meeting with a new church partner: the Pastor of Redeemer Church in Redwood City joined me as I shared the challenging stories of the families in North Fair Oaks. Through tears we agreed that there was something we could do together. By March, we were dreaming of a summer camp for children displaced by the closures of four schools in Redwood City. So many of these precious families were heartbroken and there was only one thing we knew… we need to serve and honor them in a special way as they grieve the loss of their school community. Summer STEAM camp was already part of what we’ve offered over the years, but this was a newer (enhanced) model. Being on the beautiful Redeemer campus in June brought such dignity and joy to the families. We experienced community in a unique and special way with 120+ new volunteers from Redeemer, YMSL, and Street Code who served cross culturally with mothers in the kitchen preparing hot meals while offering whole family activities in a larger space. As we reminisce about this summer we are still brought to tears as we remember the lives that were impacted.
On the heels of a tremendous summer outreach, we headed right into the launch of a new school year. With the school closures we focused our efforts on developing new relationships while maintaining a presence where GU’s heartbeat lies, in North Fair Oaks. Formerly Fair Oaks school campus now has close to 1,000 students with 2 charter schools housed together. We began the school year with the intent of serving children on the campus, but found that in order for us to offer quality programming, while developing long term impact and relationships, we needed more space. Our surprise was when we took a risk and contacted a long time friend at a local church. Stewart Chapel AME Zion is the spot where our latest outreach center has been located since October 1st. It was no easy feat and we were thrust into planning and moving into a church we hoped would be blessed by some TLC with the smiles of 40 children. Just like Redeemer Church, a pastor opened his arms and church to a GU dream to serve children and families. This new location is just blocks from KIPP Excelencia and has brought such a confirmation of a dream to provide a safe place for those who live in fear, trauma, and pain. Please know that we’d love to have you come take a tour of any of our locations and see firsthand the beautiful families we serve.
The uneven wealth of the tech economy along with the spike in housing costs is causing systemic displacement. GU seeks to empower this community through our centers which provide academic and whole-family support. As we head into a new year and a new decade, I’m incredibly grateful for what is on the horizon. We are fortunate to have you consider joining the GU family as we remain committed to reach our city in love.
Our joy is to be on the forefront of serving the most vulnerable in our midst. May you find great joy in wrapping up 2019 and moving into a new decade. We hope you enjoy the holidays and will consider a generous investment in families. Our commitment remains to steward your finances well and see the lives of many transformed in Redwood City. We believe in the power of love. Please respond today with your generous and sacrificial financial support. Every year we have been fortunate to have generous donors who will allow for your gifts to be doubled! Our miracle challenge is for $100,000 that will be matched by 1/31/19. This is the biggest financial endeavor we have had, but know that we will accomplish this only with your help. As our work to serve women, children, and vulnerable and poor immigrants in our city is so important, we hope to be at the top of your year-end giving list.
This has sustained us and allowed us to witness first hand the beauty of a dream fulfilled by teaming with amazing people like yourselves. For this we are forever humbled and grateful. Thank you for standing with us and believing in us. Filled with gratitude and more determined than ever to launch full force into 2020 with a new vigor and focus.
– Angie Ibarra