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Public Notice for November 2017 MSHS Policy Council Meeting

Dear esteemed community members,

Please be advised that we are hosting our first regularly scheduled Policy Council meeting for Migrant Seasonal Head Start of the season. This meeting will be a video conference at our main offices with all 10 counties. All are welcome to attend.

*Please note these meetings are bilingual meetings, if any accommodations are needed we ask 24 hour notice prior to the meeting to ensure the best possible experience. Thank you.

public notice

Click here for the full agenda


Helping People, Changing Lives: Empowering Teens at Santa Maria High School

Project Teen Health participants at Santa Maria High School are advocating for healthier cafeteria food on campus!

Youth participants from CAPSLO's Project Teen Health (PTH) Club at Santa Maria High School submitted and were awarded a grant request from the Fund for Santa Barbara's Youth Making Change grant program to launch a school wellness intiative this past February.

Members of the Project Teen Health Club had improved their knowledge of healthy nutrition through participating in PTH programming, and felt the need to advocate for healthier food options in their school cafeteria based on what they had learned. Each month PTH Club Members hosted a booth with food samples providing education about different health topics such as Rethink Your Drink and MyPlate. They also posted motivational and educational messages about fitness in the bulletins and on posters around campus.

A new state law mandates that every public school have a wellness policy, and Santa Maria High School did not have one yet. PTH Club members educated their peers, created awareness about the law and recruited advocates to attend the district's first-ever Wellness Policy Meeting. With support from staff and their Youth Making Change grant, PTH Club students created a survey about the cafeteria food on campus and received 175 responses. They presented the results at Santa Maria Joint Union School District's inaugural Wellness Policy Committee meeting in front of a variety of school staff, community members, a school board member, and the district's assistant superintendent.

The survey found that 72% of the students reported eating regularly in the cafeteria. The top three words used to describe food served in the cafeteria: Nasty, OK, and Unhealthy. Students reported salads and sandwiches were "the best options" eaten in the cafeteria because they appear more "real" and they can be customized. The worst foods in the cafeteria? Nachos, popcorn shrimp, and fried fish. Changes students wanted to see included more fresh food cooked in the school kitchen, fresh fruit options such as watermelon, strawberries, and fruit cups, and a larger variety of food throughout the week.

Based on the results from the survey, PTH Club youth hope to provide nutrition facts on foods in the cafeteria so students can make more informed choices. They also reached out to the Food Services Director to share feedback and advocate for change. PTH Club will continue to review policy language and promote to students by giving other district high schools the school lunch survey, inviting them to report at the next meeting, and invite ASB officers to the next meeting. In addition, two PTH Club youth will be serving on their district's new Wellness Policy Committee.

While it is too soon to tell what institutional changes to cafeteria food might come from these efforts, the students involved with the PTH Club are empowered and will be able to transfer these new found presentation and advocacy skills on campus and throughout their community.


40 Prado - An Introduction

With nearly $2.9 million dollars raised, the capital campaign for the new homeless services center at 40 Prado Road is getting ready for its public launch! The center at 40 Prado will combine emergency shelter services and day services currently being provided at two locations – Maxine Lewis Shelter and Prado Day Center – and will also eliminate the need for overflow sheltering at local churches and synagogue. The center at 40 Prado will streamline current programs at a significant cost savings over time. Case management is the cornerstone of this innovative center, putting individuals and families on a path that will lead to self-sufficiency. First-time clients receive individualized plans, with a focus on permanent supportive housing

The following video, produced for 40Prado.org, offers a glimpse into who we serve and why we need the support of the community to help build the new center! The video closes with a call to text slohomeless to 51555. By participating, you will be provided with updates on the campaign's progress, including future opportunities to participate. Text messaging rates do apply and you may opt out at any time! Thank you for your support!


50 Years of Community Action: a Blast from the Past with SLO Grown

Album artwork for SLOGrown 2 with a cow on the coverCommunity Action staff have always been innovative and creative-- especially when it comes to stretching a modest budget to make the greatest impact possible or creating surprising collaborative partnerships across the community.

SLO Grown is an example of just such ingenuity! In the late 1970s, CAPSLO, then known as the Economic Opportunity Commission of San Luis Obispo County, created a community-based music competition and fundraiser. Local musicians composed and submitted original songs about San Luis Obispo and the winners were featured on locally recorded, produced, and pressed vinyl records that were sold to raise money to support program activities. Local graphic artists competed to be featured on the cover. SLO Grown #1 was co-produced by KZOZ and features a rare and original recording of a song by Alfred Yankovic-- better known as Weird Al!

Musician Louie Ortega with a guitar and a black hat

The first song on SLO Grown #2 is written and performed by Louie Ortega, a grammy-nominated artist and long time friend of Community Action who has contributed his time and talents for the Annual Afternoon of Epicurean Delights fundraiser, the California Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association Conference and the agency's 40th anniversary celebration at SLO Farmer's Market.

While it's hard to know how many records were sold or how much money was raised by SLO Grown, the memories and songs created by the project are priceless! CAPSLO recently tracked down the original vinyl recordings and is having them digitized so that they can be shared and enjoyed once again! Stay tuned for the re-release of these Community Action treasures-- a listening link and full album artwork will be shared soon!



"Cardboard Stories" is a film by Rethink Homelessness, a non-profit located in Central Florida that wants to change the way the world sees the homeless. Each of the homeless clients CAPSLO homeless services works with has a unique and often surprising story, too. Recently Heather, a CAPSLO Shelter Worker, reflected on the many clients who are employed yet still need shelter as they get back on their feet:

The cashier ringing up our groceries. The guy making our sandwiches during the lunch hour rush.  The bartender serving up drinks until 2 am. The bus driver making his rounds in the city.  The single mom sitting next to us in class at Cuesta College.

These are not the people that typically come to mind when we envision who the homeless in our community are, but the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter (MLM), at least for a brief time, has been home for each one of these hard working individuals.

Working while homeless brings its own set of challenges. One young adult, the bartender, gets to shelter after 3 am, less than 3 hours before lights at MLM come back on.  Another gentleman, the bus driver, wakes up at 4 am to start his early morning bus routes. They are fortunate enough to have jobs and a path out of homelessness, but working and using shelter services for showers, meals, a place to sleep, and support from staff as they work towards returning to a home of their own is not always easy. Shelter services run on a tight schedule, everyone contributes to the shelter upkeep through the completion of chores, and there is little privacy when you are sharing a dormitory with 49 other people.  At MLM, staff are constantly inspired by the hard work and perseverance clients exhibit while maintaining a job or staying in school.

Because homeless individuals and families that are served by MLM don't necessarily "look homeless," it can be easy to forget that many of the people navigating homelessness in the community will be homeless for three months or less and really just need temporary support while they get back on their feet and into a home of their own.  Every time a client no longer needs MLM services it is a victory hard won, and staff are so grateful to be a part of the path back to self-sufficiency.

You can make a difference for SLO County's homeless men, women, and children by making a donation to our summer fund drive for the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter, volunteering, or donating items off of our needs list:

  • Disposable plates (9"), bowls, hot and cold beverage cups, disposable forks, spoons, knives
  • Pens and markers
  • Trash bags and Ziploc bags
  • Plastic Wrap/aluminum foil
  • Bath towels (new or gently used)
  • Razors and shaving cream
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Hotel/travel size soap, shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste
  • First-Aid items
  • NEW socks and NEW underwear (men, women, and children)
  • Backpacks (new or gently used)
  • Earplugs

Donated items to Homeless Services can be delivered to the Prado Day Center (preferably between 2-4pm).

For more information about ways to get involved, please contact Bryn Smith at 805.544.4355 ext 175.

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