I hope that your New Year is off to a fantastic start! Thank you to those that were able to join us for our Holiday Party at the beautiful home of founding member, Pam Valinet. It was a great way to say farewell to this decade and come together as community members who care so deeply about Carlsbad.
Our grants committee is off to a fast start and have received 58 grant applications. They have reviewed them and will begin the site visit process after full proposal review.
I would like to also welcome our new members and member spotlight, Rocco and Jody Ciesco! And finally, please enjoy a grant impact story from past grantee, Interfaith Community Services.
As we enter our 13th year of grantmaking in the community, I want to give my sincerest thanks to all our members for their continued support and trust in our pooled philanthropy model. It is truly amazing to see our dollars in action. Together we can make more impact than alone. Cheers to 2020!
In a reversal of roles, Rocco and Jody Ciesco followed their children to Carlsbad. Originally from New England, the family moved to Rocklin – a suburb of Sacramento – in the summer of 1999. One by one, each of their three children called Carlsbad their home, so it was natural for Rocco and Jody to join them here in 2016.
After over 40 years in technology sales, Rocco decided it was time to give back and formed Vista Adventures – an organization that plans fun adventures to raise funds and awareness for worthy causes. He has organized climbs of Mount Whitney, white water trips, bike relays and paddle board marathons to support organizations such as the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Stand up for Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis Society and Stand Up for Kids. He is an active member of the Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary Club which gives him opportunities to get involved in the many great volunteer activities available in the area. Rocco tries to get out as often as he can to see live music – whether it’s a singer songwriter and a guitar, or the San Diego Symphony. He is also known for his “Hamburger Challenges”. Jody spent her career teaching Kindergarten and is currently a substitute teacher in the Carlsbad and San Marcos school system. She belongs to a neighborhood book club and is an active gardener. Both enjoy spending time with their kids and two grandchildren.
Supporting the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation was another easy decision for Rocco and Jody to make. They like the strong governance that the Foundation provides, as well as their affiliation with The San Diego Foundation. After attending a CCF informal mixer, Rocco discovered a group of like-minded people who wanted to give back to their community and have fun while doing it. Roco and Jody like the range of projects that the Foundation supports and plan to be active members in helping CCF have a positive impact on the lives of people who need a little boost.
The Carlsbad Charitable Foundation was proud to present a grant of $15,000 for the 2018-2019 grant cycle to Interfaith Community Services. This support benefitted Interfaith’s Carlsbad Family Self-Sufficiency Program which works closely with Carlsbad Unified School District staff, student support services and other community organizations. All of these programs have a strong commitment to improving and promoting the wellbeing of students and families within the Carlsbad Unified School District.
Through Interfaith’s Carlsbad Family Self-Sufficiency Program, low-income and homeless students and families are provided with access to wrap-around services to help improve their self-sufficiency. Families are connected to emergency aid, employment and educational development services, supportive services, access to clinical and behavioral health, housing support, emergency food, and support for school related expenses. Many of the families served by this program are youth who are enrolled in Interfaith’s Transitional Youth Academy at Carlsbad High School (CHS). The Transitional Youth Academy provides case management, intensive mentoring, leadership development, career training, and work experience placements to ensure high school graduation and college enrollment.
One of the individuals supported through this funding was Esperanza, who was a new student at CHS. After some personal and financial hardships in her family, Esperanza, her mother, and her younger sister made the decision to move to San Diego and start fresh. The move was difficult for Esperanza as she left behind family, friends and all the progress she had made in her high school’s nursing program. Her morale, motivation and grades were at an all-time low.
Esperanza was connected to Interfaith’s Transitional Youth Academy and her family received services through Interfaith’s Carlsbad Family Self-Sufficiency Program. Esperanza began to flourish once again and she was admitted into the CHS Academy – a competitive and rigorous program that allows senior year students to gain offsite workforce experience catered to their career interests while obtaining class credits. Esperanza shared that Interfaith’s programs have served as “a personal counselor, friend, and support system all in one.” Esperanza is looking forward to continuing her goal of enrolling in nursing school thanks to the support she has received.
Thank you to our CCF members for allowing us to support the amazing work of Interfaith Community Services and the lasting impact it is making in our community.