Author Archives: Danny

Finished at 50? One Man’s Journey From the Street to His Feet

By Kate Eberle

A company car pulls up in front of the Communitas office and a beaming, energetic 50-year-old man gets out. When he sees Jason Schlatter, the Executive Director, his face breaks into a grin. “Nice wheels, man!” Jason shakes his hand and claps him on the shoulder.

You’d never know it to look at him now, but Jim was homeless for almost a decade. A construction worker by trade, he fell into trouble shortly after achieving his associate’s degree, and the fees and interest on his school loans nearly tripled during the time he was incarcerated. When he was released, Jim quickly found himself on the street. He managed to secure a spot in a supportive housing program, just squeaking by on the odd construction jobs he picked up with his one asset: an old Dodge Ram pickup. But when the truck’s transmission went out, the $3,000 he was quoted for the repair might just as well have been $100,000. With no steady job and no way to get around to construction sites to find one, Jim wondered if this was it for him: finished at 50.

Through word of mouth, Jim found the Glendale Communitas Initiative, a nonprofit founded in 2014 to help people overcome poverty. His case manager, Priscila Vergara, helped him put together a personalized plan to get him back on his feet. Together they rewrote his resume and started his expungement process, renegotiated his school loans, and they found a promising job lead –– but it required a working truck. Jim got several quotes on the cost but couldn’t figure out how he could possibly pay for it.

Reviewing the quotes, the Communitas team noticed that one of them was from a shop next door. They walked over, talked with the owner, and his generosity and the help of a few local donors, the transmission was fixed. Jim interviewed several times and landed that job, which eventually came with a company car.

Jim is now living independently, with benefits for the first time in his life. After partnering with a volunteer certified financial planner, he is now debt-free and planning for retirement. Within 8 months of teaming up with Communitas he is now totally self-sufficient. Today he’s paying it forward, helping other homeless men and at-risk kids find their way off the streets. Far from finished at 50, Jim’s just getting started, “I finally feel I’m able to make it on my own.”

Jim’s story is just one of many local residents who’ve teamed up with Communitas to overcome poverty and get back on their feet. Last year, Communitas increased the monthly income of their program participants by an average of 123%! To learn more, visit them at

From the Executive Director

In March of 2015 we launched Communitas and our poverty recovery program. On behalf of the Board, Priscila, and myself I want to tell you how grateful and privileged we are to have worked with and come to know so many wonderful community partners. Through our combined services and outreach we’ve been able to advance the health and well being of our neighbors while simultaneously strengthening the bonds between agencies, churches, and the city as a whole. By doing good, together:

  • Communitas increased access to wages and income supports by an average of 74%
  • 50 immigrants received free legal seminars on working and residency
  • 1,325 people have been educated about Communitas and local services
  • Nearly 600 people received our service resource guides
  • Over 300 volunteer hours have been donated
  • We collaborate with 15 churches, 9 nonprofits, & several city departments
  • Over a dozen families and individuals are now moving out of poverty

From a mother whom we helped escape domestic violence and become independent: “If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have the courage to do this on my own. Having that support changed my whole situation around and made a big difference in my life.

A man who’d been homeless 4 years and is now working and living on his own: “Without Communitas I don’t think I’d be where I am today.

All that we accomplished since March 2015 we did working half time. You can imagine how much more good we could do if we had the funds to work full time! That would mean 20 more families getting on their feet or moving out of the homeless shelters.

In 2016, we are launching a monthly series of events out in the community to help people get jobs, handle money better, get healthier, and move forward. This means more free legal seminars, a fiscal literacy class, health assessments, and much more. We won’t be doing this alone. We continue to engage with the community across a number of platforms and with various partners: Glendale Library and Parks, Glendale Healthier Communities Coalition, CV Alliance, Healthy Start Collaborative, AEBG Consortium, Teen Night Out, and many others.

As we approach the close of the year, we ask you to make an investment in helping support those in our community who want to move up and out of poverty. During the month of December, every dollar you give online or mail to the address below will be matched by another donor, up to $5,000. This is a marvelous gift to Communitas and we need to make every dollar count between now and the end of the year.

The need is great. The model is working. Our participants and community is responding:

I finely feel that I will be able to make it on my own.

We invite you to join us on this initiative and thank you for your support of the ongoing success of Communitas as we continue Doing good, together!

Jason Schlatter
Executive Director

Glendale Communitas Initiative
350 N Glendale Ave, Ste. B265
Glendale, CA 91206

Glendale Youth Alliance is Now Accepting Applications!

The Glendale Youth Alliance (GYA) has embarked on the 2015-2016 Employer Incentive Program and is now accepting applications. To qualify, applicants must be between the ages of 18 to 24, NOT enrolled in school at the time of enrollment and meet other grant requirements. Applications can be found on the GYA website and offices located on the second floor of the Verdugo Jobs Center, 1255 S. Central Avenue, Glendale, CA 91204. Or you can download the application here.

In this program, participants are placed in paid jobs primarily in private businesses to gain the skills and experience needed to climb the career ladder within a company. The program pays for the initial 200 hours of work as an incentive for the employer to hire the young adults in long term, unsubsidized employment. Program enrollees partake in pre-employment training provided by GYA and a certificated skill training program designed to prepare youth to succeed in the workforce. For more information about this program, please visit or call (818) 937-8073.


Join Caesura Youth Orchestra Summer Camp!


Below is an open letter from the President of one of our community partners, Caesura Youth Orchestra. They’re hosting a summer music camp and there’s still time to register your child. Read below to learn more.

The Caesura Youth Orchestra (CYO) is just completing it’s first year of service to the Glendale community. Our pilot program this school year was with students at the Cerritos Elementary School in south Glendale. CYO provides free music education, free group lessons and free instruments to participating students. Students who stay with the program for three years are able to keep the instruments to enhance their musical experience for the rest of their life.

The first group of students, ages 9-12 years old began in the Fall with virtually no knowledge of music. While the school provides a teacher to come to the school one day each week, she must provide music to over 400 students during that day including some small instrumental groups. CYO provides an after school program four days each week for two hours each day. The students initially learn to care for instruments and how to read music with a recorder. During the last month they have been introduced to an instrument of their choice of a clarinet, saxophone, flute or violin.

Many of these instruments were donated by members of the community and refurbished. In addition to learning music, the students learn the importance of team building by helping each other in learning music and in performances in class and in public.


The first CYO Summer Music Camp will be held at the Roosevelt Middle School from June 8-July 10. Participating students will come to the school from 9 AM to 1 PM Monday through Friday. They will be given music education, sectional rehearsals and workshops, full ensemble rehearsal and lunch each day. The Summer Music Camp will conclude with a public performance at Roosevelt Middle School, 222 E Acacia Avenue on Friday, July 10 at 7 PM. Students in the art class at Cerritos will be providing an art exhibit at the performance.

Community members are providing support for the CYO students by providing a scholarship allowing them to attend at no cost. We are grateful to the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Oakwood Financial Management and individuals for their support.

Other students wishing to attend the Summer Music Camp may contact Dave Ferguson, CYO President for an application and fee information. Please visit our website for more information about the Caesura Youth Orchestra,

Dave Ferguson

Chicago gave hundreds of high-risk kids a summer job. Violent crime arrests plummeted.

This article comes to us from The Washington Post. Beyond a reactive solution to teen crime rates it touches upon using prevention to address not only crime but health and education. The article is posted here in its entirety without further comment.

In a year full of distressing stories — especially about race, crime and violence in urban neighborhoods — this one points to some hope. Earlier this December, we covered a summer jobs program in Chicago that appeared to lead to fewer teenage arrests for violent crime. Our original story, republished below, also reminds us that policy solutions are possible — and possibly even inexpensive.

A couple of years ago, the city of Chicago started a summer jobs program for teenagers attending high schools in some of the city’s high-crime, low-income neighborhoods. The program was meant, of course, to connect students to work. But officials also hoped that it might curb the kinds of problems — like higher crime — that arise when there’s no work to be found.

Research on the program conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Laband just published in the journal Science suggests that these summer jobs have actually had such an effect: Students who were randomly assigned to participate in the program had 43 percent fewer violent-crime arrests over 16 months, compared to students in a control group.

That number is striking for a couple of reasons: It implies that a relatively short (and inexpensive) intervention like an eight-week summer jobs program can have a lasting effect on teenage behavior. And it lends empirical support to a popular refrain by advocates: “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.”

Researcher Sara Heller conducted a randomized control trial with the program, in partnership with the city. The study included 1,634 teens at 13 high schools. They were, on average, C students, almost all of them eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Twenty percent of the group had already been arrested, and 20 percent had already been victims of crime.

Some of the students were given part-time jobs through the program, working 25 hours a week at minimum wage ($8.25 in Illinois) with government or non-profit employers. They worked as camp counselors, office assistants, or in community gardens, among other places. Other students in the treatment group worked 15 hours a week at similar jobs, but also received 10 hours a week of “social-emotional learning” time, where they learned skills to manage their emotions or behavior that might get in the way of employment. All of the students in the program received mentors as well. The teenagers in the control group participated in neither part of the program.

Heller used Chicago Police Department data to follow what happened to all of the students in the 16 months after the program began. In the crime data, there was no difference between the students who got the counseling and those who did not, suggesting that the group working 25 hours a week may have acquired some of the same social-emotional skills on the job. There was a big difference, though, in the violent crime arrest data between the teenagers who got jobs and those who did not:

Summer jobs reduce violence among disadvantaged youth” by S. Heller in Science

A lot of things could be going on here. Teenagers who might have committed crime to get money would no longer need to when they have a job. If their added income allowed parents to work less, they may also have gotten more adult supervision. It’s also possible that students who were busy working simply didn’t have idle time over the summer to commit crime — but that theory doesn’t explain the long-term declines in violent arrests that occurred well after the summer program was over.

Heller, in fact, found that most of the decline came a few months later:


That long-term benefit suggests that students who had access to jobs may have then found crime a less attractive alternative to work. Or perhaps their time on the job taught them how the labor market values education. Or maybe the work experience may have given them skills that enabled them to be more successful — and less prone to getting in trouble — back in school.

This one study can’t identify exactly why a summer jobs program might change the trajectory of teens at risk of becoming violent. It also raises the possibility that teenagers with summer jobs might have more money to spend on drugs (drug arrests for the treatment group were slightly higher than for the control). These results do suggest that cities could get a lot of payoff for the minimal cost of a summer-jobs program — particularly if it targets teens before they drop out of school. As Heller writes:

The results echo a common conclusion in education and health research: that public programs might do more with less by shifting from remediation to prevention. The findings make clear that such programs need not be hugely costly to improve outcomes for disadvantaged youth; well-targeted, low-cost employment policies can make a substantial difference, even for a problem as destructive and complex as youth violence.

Emily Badger is a reporter for Wonkblog covering urban policy. She was previously a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities.

Diabesity Community Engagement Project – UniHealth Population Health

Glendale Adventist Medical Center- January 2015 – December 2017

Prevention screening is effective and consistently recommended in many hospital guidelines to improve the community overall health status. UniHealth grant has funded Diabesity (diabetes and obesity) Community Engagement Project to screen 3,000 at risk community participants by December 2017. The multipronged screening program meets five health- related needs in addressing three priorities (reducing overweight, obesity, diabetes prevalence) identified in the Glendale Service Area Community Health Needs Assessment. 35 % of the Glendale Adventist Medical Center (GAMC) Service Planning Area 2 and 4 over 18 are overweight. Higher than LA County, this prevalence can result to increased risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and other chronic disease. Over 8.6 % of GAMC service area are diabetic, and increasing, of which over half are untreated. Diabetes is a serious co- morbidity disease leading to heart and kidney disease, stroke amputation, blindness and even death. GAMC’s support to access current levels of chronic disease, screen the community and improve chronic disease management health outcomes, let alone improve the community/ patients quality of life, correlates to a decrease in Glendale’s  hospitalization rate for uncontrolled diabetes, currently greater than California. Furthermore, diabetes hospitalization rates are higher among medically underserved areas of Glendale compared to the state.

Each screening takes approximately between 10-15 minutes at collaborating faith-based organizations, for and non-profit organizations, employers, parks and recreational sites. The screenings entail two paper assessments (11 questions for Diabetes and 19 questions for Cardiovascular Risk) and a brief participant information assessment. 2-3 Clinical Care Extender and Nursing residents join to answer immediate questions to aid each participant. Additionally, a Family Practice resident is on site to take blood pressure checks and answer specific clinical questions. Soon comprehensive testing including: HbA1c blood, vision (titmus), spirometry, glaucoma screening, rapid cholesterol and glucose (random), and body fat composition. Plenty of education material and resources are provided at each outreach event including referral to best practice Stanford Diabetes self-management training in a 12 six-week session program offered in Armenian and Spanish.

Barriers such as patient refusal, forgetfulness, culture, language, social economic status or simply lack of time, can all lead to missed opportunities for critical prevention and early detection. To reduce barriers, capture prevalent lower income, and uninsured populations residing in the area, on-site screenings not only facilitates the community to conveniently engage in comprehensive screenings, but also compliments urgent and acute services. The program has partnered with Covered California to provide access to the uninsured community members.

Motivating public to actively “Own their Health” in the community, rather than stigmatize individuals with awareness of disease, DCEP has partnered with local FQHC All for Health, Health for All primary care clinics. In effect, engaged participants will be referred to a primary physician to retain ongoing access self-management tools, extend healthcare needs, increasing compliance, improve patient tracking, and referral tracking, ultimately providing a medical home for patients. Additionally, DCEP has partnered with GAMC Cardiovascular and Heart Institute, offering at risk patients to further CVD counseling and referral to specialists. In conjunction with GAMC new mobile van, DCEP has partnered with Occupational Medicine to engage community employers and businesses. An employee wellness initiative will build on Adventists Health existing program to incentivize healthier workplaces.

Welcoming over 100 partners, Glendale Healthier Community Coalition has collaborated to extend non-profit involvement. Lastly, Health Interoperability Exchange is developing to share a common IT Platform to monitor population health data to continuously assess early disease detection.

How to Get Your Worker’s Permit – Habla Con Abogado Sobre Permiso De Trabajar


What: A free information session on How to Get Your Worker’s Permit based of the new executive order announced by President Obama this past November 20, 2014. Learn about the two new orders that provide assistance to immigrants, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of American citizens and residents (DAPA). Also, find out about the qualifications to apply for your permit, deferred action and what the government requests when submitting the application. This session will be presented by immigration attorney, Samuel Baumer, who speaks Spanish, and who will be happy to answer any questions.

We will also discuss the recent injunction by the U.S. District Court in Texas, which intends to stop the implementation of extended DACA and DAPA. We hope to see you at this event.

When: March 29, 2015 at
Time: 2PM
Where Iglesia Dios Restaura
360 W. Windsor Rd.
Glendale, CA 91204
Contact Number: 213-482-9363, ask for Gaby


Para: Una sesión informativa gratis, sobre la orden ejecutiva que anuncio el Presidente Obama el pasado Noviembre 20, 2014. Aprende sobre la acción diferida para estudiantes (DACA), este acto es para personas que vinieron de ninos y ahora pueden obtener autorizacion de trabajo y la acción deferida para padres de ciudadanos y residentes americanos (DAPA), este acto ayuda a padres que tienen hijos que son ciudadanos agarar permiso de trabajo y alivio temporal de la deportacion. También entérate de cuáles son los requisitos para aplicar y que requiere el gobierno para someter la aplicación para acción deferida. Esta sesión será presentada por el abogado de inmigración, Samuel Baumer, quien habla español, y tendrá gusto de contestar todas tus preguntas..

Hablaremos sobre los recientes acontecimientos del tribunal de distrito en Texas, que intenta parar la implementación del DACA extendido y DAPA. Esperamos contar con tu presencia.

Cuando: Marzo 29, 2015
Hora: 2PM
Donde: Iglesia Dios Restaura
360 W. Windsor Rd.
Glendale, CA 91204
Numero de Contacto: 213-482-9363, pregunta por Gaby

Register for Mentor Orientations in March and April


Mentorship is a shared opportunity for learning and growth. At some point in our past we’ve encountered someone that has made a difference in our lives – Someone who inspired us to reach higher and do better, someone who provided a different perspective or taught us lesson, or was just willing to be there and stand by our side. In order to provide the participants in our Economic Stability Program the best chance of success, each family member aged 12 and above is partnered with an adult mentor. For 1-2 hours a week, mentors will stand shoulder to shoulder with their family member and provide the enthusiasm, coaching, encouragement, and support in helping them achieve their goals.

MENTOR ORIENTATIONS – Locations and Times

Pacific Park
501 S Pacific Ave, Glendale, 91204
March 14th & April 25th 10AM
Maple Park
820 E Maple St., Glendale, 91205
March 28th & April 11th 10AM

The #1 job for our Mentors is to BE THERE, by providing support and encouragement. Other skill sets are also useful in being a mentor. Mentor teams need people supporting in the following areas:

  • Home economics, budgeting, long-term planning – for one or both parents
  • Tutoring and coaching for kids and teens – for each child aged 12 and older
  • Life skills and special events / parental breaks – for one or both parents

Each group of mentors will connect with the case manager to discuss progress, problems, and possibilities for improvement regularly. Mentors are a very important part of our team and efforts. As such we provide training, resources, and a dedicated case manager to support you.

Core qualifications for becoming a mentor:

  1. Be at least 21 years of age
  2. Commit to serve as a mentor for one family member for a minimum of 1-2 hours a week for 12 months
  3. Pass a Live Scan background check


Glendale Youth Alliance – Summer Youth Employment Program

Glendale Youth Alliance

On March 2, 2015, Glendale Youth Alliance will begin accepting applications for the Summer Youth Employment Training Program. This program provides low-income youth ages 14-21 with life skills, pre-employment training and paid jobs during the summer months.

Youth ages 14-16 will have an opportunity to partake in the Brush Clearance Program. On closely supervised teams, they will spend six weeks removing overgrown brush on over 30 parcels of city owned land and reducing the risk of fire on the city’s hillsides. Youth between the ages of 17 and 21 will be placed in jobs throughout the community such as the local hospitals, non-profit & for-profit organizations including libraries, schools and retail stores.

Applications are available online at or at the Verdugo Jobs Center located at 1255 S. Central Avenue in Glendale.

For more information about the Glendale Youth Alliance or the summer program please visit our website or call (818) 937-8073.