On Saturday, April 30, under a beautiful Ventura evening “La Dolce Vita, Silent Auction Dinner Dancing” was held celebrating and benefiting the families and children at the City Center. The fund-raiser event was held in the beautiful back yard at a magnificent home located on Barnard Way in Ventura.
The evening featured a cocktail party, snacks, great food, live music, dancing and fund-raising auctions. It was attended by several hundred enthusiastic caring people.
Pastor Jim Duran, Executive Director of the center was the MC for the event. He stated “ Not one of our “graduates” have gone back to being homeless. All of our residents start out being homeless. The City Center is the only transitional housing center that does not receive government funding.”
He went on “Thank you for being at tonight‘s event and for all your support! It is because of your donations we are able shelter homeless children in a safe place they can call home. While providing their parents the life skills they need to graduate our program and to be self-sufficient. This program exists because of the caring people in our community and the desire of giving a hand up not just a handout.”
He stated “Residents must find work and put a portion of their salaries into an account.” He spoke of a resident that left the facility with $19,000 and another with $25,000. Of the approximately 80 residents living there now, 50 are children.
Besides the income from the auctions when Jim Duran asked for donations from the crowd the first one was for $10,000.00.
The City Center and its staff, case managers, therapists, and mentors are dedicated to helping homeless, often single parent families with child transitioning from homelessness to independence. They do this over the course of many months.
The residents and their care team put in a lot of hard work, and it is all worth it. Though the housing is temporary it is a safe place to call their own during that time, a place they can find some needed stability in their life. The City Center is a place where they can concentrate on getting their life under control.
Residents are given more than just spiritual and life skills as mentioned by Jim, residents are empowered to become financially stable through a savings program and employment requirement. With this help and structure, they find themselves back on their feet and on their own. All it takes is a willing heart, and a determined spirit.
The Center is located at 837 E. Thompson in Ventura.