Community: Family Promise giving the homeless a second chance

Family Promise of the Verdugos introduced its new executive director, launched a new donor program and announced receiving a major $25,000 donation during a reception on Oct. 7 at Porto's Bakery and Cafe in Burbank.

The organization's vision is to assist homeless children and their families by providing up to 90 days of food, shelter, counseling and job training for those who have become homeless for the first time through no fault of their own, said Albert Hernandez, who was named executive director just three months ago.


Case workers help families through a partnership with local faith-based congregations and other community resources.

Family Promise graduate Stephany Washington told her own story of success. She completed the program on Sept. 2 and has a new job and new home for herself, her son, Nathan Harris, and granddaughter, Lenise Williams.


"I got my sense of direction back. I got my stability and employment and never felt so safe, staying with the churches. It helped give me a spiritual connection again," she said.

The event was the launch of the 365 Club, whose premise is to encourages donors to give $1 a day to help children and their families get back into a safe and stable living environment.

Several additional fundraisers and a community workshop are also planned.

A restaurant fundraiser will be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 22, at Barragan's Mexican Restaurant, 730 N. Victory Blvd., Burbank. Mentioning you are there to support Family Promise will earn the charity 20% of your bill.

Another fundraiser called Houses for Change has a double meaning. Businesses can display the cardboard mini-homes, and the public's donations of "change" into them will help homeless families "change" their lives.

The major fundraising event for the organization will be its second annual gala on March 19 at the Dodger Stadium Club. The event will include dinner, silent auction and VIP tour. For more information, call (818) 847-1547.

Family Promise is also offering a Job Readiness workshop to the community from 7 to 8 p.m. tonight on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the Catalina Activity Center, 2321 N. Catalina St., Burbank. Reservations are necessary and can be made by calling (818) 599-4090 or sending an email to

Sandy Thompson, board president, welcomed the more than 40 people attending at the event earlier this month.

"The supporters who are here tonight help us do what we do and because of those supporters a mother, her son and 4-year-old granddaughter tonight are sleeping in their own beds," she said.

Michael Cusumano, of the Cusumano Real Estate Group, gave the organization a boost by donating $25,000 from the Cusumano Family Foundation.

"Any of us can find ourselves in this situation," Cusumano said. "Family Promise provides a safe place and brings the family together while the parents can concentrate on getting a new job. Family Promise has a vision, and leaders are making a difference in the community. Let's make sure this organization has the tools to accomplish its vision."

Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian and Glendale City Council member Laura Friedman presented a commendation to Family Promise, thanking Family Promise for its efforts to help homeless families.

Hostess with the mostest, Betty Porto, made sure everyone tried the newest potato ball filled with melted cheese and diced jalapeño chili peppers.

YWCA plans a candlelight vigil

With October designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Glendale YWCA officials will commemorate this observance by having an their annual candlelight vigil. This year's event will be held is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 22, at the Glendale YWCA, 735 E. Lexington Drive.

This event will honor victims of domestic violence and their families, celebrate the successes of survivors and strengthen the community's commitment to ending domestic violence, said Michelle Roberts, executive director at the YWCA of Glendale.

"We hope the Glendale community will join us on this day to honor victims of domestic violence and to thank those who work to serve and protect victims of domestic violence," she said.

Readings of victims' and survivors' own stories will be performed by actors from the Theatre of NOTE.

Patrons Club raising scholarship funds

Monday is the deadline to purchase tickets for the annual luncheon and fashion show planned by the Patrons Club of Glendale Community College/GC Foundation Inc.

The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 6 at the Castaway restaurant in Burbank. Proceeds will go to scholarships and grants-in-aid. The Patrons awarded more than $22,000 to students last year.

Fashions will be from Holiday Hats and Gowns of Montrose. There will be a drawing for $1,000 as well as and live and silent auctions.

Tickets are $55, and reservations can be made by calling Judy Gorham at (818) 243-3590.


JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at