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Meet Grace

fo_vol JulyGrace L. recently graduated from UCSC with a degree in Biology. She has been a Jail Visitor with Friends Outside since October providing in-custody services.

She is really happy her time makes an impact on the Friends Outside community because this work has made a big impact on her life. Her favorite part of volunteering is connecting with people and hopefully helping to make their time in jail a little more bearable.

Grace L. has been one of our most stable Jail Visiting volunteers and has helped the program tremendously.

Her patience and listening skills go far with clients and her attention to detail ensures her clients get connected to the right places and people to improve their chances of a successful re-entry.

Thank you Grace, for everything you do for your clients!

Meet Sarah

Volunteer of the Month JuneFo_vol_june 2015 2015

For the past six months Sarah has been a volunteer at Friends Outside’s Watsonville Location as an Aftercare Case Manger and Re-Entry Advocate.

Sarah has recently graduated from UCSC earlier this month with her B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Linguistics. She feels that the knowledge and experience she has gained during her time at Friends Outside will benefit her job search as a college graduate.

The best part of volunteering with Friends Outside has been connecting clients to the resources they need and to see positive changes in their lives as a direct result. She hopes to pursue a career that will be just as rewarding.

Sarah has been an amazing asset to Friends Outside. She has brought creativity to everything that she does and the dedication to help make change in our clients lives. Sarah has done everything from case managing, planning various fundraisers, and grant proposals.

Thank you for all your hard work from everyone at Friends Outside and congratulations on your recent graduation!

Inspire the Next Generation of World Cup Winners

Last Sunday, I had the spectacular opportunity to attend the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final in Vancouver, Canada amongst a crowd of nearly 55,000.

What unfolded before me was one more epic story to add to the history of women’s sports. The US women pulled off an incredible 5-2 win against Japan, scoring two goals in the first five minutes and 4 goals within 18 minutes. With such a showing, the US women not only raised the bar for how a world class team brings their A-game but they cemented their place in the record books as the first women’s team to take home three World Cup wins. Under the watchful eye of the largest American television crowd ever for a soccer event, Carli Lloyd pulled off the fastest hat trick in World Cup history with her third goal in the 15th minute.

world-cup blog

My husband, son and I at the Women’s World Cup Final

Watching Lloyd deftly cross the half field line and then loft the ball 55 yards over the stumbling Japanese goal keeper for a hat trick was a jump out of your seat, did you see that, awe inspiring moment of sports boldness.

This moment of fearless determination places her in the ranks of women like Katherine Switzer, who crossed the finish line at the 1967 Boston Marathon despite an attempt by the race officials to physically eject her mid-race because she was a woman or Alysia Montano five time national track champion who received a standing ovation for taking her rightful place in the 800 meter race at 2014 US Track and Field Championships despite being 8 months pregnant.

This honorable spirit of tenacity and boldness is a common thread amongst all women who thrive in sports. This week I find myself thinking about how we can celebrate and encourage this spirit in young women.

Given my job as the Director of Communications for the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, I also find myself thinking about another crucial common thread for every female superstar athlete… Volunteers.

Behind each and every athlete there have been volunteer mentors who have stepped up along the way to send her down her road to success. Her achievements have been buoyed by an army of supporters- the parents, teachers, coaches and volunteers who have bolstered her confidence and capability since she first stepped onto the field as a child.

Every athlete can think of that first person who inspired a love of the game. Most likely that individual was a volunteer. As an adult who still loves every opportunity to compete, I offer my gratitude to those who took the time throughout my years to instill a love for sports. Athletics helped me establish a healthy sense of self, develop confidence as a young person, and sports continue to bring balance to my  life as an adult.

I want to give a shout out to our local women’s soccer community and extend an invitation to share your passion. As recreational soccer players, our “glory days” may be gone but the love of the “beautiful game” still lingers. We are still motivated to head out to the pitch in heat that leaves our feet flaming from the rubber on the turf, or push the ball through pooling puddles in a downpour. We are willing to tackle men twice our size or take one for the team. Why? Because we love the game and we love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with challenging our bodies. Let’s take that love and motivation and give it to another.

Sunday’s game made me beam with pride for women in sports and I can’t wait to share this feeling. I hope you feel the same.

Each of us has the opportunity to teach a young woman be bold, to move forward with confidence and to be tenacious in all that she does. We know that sports have played a crucial role in building our self-esteem. Don’t wait to get out there in your community. You can  inspire the next generation of world cup winners and encourage them to be strong bold women.

Get Involved Locally and Beyond:

• Live Oak Community Resources hosts the Live Oak Leagues providing a safe place for about 400 young people ages 5-18 to come together and play sports every summer. Learn More

• TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a national soccer program created to train young people with disabilities in a caring coaching environment. Volunteers at the local level generally carry out the program, with financial support from US Youth Soccer and local youth soccer organizations. Learn more about Santa Cruz County Stars

• The Women’s Sports Foundation was established in 1974 to advance the lives of women and girls through sports. Today they provide scholarships and grants to aspiring athletes. They fund groundbreaking research and public awareness campaigns, educate, and advocate.

Voluntourism- Go international with  your passion for soccer. Soccer Without Borders recruits volunteers to run community-led, year-round youth development programs in under-served areas in the USA and abroad. Learn More

• Get Matched- Want some help finding the right opportunity? Local volunteer sports opportunities abound. Chat with a matchmaker at Volunteer Center at 831-427-5070 or visit for a list of more than 250 community wide opportunities.

Literacy Program Awarded National Book Grant

Literacy Program awarded a Pro-Literacy National Book Fund Grant

Literacy tutorsSanta Cruz, CA, June 17, 2015 – The Literacy Program is pleased to announce it has received a $2,207 award from ProLiteracy’s National Book Fund. The National Book Fund provides adult education and literacy programs throughout the United States with grant awards to help purchase high-quality educational materials and resources needed to support their literacy initiatives.

Kevin Morgan, president and CEO of ProLiteracy said, “Every year, we receive a number of compelling, high-quality applicants. We are pleased this year to be able to offer grants to 80 percent of the applicants we received. ProLiteracy is excited to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the National Book Fund with the bold vision of putting one book each in the hands of 125,000 adult learners nationwide. Over the last 20 years we’ve distributed more than 1,500 grant awards totaling more than $2.9 million.”

New Readers Press, the publishing division of ProLiteracy, provides the books and materials for the National Book Fund. These books are high-quality instructional materials specially written to meet the needs of adult literacy students, instructors, and trainers. Adult literacy programs can choose from more than 400 New Readers Press titles.

Genie Dee, Program Director, says, “This grant will provide significant assistance to us as we strive to serve more than 34,000 residents in need of literacy training in our county. The materials are excellent and are designed specifically for English learners. We greatly appreciate this generous award.”

Want to learn more about how you can support the efforts of local adult English language learners? Check out the Literacy Program Homepage to Learn More