Community Spotlights: Operation Warm & Congressman Cardenas

March 3, 2024

Subaru & Operation Warm Donation

On February 8th, we held an event in our AV Family Center in Partnership with Subaru of the Antelope Valley. The event is part of Subaru’s partnership with Operation Warm.  Operation Warm is a national non-profit that helps connect children with resources they need.  Operation Warm’s mission has always been focused on the whole child.  Their tagline, ‘more than a coat’ means that the coats and shoes provided don’t just provide physical warmth, but also emotional warmth, the confidence to socialize and succeed, and hope of a brighter future.  We’re proud to say that over the last 23 years, these gifts have become a bridge between our partners and families in need to access critical resources. –  

Subaru and Operation Warm partnered to identify agencies that support children and their families and provide them essential items during the month of February. We were selected as a participating agency and received a donation of over 100+ new shoes and over 100+ new coats. We distributed them to children who are receiving services out of our AV Family Center.  Thank you to the staff for encouraging families to take advantage of this opportunity and to the staff that made it happen.

We are hopeful that this is the beginning of a great partnership with Subaru of the Antelope Valley!

-Charito Guerrero, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos below!

A Visit from Congressman Cardenas

It has been over a year since Congressman Cárdenas visited Penny Lane to award us with a ceremonial check that would go on to impact so many in our community. In case you don’t know already, one of the outcomes of this grant is our Housing Embedded Behavioral Health Services program. This program has allowed us to expand Employment, Mental Health, and SUD services into our housing department where many clients often don’t qualify for services or have other barriers to receiving those services. We have been able to meet our clients where they are at and build trusting relationships with those in need. This past month on February 21st, Congressman Cárdenas returned to see the impact this program has had for himself.

The tour started off with our Penny Lane staff sharing their stories of the work we do while beaming with pride when discussing the engagement they’ve seen with our clients in this program. My personal favorite was hearing about the garden they have started and the pride the client’s take in caring for it and their individual plants as well. It was a chance for our teams to share all the light that beams through the challenging barriers we sometimes face daily. It was also a chance to speak about how important funding like this is, as it allows us to focus on the person as a whole and all the complexities that come with it.

What came next was, what I can confidently say, the highlight for us all. Four young men who reside in our housing programs came and shared their stories directly with Congressman Cárdenas and shared the impact Penny Lane and this program has had on them. Congressman Cárdenas was able to connect with them on a personal level, sharing stories of his childhood. Our clients were able to use their voices to speak about everything they have overcome, challenges they still face and everything they look forward to. The instant shift in energy as each young man shared his story was undeniable. Faces softened, eyes welled. They each showed such resilience and vulnerability in that moment. What started off as an opportunity to share what we already know with the congressman and his team also became a beautiful reminder for us all. We ALL felt it in that moment- this is why we do what we do. To empower our community and help them transform their lives.

Thank you so much to our HEBHS team and everyone who helped put this event together: Nydia Barakat, Shiva Berjis, Lara Hoffman, Mayra Gonzalez, Sheila Cano, Paul Saylor, Betsy Sazo and Leanna Ramos.

-Rosanna Buenrostro-Gray, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos of the visit below!