July was Banging at Penny Lane

August 2, 2023

CA State Assemblymember Pilar Schiavo Visits Penny Lane Centers

Pilar Schiavo California State Assemblymember representing the 40th Assembly District (Northwest San Fernando Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley) visited Penny Lane Centers for a “meet and greet” to learn more about the issues impacting our children and families. She came bearing gifts as they say, and notified us of an award of $314,000 to help renovate one of our apartments on Columbus St.

Assemblywoman Schiavo was a Nurse Advocate who worked in the labor movement for more than 20 years.  She focused on issues that deeply impact people’s lives, including expanding healthcare access and affordability, real solutions to homelessness, advocating for housing people can afford, and delivering on good jobs that allow families to thrive. In the Northwest San Fernando Valley, she co-founded an organization that helped secure housing for Veterans experiencing homelessness, has delivered more than 50,000 meals to people in need, and increased resources to help keep our communities safe.

Penny Lane Centers and Assemblywoman Schiavo share a belief in human rights and the aspiration for equity, inclusion and a better future for all people.  Thank you, Assemblywoman Schiavo, for your commitment to youth and families in need.

-Nydia Barakat, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos below!

Wellness Wednesdays at the Commerce Drop-in Center

Starting in July the TAY Drop-in Center in Commerce began implementing a Wellness Wednesday activity.  Every Wednesday staff would make fresh green juices and vegan protein shakes for the TAY clients.  The TAY program was able to purchase a juicer with the support of LACDMH who absolutely loved the idea of providing a healthier alternative for clients.  In the past it was a struggle to encourage clients to eat healthier but with a little creativity we were able to offer these healthy alternatives in a more appealing way.

Homeless youth have little access to nutritious meals.  When they are down to their last $5 it is so much easier to simply buy fast food or junk food.  Our Wellness Wednesdays were created to address this issue.  While our clients still love their potato chips and hot pockets, this allows us to at least provide a healthier and fiber-rich offering that they are equally happy to consume.  

So far, the green juices and protein shakes have been a huge hit and there is never a serving left.  The TAY clients have been particularly pleased with our vanilla protein shakes made with pea and rice protein and mixed with oat milk.  They equally enjoyed the green juice made with apples, celery, romaine lettuce, pineapple, and cucumbers.  We are constantly exploring new flavors for the youth and will begin offering fruit smoothies and homemade vegan ice cream soon.

-Nambryan Do, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos below!

Penny Lane's Mentee/Mentor Mixer

In January of 2023 Penny Lane launched a brand new mentor program. This program was born from the 2022 CEO Circle cohorts. We acknowledged that it is often overwhelming for new hires to not only learn about their jobs, but to also learn about the PLC culture.

CEO, Wendy Carpenter, set out to enhance the onboarding process by pairing up new hires with seasoned staff. What resulted was a heightened sense of belonging, unconditional support and feeling welcomed.

On Friday, July 28th we celebrated our first round of mentees with an afternoon mixer event where the mentees could mingle with other new hires and staff. We shared core gift statements as we got to know one another. The afternoon was an example of PLC’s desire to create lasting connections for all. Both mentees and mentors left the event feeling seen and valued.

We wish our mentees continued success as they continue to navigate all that is Penny Lane.

-Judy Grant, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos below!

Adoption Promotion Support Services (APSS) Family Picnic

This past July we had an APSS (Adoption Promotion and Support Services) picnic for families on Thursday, 07/13/2023.  Due to confidentiality, we didn’t take pics of the kids, but this was our first in person event since COVID struck. The families were so happy to have a day all for them and enjoy the great weather.

APSS offers supportive services for our families that are on track to adopt or have already adopted and need support.  The program offers case management, mentoring, and therapy.  Our team of staff is very dedicated to the families and they work amazingly well together to provide all of our APSS families the supports and services that they need.  Marlene Vargas is our case Manager, Dania Doose is our Mentor Coordinator, Gabriela Vidal is our therapist, and Alexandra Fryer is our program supervisor.  Together, this team of ladies consults and collaborates with DCFS to ensure that families have the support they need to navigate the process of adoption.  We put on quarterly trainings that encourage caregivers and staff to expand their knowledge and skills when it comes to adoption.  Referrals to our program must come from DCFS, but if someone is curious, they can feel free to reach out to us.  

I just want to thank the APSS team for all their hard work! Our families are so appreciative of all you do for them, keep up the good work.

-Charito Guerrero, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos of the bingo night below!!

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Team Retreat

Here Comes the Sun!

Penny Lane’s SUD (Substance Use Disorder Program) had our first retreat in February of 2020. We were so excited to get together across all 3 sites (AV, North Hills, Commerce), and come together as a team. The vision was to have an annual retreat…. until COVID hit.

In person contact was restricted and we could not continue our annual retreat. SUD pulled together and made the program work. Our amazing staff continued to conduct in person groups and sessions up to the last minute and resumed in person groups and sessions when we got clearance. This team has so much drive and dedication to support our clients.  

On 6/14/23 we were able to connect in person for our 2nd SUD Retreat: Here Comes the Sun (an ode to the Beatles). SUD staff from all 3 sites joined the annual celebration at Castaways in Burbank. We had wonderful food, and special guest speakers from the CEO of END Overdose, Theo Krzywicki (the fireman), and a Mindfulness Workshop led by Jerome Front, LMFT.

Thanks to Cristal and Devin (our SUD AV team) for their amazing presentation. Thanks to our Medical Director Dr. Grosz, CEO Wendy Carpenter, Director of Funds Development Nydia Barakat, Chief Programs Officer Judy Sandino, and Kristin Malka, Senior Director of Behavioral Health Services, for your support.

And of course, thanks to the entire SUD Team. We are small and mighty, and we are here to be, because SUD IS THE PLACE TO BE!

-Jeniffer Barraza-Garcia, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos below!!