To the Editor:
Alameda Family Services (AFS) has supported the emotional, psychological, and physical health of people in the city of Alameda and the East Bay for 50 years. Now it’s your turn to support this award-winning organization at its new fundraiser: Sunset Sip at Urban Legends Winery at Alameda Point on Friday, August 19.
You may have heard about the key role that Alameda Family Services plays in our city’s innovative new pilot program with the Alameda Fire Department — the Alameda CARE Team, which is designed as an alternative to police response to mental health crisis calls. When emergency dispatchers decide that it’s appropriate, Alameda CARE team first responders will assess individuals who are the subject of a crisis call and assist them in obtaining the appropriate care and help for their mental and physical health. Alameda Family Services supports this team 24/7, with licensed clinicians responding to questions from the CARE Team working in the field. AFS also provides intensive follow-up for individuals who need it, as well as checks-ins at 30 days and 60 days after discharge from services to make sure the person is doing better. These are the kinds of long-term services we need to keep everyone in Alameda safe.
But that’s only one of the services that AFS provides. The Early Childhood and Family Support division provides Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Alameda, supporting child development, school readiness, and socialization for children up to 5 years old. Families also get comprehensive support services, like weekly visits, nutritional support, and parenting education. AFS School-Based Services provides individual and group counseling at all 15 schools in the Alameda School District and provides an inclusive and safe space for youth to access medical and mental health services. The Clinic and Community Behavioral Health Care division offers individual therapy in multiple languages, and provides anger management support groups along with couples’ and family counseling and other support to help navigate life’s many challenges.
When COVID struck in early 2020, Alameda Family Services was there for its community. Within two weeks of the shelter-in-place order, AFS began offering their services via telehealth. Their Family Resource Center and clinic both established “warm lines” for those in need, while the Senior Connections program helped the older population access resources online. The Early Childhood division handed out activity bags for up to 200 families several times a month while kids were home from school and parents struggled to balance employment and childcare. For this and other above-and-beyond work during the pandemic, AFS earned the “Nonprofit of the Year” award from the city of Alameda’s Community Service Awards.
As a five-year board member of Alameda Family Services, I’m proud to help this superlative organization achieve its mission of changing lives and building community. But you can help too by buying a ticket to Sunset Sip — this year’s fundraiser! Join us on August 19 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Urban Legend Winery in Alameda for a beautiful view, wine, beer, and food from Off the Grid. A general admission ticket of $150 includes two drinks of wine or beer, and four small plates from the food trucks, and a specialty dessert. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.
Even if you can’t make the event on August 19, please join AFS in making a difference to people in Alameda and the East Bay. Learn more about our programs and how you can help at https://alamedafs.org/donate.html.
Rebecca Jeschke, Alameda.