Each and every time I participate in Leadership Redding activities, I am amazed at the outpouring of generosity from so many in our community, and the dedication of those trying to make Redding (and the world) a better place.
I am humbled by those that spend their lives devoted to helping others – and was able to experience this up close and personal with a tour of Northern Valley Catholic Social Service.
I am sure many of you have heard of NVCSS. I was familiar with their organization, but until I received a tour — along with many of my other Leadership Redding classmates — I did not know the scope of services the organization provides and, frankly, I was amazed.
We kicked off the tour with introductions to our host and tour guide: Dr. David Gasman. He is one of the founding members of NVCSS and volunteers his time in many capacities — his favorite: showing others what NVCSS does for those in need. His passion and dedication for what he does comes through with his enthusiasm in sharing their great accomplishments.
The tour started at their headquarters on Park Marina where we learned about their Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Project, aimed at helping teen parents and their children. We stood in a room full of clothes, diapers and accessories for babies — all from generous donations — where these teen parents can come get what they need for FREE, and discussed what their program does to help keep them in school, help with learning to be a parent and many more life skills.
After touring the rest of the office facility and hearing about their fundraising and many other details that make the organization run, we hopped on a small shuttle bus with Dr. Gasman to visit some other facilities owned by NVCSS.
We visited their Clothes That Work! store, which has recently relocated to the downtown mall (east end). The store, with its walls lined with shoes and packed with designer clothes, was created to provide interview appropriate clothing, and after employment is found, job-appropriate outfits. The store is also now open to the public. Check it out for great deals on new clothes — or a great place to bring those clothes that no longer fit!
We also stopped by their Second Time Around Thrift Store on Market Street. This store helps support the programs of NVCSS by selling clean donations of clothing, toys, furniture and miscellaneous household items.
Next we toured several of NVCSS Housing areas. In Shasta County, NVCSS at this time provides 216 units of housing to low-income families, mentally ill individuals, the developmentally disabled and seniors. They also provide 34 rent subsidies for the chronically homeless mentally ill and are building even more units to help support the growing need of this type of housing.
Finally, we stopped by their new Second Home facility located at 1250 California Street. This is a community drop-in center for people with mental health issues. The clients can stop by for a snack, hang out in the common room and talk with friends, or do arts and crafts, gardening or many more activities provided through the center. The delightful (and dedicated) woman who runs Second Home, Connie, says they have had an enormous amount of traffic through the facility — so much so that she realized she didn’t budget how much toilet paper they would go through! They have a list of items they desperately need that you can view by clicking here.
As we returned to the main headquarters, Dr. Gasman shared stories of people they have helped and how far they reach with their programs. NVCSS provides services in six North State counties and last year served 23,538 unduplicated clients from infants to seniors. With budget cuts and lack of mental health support here in Shasta County it is clear that NVCSS is doing the best they can to fill a serious void.
And Dr. Gasman is dedicated to letting others know about their services. If you, too, would like a tour of NVCSS or would like to learn how you can help, you can call (530) 241-0552. I think, like me, you will be amazed.
Lara Wells Osborn is a Redding native. After traveling and working around the world, she has returned to Redding with her husband and three children. She is a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Westside. She can be reached at 530-276-3026 or email@example.com.