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December 2018 – San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission’s Family Shelter Program

Update – 12/21/18

Thank you to those members who generously supported our efforts during our Holiday event!!

Donations from the Holiday party totaled $350 and the chapter donated an additional $100 for a grand total donation of $450 in Target gift cards. See picture below where Tina delivered the donation to the Mission’s S.O.S. Program.

Even if you were unable to attend our Holiday Event and wish to participate – you can mail donated gift cards to: IFMA San Fernando Valley Chapter, 15030 Ventura Blvd. #130, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. 

The gift cards will be given to the families in the S.O.S. Program (described below) so they may purchase the items of most need to their particular situation.

In 1998, the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission began as the Rescue Survival Outreach Services (S.O.S.) Program serving meals to the Valley’s homeless. In 2002, the Mission launched the Family Shelter program in a collaborative effort with San Fernando Valley area churches in response to the critical unmet need for a year round emergency shelter. The program has been designed to provide homeless men, women, children and families an opportunity, not only to obtain food, shelter, and basic life necessities, but also provides a foundation for individual and family restoration by developing a personalized plan based on their needs for achieving personal growth, employment, and housing.

Located in Northridge, the new 90-bed family shelter offers hope, shelter and safe, supportive housing to thousands of families who are homeless. The new facility includes private family bedrooms, a commercial kitchen, common dining room and living spaces, meeting rooms, computer education center, playground and garden – all geared toward helping families achieve a brighter future.

This new resource enables the San Fernando Valley to realize a reduction of its homeless population, many of whom are neglected, and under-served. Staff work with families to establish a plan for restoration and self-sufficiency, offering life skills programs and training on-site, as well as collaborating with other agencies and community resources.

For more information please visit:

October 2017 to May 2018 – New Horizons

In the summer of 2017, the IFMA board voted on helping out a local charity – New Horizons located at 15725 Parthenia Street in North Hills, California. New Horizons empowers individuals with special needs to fulfill their dreams. Through partnerships, community outreach, and advocacy they create a brighter future in which the people we serve are accepted by, participate in, and add value to the community. For over sixty years ago, New Horizons was founded by bold parents with a dream of a brighter future for their children who had Down syndrome. At that time, children with disabilities were often sheltered, kept out of sight, and had little or no opportunity for education, social interaction, or life in the community. These parents shared the same hope for their children that any parent has: to be happy, fulfilled, and find their way to live a meaningful life. Those dreams took shape first as a pre-school and school, then as a job training center, and in the late 1970’s as a residential group home to promote independent living.

President, Shelley Sutton made the initial contact with New Horizons and along with Chapter Secretary, Nancy Rinearson, who volunteered to lead our efforts with help from Chapter members.

Shelley and Nancy attended a meeting along with several other organizations interested in sponsoring a bedroom or common living area to decorate for the residents that will live in this home fulltime. The meeting was held at the property, which was still under construction, but gave all attendees a great idea of the layout and the New Horizon vision. Once IFMA SFV decided to sponsor a room, strict guidelines were set that included “no ‘branded’ advertisements, provide only unisex decorations, and to create a warm and inviting place for the occupants”.  

Based on the specified guidelines, Nancy provided three different themes/decorating plans for approval hoping that one would be approved by New Horizons Management. The three themes were Travel, Beach, and Forest/Nature. New Horizons loved all three giving us permission to move forward with the Beach theme and eventually, deciding that the other two themes would be approved themes for other sponsors.

With the house making progress, our theme and room chosen, Nancy and Chapter Vice-President Tina Conaway did their due diligence and took measurements for curtains, clarified the specific guidelines and established a budget. While the bed, desk and chair was being provided by New Horizons, there were linens to purchase along with decorative accessories to make the room cozy and warm.

The target date of occupation was set for June 2018, Nancy and chapter member Jeanie La Croix met at the local shops in May to shop-shop-shop! With a budget of $600.00, using coupons, hitting sales and the TJ Maxx Home Goods store were the top locations on the list to purchase all of the necessary items including pillows, rugs, lamps and frames.

Jeanie says: “I met Nancy in the West Valley to start our shopping fun at Bed Bath & Beyond where we found lovely bedding and curtain rods perfect for the room’s measurements. We then continued our shopping to JoAnn’s Fabrics, where we actually hit the mother lode of items for the room from picture frames to accent lights to shelf nick knacks and wall accents. We could actually visualize the room coming together as we added items of fun from our treasure hunt. As we checked our items of accent against our recent purchases, we realized we had completed our task! And not only did we complete our task, we were able to double our purchase power with the weekly savings of 40-60%, which really added to our Beach Vision! When we rolled our shopping cart to Nancy’s car, it was like Christmas in May! Even though the items weren’t at their final destination, we knew that once they were arranged and set up for the residential living space it would truly feel like HOME.”

With the purchases made and the linens washed and ready to go, Nancy tells us: “After arranging entry to New Horizons on a Saturday, one of my closest friends, Delores Martin and I, head up to New Horizons, with a ladder, picture frame hooks and a level to prep this room to make it a home. Unfortunately, the room was not yet done and we did our best with hanging curtains, arranging pictures on the wall and organizing all the supplies so once the furniture did come in, it was ready to go!”

Once the furniture was installed, the New Horizon’s team finished putting the room together and according to Sade Mokulou, Community Engagement Manager at New Horizon’s: “The starfish wall décor and other pieces look amazing in the room! Great job shopping for the bedroom accessories!” 

For more information please visit:

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IFMA WWP & Foundation Gala

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