Thessalonika Family Services, Inc.

Empowerment

aka dba Rancho Damacitas Children & Family Services   |   Temecula, CA   |  www.4kidsfirst.org

Mission

Our Mission - “Empowering at-risk single mothers and their young children, as well as young adults with a history of foster care by offering stable homes, opportunities for growth, and hope." Our Vision - “Changing Life’s Challenges into Life Successes”

Ruling year info

1995

Interim Director

Chris Close

Main address

PO Box 890326

Temecula, CA 92589 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

95-3551068

NTEE code info

Other Housing Support Services (L80)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Studies continue to show the link between a child growing up in poverty and/or foster care and homelessness or incarceration as an adult. Foster youth are entering independent adulthood at the age of 18 alarmingly unprepared for the responsibilities. National studies have shown that two years following emancipation at age 18, 50% of all former foster youth are still unemployed and/or homeless. Studies have also shown that teen girls in foster care are twice as likely to get pregnant before they are 19 than their non-foster care peers. The outcomes for children born to young, unprepared mothers (whether former foster youth or not) increases the risk of experiencing child abuse and neglect, more likely to live in poverty, and have lower academic achievement while in school. Additionally, a recent study in 2017 showed that California has the highest population of homelessness in the nation, with former foster youth and single mother family homelessness on the rise.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Empowerment Village

Struggling mothers will receive stability and guidance to help them develop skills necessary for self-sufficiency and independent living
while keeping their family intact, and without the need for the dependency system. The program focuses on mothers gaining sustainability through employment, education, money management, and parenting.

The Empowerment Village consists of four homes housing two mothers and their young children. Mothers are over 18, many with a history of foster care, who are struggling to get on their feet. Mothers will receive supportive housing, coaching, parenting classes, financial literacy, transportation to and from work/school, childcare support, and other basic needs. The program offers phased steps to help the mothers gain the skills to adjust to self-sufficiency and break their dependency on the welfare system.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Infants and toddlers

Provides educational support scholarships to former Riverside County foster youth pursuing their careers. Scholarships are awarded to youth between $3,000-$5,000 per year.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth
Academics

Provides foster children and teens opportunities to take extra-curricular activities building new memories, increasing confidence, and helping to normalize their life while living in foster care.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
At-risk youth

Provides former foster youth and disadvantaged young adults over 18 with stable housing, employment readiness, financial literacy, life & career coaching to get them on their feet and moving towards independent, sustainable adulthood.

Young adults, most former foster youth, receive supportive housing, employment readiness, educational guidance, financial literacy, and life skills coaching. Residents are required to maintain employment, complete their education, and balance a budget.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Unemployed people

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Rancho Damacitas’ mission is to break the generational cycle of child abuse and poverty through programs that provide stable shelter, basic needs, and supportive resources The organization offers three programs. Empowerment Village targets struggling single mothers with young children and Project Independence serves young adults with a history of child abuse or formerly living in foster care. These two programs offer stable support while completing program requirements, all of which address specific challenges for the populations served while also being able to personalize the program for each participant’s unique needs. The overall goal of each of these programs is to build skills needed and overcome barriers financially, educationally, and emotionally to achieve self-sufficiency. The New Heights Scholarship program targets Riverside County former foster youth pursuing a career and offers financial scholarships and guidance.

Rancho Damacitas breaks the generational cycle of abuse and poverty by targeting those most likely to repeat – victims of child abuse and neglect, victims of domestic violence, and those experiencing homelessness. Each program of the three programs is based on helping these individuals overcome barriers to self-sufficiency by providing them stability, holding them accountable, offering them opportunities to grow, and giving them a chance to succeed. Programs are a hand up, not a hand out. They are not designed to be short-term solutions. Participants receive stable housing and basic needs while they complete program requirements, which can be up to two years. Individuals are required to be employed and make financial contributions replicating real life. Depending on the program, participants are required to complete mandatory classes on financial management, parenting, life skills, and self-care. They receive weekly coaching to help them set and achieve personal goals.

Rancho Damacitas has a 35 year history of success helping victims of severe abuse and trauma put their past behind them. This long history also includes staff and volunteers who have been with the organization since the beginning, allowing for continuity of vision and program implementation. The organization has a diversified funding stream to ensure sustainability by pursuing and receiving both Corporate and Foundation funding, local government funding, individual donor gifts, and special events. The organization is currently working on establishing an official planned giving program to provide long-term financial stability. Rancho Damacitas strategically utilizes volunteers through expertise on the Board of Directors, class instructors, mentors, coaches, special events, office support, and more. The organization operates efficiently with a five year strategic plan, sound policies and procedures for managing and stewarding funds, and measuring the effectiveness of programs.

Rancho Damacitas has had the privilege of serving over 4,000 children and young people through its 35 year history. During this time the organization has received awards including 2015 Temecula Valley Non-Profit of the Year and has achieved national certifications such as CARF, which rates the organization on their operations and their ability to conduct business.

Recently in 2017, Rancho Damacitas managed a transition from being 75% state-funded to being 100% donor-funded and implementing a model that is more impactful to the community. The organization continues to run at full capacity with participants in the Empowerment Village and Project Independent programs meeting goals on a consistent basis, including finding and maintaining employment (74%), managing their personal budgets (76%), and half of the participants deciding to pursue a career by furthering their education. Scholarship students are excelling with 100% completing their academic years with a 2.8 GPA or higher.

Financials

Thessalonika Family Services, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Thessalonika Family Services, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mrs. Chris Close

Murrieta Development, Inc.

Term: 2020 - 2023

Joseph Gray

Independent Business Owner

Greg McGuff

Lennar Homes

Julie Ngo

State Farm

Christine Close

Murrieta Development

Nicole Albrecht

Financial Accounting Services

Rick Malec

Pastor Temecula United Methodist Church

Tom Roney

Up on the Roof, Inc.

Laurie Webster

WebSec Corporation

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes