Get holiday gifts for your children and more!

Photo by Caley Dimmock on Unsplash

I hope you’re getting excited for the holiday season. This can be a wonderful time of year, but it can also be difficult to provide our families with holiday meals, gifts and decorations. If you need some help finding gifts for your children and loved ones, here’s a collection of free gifts and toys for the holidays. I’ve included a couple of fun holiday activities, too! Some sign-ups are ending soon – don’t wait to contact these organizations!  

Check out our list of Holiday resources:
Get holiday gifts for your children in the Bay Area!

Get holiday gifts for your children in Los Angeles!

Browse the collection for opportunities near you. Click on an Opportunity to see the “WHAT TO DO NEXT” instructions for how to contact the organization. Here’s an FAQ to help you get started.

I hope these resources make the holiday season a little brighter for you. Thank you so much for being a member of our community. From all of us at One Degree, we wish you happy holidays!

Northern California Fires Relief Collection

Late in the night on Sunday, October 8th, multiple forest fires spread throughout Sonoma and Napa counties. 20,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and at least 1,500 structures have been destroyed.

Looking for Help?

  1. Check out our collection of fire relief resources. This collection includes temporary shelter, pet shelter, evacuation updates and more. We will update the collection as more opportunities become available.
  2. Need help finding resources? Live Chat our Member Support using the yellow box on the bottom right of any One Degree page, or email us at help@1degree.org
  3. Throughout the Bay Area, there is an increased level of smoke in the air. Take health precautions to protect yourself from smoke in the air. Read more here.  Check your air quality here. 

How can you Help?

  1. Share our collection of fire relief resources widely. This collection will be updated as more opportunities become available.
  2. Add more relief resources. If you find organizations providing fire relief in Sonoma and Napa county that aren’t in our collection, please add them using our community submission tool here, or add them to an existing organization on One Degree using the “Suggest Edits” button on the top right of any organization’s page. 
  3. Sign up to become a volunteer with the American Red Cross. As volunteer needs change, the American Red Cross will update volunteers.

Search One Degree for thousands of resources in the entire Bay Area and Los Angeles County, from access health care, food banks, employment services, and much more.

Thank you to everyone working for our community – keep taking care of one another.

One Degree Team

P.S. You can also offer your home or find free temporary housing via Airbnb from Oct 8-30, 2017. Please note, we are not affiliated with Airbnb nor do we list their services on One Degree.

P.P.S. Eater San Francisco is keeping a running list of open restaurants, many of which are providing free meals, in the Napa and Sonoma County area. Please note, we are not affiliated with Eater SF nor do we list their services on One Degree.

One Degree Referrals: Closing the Loop

Referrals

How do you close the loop? This is the major underlying question for everyone in the social service sector. In other words, how do you know if you’ve actually helped someone?

Let’s say you work with a young woman, recently pregnant and unsure of what to do. You give her some pamphlets about nearby prenatal services and wish her the best. Or let’s say you answer the phone for a housing crisis hotline, and you speak with a man who is facing eviction. You tell him about where to go for legal resources and hang up the phone.

These types of scenarios play out every day. It’s hard to argue you didn’t provide critical services in both cases, but how do you know you made a difference?

If you’re working with a client for a short period of time, you may never know. If you’re a client’s case manager or social worker, then it’s possible you’ll find out, although that can often require a lot of follow-up, calls, text messages, or future meetings. While this kind of person-to-person work can never be replicated – and we wouldn’t try – we were asked by case managers to make it just a little easier. And that’s what we did with One Degree Referrals.

Here’s how it works: You add your client, and optionally their contact information. Then, you use One Degree as normal to find one or more of the 10,000+ resources on our platform, and create a referral using our new tools. We’ll automatically send the resource details to your client at the contact info you provided us. They’ll get an email or a text message with the information they need.

For your tech savvier clients, all of their resources appear in their own One Degree account. It’s a synced copy of what you see in your account, so you have a real-time view of what they’re working on. Conversely, if you have a client that really just needs paper in their hand, we make it simple for you to print out the referral information so you don’t have to spend time manually writing it down.

Perhaps the most important part is that we then automatically follow up with your client to track their access of those resources. For instance, the young woman you helped will get a text message asking if she went to the prenatal care you recommended. If she did, we’ll ask her to give the service a rating and review, and you’ll be notified – loop closed. She can also indicate she wants assistance. If she does, we’ll notify you so you can follow up with her. As a case manager, you can update the referral status yourself, or keep track of referrals together with the clients who are able to.

This is a powerful new way for you to amplify the work you and your colleagues are doing to help community members who are already getting personal attention, but who need additional support outside formal meetings. Try it out for yourself – it’s completely free.

Create referrals for your clients with your nonprofit professional One Degree account.

We’ve just launched these new tools, and since then we’ve seen over 100 referrals made. However, we know this is a just a start and we’re eager to hear what you think. Please email me any time at eric@1degree.org with your questions, ideas, and feedback.

10 Organizations Advancing the Bay Area’s African American Community

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The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its steep hills and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. And yet one of the Bay’s strongest personality traits is its sense of community. There are literally thousands of organizations dedicated to supporting and advancing our community. During Black History Month, we wanted to feature ten of the many organizations that are helping advance the African American community in the Bay Area:

    • Rafiki Coalition
      Offering a variety of services like counseling and case management services and transitional housing for LGBT individuals, the Rafiki Coalition is on a mission to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and eliminate health disparities in San Francisco’s Black and marginalized communities.
    • Bayview Opera House 
      Acting as the go-to resource for the arts and culture in the Bayview district, this organization offers enrichment classes in addition to hosting a variety of festivals and family activities for the Bayview community throughout the year.
    • G.O.A.L.S. for Women, Inc.
      Based in Berkeley, G.O.A.L.S. for Women offers a variety of programs for women of color including self-esteem, health education, cultural awareness, skills-building, role-modeling, vocational enhancement, and family/parenting support.
    • Westside Community Services
      Through its case management, mental health treatments and other specialized services, Westside Community Services is dedicated to improving the psychological, spiritual and physical health of its community.
    • Center for Human Development
      An important hub for the Contra Costa County community, the Center for Human Development offers a wide variety of services, from health education, substance abuse prevention and youth leadership programs to summer camps.
    • Walden House
      With locations in the Bay Area and Los Angeles County, Walden house provides substance abuse treatment services including outpatient services, residential treatment and more.
    • Women’s Cancer Resource Center
      Women with cancer can rely on this organization to improve their quality of life through education, supportive services and practical assistance.
    • Reach Fellowship International
      Reach Fellowship International provides pre-release and post-release services (like housing referrals and case management) for previously incarcerated women.
    • YMCA of the East Bay
      Infants, toddlers, children of all ages, transitional age youth and their families can find arts, sports, educational and summer programs of all types at this YMCA location based in Livermore, CA,
    • Youth Uprising
      Focused on building a healthy and economically robust East Oakland, Youth Uprising provides a range of services to support the development and well-being of youth and young adults.

There are many other organizations making a difference in our community, tell us about your favorites in the comments below and let’s keep sharing our knowledge with others!

Thank you to everyone working for our community – let’s celebrate Black History Month by taking care of one another.

Bay Area Immigrant and Refugee Resources for you


protest-positiveDuring this tumultuous time in our country’s history, you may feel anxious if you are an immigrant or refugee. At One Degree, we’re here to lend a hand and connect you to the Bay Area’s best resources. You can find the help you need whether you began settling in the US last month or last year.

We’ve collected the Bay Area’s go-to resources for immigrant families, where you can find legal advice, job training programs, translation services and help applying for benefits. Visit the Immigrants Resource Page to quickly find what you’re looking for.

We also have resources for refugee families. You can find health services, ESL classes, support groups anywhere you live in the Bay Area. Visit the Refugees Resource Page to discover what programs you maybe didn’t even know existed.

We will continue to empower you with the resources you need to settle into your new life in the US and build a strong foundation for you and your family’s future.

Photo by: Nitish Meena

New Job, New Life: a how-to guide

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Building a path towards a stable, healthy life is like building a puzzle and all the pieces – housing, a job, education, health care, reliable food – are important. Having a secure job is like setting up the puzzle’s corner: a great start. The process of finding that new job can be, however, very stressful. To make it a bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of steps and suggestions to guide you in your job search:

  • Build or update your skill set by finding the right training for you
    Whether you are interested in getting an introduction to the culinary arts by learning more about cooking or baking, need to pick up some computer or internet skills or simply would like to get more comfortable with English as a second language, there are several programs happy to train you for free. Check out the links above.
  • Join a job placement program
    You don’t have to go through this alone, there are several programs that will support you through the entire process, from resume writing to interview prep. Find one near you!
  • Get your resume ready
    Most job applications will require a resume to know more about you and your previous experience. Writing a resume that sends the right message across and stands out from everyone else’s can be hard, so browse this list of organizations that will help you write and print the perfect resume.
  • Visit job boards
    There are jobs out there, we just need to find them. An easy way to find out where you should be applying and is searching by location, type of job and requirements by visiting sites like Indeed, Monster and Localwise.  
  • Tell your friends and family you’re looking for your next job
    You never know where the perfect job lead will come from. If you let your friends and family know about your job search, your chance of running into the right opportunity get multiplied several times. It helps to keep as many ears open as possible. Be specific about your areas of interest and skills.
  • Prepare for interviews  
    This is where you will convince your potential new employer you are the right person for the job. It’s a great chance to get them to know you, but sometimes stress can risk our performance. The best way to keep that from happening is to prepare, prepare, prepare! Gladly, you don’t have to do this alone either, browse this list of organizations that will support you getting ready for you job interview.

Bonus!
Below are a few extra tools that may help you along the way:

  • Find access to a computer and reliable internet
    Many parts of this process require access to a computer, internet or a printer (for resumes and cover letters). Find free access to a computer near you.
  • Know your rights!
    Make sure you are aware of your rights as a worker. If you ever need guidance, there are several labor law organizations that can help you for free.
  • Get a new wardrobe for your interview and new job
    Whether you want to look the part for your interview or start your new career with a new look, check out these free clothing resources.

Finding a job can be hard, but as you can see in the links above, you don’t have to go through this alone.

Best of luck! We hope this guide can help you plan your job search and make things easier. Remember, we’re rooting for you!

Reading: A Kid’s Greatest Superpower

 

baby-921807_640readingWhat can excite a child’s imagination, help them do better in school, and keep them entertained for years to come? We’ll give you a clue: it’s also a fun activity for you to do as a family this holiday season. Any guesses?

It’s reading! Helping your child grow a love for reading benefits them in so many ways., Kids who read and are read to regularly tend to do better in all areas of school. Think about it: a kid who can understand words and sentences will be better at getting concepts in math or science. It starts early too; toddlers who are read to are shown to have better speaking skills. Also, on a personal level, reading with your child can be a special time for both of you. Even if you have a busy schedule, making the time to sit down and read together even for a few minutes can be an intimate bonding experience. Encouraging your child to love and appreciate reading will benefit them now and forever. Additionally, reading resources are more accessible than you’d think. Check out this collection and explore One Degree for free reading resources near you.

Here are some tips to help get your kids to read more and actually enjoy doing it:

  • Books aren’t the only thing to read. There are great classics and even very interesting nonfiction books for kids to read but while these provide great reading material, don’t dismiss other ways to get your kid to read. If your child really enjoys a certain videogame, consider buying them a guide to the videogame. Next time you go to the library, check out the magazine section for ones specifically made for kids. You first want to develop a love for reading, and allowing them to read what they’re interested in can push them to challenge themselves with more “serious” books and novels.
  • Read together. This is a great bonding activity. The holiday season and winter break is an ideal time for this. Take turns reading every other page aloud and stop to discuss events in the book. Not only is this a great way to have your kid practice speaking longer sentences, but you can read more difficult books together because an adult is there to help make sense if things get tricky! Talk about values and themes in the book and ask for your child’s opinion. This is a great way to see how they view the world and understand the material.
  • Try book series. Book series are a great way to get kids hooked into reading because they will want to keep reading to find out what happens to their favorite characters or if the plot-twist gets resolved. Try out several to see if there’s one they really like; here’s an extensive list of several popular series.
  • Reward reading behavior. Show that you see and appreciate that they are reading! Keep track of how many minutes your child spends reading or how many books they finish and reward them when they reach a set goal. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy — a special picnic in the park or letting them pick the next family activity works great — but it shows that you care about their reading and encourages them to read more. Another tip is to allow children to stay up 20-30 minutes after their bedtime but only if they read. Many kids will jump at the chance to stay up a little later, and they’ll be doing good things for themselves while they do it!
  • Set a good example! Kids look up to their parents (and older siblings!) more than we think. Let them catch you reading, talk about books you enjoy, and overall show that it’s something important to you too. Again, it doesn’t have to be anything extremely long and difficult. When you go to the library, flip through magazines and books you’re interested in reading. Talk about a new recipe you learned while reading the cookbook. Become the model you want your kids to be!

Reading is a lifelong skill with never-ending benefits. It can improve a child’s academic performance, self-esteem, and relationships with others. Best of all, reading is extremely accessible as all public libraries in your area should be free. Stop by to pick up card, listen to story time, and let your child marvel through the stacks of books. We’ve also created this collection of reading resources all across the Bay Area with opportunities like getting free books to read, after school reading programs for kids, and even a book club for adults! Reading sets your child up for success in many different ways, so don’t wait to get started! Remember, we’re rooting for you.

Resources for Parents & Kids with Disabilities

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All parenting comes with its own variety of trials and tribulations, but different challenges come with being  a parent of a child with developmental or physical disabilities. We understand that your different situation may require different needs, so we’ve collected some resources in San Francisco County that specifically service you to make it a little easier for you. Every child is wonderful in their own way, and we hope that you can use, or share, these resources and find them helpful.

GET SUPPORT

As a parent of a child with a disability or impairment, it may first seem that you are the only one struggling through the issue; that you may be the only one with concerns other parents don’t have to worry about. That’s most certainly not the case — there are many other parents like you ready to offer their support and share any worries you have. Attending a support group is a great way to meet other parents with similar experiences and gain advice from them or just talk about your own feelings. While taking caring of your child is certainly important, it’s just as important to take care of yourself. Talk through what you’re feeling and know you’re not alone! Here is a drop-in center that services families of children with disabilities but if you prefer not to talk in-person here is a phone line that offers support. There’s also a variety of peer and support groups we put into this collection for San Francisco County.

LEARN MORE ABOUT SPECIAL EDUCATION

Your child is most likely eligible for special education and that means schools are required to provide instruction that meets the needs of a student. Unfortunately, special education is not the same everywhere. Schools serving marginalized communities — usually those with large low-income, minority, or immigrant populations — often cannot provide the appropriate teaching and funding a special education student may need. That’s why it’s important to know the rights for your student to make sure they are getting quality education they deserve. Parents can visit resource centers specializing in special education, students can get training about their rights, and families can receive the special education support and training they need.

Check out these organizations as well: Easter Seals Bay Area (Alameda & Contra Costa), San Mateo County SELPA (San Mateo), Gatepath (San Mateo).

FIND PROGRAMS FOR YOUR CHILD

It’s important for all children to socialize with others and participate in fun programs so that they can enjoy themselves. Even if regular programs may not provide the specialized attention and oversight your child may need your child still doesn’t need to feel left out! There are lots of opportunities in San Francisco for children with special needs to play with other kids in a supportive environment and they are great ways for kids to remain social and active. Kids can take swimming classes, basketball clinics, tennis lessons, or just play around with general sports. If your child prefers not to play sports then consider joining this playgroup! Your child will be happy playing with other kids and you can take a break to talk to other parents and caregivers. Let us know if you give any of these programs a try!

Check out these organizations as well: Creative Growth Art Center (Alameda), Computer Technologies Program (Alameda), Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (Alameda), Contra Costa ARC (Contra Costa), and Access Adventure (Solano).

All these resources and more can be found in this collection, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for you can always use One Degree to find resources closest to you by putting in your zipcode at the search bar. We hope you can find things that offers support for both you, as the parent, and your children.

Remember that there is always a network of people supporting you, and don’t forget that we’re rooting for you!

Don’t let Halloween ruin your kid’s teeth! Affordable, accessible dental health in the East Bay

Halloween is almost here, so sweet candies and treats are going to fill store shelves and our bellies! While it is a yummy time for all, all that candy can hurt our kids’ teeth – and therefore their health! The sugar from the candy makes it more likely for kids to get cavities. Sugar, and any food remains, promote bacteria growth on teeth which can lead to gum disease. Practicing good oral hygiene daily (such as brushing our teeth after every meal!), as well as regular checkups with a dentist, can do wonders for your smile and your health!

Below are a few reminders and resources in Alameda county to keep in mind:

  • Dental health is incredibly important for children! Even though their baby teeth eventually fall out, every child becomes susceptible to bacteria growth and tooth decay as soon as the first one appears. The American Dental Association recommends that you clean your child’s teeth and schedule their first visit by the time they turn one. Luckily, One Degree has resources to provide dental care for specifically children on Medi-Cal or without insurance as well as generally all children.
  • Brush twice a day and floss at least once. This will limit the growth of bacteria in your mouth. Even if the kids are tired after a long night of trick-or-treating, make sure they brush before bed so that bacteria doesn’t keep growing overnight!
  • If you feel any sharp or sudden pain don’t just suffer through it. It’s important to listen to your body. If you get sharp, dental pain, see a dentist as soon as possible. You can try this  opportunity from Highland Hospital that offers affordable emergency dental care.
  • Keep it regular! Besides being consistent about brushing and flossing, remember to regularly change out your toothbrush every 3 months. When you get a new toothbrush, just mark down the date three months later in a calendar or planner so you don’t forget. Just as important, maintain regular dental checkups! Usually this means at least once or twice a year. Don’t think you have the flexibility to take off work to make an appointment during the day? Or are you worried about how expensive this can get? No problem! Drop by the Suitcase Clinic on select Tuesday evenings to receive free dental care.  If that’s too far from you, browse One Degree to find other free dental care in your neighborhood.
  • Taking care of your teeth is important for more reasons than you may think. Your oral health can reflect the overall condition of your body. Try to eat healthy and save candy for special celebrations like Halloween — it’ll be good for your body and teeth. If you’re feeling any pain, swelling, mouth ulcers, or dry mouth then that may be indicative of a bigger health problem. That’s why it is so important to stay up to date with appointments and your own personal routine! We have plenty of free or low-cost resources on our website, but we’ve created a special collection for residents of Alameda County! Check out these tips and resources.

We hope that your Halloween is filled with more treats than tricks — have fun but don’t forget your teeth! Here’s the our collection again with even more dental health resources in Alameda County. Be sure to look through it and show your bright smile! Remember, we’re rooting for you.

Healthy, Cheap, and Easy: 5 Recipes to Serve 4 People under $10

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In our fast-paced world, it’s nice to be able to rest and relax with the ones we love. A great way to do this is to share a healthy meal with your family or friends. We wrote before about how eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank. You can always check One Degree and find free community food pantries and grocery distributions in your own neighborhood, like this weekly farmers market in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in SF, this program in Concord,  this grocery distribution in East Palo Alto, or this one in Oakland.  The even better news is that eating healthy also doesn’t have to take too much of your time: Here are 5 recipes that can serve 4 people for under $10 AND are easy to make.

Get cooking and fill your heart with good conversations and your stomach with yummy, fresh food:

  1. Black bean chili:
Dish of black bean chili
Dish of black bean chili

When you want something hearty and thick this chili is sure to be a hit! Black beans are a great source of protein and using turkey, instead of beef, is a great way to get in a leaner, healthier meat. Throw in some extra veggies to make it even better and serve with some tortilla chips or rice. Tip: Save your leftovers to make pasta the next day. Thin the chili with some pasta water and you have another great meal with a delicious chili sauce. Get the full recipe here.

  1. Stir-fried Chinese noodles

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Craving Chinese takeout? Skip the extra salt, sugar, and delivery fee and make a cheaper version for yourself at home! The eggs in the dish act as a good source of cheap protein and the spinach acts as a superfood by providing vitamins K and A (which help your blood and vision), folic acid, and iron. This is another dish where you can throw in all the extra veggies you like! By cooking at home, you can add everything you like and nothing you don’t. Lastly, use a light hand when adding salt or salty sauces, and you will have a well-balanced and inexpensive Chinese meal ready when the craving strikes! Find the full recipe here.

 

  1. Chicken and Rice Casserole

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Casseroles are great to make because they are full meals in one pan. Before making this dish, shop around for store sales on chicken so that you get the most bang for your buck. Don’t forget the zucchini and squash, which are chock full of manganese and vitamin C (which means great things for your brain and immune system). Tip: Casseroles are great to make ahead — just prepare and freeze them. When you don’t want to cook but still want a deliciously healthy meal, thaw the casserole in the fridge and bake for 10-15 minutes longer than usual. Get things casse-rollin by checking out the full recipe here.

  1. Lentil Soup with Beef and Red Pepper

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Soups and stews are great ways to make the most out of expensive meats. For example, with one pound of steak you could serve 2 people, but by making it part of a larger dish this recipe turns one pound of steak into six servings! Look for cheaper cuts of meats or those that are on sale even though the meat will be tougher. Or check grocery stores at the end of the week. They often have meat specials. Use or freeze the meat immediately. Once it’s put in the slow cooker the meat will become fall-apart-tender. To make things even better, lentils are a nutrient-packed food that leave you feeling full and nourished. See what’s stirring in this recipe.

  1. White Bean and Tuna Salad

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This meal is great to make in a pinch. Stock up next time your grocery store has a sale on canned beans and tuna — both items have a super long shelf-life and can be used in a variety of ways. Both are great sources of cheap protein. The beans also bring in a good amount of fiber while the tuna is full of omega-3 fatty acids which are great for your heart health. It’s a light, flavorful option when you’re having a busy day. Save your leftovers; they will make the perfect tuna salad sandwich for lunch the next day! Find out how right here.

Take some time for yourself and your friends and family to step back and cook some healthy, nutritious food that doesn’t take a lot of time or money. Smart shopping and some cooking skills are all you need to make inexpensive healthful meals — way tastier and cheaper than anything frozen or delivered. We hope that you give some of these recipes a try; we’re rooting for you!