February 2023

To read this newsletter in Spanish, please click here.

We love working with our partners and friends

Dear Emmanuel,

We are already off and running into what is shaping up to be a big year caring for Ventura County. And it's already February!

February is, of course, the month that hosts Valentine's Day, and so we're thinking about the ways love is in the air. For us, we love working with partners and donors who support our mission to end poverty in Ventura County.

In this newsletter, you'll learn about our recent collaboration with Parents as Teachers in the Ventura County Behavioral Health Department. Together, we hosted a community wellness workshop for social workers and community members on how they can support families across the county. You will also learn about our recent Water Assistance Program Day hosted at the Santa Paula Senior Center, where residents who needed help paying their water bills received that assistance when it was most needed.

You'll also see a tribute to our longtime board member, Joe Asebedo, who passed away last month. Joe was a board member from 2011 until his passing and a tireless advocate for veterans' rights. We will miss Joe dearly and work to ensure every community member in every city is cared for like Joe cared for everyone around him.

Finally, February is Black History Month, and we at CAVC celebrate the profound impact Black Americans have had on our country, on the National Community Action Partnership, and here locally.

I wish you and your loved ones continued good health and safety.

Susy Lopez-Garcia

Executive Director

Community Action of Ventura County

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In memoriam: Joe Asebedo

We are mourning the loss of Joe Asebedo, one of our longest serving Board members, after his passing in January.

Joe was a Board member since 2011, representing Ventura County's low-income sector. Joe was a tireless advocate for veterans, particularly those who were unhoused, and cared deeply about the true costs of homelessness on women and children.

Joe was a proud member of the Yaqui nation and served in the United States Marines Corps from 1958 to 1962. He was an active member of the Ventura County chapter of Veterans for Peace; of the Native American Veterans Association; and the Ventura County chapter of Disabled American Veterans.

We will miss Joe's voice, which never stopped advocating for veterans and our unsheltered neighbors. May he rest in peace.

Partner Spotlight: Parents as Teachers

Mental wellness matters, and we are always excited to collaborate with other agencies to bring awareness and wellness tools to the community.

Last month, we hosted mental wellness virtual workshops in English and Spanish to over 30 participants and social workers from Parents as Teachers, a national early childhood parent education, family support, and school readiness home visiting model. In Ventura County, Parents as Teachers is housed in the Ventura County Behavioral Health Department.

The program focuses primarily on pregnant women and families with children from birth to age three. It is designed to improve child outcomes by working with the parents to increase parents' knowledge of effective parenting practices and child development.

We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Parents as Teachers and other agencies to provide community workshops. If you are interested in collaborating and have a group in mind for mental wellness or financial wellness workshop, please email our Manager of Community Services at clozano@ca-vc.org.

Email Claudia

Water Bill Assistance Day in Santa Paula

On Saturday, January 28th, we hosted a Water Assistance Program Day at the Santa Paula Senior Center, where income-eligible residents could bring their water bills to be paid up to $2,000. This day was a part of our participation in the California Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), which has been helping Californians pay water bills on time since its creation last year.

Ensuring families can pay their utility and water bills on time is integral to our mission of eradicating poverty in Ventura County. If you or someone you know needs help paying their water, gas, or electricity bills, contact our offices at 805-436-4000 to see if you are eligible for LIHWAP or any of our other utility assistance programs.

Donor Spotlight: Sal and Darlene Gonzales

Throughout 2023, we are spotlighting our donors, partners, and friends who are generous enough to share their time, talent and resources with us. Their belief in our mission of eradicating poverty in Ventura County drives us forward and makes us stronger. This month, we're introducing you to Darlene and Sal Gonzales from Oxnard.

CAVC: How did you first hear about CAVC?

D&S: [We] have known of the Community Action Program for several years. I [Sal] first learned of the agency in 1985 when I began work with the City of Oxnard as the City's Housing Director. As Housing Director, I saw the Community Action Program as an important resource in the City, and recommended support and funding for the program.

CAVC: What inspired you to give to the organization?

S&D: The organization performs important needed services in the community. It is locally-based. All financial support we provide stays in our community.

CAVC: In your opinion, what is the most important work that CAVC does?

S&D: The most important work that CAVC performs is that it connects needy individuals and families with the resources that the individuals and families need. The agency may not provide the particular service that is needed but it works very hard in knowing and locating the needed services and guiding families and individuals toward those agencies and resources. Too many agencies either give the round around to individuals or simply dismiss them with the admonition that they don't provide the services that are needed or being sought.

CAVC: How would you describe CAVC to others?

S&D: It is a local agency that helps individuals and families in crisis situations, and where all financial support stays in our community.

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February is Black History Month

February is the 97th annual celebration of Black History Month in the United States. Black History Month was federally recognized as a national celebration in 1976 after its origins as a week-long observation 50 years prior.

CAVC owes its existence to the tireless advocacy efforts of Black civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others. CAVC was founded in 1965, one year after the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act established the National Community Action Partnership (NCAP). CAVC is a proud member of NCAP alongside the over 1,100 Community Action organizations fighting poverty in every American community.

CAVC recognizes and honors the Black leaders of past and present in Ventura County and across the United States. Simply put, there is no us without them.

"In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute."

-Thurgood Marshall, first Black United States

Supreme Court Justice

CAVC's Mission & Vision

Our Vision:

We envision a community successfully lifting people out of poverty.


Our Mission:

Helping our community establish pathways out of poverty through advocacy, partnerships and services that promote dignity

and self- sufficiency.

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