Our California State Director Anne Silcher listens on while Lori speaks to the Mains’l crew about her role on the anniversary planning committee. The week-long celebration, held last August, included a time capsule presentation, trivia game night, a variety show and a picnic.
Our Calif. Office Celebrates 10 Years
By Anne Silcher, Director of California Services
All of us at Mains'l are excited to celebrate ten years of serving the community of Chico, Calif. During this time, we've offered innovative supports to people, responding to their hopes and dreams while connecting them to people and resources in their community.
We first began our work in Chico in 2008. During those first formative years, we initiated a long-standing partnership with Far Northern Regional Center, an agency that shares our vision of supporting people of all abilities in reaching their hopes and dreams.
Soon after starting, we launched two of our signature programs: the 7th St. Centre for the Arts and Innovations Center for Learning. 7th St. has developed over the years as a widely renown center that connects people of all abilities to the arts in a variety of mediums, including theatre, choir, dance, and art. Innovations Center for Learning provides opportunities for people to build their social, living, work, interpersonal, health, and recreational skills. These key programs started as a shared vision by our CEO Terri Williams and Far Northern Regional Center Executive Director Laura Larson. That vision continues to this day through encouraging innovation and creativity and I'm incredibly proud of it.
Reflecting on those first few years of serving the Chico community, I are humbled by how far we’ve come since then. We love celebrating in the successes of the people as they take steps toward their hopes and dreams.
In 2010, our team stepped up to fulfill a growing demand in public transportation assistance through an innovative employment opportunity that uses peer to peer support. We hired Bus Guides to help others navigate their community. It has been widely adopted and highly successful in promoting independence for people in using the bus system.
Another strong area of focus for us has been around supporting young adults in pursuing secondary education — prior to 2012, students had to go out of the city for an educational program like that. That year, we launched the College Essentials Plus program with six participants; since that time, the program has grown to 44 students who are currently attending Butte College, Shasta College and Chico State.
Most recently, we've partnered with local business owners to explore opportunities and employment for people pursuing meaningful work. Employees share their skills, gifts and talents in a variety of areas, including composting, gardening, shopping, deliveries, and graphic design and printing, and we have many artists who are selling their own creations.
All of us at the Mains’l team is proud to be a part of the Chico community. We started with 37 employees in August 2008 and provided support to 10 people — and as of July 2018, the crew has grown to 172 who offer supports to 192 people. As we continue to deepen our partnerships and foster new relationships, everyone at the company is excited to serve in Chico for many years to come.
Update: The News & Review, one of Chico, California's leading newspapers, recently covered our 10th anniversary. Read the article here.
The Mains'l team in Chico, California is dealing with the aftermath of one of the state's most devastating fires ever.
The Latest on the California Wildfires
The massive wildfires in Paradise, Calif. have grabbed national headlines, and our California team has been on the front lines of the disaster as our Chico office is no more than ten miles west of Paradise. Although a number of our California colleagues and people we support lost homes and pets, we are blessed as we experienced no human fatalities and all our people are accounted for.
Many who fled Paradise were brave and offered assistance and rides to others, risking their own safety while navigating the roads through the fire. There are also many stories of people rescuing animals and aiding wildlife, so the best of the human spirit has been very present. We are thankful to all and feeling very blessed that everyone is safe.
So where do we go from here? California is still figuring out what to do with the massive loss of housing. Mains’l crew members are assisting those impacted by the fire in filling out FEMA applications and offering information about how to access donations. Public authorities are working to determine how to address the housing crisis, and we likely will not know what is needed until sometime after next week. In the meantime, we continue to ask what is needed most and to identify how to assist. If you are compelled to do something now, you can direct financial contributions to the North Valley Community Foundation.
Anne Silcher and the entire leadership in CA continue to do amazing work and they are tirelessly working to bring order to the chaos. They have done an amazing job of pulling together to support one another and others who have lost so much.
Please keep the communities throughout California who are and have been affected by the fires in your thoughts and prayers.