Summer Lovin’ Recap: Where the Magic Happens!
In July, we kicked off our Summer Lovin’ campaign asking you to help us raise $3,000 in order to provide healthy, exciting activities for the youth in our residential recovery program. Because of your generosity, we were able to meet that need and provide 18 of our clients with a summer to remember!
For Advent’s youth, summertime offers numerous opportunities to have a reprieve of fun while they continue to diligently work toward recovery. The clients in our girls’ and boys’ homes were given the chance for a very novel experience – to enjoy life’s perks without having to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Early August, the Summit girls and staff visited the Magic Kingdom – a place every young person should have the opportunity to visit at least once. For some of the girls, it was their first time ever visiting Disneyland. But whether a veteran or rookie to the Magic Kingdom, everyone had an amazing time! Thinking back on the amusing moments of the trip, Bethan Harris, Resident Care Worker at Summit, explains, “It was a well-earned reward for a summer of good behavior. The girls really enjoyed themselves.” We’re sure the girls left Disneyland with magical memories to cherish for a lifetime!
The boys of the Gateway and St. John’s homes had their own fun-filled summer enjoying excursions to Great America, the Morgan Hill Aquatic Center, and the beach. The enthusiastic group participated in activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, bodyboarding, hiking, and bowling. But of all the exciting outings, the boys seemed to enjoy the San Jose Giants baseball game and bonfires at the beach the most. Justine Walters, Resident Counselor at the St. John’s home, smiles and says, “It’s amazing to me that many of these events were a first-time experience for these kids. Something as simple as a baseball game was so appreciated! That was definitely a unique experience for all of them.” Justine adds that the clients of the Gateway and St. John’s homes are continuing to attend as many NA meetings held on the beach as possible throughout the remainder of the summer. “They just cannot get enough of the beach,” she quips. “They’re obsessed with it!”
Many times, our former clients have told us that these engaging expeditions are precisely where the magic happened and when the journey of true, lasting change began to take shape in their lives! The clients and staff of the Summit, Gateway, and St. John’s homes are extremely grateful to all who contributed to the Summer Lovin’ campaign. In doing so, you have helped provide our youth with a healthy, fresh perspective on life through these drug-free, life-affirming outings!
Summit Girls Give Back to the Community
We at Advent continuously strive to exemplify the value of community service to all of our clients. The importance of serving the community and the transnational effect it can have on individual lives can never be overestimated. This summer, the girls from our Summit recovery home had the opportunity to experience this truth for themselves as they volunteered their free time to CityTeam Ministries as a way to give back to the community.
For the past few months, a group of four to five girls and three to four staff members dedicated their Tuesdays to work with the ministry located in downtown San Jose. Alongside other community volunteers, the Summit team filled backpacks with school supplies such as notebooks, pencils, and the like to hand out to low-income elementary-aged children who would otherwise not have the academic essentials needed to start their school year. The team was also put to task in the kitchen assembling bags of food and water to be given to people in need at CityTeam’s food pantry.
Recalling her own experience giving back to the community, Bryanna Tabler, Senior Resident Care Worker at Summit, reflects, “I had volunteered at CityTeam in the past and it was a very rewarding experience. I thought it would be a great idea for the girls to give back through the same organization this summer.” It seems Bryanna was right, as the Summit crew was warmly welcomed and appreciated by CityTeam staff and volunteers alike! “Everyone lit up each time the girls arrived,” says Bryanna. “They kept asking them to come back. I think they enjoyed the youthful energy our group brought to the organization.” Overall, this was a fulfilling experience not just for CityTeam, but for the girls as well. “They really enjoyed volunteering their time. They said it felt great to give back,” Bryanna muses with a proud and thoughtful smile.
After having this opportunity to give back to the same community that has given to them, there is no doubt our clients at Summit will be positively impacted by the work they’ve done. Having personally experienced the reality of the value of service to the community, they should be pleased with themselves. They have touched many lives in just a few short months! We are so proud of our girls and staff for their commitment to service this summer!
Advent and the AUDL Million Dollar Challenge!
The weekend of August 8th, Advent Group Ministries teamed with Jerry Houston of Coldwell Bank to raise money and awareness for our organization. The AUDL Ultimate Spirit Challenge was a charitable fundraising competition seeking to collectively raise $1 million for charities in conjunction with the AUDL Fourth Annual Championship Weekend. The American Ultimate Disc League is a super exciting and intensely competitive professional sports league that plays out much like a soccer match – but with discs!
The AUDL prides itself in its integrity and value of community. Without these qualities, ultimate would be just another sport; another platform where, like business, winning and success are never guaranteed. But within the ultimate community, athletes demonstrate integrity by actively living up to the potential they have and continually daring themselves to attain new goals. The Spirit Challenge grew out of this very sentiment. It was specifically designed with the purpose of marrying the ambitious heart of the AUDL with the competitive and caring spirit of Silicon Valley in order to achieve something meaningful together. Individual teams contending to raise $1 million for their charity of choice through an exciting, cooperative series of disc-based challenges definitely fit the bill!
The event was held at the newly-developed Avaya Stadium nestled next to the San Jose International Airport providing spectators with a breathtaking view of airplanes landing while watching incredibly talented athletes on display. During the challenge, representatives from each team competed in disc-related activities such as longest throw, accuracy, and moving target challenges to rack up as many points as possible. These points were then translated into money for the team’s elected charity. Exuberant fans cheered on Advent’s founder and former Executive Director, Mark Miller, as he displayed his fierce competitive side while gliding down a zip line attempting to catch discs tossed his way by a professional ultimate athlete. Mark and his San Jose Spider teammate combined their skills to add seven points toward Advent’s goal! The weekend was a tremendous success for local charities and ultimate fans alike. Currently, the challenge has raised a combined total of $755,600 with Advent’s amount at $10,090!
On the field, the Spiders won their second consecutive AUDL Championship paralleling them with the likes of the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors having won three of the last five World Series and the 2014/2015 NBA Championship, respectively. We are very blessed to have the San Jose Spiders stand alongside other championed athletes from our own Bay Area!
This weekend was an absolutely thrilling experience! On behalf of Advent’s staff and clients, we would like to thank everyone who contributed toward helping this challenge be a success. We would also like to give very special appreciation to Jerry Houston for nominating Advent to be a part of this spectacular event! It is through our contributors’ altruistic giving that many non-profits are enabled to have the resources necessary to better serve our community. This weekend was surely one to be celebrated and we eagerly look forward to next year’s event!
Former Staff Returns as One of Advent’s Newest Employees
Renee Brown first came to our organization back in 1995 working as a Case Manager for the Boys’ Recovery Program. Two years later, she was promoted to the title of Program Supervisor while simultaneously holding a position as an MFT Intern in our Clinical Department. Then, in 1999, Advent said goodbye to Renee as she pursued an opportunity to further broaden her repertoire of skills by developing a faith-based recovery program at a local psychiatric hospital. Since then, she has held several positions in the field of social services serving as a clinician at a homeless shelter for the mentally-ill and Director of the Chemical Dependency Program at a community clinic.
Now, after over 15 years, we give a warm-hearted “welcome back” to Renee as our new Chief Clinical Officer. Advent is thrilled to be blessed with her amazing strengths and talents once again! When asked how she feels about joining our organization for the second time, Renee says with satisfaction, “It’s like coming home. The atmosphere, the mission, and the spirit of the people here are all still the same.”
“Oops, We Did It Again!”: Former Staff Married with Children
One afternoon in July, the staff at the Genesis home was blessed with an unexpected surprise – a blast from the past! Now married with three children, former Genesis staff, Ricardo and Christina Loayza returned to the home to show their family a tangible scene of where they met and fell in love. Back in 1996, Ricardo and Christina met while working as Resident Counselors. How fitting that they were both placed in the home called Genesis as it was the beginning of a new chapter in their lives! Staff was thrilled to see their familiar faces along with the opportunity to meet their beautiful family.
Although our goal is to create positive change in the lives of the youth who enter our recovery program, sometimes the lives of our clients aren’t the only ones being transformed. I guess we just never know what God is up to! We at Advent wish Ricardo, Christina, and their family all the best and God’s continued blessings!
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