Everyone from Leadership Napa Valley Class 31 who attended Health and Human Services Day heard stories: stories of loss and stories of help; stories of fear and stories of hope; stories of regret and stories of redemption. Each class member was assigned to a mentor or mentors, who spent the morning providing us with glimpses into their daily work. We met many people who care greatly about helping everyone in Napa County live healthy. Whether they are involved in Mental Health, Public Health, Child Welfare, Services for Older Adults, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, or Self-Sufficiency, they all work to bring security and help to those in need.
One of the most enthusiastic staffers we saw at the South Napa Shelter was Beta, a therapy dog who works with Reverend Linda Powers at Abode Services. Beta does a great job of bringing comfort and joy to all those that meet her.
Abode is built on the principle of Housing First. They work with the homeless to not only find housing, but also to provide services to help them sustain that home. Assistance may include anything from connecting a person with mental health services to educating them on PG&E programs to help them with their utility bills.
One of the most impressive things to witness is how groups are working together. The Hope Center is a drop-in facility that provides showers, restrooms, mail, phones, and laundry for homeless adults throughout the day. When we walked in with three workers from the Mental Health Division, it was obvious that the HHS staffers are well known because several people came over to say hello. The HHS staffers come to them, providing a “one-stop” place to receive help. Dr. Jennifer from Ole Health visits once a week to address medical and mental health issues. Being able to deliver immediate response and continuous coaching when someone is ready to make a change in their life is valuable to these individuals and to the health and development of Napa County.
During the presentation by Dr. Karen Relucio and the panel, it was clear that we all need to work together to build community capacity and resilience. All of the pieces of the puzzle have to come together so that individuals can be successful and healthy, which helps the entire community. We can all help in ways big and small. Everyone has a story and everyone has value.
Some of us were surprised to learn the scope of the homeless and food insecurity issues facing Napa County. Some wondered how people in the community even learn about the services available to them. We all left feeling much better informed about the invaluable role that Health and Human Services and the many area nonprofits with which they partner provide to our most vulnerable citizens. We were humbled by their efforts.
Thank you very much to all of the mentors, the speakers, the facilitators, the Health and Human Services Agency, and the day’s sponsor, Napa Valley Vintners. As always, thank you to Jill and Holly for their leadership of the program through which we learn so much.
Submitted by participants in LNV Class 31.