The LifeSTEPS footprint in the greater Sacramento area keeps growing

The LifeSTEPS footprint in the greater Sacramento area keeps growing, so effective today, we’re launching two new regions. The Sacramento Region continues to be led by Regional Director Michelle Lee, and by Ashli Hanks, who has been promoted to a Sacramento Regional Supervisor. Rachel Roguski has been promoted to Regional Director of the new Northern Region, and Esmeralda Mendoza will be the Northern Regional Supervisor.

We are delighted that Ashli and Rachel are continuing to grow in their leadership roles within our LifeSTEPS organization. Please join with us in celebrating our Sacramento and Northern Regions that will provide continued excellence in service delivery.

About Ashli Hanks

Ashli joined LifeSTEPS in February 2020 as a Social Services Specialist (SSS) in the Sacramento Region. In this unique role, Ashli has shown great talent and flexibility, covering various sites, serving as both a Director of Social Services and Program Coordinator. She was very instrumental in finding additional food resources for residents during the early COVID-19 pandemic months in the spring of 2020. In October of 2020, Ashli took on the role of Health and Housing Liaison within the Sacramento Region. Her commitment to excellence cultivated strong relationships with several key partners, including University of California, Davis and CSU, Sacramento. Ashli provided supervision, training and support to nursing students and community health interns, with the guidance of Meredith Chillemi and our Sacramento Regional leadership team. Ashli has a Bachelor of Science in Child Development from CSU.

About Rachel Roguski

Rachel joined LifeSTEPS in 2017 as Resident Services Director, where she provided individuals with a myriad of education, resources and services, while cultivating relationships with local agencies to ensure wrap around support to residents. She created Teen City to facilitate college readiness and employment services for teenage students at Phoenix Park, a large multi-family complex in Sacramento. Rachel most recently held the position of Regional Supervisor of Social Services (RSSS) in the Sacramento Region, where she continues to support employees through supervision and training, while developing and maintaining important community connections. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Brandman University. Her compassionate spirit, coupled with her effective leadership has provided this next step in her career at LifeSTEPS.

Seniors Receive Vaccinations at Bellflower Terrace

Great news! Last week, 60 LifeSTEPS residents and their caregivers received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Bellflower Terrace, an affordable housing community for seniors located in Bellflower. The vaccines were provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) efforts to support community vaccination centers in California and across the country.

Since many residents haven’t been able to schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine through their health care provider, the seniors expressed gratitude and thanks to LifeSTEPS for holding clinics steps away from their apartments. We’ll continue to work with our partners to ensure that affordable housing communities are prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine and have access to the vaccine through on-site or nearby vaccination clinics. We are committed to taking care of our residents and supporting each other to stay healthy.

Kathy Cao helps bring food stability to residents

Meet Kathy Cao, one of our amazing LifeSTEPS’ Directors of Social of Services. There are many words to describe Kathy: trustworthy, go-getter, creative, passionate, patient, resourceful and adaptable. Kathy’s ability to work with kids, families, and seniors from diverse backgrounds is one of her largest strengths.

When COVID-19 hit, Kathy started a food program at one of our senior sites. Although she experienced challenges due to an initial lack of resources, Kathy began networking until she succeeded. Needless to say, Kathy’s food program brought food stability, relief and joy to the residents.

Kathy’s focus on the well-being of her residents is unstoppable, and we’re so proud that she’s part of the LifeSTEPS team.

Responding to food insecurity

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the already dire problem of elder hunger in California and across the United States. According to the National Council on Aging, approximately 7.3 million older adults are food insecure nationwide and this number is expected to increase. In response to the pandemic and the increasing need for food assistance, LifeSTEPS tripled its commitment to improving the quality of life for low-income, older adults and families throughout California by delivering food commodities.

With March designated as Older Californians Nutrition Month, LifeSTEPS would like to thank our partners who have helped us provide nearly $762,000 in food support to our older adults and families during COVID-19. Thanks to the generosity of local food banks and food pantries, YMCA food donations, home delivered meals, Grab and Go senior meals and Great Plates, we have been able to provide food baskets to seniors and families facing food insecurity during these uncertain times presented by COVID-19. We are so grateful to have this support.

Food is an essential part of living, and many people haven’t had access to the food they need both before and during the pandemic. We are proud that our LifeSTEPS team, with the help of our partners, helped reduce hunger by distributing food baskets to seniors and families in need at nearly 340 low-income apartment communities across California. By reducing hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition, residents will live healthier and more independent lives.