The Stanford Settlement Neighborhood Center quietly works its mission of aiding women, children and families in North Sacramento. Since moving to the Gardenland area in 1963, the organization has worked to improve the lives and hopes of the area residents.
Originally founded by the Sisters of Social Service (SSS) in 1936 and at that time housed in the Stanford Mansion located at 8th and N Streets in Downtown Sacramento, Stanford Settlement was a residential program for teens who were unable to live in their own homes and it provided a place for young people in that neighborhood as well.
The move to North Sacramento was at the invitation of area residents who were badly in need of innovative social service programs. With the aid of the United Way and the Sacramento Diocese, the Stanford Settlement started its ongoing relationship with the area. In 1975, the organization formally separated from the Diocese and became an independent 501(c)(3) so it could be deeded the former Gardenland Elementary School by Sacramento County. Since then, periodic expansion has happened.
Today, the mission of the Stanford Settlement is to help build healthy communities through individual, family, and neighborhood services, with a focus on people whose opportunities and capabilities are limited by personal, social, or economic circumstances. They run an after-school program for elementary age students, a comprehensive Senior Center, Summer Day for children, and a Teen Center for those area children who need special care and help due to behavior issues. For 38 years, the organization has been run by a Board of Trustees with Sister Jeanne Felion, a member of the SSS, serving as the Executive Director. The programs it runs for elementary, middle school, and high school students are very similar to the programs that have been in place since its start in the 1930s, but they are now larger and connected to the modern age.
According to Julie Rhoten, the lead social worker, the after-school and summer programs had 150 participants last year; the Teen Center had another 150 middle and high school students participating; and the Senior Center provided a place for socialization and meals for approximately 400 elderly participants.
The programs often interact. Rhoten noted that the annual billiards tournament between the Senior Center and the Teen Center will be taking place this week on April 16.
“The trophy is highly prized by both groups,” Rhoten said. “It has traveled back and forth over the years.”
Like most non-profits, Stanford Settlement always has a funding need for the program and materials. One of their wish list items is updated software for the computers in their after-school program. There are two fund-raising events coming up in the near future: the Natomas May Day Run on May 3 and the Big Day of Giving on May 6. Anyone interested in participating in or helping with either event is encouraged can visit their website at www.stanfordsettlement.org or call for details at (916) 927-1303.
Hopefully, you will be hearing more about the good works of this organization in the coming months. A local public relations firm has agreed to take on Stanford Settlement as a pro bono client starting next month. They will be working with the organization to shine a light on and help grow the hopes and dreams in this little piece of Gardenland.