Name: Sara Lamnin

Favorite Charity: South Hayward Parish


I work in the Hayward Community Action Network program of South Hayward Parish--an independent non-profit started in 1964.

Hayward Community Action Network (CAN) was founded in 2007 to bring individuals who are homeless or at risk for homelessness together with members of the faith, business, and social and government service communities to develop sustainable solutions to end homelessness in Hayward.

Hayward CAN conducts community outreach with a pocket full of angels. Literally.

These small beaded charms (made of components from Fire Mountain Gems) are part of our efforts to eliminate obstacles to self-sufficiency for individuals who are homeless in Hayward, California. Made by women and men living on the street, these angels honor one of our members who lost his life attempting to help his peers.

Jose and his colleague, Joe, founded the "Homeless Angels" peer support effort in 2008. After Jose's death in 2010 and in response to the community's demand for more jobs, the Hayward Community Action Network (CAN) launched three vocational training efforts, including a beading class. In addition to jewelry making techniques, the class helps people to practice organizational skills, follow through, and personal responsibility--techniques imperative for successful transition to stability and self-sufficiency. "Without this program, I'd never move forward," said one participant. "Beading gives me hope."

A portion of the proceeds from jewelry sales are given to the CAN members who make the jewelry, with the balance of the funds reinvested directly into the program. The majority of staffing is volunteer.

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