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Sonoma County youth build modular showers and bathrooms for the homeless

This summer, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin partnered with several local groups to provide a unique job opportunity to local youth. Partners include Homes 4 the Homeless, Sonoma County Probation Department, Santa Rosa Police community outreach officers, California Department of Rehabilitation, and Farrow Commercial Construction to give back to the community by building showers and bathrooms for the unsheltered.

The Vocational Youth Training Program inspires youth for careers in construction and trades and benefits those most vulnerable in our community. Ten Sonoma County youth, including multiple members of the Clubs' REACH Program, learned from skilled builders and built two portable ADA-compliant bathroom and shower units for the homeless. The REACH Program is a gang intervention and targeted re-entry program that helps young people feel competent, useful, develop a sense of belonging, and control their lives as they leave juvenile hall or probation.

"This partnership is an incredible opportunity for these kids, and we're thrilled to be part of the pilot program," said Michelle Heery Edwards, Executive Vice President of Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin. "It's a true win-win. Not only will these units provide support for those in need, but it is giving our local youth a chance to gain work experience, give back to the community, and receive a potentially life-changing education in the construction trade."

Licensed contractors led the curriculum, including Cal/OSHA guidelines and multiple sub-trades in the construction field. In addition, the Clubs' REACH staff and the founder & CEO of Seekhaven collaborated to offer classes on time management, among other life skills. Two different sessions took place over the summer at the Sonoma County Probation Camp in Forestville.

The modular shower/bathrooms are for sanctioned encampments for the unsheltered. Attending to personal hygiene needs is one of the best ways to help restore confidence and dignity to those living on the streets. One of the completed units was on display at the recently completed Sonoma County Fair.

"So many stepped forward to help with this program," said Steve Schneider, CEO of Homes 4 the Homeless. "Special thanks to the many instructors from Farrow Commercial Construction, Sonoma County Probation Camp, Seekhaven, Summit Electric, Pacific Plumbing & Fire Protection, Gotelli Plumbing, and Total Image Painting."

The program has also received broad support from local business and construction communities, including Mead Clark Lumber Company, PACE Supply, The Home Depot, Sonoma Paint Center (Benjamin Moore), Lowe's, Ace Hardware, Mechanized Solutions, Boomerang Plus, Sonoma County Regional Parks, Golden State Lumber, Stockham Construction, and Moore Painting & Roofing.

The restaurant and food community have supported the project as well, including: Bad Ass Coffee, Mi Ranchito, AdoboS N' More, Old Chicago Pizza, Mary's Pizza Shack, Lombardi's BBQ, El Roy's Mexican Grill, Petaluma Creamery, Oliver's Market, Molsberry Market, Chicago Pizza with a Twist, Crumbl Cookies, Chick-fil-A, and Sam's Market. Additionally, Jimmy Maestretti Catering catered a graduation event at the Sonoma County Probation Camp on August 5th.

For the complete list of donors, visit

"The Sonoma County Probation Camp has been excited to host this project and engage with community partners to afford community youth an opportunity to explore the construction trades and give back to their community in a meaningful way," said Melissa Segura Probation Camp Director.

Following the pilot program's success, Homes 4 the Homeless is looking to expand the program throughout the country to help those without shelter help themselves through job training and providing opportunities for a career that will boost the workforce and the economy. An expanded curriculum is currently in development with the help of General Contractor John Farrow from Farrow Commercial Construction and their instructors, Greg "Guido" Giannini and Shawn Codina, with the help of Matt Crosbie (SRPD).

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