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Service Impact Award Winner: Christopher Gonzales Jr.

by Greg Tucker

During the next several weeks, we will be profiling the winners of the 2012 Service Impact Awards. Look for their stories and videos here on the blog.

Many homeless people face significant barriers to employment, including lack of work-appropriate clothing, limited access to computers or computer skills, and transportation issues. The dilemma is that these challenges are tough to surmount when people with a strong desire to work can't access the practical tools they need to find and maintain long-term employment.

Christopher Gonzales Jr., a dedicated AmeriCorps VISTA at the Sacramento Area Emergency Housing Center (SAEHC), has developed a program to eliminate many of these barriers.

The SAEHC'S new Resource Center is an all-encompassing program with three departments: a Donations Center to give clients access to no-cost clothing and basic household items; a Computer Resource Center to provide access to technology and improve computer literacy, and a Transportation Program that offers access to employment services and health resources.

While this program has been in operation only six months, more than 650 clients have been served, and more than 2,000 donated items have been distributed. Since the first two quarters of the fiscal year, Gonzales has formed 31 essential partnerships with local organizations, and recruited two volunteer program managers and 156 volunteers to sustain the program.

Christopher Gonzales Jr. was selected as the winner in the Economic Opportunity category in the 2012 National Service Impact Awards.

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