Since its inception FACES has mobilized and collaborated with city, state and federal agencies and commissions; community-based arts, health, and social change organizations; educational institutions; public and private funders; the service groups of faith-based organizations and talented individuals. These collaborations have engaged FACES in offering creative, innovative, whole systems programs bringing together an array of resources that meet the needs of the community. As a result, FACES has succeeded in establishing a reputation for offering quality innovative trainings, workshops, and service programs. The following list provides an example of the many was that FACES has achieved its mission and served the community
FACES hosted Breaking Bread Together events to promote fellowship. These events were held in the kitchen then flowed out into the Fellowship Hall where they became monthly opportunities to get to know one another. The overflow pantry was an opportunity to being fresh foods and vegetables into our neighborhoods to promote the adaptation of a healthier and nutritional lifestyle. Going on 10 years strong, the Overflow Pantry has given out 1000s of bags of fresh produce and staples. The pantry is managed by our volunteer Food Angels who hand out bags on the 1st & 3rd Wednesdays.
The collaboration between FACES and StopWaste has funded our efforts to provide healthy food to the community. Through this collaboration we have expanded our ability to store and transport fresh food.
On location, FACES adopted The Hidden Garden to create an urban gardening program based on spirituality and healthy food consciousness. This garden connects children and others with the spirituality of nature. The aim is to create urban gardens that focus on the creativity of spirit and to understand the natural order of life by understanding the nature order of nature sustaining itself.
FACES provided monthly Family Fun Nights to promote building healthy families. Our program used music, creativity, and art to connect families together coupled along with workshops on spiritual education. We sponsored a Girls Rites of Passage Program for 12-17 years old girls. The program focused on developing self-esteem, critical thinking and decision-making skills, cultural awareness and healthy lifestyle choices.
As a community service FACES worked with King Estates Middle School in Oakland to bridge services between the community and Foster youth who were struggling in citizenship. FACES partnered with the members of the East Bay Church Religious Science to provide mentorship, lunch and after-school engagement workshops. In our theme to strengthen bonds FACES held monthly workshops on Building Healthy Families to foster positive communication geared at creating family unity, family togetherness and community connectivity.
Through the years FACES has hosted various children programs. Staying in line with our commitment to Culture we hosted After-school Music Lessons taught by local artists. In addition to the creative instruction, FACES held leadership forums for teens. Through the holidays we also hosted Theater Camps, Summer Camps and Winter Arts Camps focusing on dance, art, and vocal instruction. Each year FACES sponsors a community cultural celebration of Nguzo Saba (the principles) of Kwanzaa. This celebration takes one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa and creates a family focused event of dance, music, poetry, history, and community dedication.
As a New Year renewal process, FACES hosted a series of workshops on building health and wellness practices through our Jump Start Your Life Empowerment Workshops. This series invited masters from the area to share their gifts and strategies for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
FACES engaged local realtors, lenders, non-profits and City agencies to make presentations at the First Time Buyers program. These monthly orientations assisted first time home buyers through the entire process of purchasing their own home.
FACES created the Building Healthy Family Training Program to teach community-based organizations how to use culturally relevant and responsive strategies to meet the needs of urban families. Topics included:
• Using client culture to understand family dynamics
• Service delivery to support family cohesion
•. Strategies for addressing societal issues and challenges.
FACES acted on its commitment to building community health by creating Together We Can Heal the Heart. This was a series of diversity workshops which focused on healing racial wounds and rage.
In an effort to address the concerns of racial inequities as brought up by the death of Oscar Grant, FACES joined a collaboration with the SHIFT Network’s Summer of Peace, to hold open forums and became ambassadors for peace. Through this collaboration FACES became Community Peacekeepers for Oakland.
FACES also held diversity training, funded through the San Francisco Foundation, to build cross-cultural relationships. These workshops gathered various people from the Bay Area’s multi-cultural community. The directors of FACES were active participants in helping to bridge the gap between Oakland city officials and the organizers of and participants in the Occupy Oakland movement.
From its inception, FACES has always held a strong commitment to family reunification. During the years, we have interfaced with many programs. In our partnership with the Maximizing Opportunities for Mothers (Moms) our educators provided training to begin the healing process between moms and their children to reconnect and build a healthy environment. These trainings provided services and resources to support parents in healing the effects of emotional separation.
Coupled with the MOMS partnership, FACES created the Reuniting Families Project. This project created a loving space for children. It helped them to process the grief, anger, and frustration created by having to live without the love and guidance of a parent. The project focused on positive communication, family counseling and also hatred hosted family bonding events.