CASSANDRA SANTOR GIVES BACK : STEP UP & DANIEL’S PLACE
Today Cassandra Santor
, a Los Angeles based Event Planner is sharing all about Step Up and Daniel’s Place
. This is one organization with two separate initiatives she’s personally supported since 2006 and is a great opportunity to give back if you’re looking for an organization for your registry that serves homeless individuals with mental health and addiction issues.
Living in NYC and Los Angeles I became aware of the homeless population. While it seemed like a daunting challenge to understand and provide support for, I sought out an opportunity to understand the individuals who I came in contact with on a daily basis. It became apparent to me that not only were some of these people struggling with survival but perhaps also mental illness. It was important to me to humanize the people I connected with. I wanted to find out how they themselves could get help with not only their transient lifestyle but also their lack of connection and support due to mental illness.
I came across Step Up initially when I was looking to donate quality food that would otherwise have been thrown out, after the weddings and events I planned. I learned that while hunger is a challenge, it is hard to donate perishable items effectively due to government regulations. Step Up felt like an opportunity to participate in the support of my local community in a long-term and meaningful way. As such, I encouraged a group I belonged to, to build holiday gifts for the residents of Step Up. I further learned about Daniel’s Place which provides similar services to homeless individuals, especially those in the LGBQT community. It has become increasingly important to me to support Step Up’s mission to connect with disenfranchised individuals in an impactful way and to encourage a sense belonging to aide in their recovery, stabilization and hopeful reintegration into our community.
I now support Step Up with donations, especially of items for gift and goodie bags that might provide a bit more comfort to those in transition. For example, we recently printed beach towels for a welcome bags, unfortunately those towels were misprinted and as such we were able to donate all of those towels to Daniel’s Place (the youth division). Those novelty beach towels, which would have been discarded otherwise, will now allow those preparing for job interviews vital bathing supplies.
I love the mission as a whole. While I am continually impressed by the expansion of the organization since I first came in to contact with them (in late 2006) it’s the daily applications for people with mental health issues, especially homeless young adults, that continually inspires me. They currently have 200 home units and serve over 1,200 people (annually) struggling with mental health issues in Santa Monica, which I think is astounding. I really appreciate what the organization does for the community in building a safe, welcoming environment for people to begin the healing process of recovery.
I’d personally love to see couples consider this organization for their registry. As someone who has personal experience with their progress and impact, financial gifts would allow Step Up and Daniel’s Place to continue building on their current infrastructure as well as housing, vocational training and mental health support services (e.g.; art supplies).