What's Happening at Project Access

Staff Spotlight - Cara Lee and Alex Garcia

Posted on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

In this edition of Staff Spotlight, meet two new members of the Project Access family, Cara and Alex, who are holding down the fort at our new San Diego Family Resource Center at Meadowbrook Apartments


Name: Cara Lee. (Actually my married name is "Yoo", but I haven't officially changed my last name yet, so it's legally still "Lee".)

Nickname (if any): I don't think I had a nickname. However, my name in Spanish means "face", and some friends back in high school would call me "You, face!")

What do you do for Project Access: Service Specialist

What are you most looking forward to at your new position?: I am really looking forward to getting to know the community and establishing trusting relationships with residents!

What do you do for yourself? (for fun/hobbies/side business/etc): I love walking/running with my dog, traveling and exploring different food cruises with my husband, and helping my church youth group with praise (music) band. 

What is your biggest Pet Peeve? This might sound funny, but one of my biggest pet peeves is when guys are wearing white socks with black shoes, sandals or slippers (AKA "fashion terrorists")


Name: Alex Garcia

Nickname: Copy Machine (when I was a kid, I had the tendency to do my homework in class during the lesson. Since I was done with the homework, my friends would ask to copy, hence the name) Al G. (that’s what my sister has always called me)

What do you do for Project Access: Service Coordinator

What are you most looking forward to at your new position?: Helping everyone I work with to move forward, whether that means learning their multiplication tables, learning to create a document in Microsoft Word, or simply taking some time to learn how to cook a healthy meal for their respective family and friends.

What do you do for yourself? (for fun/hobbies/side business/etc): I play sports. It’s my release. And concerts. I go to many concerts.

What is a surprising fact about yourself?: I’ve run over 16 marathons.

Are you prepared for a zombie apocalypse?: I think so. I’ve run quite a few miles in my day. I am pretty resourceful, so I should be able to do okay. 


Interested in joining the Project Access team? Check out our employment page for opportunities!

Topics: Project Access, Staff Spotlight, Q&A

DIY - Vision Board

Posted on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

Have some leftover cardboard lying around? Here is a simple DIY arts and crafts activity you can do in your After-School Program called Vision Boards.

Youth at the Project Access Family Resource Center at Meadowbrook Apartments in San Diego, CA created vision boards as an enrichment activity to kick off the year. The vision boards have images that they cut out of magazines and pasted onto the cardboard that represent their likes and what they aspire to become one day. What a great youth craft to help boost self-esteem!.



Cardboard (or some kind of posterboard, card stock, or construction paper)
Markers, crayons, colored pencils

For other ideas, check out our pinterest page: http://www.pinterest.com/projectaccess/ 

Topics: Education for Youth, Youth, Education, DIY

Tis the Season to Give at Project Access

Posted on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 @ 01:36 PM


Project Access would be nothing without the generosity of its donors and volunteers. During the holiday season especially, we are so blessed to have gracious organizations donate funds, food, volunteers, host toy drives and more! From local Starbucks to Mazda dealerships, we are showered with goodies to share with our residents.

"In the communities that we work with, it’s sometimes easy to forget that some of the things these families have a hard time accessing is being able to fulfill all of their childrens' needs and expectations for the holidays.  So these toys and donations really brighten the lives of those in the communities we serve, as well as ease the loads families carry. These generous gifts from others supplant empty hearts and lives, creating the magic of the holidays at our sites,” says Daniel Romero, Service Coordinator in Santa Ana.

Last year, Sentre Partners in Irvine donated hundreds of toys that they collected at a toy drive they organized.  “I was overjoyed that someone took the time to organize a toy drive for my center, every child went home happy and with a toy in hand thanks to the extra toy donation,” says Service Coordinator Elizabeth Mejia.

Generous organizations really help make the holidays at Project Access the success that it is. One such organization is called Mothers and Daughters for Multiple Causes. They are what their name suggests, mothers and daughters working side-by-side to help out in their community. This year, they are sending about 20 members to volunteer at a community building holiday event at Hermosa Village in Anaheim. They’ll be helping with games, face painting, crafts, passing out snacks, helping people sign in, and cleaning up. This event will even have a special appearance from Santa as well as Krispy Kreme Donuts and Starbucks coffee (that was donated by a local Starbucks).  Residents are rushing to sign up for the awesome raffle prizes as well. Related Management, the property management company for Hermosa Village, is donating a TV and Beats By Dre headphones!

As you can see, a lot of organizations came together to make this event a special one for the residents. Not only did Mothers and Daughters for Multiple Causes volunteer their time, but they also collected donations and bought toys for our kids. Sara Guggenheim Jarrett, our main contact with the organization, collected donations on our behalf and made a generous donation herself. She also owns a preschool in Newport called Newport Coast Preschool that is hosting a toy drive for us. Sara shares why she chose to work with us:

“We chose Project Access because our charity is about hands on volunteering and we wanted the girls to be able to participate in and see "hands on" and with their own eyes the difference that volunteering makes. We were looking for charities that would allow our 13 year old girls to participate hands on and I remembered Project Access and reached out. We were so pleased to find out that Project Access would allow our 13 year olds to come in and "spread the joy" this holiday season.  It's so important for the girls to see what kind of difference they can make and just as important for the children at these facilities to see that not only adults but their peers care and want to make a difference. Thank you Project Access for this opportunity!”

If you or your company would like to get involved, please visit http://www.project-access.org/spreadthejoy for more information!

Topics: Donors

Project Access Family Portrait Nights

Posted on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 @ 09:25 AM


A picture is worth a thousand words, and for the residents, it’s worth a lot of smiles too! Little pop-up portrait studios have made their ways into our family resource centers for the holidays; and families have been lining up to get their portraits taken. For a lot of our families, this is a rare opportunity for them to get a picture taken professionally. Portrait studios can cost upwards of $30 per session which is a luxury they just can’t afford.

“With two toddlers, it’s so hard to make it to a studio to take Holiday photos to send to our family…and it’s expensive! I’m so glad [Project Access] is providing this free service right at our home!” says a resident at a resource center in Anaheim.  

Families can sign up at the Family Resource centers for a 10 minute slot with the photographer. Once the photos are edited, Service Coordinators print the photos and put them in a nice frame to give to the residents.

Service Coordinator in Rowland Heights, Brenda Morales, tells us “I put the pictures in frames so when I delivered the portraits everyone was so happy and grateful, we had some really nice pictures and the residents all loved them! I had one grandma tell me ‘I will now finally be able to have a family picture in our living room.’”


To learn how you can help other families this holiday season, please visit: http://www.project-access.org/spreadthejoy 

Staff Spotlight - Cambria Bowman and Jessica Collado

Posted on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 @ 01:55 PM

cambria-1Name: Cambria Bowman

What do you do for Project Access: I am the Service Coordinator at Whispering Pines in Phoenix.

What are you most looking forward to at your new position?: I am super excited to open a brand new center and to build relationships and connections with the Phoenix community. I am also looking forward to starting my After School Program and getting that off the ground.

What do you do for yourself? (for fun/hobbies/side business/etc): First, I teach yoga and I love doing that, as well as taking classes. Arizona is a great place to be outdoors (except in the summer!) and I love going hiking and taking my dog out to new places. I also am a big shopper and love traveling.

Would you rather eat pizza every day for the rest of your life, or only be able to eat it once a year? Pizza every day!!

Who is your celebrity doppelganger? Oh goodness, I have been told Emma Roberts a few times, but that's the only consistent once I hear!

Who would you rather save you, Batman or Superman? Batman, forever!


jessicacName: Jessica Collado

Nickname (if any): Jess or Collis 

What do you do for Project Access: Service Coordinator in AZ 

What are you most looking forward to at your new position?: Meeting our residents, working with kids again :) and having an outlet for my creative brain

What do you do for yourself? (for fun/hobbies/side business/etc): Read, sew, paint, working on reviving my blog

If you could bring someone famous back from the dead, who would you choose and why? Martin Luther King Jr., he has been my hero since forever! He brought truth, awareness and peace to an issue that continues to plague our country-racisim-we will never know the extent of his influence because his life was cut too short. It be an honor to talk and be in his presence. 

What is your favorite potato chip flavor? it varies but I love Black Pepper or Salt and Vinegar

Who is your favorite Disney Villain? Cruella de Vil (she was a bit crazy)

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