Wellness Stories

Veterans who have jobs with good wages and benefits, and with opportunities for career advancement, are more likely to lead long, happy and healthy lives.

Padmini Parthasarathy,
Cal Wellness Program Director

About Wellness Stories

At Cal Wellness, we value exercising our “voice” to spotlight the issues and health areas we fund and care so deeply about. Our “Wellness Stories” are about our grantees’ work and their dedication to improve the health of Californians. The stories also shine a light on Cal Wellness’ desire to help level the playing field so that everyone has access to educational opportunities, good-paying jobs, safe neighborhoods and quality health care services.

This section represents the next chapter of Cal Wellness’ storytelling tradition – highlighting the impact of our grants, which are focused on advancing wellness for all.

Employment provides a pathway to health and well-being for veterans

Earlier this year, Anthony Robinson, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, was sleeping in his car every night. He had visited many job placement centers, but had not been able to secure employment. He was discouraged but refused to give up. He had a family who was depending on him, and he wanted to be a good role model for his children. Continue Reading…

Education leads to hope and health

College degrees conferred on San Quentin campus

Timothy Warren spent most of his teens and early adulthood in maximum security prisons. He described himself as closed off to other people and always on edge. When he entered San Quentin three years ago, the highest grade he had finished was eighth. But on June 24, 2016, he received his associate degree in liberal arts through the Prison University Project, a nonprofit that offers college courses at San Quentin. He was valedictorian of his class. Continue Reading…

Cal Wellness emboldens work of violence prevention expert

Perseverance and passion are hallmarks of community-building efforts in San Joaquin

Sammy Nuñez is executive director of Fathers & Families of San Joaquin, a community-based organization providing services for young fathers and incarcerated men in San Joaquin County. He is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of youth development and responsible fatherhood and addresses violence by improving conditions in his community. He was selected as a California Peace Prize honoree by Cal Wellness in 2010, and his organization has received two additional grants from the Foundation since then. Continue Reading…

Trauma-Informed Care: A Culture of Wholeness

RYSE Center in Richmond creates safe spaces that build power for young people to transform lives and communities. This organization applies trauma-informed, healing-centered supports and programs that both reflect and expand upon the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study.

The California Wellness Foundation (Cal Wellness) was one of the initial funders supporting the RYSE Center, founded in 2000 to address community health and violence prevention in Richmond. Continue Reading…

For 20 Years, Research Has Fueled Cal Wellness’ Public Health Approach to Violence

photo courtesy of the Regents of the University of California

Emergency room doctors and nurses will tell you that violence takes an incredible toll on the public’s health. The California Wellness Foundation knew this in 1993 and continues to place a priority on violence prevention as a cornerstone of health and wellness. And, as with any threat to public health, continual research is key to understanding what needs to be done to stem the tide of trauma caused by violence. Garen J. Wintemute, a professor of emergency medicine and the director of the Violence Prevention Research Program (VPRP) at the School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, has been doing work funded by The California Wellness Foundation for many years. Continue Reading…

Programs for Foster Youth Provide Pathways to Higher Education

“Growing up I moved from house to house, from group home to group home. I wanted to go to college, but there was uncertainty,” said Julius, who grew up in foster care and is now a participant in the Guardian Scholars Program at California State University, Bakersfield (Cal State Bakersfield).

Julius is not alone. Former foster youth who enter college face all of the standard challenges of new students and then some. There are lingering traumas of having been separated from family and having been uprooted from homes and schools over and over again, as well as financial worries and often a real sense of isolation. Continue Reading…

Family Resource Centers: Building a Culture of Health in California

With nearly 38 million residents, 44 percent of whom speak a language other than English at home, California is the most populous and diverse state in the country. In 2012, California also had the greatest number of uninsured residents, many of whom were low-income families. Continue Reading…

A Humanitarian Crisis: Supporting the Health of Unaccompanied Migrant Children: Cal Wellness Has a Long History of Aid for Border Health Issues

Unaccompanied by adults, hundreds of teenagers and younger children are illegally crossing the U.S. border daily, desperately seeking refuge from chronic poverty and escalating violence in their Central American countries. Continue Reading…

Text4baby: Conference Panel Inspires San Diego’s Text4baby Program

Cal Wellness’ 2009 Conference on Border Health provided the inspiration for the development of a San Diego version of text4baby, a service that provides free health advice for pregnant women and new mothers via text messages. Continue Reading…