Avenues Supported Living Services stacks up Winter Clothing Drive donations
SANTA CLARITA, CA - Avenues Supported Living Services had a very successful Winter clothing drive this year, with bags of donated items stacking up. The private non-profit provides assistance to members of the Santa Clarita community who have developmental and intellectual disabilities. These community members live independently, but receive support through thoughtful contributions.
Scott and Lori Shepard started the nonprofit organization in 1997 with a vision of being “an agency that provides the best possible services to meet the unique needs of each of the people [it] support[s].” Scott Shepard says they’ve worked hard to “[provide] person-centered services and individualized support to people” in order to help them live the life they want.
The group of people that Avenues SLS supports is diverse. Shepard says, “we support people from their early 20s all the way to age 82.”
Events like the clothing drive allow those supported by the organization to receive items they may be unable to buy for themselves. Volunteers go through each bag of donations and sorts them to fit the specific needs of each person they are assisting.
One mom, Sue Heldoorn, has been involved with Avenues SLS since her son, Dan, was seven-years old. “He has autism and mental retardation and a few other assorted diagnoses,” she describes. Although he is now 42, she still contributes to the organization as a parent volunteer and board member.
She describes the Shepards as being a strong support system during her son’s life. Heldoorn says “We went through Dan’s childhood and his teenage years and his adulthood with Lori and Scott behind us the whole time.”
Heldoorn also mentioned that events like the clothing drive not only help the people who receive the items, but make them more connected to the community as well. “They come into the office and volunteer… and they really like to help,” she said.
Items that can be donated include clothing, shoes, jackets, sweaters, backpacks, and purses. Any items that are not used by the organization are given to other nonprofits to ensure that nothing goes to waste. The organization stopped collecting donations on March 19th.
Avenues SLS hosts many events throughout the year to raise money and awareness for those in the disabled community. An upcoming fundraiser called “Painting for a Purpose,” will be open to the community on March 25th at 6:30 p.m. Those interested can participate in person at the Painting With A Twist location in the Valencia Town Center or virtually. If you are interested in registering, visit avenuessls.org for more information.
Video, Savanna Birchfield
By Savanna Birchfield
With contributions from Avenues Supported Living Services
Photos, Savanna Birchfield
Video, Savanna Birchfield
National Council of Nonprofits: Nonprofit Impact in Communities