I know a lot of people think that C.O.T.S. is a Great nonprofit. I, admit, that they project themselves quite well as one. The truth, however is a lot different than the rosy picture about themselves that they present. One thing that is true is that C.O.T.S. will do anything ethical or not to preserve their funding, their reputation within the community as well as the North Bay Area at anyone's expense. Take for example a gentlemen who was a two time graduate of the program (One of a very few at that time.). He believed in C.O.T.S. and helped them. What did they do to him? They sicked the police on him eventually suing him for $50,000 and tried to break him. Is this what great nonprofits do or are supposed to be about?
Please realize that C.O.T.S. intentions were good at first, however they become quite misguided as they only help the people that they want to help. Anyone who gets in their way they will destroy in a heartbeat. To me, this is not what Great nonprofits do.
Don't take my word for any of this. There are records available at the Courthouse in Santa Rosa regarding C.O.T.S.'s activities. Thank you.
I was introduced to Committee On The Shelterless (COTS) by a neighbor when we first moved to Petaluma. My relationship with COTS began simply by me dropping off donations. I then inquired about the food service program, because I could see they had a kitchen on site that was serving meals to the local residents. I offered to volunteer at the kitchen one day a week. I loved the experinece so much, I kept going. It's been over two years now. And I still love it just as if it was my first week volunteering. The Petaluma Kitchen staff make everyone feel welcomed. When I was laid off, I found the volunteering rewarding and it helped me get out of the house and be part of my community. I felt needed and respected.
This is a non-profit that does NOT use the "patch-it up" approach, this organization works to solve the very issues that lead an individual or family to seek help to ensure that one can stand back on their own two feet, with self-confidence and hope. As their intro video says, everyone falls on their knees sometimes. I volunteered with COTS as a family team member, were I was matched with a family and other volunteers to support their growth and help them to reach their goals. I immediately repeated the experience because of the positive impact possible I saw in my first year as a volunteer!
COTS is nothing short of amazing. The staff is very competent across the board. Very caring and also demanding of clients as needed to get them back on their feet. They have innovative "treatments" like Tai Chi, and many programs (Rent right, for one) to help people get on their feet, working, and in suitable affordable housing. John Records is a driving loving force for good. He's brought many Petaluma citizen volunteers on board and donors on board to support COTS financially. I attribute the wonderful Mary Isaac Center's development to John's efforts in the community. Of course, many people contributed. Some formerly homeless people are now on staff making a huge difference in people lives. It's one of the many things that Petaluma can be very proud of.
I have been a volunteer for COTS in several capacities over the last 6 years. I stick around because it is always apparent to me that COTS is a well-run and effective organization. My time is put to good use and I always feel appreciated. There are many ways to help and it allows me to take action to help people rather than just write a check, though I am happy doing that too.
COTS is a wonderful organization that assists the needed with a whole approach rather than piece meal. John Records is an outstanding role model and has such emphathy for all participants.
I volunteered at the COTS preschool program beginning in Feb. 2006. I admired the dedication of the teacher's and staff. They provided a caring, nurturing, secure and a valuable teaching experience for children from toddlers to grade school. The children flourished in this environment. It was wonderful to see the joy of learning, sharing and character building the children responded to. Both parents and children were fortunate to have been a part of these programs.
COTS is a remarkable organization that I have had the privilege of volunteering for a couple times. I would highly recommend anyone to choose COTS volunteering as a way to give back to the community, and to see an amazing integrated set of services in action. COTS is working to help homeless individuals and families recreate a life filled with hope and possibility. They provide physical shelter, resources, trainings, services and other innovative services (including mindfullness, trauma therapy, life skills) but what's incredibly unique is the human heartfulness that exudes from the organization. It is how they meet each person with full dignity that makes as much difference as all the services they provide.
COTS is the most effective non-profit agency that I have had the opportunity to witness. Through all of its work in supporting individuals who need a "hand up", COTS communicates a respect and unflagging optimism for the capacity of humans. I am grateful that COTS offers not just a bed and meal (though both crucial assets) to those in need, it also uses research-based tools to educate and renew/build positive skills and habits in the areas of parenting, money management, and finding and maintaining a good place to live. The leadership at COTS is visionary and has worked together with staff to create a comprehensive program that has been exported in many different settings. I can't say enough positive about the work of COTS.
COTS is one of the most well run organizations I have ever been involved in. It is truly successful in every aspect of their mission and is a model for other similar organizations.