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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

SHIELDS for Families

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: To develop, deliver, and evaluate culturally sensitive, comprehensive service models that empower and advocate for high risk families in South Los Angeles.

Results: Success rates range between 70 - 95%, averaging 82% - 3x the National Average

Community Stories

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shields for Families consistently works with families who are the most vulnerable in South LA (i.e people in recovery, foster care families, formerly incarcerated). They work to move the families from a state of crisis to a thriving state. They have also consistently worked with African American and Latino families, which comprise the majority of residents in South LA.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I HAVEWORKED FOR SHIELDS FOR FAMILIES HEALTHY START PROGRAM FOR ALMOST 4 YEARS. I HAVE WITNESS PEOPLE GET THEIR CHILDREN BACK, OBTAIN HOUSING, RETAIN LIFE SKILLS, REBUILD SELF-ESTEEM, MOTIVATION AND STRUCTURE. WORKING AS A CASE MANAGER HAS HELP ME TO FEEL THE NEEDS OF THECLIENTS FIRSTHAND, AND TO DEDICATE MYSELF TO ASSISTING AND FINDING RESOURCES TO FIT THE NEEDS OF THE CLIENTS. I ALSO HAVE HAD THE CHANCE TO HELP EDUCATE THE COMMUNITY ON VARIOUS ISSUES THAT AFFECTS WAYS OF LIVING, VIA HEALTH, HOMELESSNESS, PRENATAL CARE OR SUBSTANCE ABUSE. OVERALL SHIELDS HAS BEEN A GREAT SHIELD FOR STRENGHTEN AND KEEPING FAMILIES TOGETHER !!!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked for several Non Profit organization's down through the year's, (Salvation Army / Harbor Light, Walden House / El Monte, but when I was honored to become a family member of Shields for Families Inc., it has been an experience of a life time. Up until this day, 9 1/2 years later of being affiliated with the organization, I have yet to find another that has such extensive (in house) resources for the community it serves and employees alike to advancement in life. They offer the community a clean slate in life, allowing them to become clean and sober, productive citizens through education in all areas of life, including Vocational Services, Life Skills, Mental Health Services and reunification / education for the entire family involved. A non profit organization that truly cares about the community and the staff alike. I thank God for Shields for Families Inc!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked in the field for over 30 years. I had heard many things about the organization. However, I was blessed to do my intern at the organization while I studied to obtain a higher education degree. During this time I found that the organization is highly organized and very customer centered. Regardless of what else goes on, the custorems/clients always come first. This realization that Shields was the real deal was only the beginning. In my efforts to assit the most needy and over looked individuals in the community, I was asked to help a young man find a job. Boy! his record certainly was a guarentee that on one would hire him. I went to my agency first. They said no. I approached several other agencies and they said no. I then requested an audience with the President/CEO of the SHIELDS. My request was granted. I told my story to the CEO. She did not bat an eye. She said yes and went the estra mile to make sure that those in her organization that needed to know, knew her decision. She hired the young man. I know you might ask what is the significane of this story. By hiring this young man, several lives were not only saved but altered in a positive way for an eternity.
I have personally witnessed Shields give people chance after chance. The organization is unbelieveable. Shields was key is creating a program that provided an opportunity for a co-hort of seventeen individuals to receive a Masters in Social Work degree. I was one of those receipients. Shields negotiaged with the University and because of its reputation was able to get buy in from the organizations members of the co-hort worked for. We did not loose any money because we were at school or doing intern. I love the organization and I do not work for them.
They are indeed one of the best in the world.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I got to know Shields through a documentary film project exploring the people and the benefits of their program model. The incredible stories of hope and strength from the group was amazing. Extreme obstacles of addiction and abuse did not keep these folks from returning to the work place and community with a new mission.

Many people including families give up on those who struggle with addictions but not SHIELDS. What a wonderful organization who cares.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

SHARE MY PERSONAL EXPERENCE? GLAD YOU ASKED ME. IN 2010 I WAS RELEASED FROM PRISON AND A FRIEND INTRODUCED ME TO SHEILDS FOR FAMILIES SERVICES. AT THAT POINT IN MY LIFE, BEING ON PROBATION AND HAVING LIMTED SKILLS, THE OPPORTUNITY OF HAVING GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT LOOKED BLEEK. THE VOCATION DEPARTMENT REFERED ME TO THE TELECOMMUNICATION FIBER OPTIC COURSE. THIS 17 WEEK COURSE REALLY GAVE ME THE SKILLS AND THE KNOWLEDGE THAT I COULD USE AND IT HAS HELPED ME TO FIND SOMETHING I ENJOY DOING. WELL AT THE PRESENT TIME I AM WORKING PART TIME FOR THE SCHOOL THAT PROVIDED THE TRANING, BTTS INC., AS A TEACHER'S ASSISTANT. ALL THIS SEEMS LIKE IT'S UNREAL. I CLOSE BY SAYING THANK YOU SHEILDS FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE FOR ME.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Shields is an outstanding organization that is absolutely committed to saving families. Their programs empower parents battling the scourges of addiction, and teaches them how to be loving parents to their children. The WHOLE family is treated and this makes for the best positives outcomes possible. I have been a volunteer for the last 8 years, and I am proud to say that Shields has me for life. I have never been this committed to any community based organization other than church, and I remain in awe of what they are doing in OUR community. I have personally witnessed the growth and change in some of their clients, and truly, Shields saved their lives and the lives of their children. I have never been addicted, but I have learned so much about addicted populations, and I have developed a heightened sensitivity and deep compassion for those who are finding their way back to life. If I ever win a lottery, Shields will get a few million because I so staunchly believe in their purpose - to be a protective SHIELD for all families.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shields For Families is one of the most respected non-profit agencies in Los Angeles County. They have excellent services that are comprehensive, family centered and culturally sensitive. We have sent thousands of families to Sheilds for prevention, family preservation, assessment, mental health, substance abuse and Health services. They have collaborated with the Department of Children and Family Services to ensure that families are provided services in thier own homes and communities without the need for foster care. They have provided direct services to our families who have had their children detained so that children are reuniifed timely and they provide lifetime aftercare. Shields provides not only serivces to address the concern that brought the family into the child welfare system but they address the issues of unemplyment, education and legal status so that when our families complete their services, they are more prepared to be a stable family that supports itself. Shields has worked miracles with families that in the past would have lost their parental rights. They believe in families and believe in the power of healing, connecting and supporting. Shields is supporting families and building community strength through their collaborative work with other community partners. They are at the forefront of our

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My name is Douglas Hernandez, ACT Program Supervisor. Shields for Families. Im have been with the program for five years.
Our program receives high risk cases from DCFS. Our program has helped hundreds of families in these past 5 years given families the opportunity for participate in free classes in English and Spanish such as: Parenting, Domestic Violence, Anger Management, Financial Literacy, Healthy Marriage, and even Earthquale Preparedness. Each class clients attend, they are assisted with free transportation to and from classes and free childcare. Clients and their families have also been assisted in referrals outside our program such as: legal advise, health, education, housing, food banks, immigration, recreation, etc.
Our clients have been so pleased with our services that many of them are participating in our After-Care Program, which is a program for former clients, who continue learning how to prepare healthy meals for their children, self-esteem classes, orientation on the importance of reading and play with their children, discipline, how to find jobs,etc,etc.
Our program has been a success for these past 5 years, we hope to continue assisting clients and their families in the future.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I Was client there and was able to receive treatmetn for my substance abuse problem and also receive housing for me and my young daughter. shields created a safe environment full of hope in which I could receive support and also see the beutifull future. I believe their staff are trully blessed by God with empathy to those in harsh situations and The organization as a whole is doing a wonderfull work in our community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SHIELDS for Families serves families in very high-need communities with a holistic philosophy, asking people what they want and need first, responding to those requests and helping people navigate the overwhelmingly large "systems in LA. They can often meet family needs by calling on housing, substance abuse, cousneling, child care and other services wihtinthe agency, but theyare also a great collaborator, working as a valued partner with County and City government and other non-profits. The Executive Director, Kathy Icenhower, is a wonderful leader and the staff is excellent! In my experience as an evaluator and consultant with many non-profits in LA County, they are tops!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SHIELDS for Families is THE BEST family-centered non-profit organization in South Los Angeles for substance abuse treatment, child welfare, and other services such as mental health, children & youth programs, and supportive services.

They are experts in these fields and have a unique approach to service-delivery models!

The only constructive feedback I'd give is that if SHIELDS could get some money donated to them they should invest in a high-tech upgrade to all computers, networks, IT, etc. - it's current system is far beyond where it needs to be in order to maintain efficient work flow for the next 20 years. Also, SHIELDS needs more individual donors and/or corporate sponsorship to assist in long-range growth of infrastructure and I think SHIELDS is very worthy of any donations

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shields is an awesome agency that truely impacts the community in a positive way. The services that they provide incompasses the entire family, There is no other program that accomplishes this in such a seamless manner. I would reccommend this agency to anyone who needs help, if they don't have the service they will definetely referral to the appropriate place in the community.

Client Served

Rating: 4

I was a client of the drug court program I had a long history of useing and being in volved with the law. Since I came to shields I have turn my life around and have been clean for almost 12 year now. They help me change my out look on life as we know it.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Shields for Families is the best agency I have been associated with in my 16 yrs. of working in the Substance Abuse/Mental Health field. It is the only agency I know of that offers wrap around services to the entire family, and will assist women with children, no matter the age of the children and the number of children the individual has. The agency and it's staff go the extra mile to meet the needs of their clients and families. One specific example was taking a woman with 11 children and providing housing, substance abuse and mental health services to the entire family.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a longtime admirer of the outstanding work that SHIELDS for Families has done in the community, I have really enjoyed having the opportunity to see how Shields for Families function from the inside. Volunteering to assist Shields in upgrading their Technology, I have witnessed the passion, priority, and professionalism Shields leadership and employees displays while executing a multitude of programs and resources that continue to improve the children and families of the communities they serve.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I'm more than an advisor for Shields, I'm an employee. This organization changes lives every single day, and the families that are assisted come away much more than just being physically reunified, they come away with skills to help them thrive. Whether it's providing counseling for the children, their mothers and fathers or entire families, educational and vocational training to help parents, substance abuse programs or housing assistance to help move them forward, this agency is thinking about what is in the best interest of the ENTIRE family, rather than just the individual.

In working here, I've never seen a group of more passionate and dedicated people who go beyond the call of duty every single day for others who not only need the help, but so clearly deserve it.

It is not easy, but it has proven to work for 20 years now, and from the very top of this agency to the very bottom, there is a tangible, long-view commitment to make things for each of these families better today than it was yesterday.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I have been employed by this agency for the past year and it has given me new hope for the field of substance abuse treatment. I have met people who have made a difference in my life despite their circumstances. There is a general sense of service and hope instilled in the individuals who work at Shields through the work we do and the accomplishments of each day. Shields has provided a safe place for women to become sober moms, sisters to become sober friends and men to become sober providers.