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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Sunday Friends Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Family Services, Gift Distribution, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Human Services

Mission: Mission: Sunday Friends empowers families to break the generational cycle of poverty by fostering positive development in children while educating and guiding parents to support their children's life success. Model: Children and parents work together to learn, earn and serve the community.

Target demographics: very low-income families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 785 children, 385 moms, 192 dads + 2,365 volunteers

Geographic areas served: Santa Clara County, California

Programs: Carefully designed programs create a community atmosphere where English literacy, nutrition, academics and financial and social skills are taught through direct interaction between hundreds of low income families and thousands of community volunteers. Financial responsibility and self-respect are also fostered because participants earn "tickets", then redeem their tickets to "purchase" necessities and toys. Ways to earn tickets include: writing thank you letters to donors, preparing and serving nutritious meals, engaging in educational games, creating artistic and educational displays, producing craft gifts for people in hospitals and nursing homes and tending the grounds. Sunday Friends also provides English as a Second Language instruction, healthy eating classes, financial literacy counseling, one on one music lessons, developmental activities for preschoolers and meaningful holiday activities.

Community Stories

31 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I consider myself blessed and find it a sheer privilege to be associated with the Sunday Friends Foundation!

It gives me tremendous satisfaction and joy to see the impact this organization is making in trying to break the generational cycle of poverty by fostering positive development in children while educating and guiding parents to support their children's life success.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Working with families in this organization, I've heard their stories of learning skills that enable employment, feeling closer to their family than ever before, reversing their diabetes, releasing the feeling of the need to steal, successfully staying away from the gang life, and many more. This organization is making a true difference in the community!

The happiness of the low-income San Jose families and volunteers is evident every Sunday, with laughter and joy filling the room. The organization makes learning essential skills fun and rewarding for family members of all ages, so to graduate them from poverty. From participating, families not only receive strongly needed household goods, but also toys for children and valuable skills like STEAM, ESL, and computer literacy. Further, rent relief and college scholarships make graduating out of poverty possible for many well-deserving families. For all this and more, I strongly recommend the Sunday Friends Foundation.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Sunday Friends is an great nonprofit that assists those in need by teaching them how to be self reliant. My wife and children have worked with the organization for years and I have seem the benefits of the organization first hand and the countless lives the organization has helped.

2 Anju Pachauri S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Sunday Friends is an amazing nonprofit transforming and empowering lives of the under-privileged communities. In varying roles from a volunteer to a Board Member, I have been closely involved with this nonprofit from its earliest days in the homeless shelter. I have seen lives change radically due to the effective programs supported voluntarily by schools, colleges, professionals and all. Their rigorous scientific approach to evaluation of the programs, addressed needs of their population and impact on their lives provides the right perspective to evolve stronger to keep enriching lives across generations.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Sunday Friends for the last 4 years volunteering with my kids.
Every event feels festive, with families coming together and spending quality time.
Kids are eager to work on computers, get help in the math section, show creativity in the arts and crafts section and earn points for basic necessities that most of us take for granted.
Without Sunday Friends, we wouldn't have been able to get involved and make a positive effect on families, in our local community.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering at Sunday Friends has opened up my eyes to understanding that those in need want to learn how to help themselves. This organization helps individuals learn life-long skills and helps families in need through workshops, community building, and by giving back to those who make the programs possible. I have heard families say that Sunday Friends has helped them and their family by providing workshops in which they learned how to manage finances and they have learned so much from the opportunities that Sunday Friends offers at their programs. Being a part of such a loving and inspiring community is what brings these families closer and a step further into breaking the generational cycle of poverty that they may be in. Sunday Friends is able to provide families with what they need while the families themselves know they have worked hard for the support that they are receiving.

1 lucylee

Board Member

Rating: 5

Our son volunteered with Sunday Friends back in 2015 to launch his Eagle Scout computer project. He teamed up with Sunday Friends to refurbish surplus laptops for Sunday Friends children to "earn" upon completing a Math and computer education curriculum. We don't think of Sunday Friends as a typical charity, rather, an alternative to charity. Under this innovative operating model, children and their parents work together to develop the life skills needed to graduate from poverty into opportunity. Sunday Friends teaches families to become self-sufficient by teaching them how to fish so that they can feed themselves for a lifetime. We are very proud to serve on the Sunday Friends' Board to create positive impact on our community.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I have been teaching computer education at Sunday Friends. This is a great environment for both members and volunteers where everyone becomes friends and supports each other to form a friendly community. I especially like that Sunday Friends provides the community that newly immigrated families can belong to. As the first generation immigrants i understand how crucial it is to them.

2 Connie48

Board Member

Rating: 5

Sunday Friends has the great motto, “A hand up, not a hand out”. People are allowed to keep their dignity by doing jobs to help and thereby earn items they need. Children are taught the art of gratitude by writing thank you notes for each and every donation. Both are very valuable life lessons.

2 Sam Van Z.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I’m a Jan Jose native, and I’ve always worked and believed in work. My parents and aunts and uncles were farm workers when they were younger. So was I. So I could easily relate to the Sunday Friends philosophy when I was successful in later life, and just one Sunday visit showed me how a community can pull together to work out problems and help folks help themselves. Sunday Friends lets families learn and work together.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sunday Friends is an outstanding organization that supports San Jose families and I feel honored to be part of it. It is so nice to see the families engaging in activities and nothing beats the happy face impressions from kids that exchange their tickets for something in the store that they really wanted. Sunday Friends is an organization that supports, educates, and empowers families and I can just encourage everyone to check it out, come by, and volunteer! It is an awesome experience!!!

3 Barbara Ganz P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is my pleasure to donate and volunteer for this wonderful organization! I want to give of myself to people who I can interact with and see the benefits of my involvement!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Sunday Friends is an organization that cares about the community it serves. The organization is a reflection of its founder, leadership, and volunteers, who are sincere and large hearted!

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I learned about this fabulous organization through Junior League of San Jose and served on the Board for four years. I found their unique format enriches families and volunteers alike. The families full partnership in the organization was evident in in their justifiably proud tours of the program. I’m proud too of the program and all involved and how much they’ve grown and shared their model.

3

Advisor

Rating: 5

This is a really high-impact family-friendly charity that assists kids in their educational development, assists families with life skills and social connections and also then provides household essentials to families so they can save money for other needs.

Additionally the volunteer engagement is very strong and it is a great place for volunteers to serve on a Sunday with their kids.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

So happy that my friends Hing and Lucy Lee introduced me to Sunday Friends. What an amazing organization!

Sunday Friends bring underprivileged families together to engage in hands-on learning activities, create gifts for children in hospitals and for nursing home residents, and prepare and serve healthy meals. They attend classes on financial literacy, health, nutrition, computer skills, and STEM education. Sunday Friends also provide the tools needed to prepare young adults for college.

I was so impressed with my visit. Keep up the great work, Sunday Friends!

2

Donor

Rating: 4

During the year our grandkids, do chores around the house. Part of the money they earn goes into the charity jar. The adults add to the jar as the year goes along. This year our 6-year-old grandson wanted to donate the money to the homeless. We brought some dinners through Safeway and the rest of the money we donated to this charity. After reading your mission statement and learning that you work with the entire family, support education, family nutrition and social development we decided to donate to Sunday Friends Foundation. We hope our small amount helps brighten the holidays for families in our area.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If I could, I'd volunteer every day. Sunday Friends brought fulfillment and purpose to my life. Having lived in poverty, it gives me relief to watch children earn brighter futures through involvement. Parents often remark that they are more interested in and involved with their children since joining Sunday Friends. When volunteering, one is truly making a tangible difference in someone's life that positively impacts everyone's future.

1

Donor

Rating: 4

I donate to Sunday Friends because their families tell me about how their lives are better. They write these nice letters to donors with their stories. Touches my heart to see how they can get diapers for their babies or the kids can get backpacks for school. And they get them with their tickets, not a handout. Awesome!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Sunday Friends is the working alternative to charity. Studies by local universities prove the model is effectively instilling the developmental assets children need to be successful in life. Family members earn the things they need, like diapers, detergent and school supplies, through participating in classes and activities. The families, volunteers, and staff build a supportive community where learning changes lives.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with Sunday Friends in 2004. It has grown beautifully over the years. With the help of a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, this organization is uniquely designed to bring together parents and their children in an environment that allows families to develop together. Parents are educated on topics such as health, English literacy, and parenting skills. Children are mentored by volunteers who instill in them positive values and behaviors. Volunteers (both children and adults) can embrace of sense of giving, mentorship, leadership and compassion.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sunday friends is a refreshingly unique and modern outlook on giving back. The only drawback to the program is that they don't have their own community center! (Which they deserve) The program has so many different activities and motions that help the families they serve. I am grateful to volunteer for a program like theirs.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Sunday Friends for over a year. We spend Sunday afternoons cooking, making crafts or doing educational activities. The client families earn tickets by spending the time doing the various activities. They can then redeem the tickets for toys, toiletries or other items. When I have participated it has been a very fun and satisfying experience. We are all working together on interesting tasks and it is productive. We make lots of delicious food, and make crafts that will be used to decorate libraries and other public spaces. The kids in client families usually work with the volunteers on my activities, and they are proud to show their creativity and earn tickets. I highly recommend to participate in this organization.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm always awed by the programs offered to Sunday Friends families. There are opportunities to improve English, learn about health & nutrition, vision screenings, and bicycle safety clinics just to name a few. Sunday Friends gives parents the tools to improve their lives and those of their children.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sunday Friends is an amazing organization which helps many families come out of poverty. Children are taught the importance of hard work and the benefits reacted from it. As a volunteer, I watched firsthand the positive impact this organization brings. I hope it is available for many generations to come.

3

Advisor

Rating: 5

Sunday Friends brings families together to work, play, learn and educate in a family friendly environment. Social skills are a huge part of the program. Sunday Friends also allows out organizations and skilled individuals on site to teach and/or provide vital information with regards to financial information useful in their daily lives. I have been a volunteer with this program for approximately 10 years. I am both excited and proud to be a part of such a great program.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We at EqOpTech are a team of high school students that partners and volunteers at Sunday Friends to (a) recycle, refurbish and redeploy laptops for the laptop home usage program (b) roll out and implement pilot STEM education workshops such as Khan Academy or Scratch. Under the Sunday Friends' STEM program, students from low-income families will now have easy access to computers to review online educational content, such as Khan Academy to learn important STEM and computer skills to excel at school.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Sunday Friends has been providing a working alternative to charity for low income San Jose families for about 20 years. Its a great place for volunteers to come work with the families (kids and adults) and be part of a program that is make a real difference. The programs are very well organized and a dedicated set of core volunteers and staff keep it smooth. Independent studies have also shown that the model of "earning" rather than handouts is really working in this program.
For volunteers, the program has provided a very satisfying and enriching experience.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Sunday Friends provides the support environment for low income families to become self-sufficient rather than being dependent on charity from the community. Adults get awarded with tickets while they learn to manage financials of their family, be better parents and contribute to the community. Children get awarded with tickets while they participate in educational programs (reading, games, cooking and music) as well as contribute back to the community. Families work together to meet their needs and use their tickets to purchase basic life necessities from the store that donors donate to. This frees the families to use their limited cash for other life necessities such as rent, insurance, etc. This is truly a unique program.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is the best volunteer work I have done for families. It provides life skills learning for each member of the group as well as the opportunities to serve others and earn things for themselves. Because of this the adults and the children retain their dignity and are not cast in a passive hands out role. I work mostly with the children and they are so very proud of the gifts they have made for others such as elders in convalescent homes or children in hospitals. It is great therapy for this old heart to see the smiles of accomplishment and satisfaction on these young faces.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Sunday Friends works with over 900 families in need in San Jose, California. These are the families who demonstrate program after program that they prefer to earn what they need and to give back to their community rather than to receive mere handouts. The parents care deeply that their children experience the satisfaction of giving; they don't want them to self-identify as charity cases. They want their children's lives to be different from their own on-going struggle for day-to-day survival.

It is a joy to help the families who are working so hard to help themselves. That is why I have volunteered with Sunday Friends for the past 14 years. Janis