Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The foster youth of our community need your help. Peacock Acres Inc. is in need of financial assistance due to an unprecedented convergence of circumstances. These include the biggest reforms in California child welfare in a generation and the COVID-19 pandemic. Since being founded in 1982, Peacock Acres has always benefited from the kindness and generosity of our community members in the form of thoughtful gifts for our youth, volunteers donating their time and energy, and financial support. We have always prided ourselves on managing our budget within the means provided, and in our 39 year history, have never had to make a call for help such as this. We are now in need of monetary donations, and with your help we are confident we can weather the storm while continuing to provide a high standard of care for California’s foster youth.
My name is Ernest Howard, and I serve as the Executive Director of Peacock Acres in Salinas, California. Peacock Acres is a California 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving foster youth in group homes and transition age youth settings. My mom and step-dad started Peacock Acres in 1982, after becoming foster parents in 1979, and seeing the need for greater support for youth in our community. Since that time, Peacock Acres expanded from one group home to two group homes, and all three of the transition age youth (TAY) foster care programs. With a capacity to provide housing and care for 55 + foster children, Peacock Acres is currently the largest residential care foster youth program in Monterey County.
Below are only a handful of true stories of foster youth and Peacock Acres:
Meet Sam: He’s been in foster care since he was five years old. With his family’s gang affiliation, it was no surprise that Sam was in and out of juvenile hall from the time he was 12. At 16, Sam was convicted of auto theft and served more time in juvenile hall. While incarcerated, he displayed a high degree of cooperation, and worked hard with his onsite school. Sam truly wanted better for himself, so after juvenile hall, he was placed at Peacock Acres. Sam completed his high school diploma, obtained a job, and successfully transitioned out of the foster care system.
Meet Juan: 10 year old Juan and his younger brothers were living with their mom. Extreme domestic violence was common in the home. One night there was a stabbing and when the police arrived, Juan was covered in blood. Soon Juan began having nightmares, trouble in school, and wandering the streets. His mom used harsh physical punishment to try and correct Juan’s “crazy” behaviors. When neighbors began calling CPS, Juan’s life started to change. Juan was placed at Peacock Acres Group Homes. Juan transitioned to his auntie’s and cousins’ home and continues to do well.
Meet Lily: Lily’s mom was incarcerated and Lily was placed with a large foster care family. Things went well for Lily, until suddenly her behaviors began to disrupt the household. Her foster mom reported late night phone calls, lying, school work deteriorating, and sneaking out to “party” with friends. When she came home smelling like alcohol, her foster parents immediately gave notice and she had to move. 17 year old Lily was placed at Peacock Acres Transitional Housing Placement Provider (THPP). Lily graduated from high school and left Peacock Acres care with over $7k she had saved from a part time job. These three youth, along with many others, maintain long term connections with Peacock Acres to this day
Changes to California law have created new regulatory expectations and structural modifications for Peacock Acres over the past three years. We were eager to take on this challenge that has proven to be rewarding and good for our youth. However, making the necessary structural modifications while simultaneously absorbing unexpected expenses resulting from COVID-19 (including our youth now accessing distance learning and needing one-on-one academic support) has left us financially drained. Our history and vision can only move forward with your help.
The majority of the children placed in the care of Peacock Acres suffer from trauma as a result of physical, emotional and sexual abuse as well as severe neglect. This is a problem that too many children of our community face, resulting in unresolved trauma and deficits in healthy child development that no child should have to overcome. Peacock Acres provides strengths-based, trauma-informed care that encompasses a balance of clinical treatment and genuine love and acceptance. Our mission is to help foster youth heal while also uncovering those unique talents and skills that are essential to higher education, meaningful employment, and positive relationships.
Peacock Acres has faced many obstacles over the decades and we have always persevered. We have a plan to overcome our latest obstacle, and that plan includes you. We are confident that with your help we can achieve our financial goal in order to continue providing the high standard of love and care to our community’s foster youth.
Please help Peacock Acres reach our financial goal by donating to our GoFundMe fundraiser. All donations will serve our community’s foster youth during this difficult time. All donations are tax deductible and you will receive a certificate of donation to claim for your taxes.
Imagine communities that put kids and family first. With your help we can continue making this a reality for some of the most deserving members of our society: foster youth. These battle-tested individuals cannot and will not be broken.
We invite you to become part of our Peacock Acres family! I would love to talk with you about Peacock Acres and hope you contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 831-262-6987.
Thank you so much for your consideration.
Ernest Q. Howard
Peacock Acres, Inc.