Living Life Together

Skiing in Tahoe, catching a Kings Game, shopping for back to school clothes. Normal, right? Something everybody does.

Well, no not everybody. Many fatherless boys in the Sacramento region are surviving day to day with few of the activities that most of us take for granted. These boys are more comfortable with drive by shootings than they are a trip to the mall.

That all changes when fatherless boys become part of the Shoulder to Shoulder program. Shoulder to Shoulder matches fatherless young men with male volunteers who act as mentors. They provide the connection to fatherhood that these young men have missed.

From the moment boys and mentors are matched they start living life together through special events, fun projects and school challenges. The Shoulder to Shoulder sponsored Freedom Hall offers success readiness workshops, Friday Nite Live, camping and hiking trips and other special outings and events.

“I started coming to Freedom Hall for the video games, but I kept coming for the information I was hearing that I never heard before. They taught me a new way of doing life.” – Semaj Horace, Freedom Hall Graduate, 2014

In another event, the ‘Great American Cardboard Boat Regatta,” boats were made by the boys from cardboard boxes and duct tape with minimal help from the mentors. Once completed, the boys and mentors went to the high school pool to give it a try. The boats were launched with one young man in each, armed with an oar. The goal was to see who could make the most laps across the width of the pool. It wasn’t long before the boats took on water and sunk. The winner made 10 laps. The next summer the boys had learned. When these boats were launched, the winner made almost 70 laps.

More memories are made together include visiting the California Maritime academy for a tour of the Golden Bear Training ship, enjoying Kings and River Cat games, motocross, and even turning “cowboy” at the Pro Bull Riding Tour.

We need $50,000 by this Father’s Day to give 27 fatherless boys a chance at a new life.

Read more

It Takes A Village

We know that it takes more than a single parent to raise a child and the saying that “it takes a village” rings true more today than ever before. In our region, the number of fatherless homes has increased to more than 200,000, putting many our youth at a disadvantage. Statistics show that boys who grow up fatherless are more likely to wind up in jail or on the streets than those in two-parent homes.

But we can put an end to this debilitating cycle.

We, as one community, can have an impact that lasts generations. Help break the cycle on June 17 for the Legacy Challenge in downtown Sacramento at the State Capitol for a fun 5k Run/Walk. (not a timed event)

Join us as families and community leaders will honor men who serve as great fathers and mentors.

The cost is just $30 and will have a profound impact on Shoulder to Shoulder to be able to reach more at-risk youth in our neighborhoods.

Sign up with your family and friends today!

Richard Moore,


Read more

A Joyful Connection

A fatherless boy. A new man in his life. Maybe for the first time. Anger, frustration, sadness and a spirit of fear is replaced by warmth, joy and a growing sense of acceptance and purpose. And Yes, just plain fun.

Shoulder to Shoulder matches fatherless boys with surrogate fathers called mentors to provide young men with the experience of growing up with a dad. It’s an experience none would likely have without the commitment made by the men willing to be mentors.

“At first I was reluctant to mentor because we were presented with a 6-year commitment with the possibility of helping your young man through college. Jeremiah and I have developed a relationship of trust, honesty, hope and a father/son-like love. I have seen the development of the character of a young man that I am proud to call my friend,” said a mentor.

STS needs your help to raise $50,000 to find and support mentors for 27 fatherless boys waiting for a chance at a new life. Can you help us?

The First Snow Fall

“The boys were on overnight trip to a camp in the mountains. It was winter and it had snowed. We have a picture of Raymond carrying a snowball the size of a cantaloupe. Carrying it with no gloves; carrying it as a prized possession. Having never seen snow, he was bound and determined to take it home to show his family and friends, most of whom had never seen snow either,” said a mentor.

Pride of Accomplishment

“I’d been to many graduations over the years and responded with the perfunctory hand clap and smile. This time it was different. I jumped up and down in my bleacher seat screaming and yelling with tears in my eyes. My boys were graduating: My boys that began our program in the 7th grade with an average GPA of ‘F’ or lower were graduating. All were above 2.75 some were above 3.0 and a couple were 3.8,” said a mentor.

Growing Together, Mentors Speak

As the boys grow from scared and hopeless children into young men of strength, character and accomplishment their mentors grow as well.

“I’ve grown so much with my own children, other people and my own relationships.”

“You see kids who think they have no hope. Their chins on their chest. You see them change. They stand up straight. They look you in the eye. You can see them change right in front of you. It’s very impactful.”

STS needs your help to raise $50,000 to find and support mentors for 27 fatherless boys waiting for a chance at a new life. Can you help us?

Read more

27 Boys Need Fathers for Father’s Day

Help us raise $50,000 by this Father’s Day to give 27 fatherless boys a chance at a new life.


Read more

Richard Moore Named President of Shoulder To Shoulder


Richard to assume day-to-day operations of organization addressing fatherlessness.

Shoulder To Shoulder, one of the few local nonprofit agencies addressing crime, truancy and homelessness through mentoring at-risk fatherless young boys and coaching their single moms or grandmothers announces Richard Moore will serve as the organization’s President.

Richard has more than two decades experience in the not-for-profit sector. Most recently, Richard served as the Northern California Area Manager for Education First and led the Master’s Commission Urban Missions Institute in São Paulo, Brazil.

“We are thrilled to be able to add someone with Richard’s experience and passion for helping at-risk youth to the Shoulder To Shoulder team,” said Shoulder To Shoulder Founder Bill Coibion. “As an organization, we are committed to helping the unprecedented number of young boys in our inner cities growing up without fathers. This seldom discussed social issue is having a devastating impact on our schools and jails. In Richard, we believe we have someone who is focused on breaking this debilitating cycle of fatherlessness.”

Shoulder to Shoulder, headquartered in Del Paso Heights, is committed to addressing fatherlessness through a mentor program that equips urban youth for life, enabling them to become well-balanced, mature men in their family and community.

In his role as president, Richard will oversee day-to-day operations of Shoulder To Shoulder and lead the organizations latest initiatives and outreach programs.

“Leaving a legacy to the generations that follow us is one of the most important things we can do in this lifetime,” said Richard. “Shoulder to Shoulder’s unique ability to focus on the cause of homelessness, crime and education dropout rates, aligns with my passions to help address our community’s deepest needs. I am thankful for this opportunity to transform the lives of disadvantaged young boys.”

Richard, a native of San Jose, California, earned degrees in Biblical Studies from Northern California Bible and Organizational Management from Ashford University. Richard is a distinguished author, having published with his wife, Jocelyn, The H Factor, a book on Corporate Social Responsibility and Employment Engagement.

Not only devoted to helping youth and the less fortunate, Richard and Jocelyn have seven children: Randi, Aravis, Debora, Rebekah, Adriana, Sean and Christopher; and four granddaughters. Richard enjoys international travel, global friendships, reading, yoga, journaling, camping and spending as much time as possible with his wife and children.

Founder and CEO, Bill Coibion, will take on an advisory role in Shoulder To Shoulder to assist with the transition. He will focus his subsequent efforts on developing initiatives to encourage and equip men in our region to become Christ like servants in their homes and area churches and model being a Godly husband, father and community servant to his children, family, friends and many others.

Read more

Stories of Success

, the grandmother of Jeremiah, a mentee, was singing praises about Jeremiah’s mentor. She told me how the mentor took Jeremiah to get a battery for her smoke alarm and installed it.  She also shared how his mentor graciously worked on her backyard.  She made a point to let us know that the mentor had Jeremiah doing most of the work – but that his mentor gave him direction and time.  “Jeremiah really likes his mentor!”  Jeremiah loves the fact that his mentor spends so much time with him. Perhaps it may seem like mentors aren’t connecting with their mentees at times, but when you are not looking, his grandmother gets to see the smile on his face and the confidence in his walk.  A story of love!

Elijah, a 14 year old boy, continues to impress my friends and our acquaintances with his maturity. On the Cast Hope fishing trip, our fishing guide commented on his goodness after spending 5 hours on the Yuba River.  My family and friends at church were also excited to see him paint alongside them on a service project in Del Paso Heights. He worked hard and never complained or asked to stop from 10 am till 3:00 pm. He is becoming comfortable around different people.  A story of transformation!

After understanding the STS goal setting process, my mentee, Chou, stared at the area outside of his house and decided to take responsibility for the “garden” strip under eve in front. Working side by side, we cleared, planted (gardenias and azaleas), put in drip irrigation and bark. Chou did much of the shovel work, cut and glued the PVC and helped with weed shield.  He seems very proud of his garden. It took us 4 hours! We finished in rain and dark but he kept working to accomplish his goal!  A story of success!

Jorge, my mentee, came to me after he and I had been matched for about 6 months and asked if it was possible for his girlfriend, Arianna, to get a mentor with STS. I told Jorge that I would look into it but that right now we only have men serving boys. I was curious why Jorge made this request so I asked him why.  Jorge said his girlfriend noticed the improvement in his grades and wanted help from a mentor to get her grades up. Jorge also explained that her grades have slowly declined as her freshman year has progressed. I asked Jorge “Does she think all I do is tutor you?” Jorge said he wasn’t sure but that she had seen Jorge’s grades improve from a .16 GPA to a 3.0 GPA on his progress reports and she wants to be a part of it.  A story of success and hope!

Yesterday Tammy met with a single mother who had recently been forced out of her home and currently living between family members. School started and one of her sons couldn’t go to school because the only shoes he had access to were flip flops and cleats to play baseball in.  Everything else was in storage. When I called the mom to ask her if any of her sons needed shoes, she burst into tears. “Oh my God, I can’t believe you just asked me that. I took my kids to school today and one of them wasn’t allowed in his classroom because I don’t have proper shoes for him to wear!” I asked her to bring her son and meet someone who wanted to bless her. Tammy and the mom met, as well as the young man out of school. Tammy gave the two boys their new shoes and we can only imagine the emotional exchange that went on between mother, sons and someone who cares enough to share.  A story of blessing!

Rose – Since implementing the tools I learned in the MHM classes, my son and I are able to communicate clearly, and more regularly. He is comfortable talking to me about things; whereas before he would shut himself up in the room, go outside to play with friends, or act out in subtle ways to communicate his frustrations.  A story about growth

Adam – From the very beginning it was clear that Adam was attending Freedom Hall for a purpose. Adam is fairly small, physically and his voice is gentle and sometimes described as squeaky. It took several weeks of attendance before Adam began to open up to his peers and the staff at Freedom Hall because he would often be made fun of in school. Over the course of time Adam not only began to open up to his peers but became a natural leader. During our team building activities Adam emerges as the individual who pulls his peers together to accomplish their task.  A story about maturing

Ericka – My son has adjusted very well to being in a different State. He has achieved honor roll at his Middle School with a 3.2 GPA. We both continue to communicate with our chosen mentor; whom we respect and love dearly.  I thank all of the STS Family members for all of your love and support. Thank you so much. I love the entire program – the Moms Helping Moms each second Saturday – the closeness of the entire STS Family – they are genuinely concerned about the uplifting, elevating and success of our fatherless sons in our community! Keep doing what you do!  A story of success!

Isaiah (Mentee since 2007) – According to his mother, within weeks Isaiah’s attitude improved and his self-confidence soared. Through participating in STS workshops and activities, he gained the tools to deal with his anger and the challenges he faced. With improved confidence and STS tutoring, Isaiah’s grades improved through 7th and 8th grade to a 3.6 average. After graduating from high school in four years, Isaiah moved on to Sacramento City College.  A story of transformation!

Semaj (Mentee since 2007) – I was never judged when I came here.  You are not judged for what you did or what you do. They would stand by me anyway. I didn’t realize what I was missing. If I want to lead, I have to learn to follow. They taught me to understand (others) before I can be understood. I learned about integrity and what it means to be a real man. Besides my mom, Shoulder To Shoulder is the most consistent thing I’ve had in my life. I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for Freedom Hall. I want to help someone else so they can see how it feels and then they can help someone else, and we can change everything.  A story of transformation!

Read more

The Gift of Literacy

Give the Gift of Literacy

You are lucky enough to be able to read this. Most of the kids we serve can’t… or are significantly behind in their grade level reading.

Some alarming news about school drop-out rates: (source: foxnews.com2008)

  • 1.2 million students drop out annually
  • 50% of students drop-out of public schools in the nation’s largest cities
  • Gap between suburbs vs. inner city graduation rates: 81.5% graduate from Baltimore’s suburban schools, while only 34.6 percent graduate from their inner city schools

In 2014, we will launch Project Literacy. The program will mobilize Grant High School students to return to the elementary schools they attended and meet weekly with two students each to help them learn how to read better by 3rdgrade.

Anticipated Results:

  • Improved literacy and reduce school drop-outs
  • Improved GPA, API scores and attendance
  • Provide the children of Del Paso Heights with hope for their futures

We need your help to get this program off the ground.

Would you or your place of business contribute your time, energy, talents or dollars to help launch this program?

Please donate what you can.

Read more

Greg’s Story

My eleven siblings and I were raised by my mother and father in an environment of extreme poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and constant upheaval. My brothers and sisters were fathered by four different men. By the time I started 6th grade, my family had moved 6 times, between Wisconsin, Arizona, Alabama and California. I believe my parents wanted better lives for us, but for them, that meant selling drugs to make money.


Many times we were living in shelters, or in the basement of family members’ homes. When we were finally able to move into our own place, we were in the middle of gang territory, and we felt the only way to survive was to become friends with the gang members. My older brothers got involved as gang members selling and using drugs, which attracted even more violence to our family. My parents moved our family to California to get into selling drugs in the Sacramento area with one of my mom’s relatives, so we made a cross-country trip with twelve people in a 6-seated van. I thought our home in California was going to be so much better than in Milwaukee, but it was so much worse. We moved into a 3-bedroom, rat infested apartment in Sacramento where the plumbing was so bad that we had to use a plunger every time we used the bathroom. Even so, coming to California changed my life completely.

I came to California with low self-esteem, was shy and quiet, and was barely able to read. I was bullied and made fun of because I wore the same clothes every day. I had to repeat the 6th grade, which made me feel stupid, but nobody in my family cared about education or whether I could read or not. I struggled through 6th and 7th grade, making it to 8th grade with a “D” average. But then things changed. I started to question my parents about their bad habits. Someone at school saw something in me that I hadn’t seen and encouraged me to run for Student Council. I was elected Student Body President, which boosted my pride, helped me overcome my shyness, and made me feel valued – until my office was taken away from me because I had a “D” average. I felt like I was back at “square one,” but this time, it was worse, because everyone else now perceived me as stupid.

One day, as I was sitting by myself at lunch feeling sorry for myself, thinking about how stupid I was, I met Shoulder To Shoulder. One of their mentors came over and asked me to help get ready for a project they were doing at the school next day. I noticed how the mentors took care of the students who were in their mentoring program, so I did help that day, and the next. I saw how the mentors accepted the students for who they were, and I wanted to be part of that, so I joined the program. That’s when my life began to change and I began to have a new perspective on life.

I met the Founder and President of Shoulder To Shoulder, Bill Coibion, and went to Freedom Hall every day. Mr. Coibion and the mentors encouraged me to improve my grades, set goals for myself, and avoid the distractions around me. Mr. Coibion asked me which row I wanted to sit in during 8th grade graduation. Several days later when I told him that I wanted to sit in the first row, he told me that sitting in the first row meant that I had to have a 3.75 G.P.A. He also told me that he and all the mentors believed in me and thought that I had all it takes to sit in the first row. That was the first step to raising my G.P.A. For the first time I realized that it didn’t matter what my parents or other people thought, I had to do what I thought was right for me. It encouraged me to set a goal, believe that I could reach that goal by working hard and avoiding distractions. I set a goal of sitting in the front row at 8th grade graduation, and getting my office as Student Body President back – and I did both, and was also named the top 8th grade male student in the Twin Rivers Unified School District.

I graduated from Grant High School in 2013 with a 3.0 G.P.A. and applied for scholarships from over 30 different organizations, prepared many papers and gave numerous talks. The fruit of my efforts is that I earned acceptance into and was awarded all the funds I need to enter William Jessup University beginning August 2013. Before I came to Shoulder To Shoulder, I never even thought I would graduate from high school, let alone attend a 4-year college – but I did, and I am.

When I came to Shoulder To Shoulder, I didn’t need a father in my life since I had a father. What I needed was a positive male role model; someone who could show me how to walk on the ‘path of righteousness,’ and Shoulder To Shoulder provided me with what I needed. Del Paso Heights is full of men and women who care about children, but they are nothing like the group of righteous mentors caring for the fatherless boys through Shoulder To Shoulder. I am living proof that having a righteous man standing in a young boy’s life can make all the difference. Shoulder To Shoulder is no longer a program to me, it’s family. A lot of other young boys out there are just like I was-boys without hope, who only need that push, and the words, “you can do it, I believe in you.”

Read more

Media Alert: Sac Bee’s Article on Shoulder To Shoulder

Lezlie Sterling published an article in the Sac Bee on Monday, June 17th about the great task our organization has set out to accomplish in our community.

In a neighborhood riddled with crime and poverty, Bill Coibion’s vision brings hope to fatherless young men. His faith-based organization, Shoulder to Shoulder, began mentoring boys in 2007, teaching life skills and character, in an effort to break the cycle of generational fatherlessness in Del Paso Heights. In workshops, small group discussions and one-on-one mentoring, the boys are coached from seventh grade through high school, primarily at Freedom Hall across from Grant High School.

Before an annual camping trip to Yosemite, Coibion tells 12 boys that the choices they make today will decide their destiny. “We ignite hope in the kids and then we challenge our young men to take responsibility for their lives,” he says. “Once they do that, we walk through life continuing to coach them and helping to prepare them for adulthood.”


Download article.


Read more

Looking Up – STS featured in the Comstock’s Magazine

Bill Coibion’s commitment to transforming lives in his Del Paso Heights neighborhood began in the mid-1990s when he launched the nonprofi t Shoulder to Shoulder.

He had just become a Christian and felt called to encourage men to be “servant-leaders” at home, in church and in their communities. Eight years passed, and Coibion met the principal of Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Del Paso Heights. The principal told him that 70 percent of students at the high school were growing up without a father figure at home. Most of the kids came from poor households, and fewer than half of them would finish high school, the principal said. Some would likely end up in jail or prison. “The recidivism rate for young boys in the system was so high that I believed we needed to get to them before they got in there,” Coibion says. “In Sacramento County, the return rate of kids who go through juvenile hall and on through the California Youth Authority or into prison is about 90 percent.”

Later, he visited a juvenile hall processing center and saw, sitting in the front row, the youngest offenders: a boy and a girl, both 8 years old. “I had a hard time dealing with that,” Coibion says. “I have a son, and I know the innocence of an 8-year-old. I was very emotional.” So he created Freedom Hall, a longterm program for fatherless young men, primarily in Del Paso Heights, who are mentored by the men in Shoulder to Shoulder. “It’s Freedom Hall vs. juvenile hall,” says Coibion. “We tell the kids, ‘The choices you make will lead to your destiny, and if you continue to make the same bad choices over and over, it becomes a habit. Your character will lead you to your destiny, and if that is juvenile hall, it will eventually lead you to death or destruction. Or you can go through Freedom Hall.’”

Semaj Horace, now a senior at Oakland High School in Oakland, learned of Freedom Hall when a Shoulder to Shoulder mentor came to his school. “I was in P.E. and was getting ready to go run a mile, and a guy walked into class and said, ‘How many of you don’t have a father figure at home?’ I raised my hand, and then he said something about the things they do but all I heard was ‘play video games,’” Horace says. He’s been involved with Freedom Hall for five years now. He takes the train from Oakland to Sacramento to meet with his mentors. He’s happy, confident. His grades are up. He’s visiting college campuses. “As a kid, I was always in trouble,” he says. “They showed me a different way. I’ve learned so much. Video games drew me in, but now I’ve learned to be a man, learned things my father couldn’t teach me.”

Download Article.

Read more