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.

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An Evening To Remember

STS-IHG-BannerOur 2nd Annual Igniting Hope Gala was an inspiring event that touched all of our hearts and confirmed once again how important we all feel about living a life that leaves a legacy. We are so proud of each of you who participated and decided to partner with us as we Break the Cycle of Fatherlessness in Del Paso Heights. Imagine the impact one young man whose life has changed by having the benefit of mentoring.

The event took place at the  AEROSPACE MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA on Saturday October 19, 2013. Emcee’d by Cristina Mendonsa,
News10-ABC Anchor/Multimedia Journalist, the event featured Dr. John Jackson, 
President of William Jessup University as the keynote speaker and 
Major Zack Samuel-Burnett, 
Former U.S. Air Force U-2S Pilot.

Live music, a festive dinner and mingling with the boys whose lives have been forever changed made the evening a heart-touching success. We want to thank you for considering this unique opportunity to share with you our dedication to transforming lives and Igniting Hope within a community where “hope” is hard to find.




























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Thank you for a great year!


Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. Two simple words, one tremendous meaning.

This year has been a phenomenal year for  Shoulder To Shoulder.

  • We saw our impact come full circle when we celebrated the acceptance of our first program mentees into to local colleges.
  • We made huge strides toward developing a new Project Literacy program that we will be launching in 2014.
  • We gave our mission perspective by taking our community members on a bus tour of Del Paso Heights, showcasing the drug alleys, rundown schools, and gang members that make going to school a nightmare for our kids.

All of this and more was accomplished because of you — your time, your money, your commitment. We are invested in helping these fatherless young men continue to thrive, but they need our support. They need your support.

We have launched our year-end giving campaign. Whether it’s a contribution of time, energy, talents or dollars, anything helps.

But first, we simply wanted to say THANK YOU for all you do.

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Bowl and Make A Difference

Shoulder To Shoulder (STS) will hold its SECOND annual “Bowl-A-Thon” at Rocklin Lanes in Rocklin on Sunday, May 19th from 1:30 to 4:30 to benefit the generationally fatherless young men growing up in Del Paso Heights, where over 70% of youth are fatherless and 50% will graduate from high school.

Our fun filled event will field twenty (20) teams consisting of eight bowlers: a Team Captain and six other bowlers along with a STS mentor or one of our young men. Each team will be sponsored by a company for $1,000 and each team will raise at least $1,000 from the sale of raffle tickets.

Prizes will be awarded for both team and individual bowler averages as well as fund raising accomplishments. Numerous raffle prizes will be awarded with a combined value totaling more than $5,000! Bowlers should encourage their family to come and cheer them on!

Teams will be sought through STS’s Board members, staff, consultants and mentors who will approach their churches to field one or more teams formed from high school, young adults, men’s, women’s, or other church ministries.

Each Team will be sponsored by a company for $1,000. We anticipate this happening by:

  1. STS Board members, staff, consultants and mentors encouraging their church leadership to enter two bowling teams and securing a business owner to sponsor their church teams.
  2. STS Board members, consultants and mentors approaching their employers to become a team Sponsor.
  3. TeamSTS recruiting businesses to Sponsor a team and possibly enter a team(s).

 Sponsoring Companies will receive:

  • Recognition as a sponsor on printed materials
  • Company logo displayed on their team’s two lanes
  • Recognition as a Sponsor on STS’s website

Prizes will be awarded to:

  • The individual with the highest three game average
  • The team with the highest three game average
  • The individual who raised the most support via raffle ticket sales
  • The team which raised the most support via raffle ticket sales

The Bowl-A-Thon will include a raffle for numerous prizes. Tickets will be sold at $5 per ticket.  Team captains and their bowlers will seek to sell raffle tickets to their family, friends, work associates and business colleagues.  Our hope is that each Team will sell at least 200 raffle tickets.  Keep in mind that a prize will be awarded to the team which raised the most funds from their raffle ticket proceeds for STS.

STS expects the raffle prizes may include such things as: 

  • Gourmet dinner for eight prepared in your home, including wine and dessert
  • Guided hike for eight (8) in the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe
  • ATV for two in the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe
  • Flight for four to Reno, South Lake Tahoe, Monterey Bay or the Wine country, along with lunch at your place of destination
  • Hotel, dinner and theatre tickets in San Francisco
  • Three days in a beautiful Lake Tahoe area cabin with a lake view
  • 46” HDTV
  • I-Pad or I-Pad Mini
  • Train ride through the wine country, to include lunch
  • Round of golf for four with cart and lunch at Granite Bay Country Club
  • Several $50 meal gift certificates
  • Several $100 gift certificates for meals at upscale restaurants
  • Along with many other possibilities
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Visual and Personal Transformation as Volunteers Make a Difference

Saturday,  April 21, 2012, Shoulder to Shoulder (STS) partnered with the Twin Rivers Unified School District (TRUSD), local businesses, churches and colleges from throughout California for the 5th Annual Because We Care (BWC)school beautification project on five campuses: Rio Linda High, Grant High, North Highland High, Foothill High and Martin Luther King Jr. Technology Academy.

Volunteers were able to complete many detailed projects established by TRUSD, including planting trees, laying sod, laying bark, and extensive weeding, trimming and site clean-up.

While the visual transformation to the campuses is impressive, the personal transformation of the volunteers and transformation to the community is just as impacting.

I like being here, because God seems to use it to bless both the students, as well as those who serve.

– Dave  UC Irvine

Manual labor and physically serving people is a very humbling experience, and it was great to see the difference everyone can make together.

– Kyle, CSU Long Beach


See slideshow.

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Semaj’s Story

Students at Martin Luther King Jr. Technology Academy are learning valuable lessons at Freedom Hall, a mentoring program for urban fatherless young men, directed by Shoulder To Shoulder (STS). It is opening new doors for fatherless youth like Semaj, one of the program’s top students.

When Semaj came to Freedom Hall as a seventh-grader, he stood out as a young man with tremendous potential and a hunger to improve. It took a lot of patience and love for him to realize his potential.

Before coming to Freedom Hall, Semaj had not worked as hard as he could to be the best student he could be because of the many difficult challenges and overwhelming stress in his personal life, due in part to his father who was missing in his life.

But with the caring guidance of dedicated mentors at Freedom Hall, Semaj became more focused and self-confident. He was able to move from a D student to a B student in eighth grade.

Semaj and his mother are strong believers in Freedom Hall. When they moved outside the Twin Rivers Unified School District boundaries, Semaj was determined to stay with Freedom Hall. His mother agreed, and Semaj rode the city bus and light rail one hour to and from school each day.

Semaj’s mom mentioned to us that Semaj was ready to be baptized. After counseling about what baptism meant, a staff member performed Semaj’s baptism in his pool with his family along with 60 friends, a few young men from Freedom Hall and STS staff on hand.

We are proud of Semaj and all the other urban fatherless young men God has brought to Freedom Hall. We look forward to our journey with our urban fatherless young men through their high school graduation. Please see for more information about Freedom Hall.

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Imagine Father’s Day Without a Father

Happy Fathers Day?

Excerpts from Eloise Anderson, former Director of California Department of Social Services

I can’t remember ever not being fascinated with fathers.  As a child I thought fathers where the most important thing in the world.  I noticed, even as a child, the difference in how those of my friends who had fathers and those that did not behaved.  As I got older it became even more interesting noticing how mothers behaved when they had husbands versus those without husbands.  Cohabitation was not the norm but a few women had men living with them and their children behaved more like those with no fathers at all.  New Census data show only 48% of the population is married—the lowest since records were kept for married couples—compared to 78% in the 1950s. Female head of households jumped nearly 20%.

As Father’s Day approaches, remember the plight of the fatherless boys in Del Paso Heights who face each day, each challenge in their life without their father, without a dad. These young men are more likely to live a life plagued of violence, substance abuse and mental illness than live a life filled with good health, love, God, and prosperity.

But you can change that course.

Your donation to Shoulder To Shoulder, in honor of your father, favorite dad or other important man in your life, can change the life of a young boy and break the cycle of fatherlessness. With your donation, we can reach more fatherless boys in Del Paso Heights. Donate now.

Excerpts from Eloise Anderson, former Director of California Department of Social Services

Download the full article here.


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Giving Back: STS Boys Serve Ronald McDonald House

On March 12, TeamSTS Youth Advocate Dan Barber, Volunteers Allan Hearl and Mike DeWein, and six young men of Freedom Hall visited Ronald McDonald House for a morning service project. I am realizing more and more the value of our servant leadership trips. Work projects such as our experience at Ronald McDonald House provide opportunities to allow our young men to step out of their comfort zone and serve others who are less fortunate. Our most recent project was an outdoor work project at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH).  Once a month, RMH invites volunteers to have an “outdoor work party” and help beautify their grounds.  Each of our young men really stepped up to the plate and worked hard, trimming bushes, scraping moss, raking leaves, and pulling weeds.  I had the opportunity to have an awesome conversation with one of our young men, Jorge, while he and I were pulling weeds.

I said to him, “You know Jorge… I think I am learning a valuable lesson today.” He asked me what I was talking about and I said, “I think just about any job or responsibility no matter how boring or repetitious can be pretty enjoyable or even fun if done with the good company.”  Jorge kind of brushed off my remarks like he heard them but didn’t really give them much thought. So I asked him, “Jorge, do you think pulling weeds is fun?” “Heck no, Mr. Barber Shop”, he replied.  So I asked him, “so why do you think you are having fun today?” He paused for a moment then replied, “I don’t know.”  A little later on in the morning Jorge and I were Hunting Lions (aka dandelions) and he yells to one of our other young men, “Hey Melvin, you should come pull weeds with us it’s fun; anything can be fun if you do it with the right company.”  I thought to myself…’yep, this is why we do what we do!’

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Stop the Violence

Recent headlines are a grim reminder of Sacramento’s longtime problem of youth violence. In a city that has seen more than its share of teenage shootings and killings, you’ve got to wonder if and when it will end. Even though Sacramento experienced fewer crimes in 2010, serious violent crimes went up—criminal homicides and felony assaults—which include non-fatal shootings and stabbings. In 2009, Sacramento had 33 homicides involving 10 to 24 year olds, many of who have been raised fatherless.

For fatherless boys in Del Paso Heights, the future is bleak. It is more likely that they will parent before age 20, abuse drugs and join a gang than go to college, have a career and own a home. When a father is absent in a boy’s life, positive examples and mentors, like those at Shoulder To Shoulder, assume great importance.

Boys like Andrew are feeling God’s love through the mentors at Freedom Hall. Andrew participated in the program while attending Martin Luther King Jr. Technology Academy; he is now a 10th grader at Natomas High School. He says “The mentors teach us how to be a man. We have no other male figures to look up to.”  Andrew likes sports, particularly basketball, and is thinking about becoming a doctor someday. Like the other boys at Freedom Hall, Andrew says he wants to attend college because he has been encouraged by his mentor. Andrew has gained a positive outlook because he has someone who believes in him. But he worries about other boys who don’t come to Freedom Hall. What will happen to them?

With more mentors, volunteers and financial support, together we can end the cycle of fatherlessness in Del Paso Heights.

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STS Recognized for Making A Difference

With great pride we report that on January 16, 2011, STS Founder and President Bill Coibion received a 2011 Difference Maker Award presented at Sacramento’s 2011 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration for his work with children and youth. This award is given to individuals who demonstrate excellence in both faith and service in the greater Sacramento area. This prestigious peer award is recognition of both courage and sacrificial leadership. Past recipients have included Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and Superior Court Judge Troy Nunley.

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