Year-End Giving with Meaning and Purpose

Dear Friends of STS,

As you make decisions about your year-end giving plans, please consider the following recent timely event that saturated the news media.


It was 3:45 in the afternoon when the shooting took place. Five players on the Grant Union High School football team in Sacramento had stopped to get some food before the playoff game, and were on their way back to school to suit up. Excitement was high when their lives were suddenly shattered by gunshots. One dead, another injured, a game postponed, and inner-city lives completely altered. The entire Grant High School family and the largely fatherless Del Paso Heights community was once again rocked by a fatal shooting.

It is at times like this when God and family provide shelter and comfort in the storm. It is in the hard times when a Dad can help his children weather the storm. But what can be done when a young boy has no father to run to. When a young inner-city boy’s world is rocked, whether by a shooting or something else, where can he go when there is no Dad in the home?

This is why Shoulder To Shoulder is so passionate about what we do. God’s intention has always been for Dads to be there for their children, especially in times of adversity. But where there is no Dad, we at STS have the privilege to be there as a mentor and to help the boys process through, and learn from, hard times. When the Grant High football team held a players and coaches-only meeting right before the re-scheduled game, one of the STS mentors, who is also a pastor in Del Paso Heights, was invited to be there. At a critical time, he was able to help the players navigate through their raw emotions. In the same way, our STS mentors are there for every mentee and our “Moms Helping Moms” coaches are there for their single mothers.

Our ability to be there for the fatherless is made possible because of your prayers, service, and support. As we approach the end of the year, with Thanksgiving and Christmas filling the air, would you remember TeamSTS? You can help us break the cycle of fatherlessness in three different ways:

  1. Pray for us. Pray that God would use us to reach the fatherless, and their families, with God’s transforming love. Ask your church to put TeamSTS on its prayer list.
  2. Volunteer. Consider becoming a Mentor or perhaps a Coach in our “Moms Helping Moms” program. You could also help with our upcoming Bowl-A-Thon (in March) and our Father/Son Legacy Run (in June).
  3. Give. We are grateful for all monthly and one-time gifts. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we take no State or Federal funds, but rely upon the generosity of those who understand and appreciate the value of what we do. Your tax-deductible gifts will help us reach more fatherless young boys; we currently have 25 boys on our waiting list and your generous year-end gift could help eliminate the waiting list and truly make a difference in many lives.

From all of us at TeamSTS, thank you for your support and we hope that you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

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



Meet Isaiah and his mother, Angela. Theirs is a story of redemption.

Angela grew up fatherless. She was molested at 8 years old. Again at 18. Prostitution became her prison. Drugs and alcohol became her escape.

This vicious cycle didn’t stop despite having Isaiah and four other children.

Isaiah grew up fatherless. He also grew up angry, hopeless, and confused. Why couldn’t his mother stop? Why was he afforded this lot in life?

But in life, it’s not where you start. It’s where you’re going. Shoulder To Shoulder helped transform the lives of Angela and Isaiah — from generationally fatherless to living life on a righteous path. We celebrate who they are and their desire to pay it forward by being an example to others.

Please listen to the words of Isaiah and Angela, and learn how TeamSTS helped them in their story of redemption. We hope their story inspires you to take action.

Would you contribute your time to serve, support TeamSTS financially, or join our prayer team?






Read more

With Thanks


Day in and day out, over 40 volunteers are accomplishing something truly amazing. They are positively changing the lives of fatherless young men in Del Paso Heights one by one.

This year alone, 25 young men experienced the transformative power of a mentor. These young men were guided, embraced, encouraged, and empowered. Young men like Jeremiah (pictured above) are smiling again.

We are blessed to be in a position to facilitate hope in the hopeless, encourage those bewildered, and accept generationally fatherless boys for whom they are, not what they will become. But we’re also blessed to have you on the TeamSTS family.

In the spirit of the holidays, we wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU for all of the support, advice and wise counsel. You have provided your time, your talents and your commitment – and we hope you continue blessing us and those we serve with those treasures.

With a grateful heart, we say THANK YOU.



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

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.




























Read more

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.

Read more

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
Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more