On June 25, 2022, Community Through Hope (CTH) hosted a fabulous screening for the docuseries, Small But Mighty. Service providers, advocates, funders, and elected officials were in attendance to show support and learn about the life-saving services CTH provides for unsheltered people in the South Bay. The five-part docuseries begins with the launch of the South Bay Street Medicine program. This outreach program provides medical services to unsheltered people in the Chula Vista/South Bay area. This region borders Mexico and has historically struggled with access to essential resources such as housing, food, and health care.

A Day in the Life

In episode one of Small But Mighty, we hear from Sebastian Martinez, Executive Director, as he gives us a glimpse into a day in the life of CTH’s team. It becomes clear early on that CTH is committed to providing services through a trauma-informed and healing-informed lens. We hear Sebastian say a minute into the video, “As we bring medicine into what we are doing, it also needs to remain trauma-informed.” As the video continues, we are introduced to Bella Martinez, Program Manager, who shares her work with us. We can hear the relief in her voice when she talks about the Street Medicine program offering services and ending recidivism that our unsheltered community often experiences.

As the series continues, we are brought into the lives of team CTH. We get to hear their story and what brought them to this work. The team takes us along in a non-exploitative manner as we join them through accountability rallies, food distribution, street outreach, and collaboration with community partners. We see how they use humor and joy to fuel their work—speaking of joy! Let’s talk about Deion Willaims, Director of Programs. Every team deserves a Deion! You know, that coworker who is the vibe keeper, the one that makes the time fly by through humor, song, and dance. There were countless moments throughout the series where the audience was treated to his humor. Deion is the embodiment of joy as an act of resistance. He is a trained dancer; you will always find him lifting spirits through movement and creative expression.

Equity The Missing Piece

“It’s just a completely different way of funding organizations. They really want an organization to support that is based on equity for all and based on staff that represents the community.”

Rosy Vasquez, Community Through Hope Co-Founder

In Episode 3, titled Equity The Missing Piece, Rosy is speaking to Sebastian and sharing the budget revision she is working on that was requested by AMRF. She explains to Sebastian that the modification is to include a livable wage and healthcare for employees. “How do you eradicate poverty while being in poverty? Too often, community-based organizations struggle to keep the lights on, pay a living wage and provide enough resources to safeguard their staff from experiencing poverty, which has impacted our sector in retaining front-line workers. “They’d like to fund based on the pieces of the puzzle that they feel are aligned with what we are trying to do. Really for us, that means to get us stable, to help us explore larger funders, to really get us to where we should be.” Rosy continues on “It’s just a completely different way of funding organizations. They really want an organization to support that is based on equity for all and based on staff that represents the community.” Hearing Rosy say that was the magic moment I knew we were living up to our values.

The relationship between CTH and AMRF is an excellent example of our commitment to trust-based philanthropy in action. We want to thank our partners at CTH for being the people that tether us to our mission and collective purpose to build a better world. We look forward to working with more organizations that exude what AMRF loves to see in the community: equity, collaboration, trust, and integrity.