Riding in Style: A New Van Transports CFDC Clients

December 15, 2014

A generous donation is making a noteworthy difference in the lives of some special young children. The Child and Family Development Center (CFDC) at Saint John’s Health Center recently purchased a 12-seat Nissan passenger van to shuttle children to activities and aftercare programs, thanks to funding from the Ahmanson Foundation.

After retiring the center’s previous van, the staff was eager to find a new way to transport its clients, says Katherine Reuter, PhD, program manager of early childhood intervention services. “When the Saint John's Health Center

Foundation approached the Ahmanson Foundation with our request, they were quick to support us.”

Since purchasing the van, the CFDC staff has worked hard to prepare it for clients, installing car seats and having the center’s logo painted on the side.

The CFDC is one of the few remaining community mental health centers on the Westside that specializes in serving children and their families. Programs include a therapeutic preschool for children, ages 2½ to 5, who suffer from conditions such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

“With the van, we can take more field trips now,” Reuter says. “We also use it to transport children to aftercare. Our program ends at 12:30 p.m., but we have a lot of working families. For families to enroll their children here for services, we found it necessary to take children to aftercare—whether that’s to grandma’s house or a home day care or an afternoon preschool program. Providing for the children’s transportation was about meeting the needs of our poor, vulnerable and over-burdened families.”

The center also has a program that serves adults with mental health disorders who have intellectual or developmental disabilities. “The adult program uses the van to take groups into the community for outings,” she says. “It’s a beautiful van that’s being put to good use. This gift has been a blessing to us and has made a real impact on the lives of the families we serve.”