Hively is a nonprofit agency that provides local families with the resources and support they need to thrive. Formerly known as Child Care Links and Family Service Counseling and Community Resource Center, Hively’s services are available to all families in the Tri-Valley. It has offices in Pleasanton, Oakland, and San Leandro. This month Hively was selected by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan as the 2020 Nonprofit of the Year for California Assembly District 16.
“We are one of the few agencies in Alameda County with a holistic approach to serving families,” says Kelly O’Lague Dulka, MSW, Chief Executive Officer. “If a family is hungry, they can access food at Hively. If they have questions about parenting or experience stress in raising their kids, we offer parent education and support as well as mental health services. If parents or guardians need support accessing and paying for child care, we have family support specialists who help them find and pay for child care. And if a family is experiencing stress or trauma, we offer ongoing supportive services through workshops, discussion groups, and family counseling.”
Sometimes people are surprised to learn that there is so much need in Pleasanton and throughout the Tri-Valley, according to Dulka. Hively provided support and resources to hundreds of families each week before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Now, the need for its services has grown exponentially. Hively has seen a huge increase in requests for food and help finding shelter. More families than ever are reaching out to get diapers and other baby supplies. Many families grapple with unemployment or looking for work while trying to sort out health worries and child care concerns.
Thanks to partnerships with local businesses, individual donors, and funding from foundations, Hively has provided meals for more than 2,000 people since the Shelter at Home order went into effect. “One mom, in tears, shared that before her groceries arrived from Hively, she was down to the ‘dust in the cracker box,’ ” notes Dulka.
Last year, Hively families benefited from over 5,000 volunteer hours of service from regular volunteers as well as one-time volunteer teams. Hively has also received donations from over 1,000 individual donors. Such support makes Hively’s work possible. The donations that come into Hively go right back out to local families in need.
Financial donors can earmark their contribution for a specific program such as mental health, the diaper pantry, or Hively’s Covid-19 Emergency Fund. A gift of $10 will buy milk and eggs for a family, while a gift of $40 provides a month’s supply of diapers and wipes for a baby. Supporters are also welcome to donate diapers (especially sizes 4, 5, and 6) and staples such as pasta, rice, beans, peanut butter, and cereal. Businesses and groups that sponsor a diaper drive or a food drive can also help prevent a child from going to bed hungry.
Fighting hunger is important; so are other issues. “Hively focuses heavily on helping families see the benefits of early literacy,” says Dulka. “We know that only 56 percent of kids in our county are ready for kindergarten when they enter. We also know that low income kids are far less likely to be ready. To give kids a leg up, we need to make sure they have the skills they need to succeed in school.”
Ultimately, notes Dulka, “we want every person who comes to Hively, whether for goods or services or to drop off donations or volunteer, to feel like they belong–like they are part of our thriving hive.”
For more information about Hively, please visit behively.org.