Intern Perspective-Taylor Cunningham

My name is Taylor Cunningham, and I’m a second year Comparative Literature and Italian double major at UC Davis. I love to write, especially on social justice issues. Working with Don for the past eight months has brought me closer to the community of Davis, and allowed me to give a voice to the people of Yolo County in need.  

I met Don at the Davis Farmers Market September 2013. I interviewed him for a story for The Aggie about the Farmers Market, was inspired by the work that he was doing in the community related to food systems and hunger, and immediately knew that I wanted to get involved. 

I started to work with Don as a journalism intern writing for the newsletter, and in December 2013, added work with one of Don’s outreach programs, promoting CalFresh to UC Davis students. With Don’s help, I’ve been working closely with members of Yolo County Health and Employment and Social Services Departments to come up with fresh ways to educate students about CalFresh and to make it easier for them to apply.

Working with Don has allowed me to explore my passions in a supportive and low pressure environment. When I meet someone who knows Don, they have nothing but positive things to say about him, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with and learn from someone who is so well respected in our community. 

-Taylor Cunningham, UC Davis District 2 Intern 

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BIG Day of Giving!

Big Day of Giving! 

     May 6th was the Big Day of Giving, a day that called on Yolo County to support their favorite Non-Profit organizations. Regionally over $3 million was donated in just that one day with over $200,000 given to programs that serve Yolo County! Congratulations to all the local organizations who benefited from this great movement and special thanks to everyone who donated:  

Winters Friends of the Library     Yolo Basin Foundation     Davis Musical Theatre Company     UC Davis Arboretum & Public Garden     Los Rios Foundation     Davis Arts Center     Yolo Food Bank      Center for Land-Based Learning     Mutual Housing California     Citizens Who Care     Woodland Opera House     Yolo County CASA     Elderly Nutrition Program/Meals on Wheels of Yolo County     Yolo Hospice Inc.     Cache Creek Conservancy     Davis Schools Orchestral Music Association     YoloArts     Legal Services of Northern California     Explorit Science Center     Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Center     Nonprofit Resource Center     Tuleyome     Davis Community Meals     Suicide Prevention of Yolo County     Davis Media Access     West Sacramento City Historical Society     Yolo Land Trust     Friends of the Davis Public Library     Pence Gallery Association     Cool Davis Foundation     American Association of University Women     Yolo Community Foundation     Woodland Schools Foundation     Yolo County Children's Alliance     Yolo Community Care Continuum     Woodland Community College Foster and Kinship Foundation     Turning Point Community Programs     Sutter Health     Friends of the Esparto Regional Library     Area 4 Agency on Aging     Yolo Family Resource Center     CommuniCare Health Centers     WarmLine Family Resource Center     California Center for Cooperative Development     Yolo Family Service Agency     UC Davis School of Education     Valley Vision, Inc.     Woodland Literacy Council     

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Construction Apprenticeships for Highly Motivated Workers

Efforts to reduce unemployment in Yolo County have been greatly enhanced by Supervisor Don Saylor and the rest of the board through a unique local program that has just been approved for expansion into Woodland. That program, Northern California Construction Training (NCCT), is a non-profit, community-based organization that trains individuals who are interested in careers in construction. 

The program accepts highly-motivated people who are willing to work hard and is open to all. In return, students gain the valuable skills and experience necessary to break into a great career that could offer them a livable wage.

Trainees are taught by instructors who have years of experience in building and working with students. Upon program completion NCCT helps graduates find paid apprenticeships in one of sixteen trades including plumbers, carpenters, plasterers, electricians, sheet metal workers, laborers and ironworkers. The group boasts an eighty-five percent record of success over the last twelve years.

In addition to the core construction-based curriculum NCCT also offers a wealth of classes designed for life-skills enrichment. These include personal financial planning, improvement in reading, writing and math, development of proper work habits and attitudes, first aid, obtainment of a driver’s license and even GED preparation when necessary.

NCCT now has approval by the Yolo County Board of Supervisors to expand their locations to include the City of Woodland at 1250 East Gum Avenue. This expansion will allow better access to opportunities for job training and life preparation for Yolo County residents. 

For more information call 916-372-7422 or visit NCCT on the web here

By: Steve Rea
      Assistant Deputy to Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor

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Helping Veterans Grow in Yolo County Agriculture

For Michael O’Gorman, choosing the City of Davis as his home base to help veterans build a career in agriculture was a no brainer. O’Gorman is the Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, a non-profit organization that offers consulting, funding, and marketing options to veterans seeking jobs in agriculture, either as business owners or employees in the industry. 

The Farmer Veteran Coalition was started in 2009, and is funded through grants as well as private and corporate donations. It has a membership of over 2,600 people, and it grows by approximately 100 members per month. Membership in the coalition varies from people still on active duty who are in the research stage to veterans with fully fledged businesses.

Passage of the 2014 Farm Bill has also provided the organization with more ways to help Veterans. Transition Incentive programs help Veterans purchasing land. Direct Operating Loan assistance through the USDA provides limits on interest rates. Numerous outreach and education programs provide technical assistance to existing farmers and learning opportunities for those new to the business. 

The Farmer Veteran Coalition has granted more than $350,000 to over 65 veterans. These grants help finance the specific needs of each veteran as they seek to grow their business. The coalition also provides farmers with guidance. On staff, they have lawyers, food safety experts, business experts, and people that help to build the resumes of veterans that want to get into agriculture related jobs.

With a soft launch on May 1, a national certification label called Homegrown by Heroes will allow veterans to brand their products as at least 50 percent veteran produced. Currently, 12 veterans are in the process of getting this certification, but by the time the hard launch occurs next year, they expect numbers between 60 and 100.

California’s strong agricultural presence and large population made it immediately appealing for the program’s home base, but the strong agricultural foundation of UC Davis made the City of Davis the ultimate choice. There are staff and coalition members in all 50 states and, even some territories. The Farmer Veteran Coalition doesn’t have an official sponsorship with UC Davis, but has worked with the university in the past, and plans to again in the future. 

By: Taylor Cunningham
      Second-year International Relations major at UC Davis


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Upcoming Job Fair & Youth Success Camp

Supervisor Saylor is partnering with Congressman John Garamendi and the Yolo Workforce Investment Board (WIB) to present an event focused on high school and college age youth.  The event will take place on June 16th from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at the Yolo County One Stop Career Center at 25 N. Cottonwood Street in Woodland.

This event will have several components geared toward assisting youth in finding pathways to success in college, careers or other training options.  While aimed at youth, everyone is welcome and the event is free of charge.

Job Fair
Attendees will have the chance to meet over 30 local employers as well as learn more about several apprenticeship programs and training opportunities.  All employers present will be currently hiring!  

Youth College Link Success Camp
The Success Camps will include: 1) scholarship workshops, 2) financial aid preparation, & 3) soft skill training - including resume reviews done by professional employment specialists. This is the opportunity for high school age youth to be partnered with a UC Davis student mentor.  There will also be a specific program for community college students.

Resume Review
Everyone is invited to bring their current resume and have it reviewed by our panel of local business leaders.  Constrictive comments will be provided and those without a resume can receive assistance in getting started.
Everyone is welcome and the event is free!  Any students interested in the Success Camps can RSVP by contacting Shelina Noorali at

By: Diane Parro
      Deputy to Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor

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June Letter from Don

Dear Friends,

       Summer is right around the corner! This means many changes from warmer weather to family vacations. This also means that a crop of newly-graduated students are looking for jobs, joining the ranks of those already in the hunt. I know how crucial finding good employment is to every family. We have been working hard to address this need on a variety of levels.

       I am delighted to share that my office has teamed up with Congressman John Garamendi to present a Job Fair & Success Camp on June 16th in Woodland. You can read all about it in a wonderful article from Diane Parro next week.

       One of the values of Yolo County is to champion job creation and economic opportunities. Please stay tuned in the coming weeks for some of the ways that we have been working to maintain this goal for District 2 and all Yolo County residents.

Don Saylor

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Assembly Select Committee Conducts Hearing on the Impact of Childhood Hunger

On May 21st, during Hunger Awareness week, Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor testified on the impacts of childhood hunger at the California State Capitol building in Sacramento. Click here to access the full recording of the hearing.  

Don appeared for a hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development, chaired by Roger Dickinson, in order to build awareness of the problem of food insecurity in Yolo County and the Sacramento Region.

Other speakers from the California Department of Public Health-Office of Health Equity, the UC Davis Poverty Center, California Food Policy Advocates and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction testified to the scope, impact and possible solutions to the problem of childhood hunger. 

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Intern Perspective

My Chinese name is Kwong Kak Lam, but most people just call me Phil. I graduated from UC Davis last spring with a Bachelors of Science degree in Managerial Economics. It has been almost 4 months since I started interning for supervisor Don Saylor, and what an amazing experience it has been thus far.
I initially applied to intern as Don’s photographer, to capture Don’s work and contributions towards the people of Yolo County. I have accompanied Don in attending several different events throughout Yolo County which included the Kid’s Farmers Market held in West Sacramento, the First 5 Yolo 15th Anniversary celebration held in Woodland, and several other events.  Eventually, I was also helping Don in designing the annual Soups On Community Cookbook and doing other marketing related work.
I have learned a great deal from this internship, not just about the inner workings of Don’s role as the District Supervisor but about myself as well. Don’s positive impacts on Yolo County such as working to ensure that children have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and honoring those who made education possible for the children of Woodland have truly opened my eyes and inspired me to do my part in contributing towards the community. I feel blessed that I can be part of Don’s mission in making a better Yolo County, and I truly hope that I can continue working for him into the future.

By Kwong Kak Lam, District 2 Intern 

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Thank You Letter for Soup's On!

Dear Don—

Our deepest thanks for choosing the Elderly Nutrition/Meals on Wheels Program of Yolo County as the benefit charity for this year’s Soup’s On event.  It was a wonderful evening of community coming together in support of a program that fulfills such a great need for our elderly neighbors.
We prepare 350-400 hot, nutritious lunches daily for Yolo County seniors.  Meals are served at our four congregate sites in Davis, West Sacramento, Woodland and Winters, or delivered to homebound seniors from those sites.  The proceeds from Soup’s On will enable us to continue this program, when so many other senior meal programs have had to drastically cut, or eliminate their programs entirely.  Soup’s On has helped to build awareness of our program and communicate that our continued success is directly related to the generosity of time and financial support by our community.
Don, we are so honored to have been chosen as the beneficiary of proceeds from this event, and we are so grateful for the promise that it brings to our organization.  Congratulations on your 10th year of Soup’s On, and our warm thanks.
Christi Skibbins
Executive Director
Elderly Nutrition Program/Meals on Wheels Program of Yolo County

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Neighborhood Court

At the January 14th Board of Supervisors meeting, Chair Don Saylor honored District Attorney Jeff Reisig, Deputy District Attorney Christopher Bulkeley and numerous volunteers for the creation of the Neighborhood Court program in Davis.

Neighborhood court focuses on restorative justice, bringing the offender back into the community by focusing more on the social harms caused by the offense rather than the crime itself. The program focuses on lower level crimes and only certain offenses and offenders are eligible.

Over 73 volunteers are trained to staff the panels and moderate the conferences between the victim and offender. Ultimately Neighborhood Court is a process that has potential for the victim, the offender and the community to communicate directly with each other in a safe environment and work on repairing the harm in a way that will allow all the parties to move forward in a positive direction as equal members of our community.

Over the course of the program more than 150 offenders have had conferences. 114 of those have completed the program, 37 are pending completion and only two have failed. The success of Neighborhood Court has spurned growth of the program into West Sacramento, where Yolo County is looking to take it next.  

Neighborhood court reflects Yolo County’s commitment to communities and will continue to provide a source of healing where it is needed most. 

Click here for more information about Neighborhood Court including how to volunteer!

By: Steve Rea
      Assistant Deputy to Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor

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Don Saylor