Casa Pacifica this week kicked off a public donations campaign to complete the first phase of a $21-million expansion and remodeling project.
Phase one, which will cost $16.6 million to complete, will include new living quarters for the growing number of children in the county with drug abuse and addiction problems.
The Camarillo-based nonprofit that helps about 4,000 young people throughout the Central Coast each year has about $13 million for phase one of the project at its 24-acre campus in Camarillo, but another $3 million is needed. This portion of the project will include the new dorms, a new training facility and the renovation of the nonprofit’s administration building. Two new residential cottages, totaling 30,000 square feet, will have eight beds each, but there is enough room for additional beds later without the need for further construction.
Over the past two years especially, Casa Pacifica CEO Steven Elson said, administrators have seen an increase in drug-dependent and addicted children.“Especially foster kids,” Elson said.“We’re seeing this a lot more in the county lately There are a lot of reasons why. It could be as a form of distraction from what’s going on within the family. It could be their way of blocking out the pain.”
Officials formally launched the public outreach campaign for donations Tuesday evening during a reception at Twenty88 Restaurant and Martini Lounge in Camarillo. With the cost of completing the two-part expansion of Casa Pacifica estimated at $21 million, Elson acknowledged it might seem like a lot to ask of potential donors. But there’s precedent when it comes to community donations to support Casa Pacifica, the CEO said. “When Casa Pacifica first opened in the early 1990s, it was a $10-million (fundraising) campaign. “At the time, that was the biggest fundraising effort ever by a nonprofit in the county, and a lot of people thought you could never raise that amount in Ventura County,” Elson said. “We broke the glass ceiling.” Since then, residents, businesses and other private donors around the county have contributed some $40 million to sustain the nonprofit in its work helping the county’s foster children and those who’ve been neglected and abused, he said.
The most recent plans also call for building a new training facility for staff, where foster children also could receive job training, and a remodel of the agency’s administrative center. “We want to consolidate all the administrative functions under one roof,” Elson said. Casa Pacifica officials hope to hold a true groundbreaking for phase one by November. Construction would take about 18 months to complete, he estimated. Farther down the road, the nonprofit will start the second phase of the expansion, which involves constructing 36,000 square feet of new buildings to replace several trailers that house clinical staff and therapeutic activities like group counseling and support group sessions, Elson said. That phase will cost an estimated $4.4 million.
“The bottom line is the community has been a major part of our success. Without the community, we couldn’t be able to do what we do,” Elson said. “Every nickel we get goes into the services we provide. We’ve been able to do a lot of good with that money.” Learn about Casa Pacifica’s expansion plans and how you can help at: http://www.hopeforcasapacifica.org/whyitmatters/