A better future for homeless kids

A better future for homeless kids

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Homelessness is a growing problem in San Diego—as well as in many other parts of the country. Yet while there are thousands of excellent nonprofits that support this population, education resources for homeless students are not nearly as prevalent.

That gap often furthers the cycle of homelessness: Students who face these barriers to education are less likely to graduate from high school or earn a GED. And without a diploma or equivalent, they are 4.5 times more likely to experience homelessness as adults.

A better future for homeless kids
Jeff Cavignac, managing principal, Kelly Potter (right), principal and risk advisor and the Cavignac volunteer team set up for the 2019 Monarch School Prom.

From one room to 350 students

Since 1987, when it was launched as a one-room learning center, the Monarch School in San Diego has been serving these students—today, it is a comprehensive K-12 school that educates about 350 kids each year. And for nearly a decade now, Cavignac & Associates has supported the mission with a mix of financial support, professional guidance, and volunteer work.

Fifteen of the Cavignac elves wrapping presents for the Monarch School “adopted” families for the holidays.

“I met the Monarch School’s former CEO when we served together on another nonprofit committee,” said Kelly Potter, a principal and risk advisor for the San Diego agency. “As soon as I learned about the mission, I knew I wanted to get involved—and get our agency involved, too.”

The school provides quality academic education for students, along with the skills training and emotional support to help them improve their lives. It’s an innovative approach to learning that includes developing awareness of their emotions and healthy coping skills, exploring their passions, and planning for self-sufficient living.

A better future for homeless kids 7

A deeper involvement

“What we do extends beyond supporting the homeless population,” said Marisol Alvarado, the school’s interim CEO.

“It’s really about building a better future for these kids—and for San Diego.”

Cavignac & Associates currently advises the school on risk management and insurance—but the involvement goes much deeper than the professional level. Employees have volunteered in the classroom and for fundraising events, and the agency sponsors the annual Monarch Prom for students.

The Cavignac team helps a student get ready for their prom.

One of the agency’s core values is “We are givers: We contribute our time and money to the betterment of the community,” according to Potter, and several internal programs are dedicated to giving. Among them are the Charitable Giving Committee, which identifies organizations to support; the company also offers paid time off for employees to volunteer.

Staff from Cavignac run the soda bar at the Monarch prom.

This commitment to community has earned the agency a 2020 Make More Happen Award—which comes with a donation of up to $10,000 from Liberty Mutual and Safeco to the Monarch School on behalf of Cavignac & Associates.

Going beyond the classroom

That support is even more vital now, as the school has scaled up services to meet the essential needs of students and their families during the COVID-19 crisis. Monarch School funds have been used to distribute meals and hygiene kits, provide hotel rooms for emergency shelter, and more.

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Kelly Potter (center) receives an award for her service with The Monarch School.

“We are so grateful for this award and for Cavignac & Associates, who have been such advocates for us and our students over the years,” Alvarado said.

“From the annual prom to holiday parties, from tutoring to helping at our clothing boutique, their generosity has made them true partners in our mission.”


Learn more about these Make More Happen winners:

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Dane Frasure
3 years ago

Great work! Keep up the great work in helping so many.

Krystina Feucht
3 years ago

Great work guys

Julio A. Galindo
3 years ago

That is beautiful, truly! Kudos to all your efforts.

Edward Rivera
3 years ago

Awesome! Keep it up!

Joan Plemmons
3 years ago

Amazing organization!

Suzanne Hartenstine
3 years ago

Congratulations Cavignac & Associates on winning the “Make More Happen” donation for The Monarch School!

Reuven Rubinson
3 years ago

Great story

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