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Claremont Courier - A Local Nonprofit Newsroom

CHAP receives annual community partner award

The Claremont Homeless Advocacy Program (CHAP), a local organization that works to eradicate  homelessness in Claremont, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Claremont Colleges’ Community Partner of the Year.

The Claremont Colleges have presented the Community Partner of the Year Award for more than a decade to a local person, agency, organization or business that has positively impacted the community or significantly enhanced town and gown relationships with an emphasis on serving and/or involving students.

This annual award underscores the Claremont Colleges’ growing efforts to strengthen ties with the community, especially in the city of Claremont.

CHAP is a Claremont-based all-volunteer grassroots organization that is dedicated to assisting the homeless—or participants, as they are refered to by CHAP organizers—by helping them to secure sustainable housing and jobs, mental health services and other resources and skills to get them back on their feet.

The CHAP program has a three-pronged approach to helping those in need.

•  Participants are paired with volunteer advocates, who have agreed to meet with the participant at least once a week and to be available to provide assistance 24/7 if needed.

• The CHAP overnight stay program provides participants with safe and secure overnight accommodations. The shelter is staffed by CHAP community volunteers, some of whom have been the beneficiaries of the program and now want to pay it forward.

• CHAP Community Cafés are held at various places in the city. Volunteers prepare food and then sit down with the participants to share a meal.

CHAP has reached out to the Claremont Colleges, encouraging students, staff and faculty to volunteer. Jake Dittes, a recent Harvey Mudd graduate, volunteered for the overnight stay program and was instrumental in bringing a Community Café to the HMC campus.

Mr. Dittes, just one of many volunteers from The Claremont Colleges, says he got involved with CHAP to help others. He said he got as much out of it as the people he was there to help.

“As I got to know the participants better and better, we became good friends. After I graduated and moved to New York, one of them called me to tell me he had gotten his first apartment,” he said. “It was very rewarding and helped to show me that there is more to the world than what is going on at the Claremont campuses.”

More information about CHAP is available at chapclaremont.org.

 The Community Partner of the Year Award is given annually by the Claremont Colleges at the fall Town and Gown reception to recognize a business, community agency, business and/or community person who has contributed significantly during the past academic year to enhance town/gown relations with a special focus on students.

Nominations are invited from the presidents and other key leaders at the Colleges. The final selection is made by the Council of the Claremont Colleges.

 Past winners include Brent Hunter, owner of Bert & Rocky’s Cream Company; Dr. Wayne (Wally) Cox, longtime coach of the men’s Claremont Rugby Team; Community Friends of International Students; Rotary Club of Claremont; The Claremont Club; Arman Ariane, owner of Xerxes; Claremont Kiwanis Club; Chris Ulrich of Claremont Avenue for Life Long Learning (CALL program); Claremont Village Marketing Group; the Claremont Unified School District; Pilgrim Place and Project Sister Family Services.

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