Imagine Whittier is a program that aims to end the cycle of family homelessness by mobilizing trained volunteer mentors, collaborative public and private resources, and community leaders who understand that a roof over one’s head is merely the starting point to a better life.

This program is a collaboration between The Whole Child, Imagine LA, Greenleaf, and the Whittier Consortium on Homelessness. Imagine Whittier’s mission is to mobilize the citizens and resources of Whittier to end family homelessness in their community. To achieve this mission, Imagine Whittier will utilize Imagine LA’s proprietary Family Empowerment & Mentorship (FEM) model to train and guide volunteers as they mentor families exiting homelessness and progress from barely surviving to thriving. This innovative mentorship program empowers families to transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency and helps every member of the family find success.

After 1 year, families report…

  • 43% of school-aged children who were performing below grade level at program entry have now reached grade level, all others are receiving tutoring/other services
  • 65% of participants 18 and over reported employment gains
  • 96% of individuals who were not receiving medical care at program entry are now under regular care
  • 100% of head of households received budget management training
  • 100% of families have retained permanent housing!

How it Works

Imagine Whittier matches every family member over the age of 5 with a one-on-one mentor, and each family receives a Financial Wellness Mentor. Our volunteers help families connect and create a feeling of belonging within the community and take advantage of the abundant resources available. While receiving the emotional support of their mentor team, families build healthy relationships, skills, and habits. Month-by-month we see confidence, income, grades, and wellness rise. Ultimately, the family’s journey goes from barely surviving to thriving.

Our professional staff trains and guides volunteer mentors, who work in a 2 to 7 person team, to help a vulnerable family maintain housing, achieve self-sufficiency and thrive.  Each mentor commits to in-person meeting with their mentee 2x per month and a text or phone call 1x per week for 12-18 months.

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Here’s What a Few of Our Mentors Have to Say

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Become a Mentor

Becoming a volunteer mentor is easy. If you are interested in making a difference in one family’s life this year, please submit your contact information using the Become A Mentor button below and we will reach out to you shortly to share more information on how to get started. Thank you to our volunteer mentors for making a difference in the lives of our families!

Become A Mentor

Hispanic smiling woman in blue shirt holding small boy. Another boy in a plaid shirt looks up at her. Hispanic smiling woman in blue shirt holding small boy. Another boy in a plaid shirt looks up at her.

Tim & Nanci Lynch

“We had been increasingly concerned with the growing homeless crisis and had no way to make a significant difference.  When we heard about Imagine Whittier and its goals, it resonated with us.  People are our city’s most valuable resource and we loved the real world change possibilities the mentoring program presents.

We have used our life skills and resources to encourage and guide our mentee with her choices.  As friends and partners, we keep showing up to talk about her challenges and be a sounding board for decision making.  With this came the opportunity to reflect to her all the awesome characteristics she has and how some of the seemingly “impossible” circumstances she is facing aren’t so bad.  Through our relationship, we have introduced her to a local community church that she shares faith with where she has volunteered her own time to help others.

Our mentee’s growing confidence, determination and willingness to set aside unhelpful thinking has been very rewarding.  She has not only expressed gratitude to not feel alone in her situation, but also amazement that strangers would take time out to encourage her.  Time is our most valuable resource.  Spending time inside the framework Imagine Whittier provides to help struggling mentees is an efficient, hands on solution to homelessness, person by person.  Ahead lies friendship, transformation and a real shift in addressing the homeless crisis.

You don’t have to know how to fix people, just be willing to share their journey.”

– Tim & Nanci, Imagine Whittier Volunteer Mentors