How Sunday Friends continues to create an Environment of Support

By Julián Antonio Carrillo, Program Facilitator

On April 5, 2023, the Peaceful World Foundation highlighted our grantee, Sunday Friends, and invited Ashley Papagno and Andy Garcia-Romero to talk about the organization’s work as it adjusts to post-pandemic times. Ashley is the Chair of Sunday Friends’ Board of Directors while Andy serves as Community Engagement Manager. Diana Nguyen, Senior Program Manager, was also present. They gave our virtual audience a great introduction as well as insight into why their work is so critical.

Sunday Friends is based in San Jose, California, and since its inception in 1997 has been consistently working with and learning from low-income families. From these insights, they have built and use a ticket/banking system, in which heads of households and children can earn tickets, individually and collectively, by completing certain tasks that benefit themselves and others. These tasks and programs range from helping clean up spaces to participating in literacy and healthy foodways preparation. Tickets can be accumulated and later exchanged for household items like diapers or food.

This exchange and banking system is based on the following premises;

Self-respect and pride in one’s accomplishments are earned through work and helping others—not by accepting handouts.

Janis Baron. founder of Sunday Friends

As such, we can say that Sunday Friends helps families build a foundation on which an environment of support can thrive. This foundation is built on the pillars of self-respect, pride, helping oneself and others, and of course –  in a very practical way – learning about various management systems. 

In our conversation, it was pointed out that the families that participate at Sunday Friends, which number between 80-100, are acutely aware of their needs in a post-pandemic moment. These include empowerment,  financial literacy, and digital literacy as well as tackling mental health and strengthening resilience against anxiety and depression. Like it always has, Sunday Friends is keeping a close ear to their voices and operationalizing on-the-ground workshops and programs that address these needs and more. 

The PWF is proud to support their work and looks forward to continuing to develop a working relationship in these times and the future. Thank you, Ashley, Andy, and Diana, for your participation. And for everyone else who missed the talk, please look out for a recording of the Zoom conversation in the near future on our social media and YouTube channel.