GFS has been profoundly influenced by the values of our founding organization: The Grail. Our core values are:
Who We Serve
GFS works with families with young children in the primarily-Latino community of East San José, in the Alum Rock Union School District. These families are some of the most at-risk residents in Silicon Valley. Nearly 48% of them are foreign born, and 35% of them either do not speak English well or do not speak it at all. Many of them are isolated and marginalized as they try to navigate their new environment. Yet while these families face many challenges, they also have many strengths: a rich culture, family unity, and a compelling desire to carve out a better future for their children. In a study conducted in 2013 by Stanford University’s John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities, more than 80% of parents said they want to better understand their children’s learning needs, and better support their children’s development.
Grail Family Services provides a comfortable, culturally and linguistically sensitive environment where families learn together and build a network of support with others in the community. We regularly engage participants in the development, implementation and evaluation of our programs to ensure that we are meeting their needs. In the process, many families have come to think of the GFS Family Resource Center as their “home away from home.”
Grail Family Services (GFS) has been in East San José since the 1960s, when our founding organization, The Grail, initiated several community development programs, including low cost housing. Over the years we have changed our focus to meeting the needs of the community in other ways – through high-quality programming and family resources.
We began this new direction by conducting a community needs assessment. We learned that, at the time, there were no services for families with young children, despite an overwhelming need, and the fact that 70% of children in the Alum Rock Union School District (ARUSD) were not reading at grade level. These findings informed our strategic direction, and since then we have focused on providing programming and services for families with children 0-8 years, in the areas of literacy, oral language and cognitive development, and family engagement.
At the end of 2013, we launched a new strategic planning process. This effort incorporated our learnings from the past several years, an in-depth literature review and research and, most importantly, extensive input from all stakeholder groups: clients, funders, other agencies, our Board and our Staff. Staff conducted several brainstorm sessions on improving services and client outcomes. Our Board participated in all of the stakeholder interviews and also held two retreats –one Board-only and the other in conjunction with GFS staff. These retreats enabled valuable communications and ensured that all perspectives were heard. This four-year strategic plan identifies objectives, strategies, and activities to guide the direction of GFS between 2014 and 2018.
To learn more, please read our 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, here.