“I have been a Social Worker with Social Services in Santa Clara County for the past 21 years. My current assignment has been to place children in out of home care for the past 6 years. I have had the privilege and honor to work with Davina Polanco, who runs the group home, Haven of Hope. Davina is a delight to work with. She takes an involved interest with all the girls who are admitted and is always a part of the interview and admission process.
I have nothing but good things to say about Haven of Hope. The staff is stellar. They are helpful, insightful, and take the time to listen and empower our youth. The services are amazing and tailored to fit the needs of each child who is admitted into their group home. They are very connected to the community and the schools, which really helps our youth in the school system and to assist them in getting connected to community resources. My co-workers in the placement unit and fellow Social Workers, feel that when their children are placed at Haven of Hope, they will get the help they so desperately need and they will be well cared for while at Haven of Hope. My only regret is that they do not have more homes…Haven of Hope is an outstanding placement resource for us at Santa Clara County Social Services. Keep up the great work and dedication you all have towards the empowerment of youths.”
Judi Oleari, LCSW
Placement Support Bureau
“It was a great experience working with you and your staff. You have very well trained staff who are always responsive to social workers. I can expect return calls form your group home staff whenever I call. My client said that she received consistent emotional support from your staff. She was also supported for transportation and visits with her mother. Before she was placed, I had doubt that your group home would be too far away and difficult to remain supportive of her needs given her serious mental health issues including self-harm behaviors such as drug overdose, cutting, and hallucination. Yet, your staff has done a wonderful job at helping her work through all those issues. Again, thank you so much for helping her and please keep up the good work. We need more group homes like yours.”
D. Trinh, Social Worker
"Davina well I have to say thank you for the chances you took on me as a kid. I have to say you were the wings that gave me my life. I don’t know were I could have been if it wasn’t for you and your staff. So many girls pass through your homes and never realize how good they have it. I hope they can when they reach my age and are raising their own children. I’m 28 and have only recently begun to appreciate the tools you offered us original six. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without you I could never have made it. You’re an amazing strong woman and I owe you a lifetime because I am a strong independent woman who has made it."
Melanie, Former Resident
“Being a clinician for approximately 5 years and working with an abundance of different agencies, there are times when I have come across agencies that have been uncooperative or have made my job a bit difficult. However, I felt like my experience working with the staff at Haven of Hope was positive and comfortable. I appreciated the case manager who at the time returned my calls, updated me on pertinent information regarding my client and always made the effort to include me in the decisions that needed to be made regarding my client's treatment. The staff was respectful, knowledgeable and flexible when they were challenged to develop a creative behavior plan that fit the needs of my client. I felt very supported when a team meeting needed to occur as the staff took the time to schedule a meeting in a timely manner and all staff members were present, as it was evident they cared about the well-being of their resident. I appreciated the staff at Haven of Hope and hope to work with them in the future. Much thanks in advance.”
Adina Austin, MFTi
“I am so grateful for the quality of service that Haven of Hope has provided. The staff has a high level of professionalism that shows through in their work with the youth and in their communication with myself. They are patient, kind, knowledgeable and very responsive to the youth’s needs. They have so many great activities that serve, educate, and keep the youth busy and create a nurturing atmosphere in the home. I love, love, love, working with Haven of Hope! Davina, it is clear that you take great care in creating a nurturing and professional environment in every aspect of the home; you have done really amazing work with this group home!”
Lucy Mendoza, Social Worker
“On behalf of psychology students at UCSC, I would like to express appreciation for the training, supervision and mentoring our interns receive. Students routinely express how well the programs at Haven of Hope operate and how they can count on support and assistance from staff. Haven of Hope utilizes the university students to assist residents with their studies as well as engage in recreational activities such as art, dance and yoga. A good number of our students initially feel a bit timid, yet evolve into a sense of accomplishment with the roles and responsibilities they carry out, in addition to the development of trusted relationships with residents and staff. A final note of praise - for the times one of our interns secures employment with Haven of Hope, once they graduate. Keep up the fine work Haven of Hope!”
Field Study Coordinator, Psychology Department UCSC
“Davina I just wanted to say thank you for the stuff that you and your staff did for me when I entered the group home. I was young and was there for many years. It took a lot of people to get through to me but I was one of the girls that did not want to work on any of my problems but you and your staff helped me a lot. Now in life it is easy to deal with things and learn that things that happened to me were not my fault and now I can see that. So just to other people that are going to group homes they may seem scary but they are to help us not to hurt us so when you get the chance take and use it to your advantage and remember don’t take life for granted.”
Marissa, Former Resident
“As a Psychology student, my internship with Haven of Hope allowed me to better understand the various behavioral issues manifested by victims of abuse. Learning from dedicated and passionate counselors, I had the pleasure of witnessing the program’s valuable milieu system that so skillfully supports its residents. Working with this special population is challenging and I am pleased to have experienced significant personal growth because of it.”
Coreen Callister, UCSC Intern
"I have been living here at Haven of Hope for a little over a year now. Haven of Hope really got my life on track. I will be graduating this year thanks to everyone here who supports me. Living here has made me more successful and feel more confident, :) It's a great place!"
“Going to Abeona is definitely something I look forward to each week. The staff is so knowledgeable and they have taught me so much. I started with very little understanding of what a group home was or how to work effectively with the residents. But now, eight months later, I feel much more confident in how to interact with the residents and I really feel like I am helping them. Interning at Abeona has been such an educational and rewarding experience!”
Rachel Levy, UCSC Intern
“My experience as an intern at Halcyon house was truly valuable. Although it was demanding and at times very challenging, I found my time spent at Haven of Hope to be incredibly fulfilling and enjoyable. The counselors, staff and supervisors were always willing and eager to provide advice, guidance and insight into working with the residents, and were open to answer any questions I ever had. Interning at Haven of Hope has provided me with more confidence and interest in working with at-risk populations in the future, and more faith as to the effectiveness of treatment and preventative care.”
M. Sturgis, UCSC Intern