A Message for You from Chris Kughn, CEO- Buckelew Programs

Hello Dear Friends,

this year has been challenging, transformative, and unexpected in so many ways. Yet we persist, continuing to make improvements in the lives of our clients and their families, taking a minute for self-reflection and adjustments, as well as practicing some self-care along the way. This year has been nothing short of extraordinary.

When I think about how we arrived at this point, I am humbled and grateful for the work of our staff and community partners. I am also awed and impressed by the level at which our donors have stepped up to support us, not just this year but into 2021. This has been a critical year of reckoning, an opportunity to realign all that has transpired since the pandemic began, including the ensuing economic crisis, and changes in government. It’s all connected. We are all connected.

Partnerships continue to bolster our essential work of support and recovery for those with mental health and addiction issues. This year, a long-held dream to have recovery residences came to fruition. Two group homes in Marin County now give alumni from Helen Vine a supported next step toward a clean life, free from addiction. In Sonoma County, our partnership with Sonoma County Health and Human Services has given rise to independent housing for those previously unsheltered. Please take a minute to read the story of Rena, a client who previously lived on the Joe Rodota Trail. These true stories about people you may know. The stories and the clients inspire me every day to work harder for the benefit of all. It’s how we build Healthier Lives - Stronger Communities.


Rena grew up in Santa Rosa. She identifies as an indigenous person, a Native American. A series of life events, including her then-addiction to meth, led Rena to find shelter on the Joe Rodota Trail, a strip of Highway 12 between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. Along with almost 400 other unsheltered people in this encampment, she experienced the effects of inclement weather, the wildfires, and the fear of rape and murder. Yet when Rena speaks of her time on the trail, she says, “It made me humble. It made me grateful.” Rena was offered housing this spring through the HEART program, a partnership between Sonoma County and Buckelew Programs. Since securing HEART supportive housing and pursuing her recovery, Rena found stability in other areas of her life. She and her long-time girlfriend got married in August. They took their vows in the garden of their new home surrounded by friends and family.

Transformative outcomes for our clients happen every day at Buckelew Programs. Thanks to our community, Buckelew Programs’ continuum of care in five North Bay counties serves more than 10,000 individuals each year. Every one of us benefits, especially our clients. Clients like Rena in Sonoma County.

As we look together toward 2021 with hope in our hearts, I wish you many joyful moments during this holiday season

Chris Kughn, LMFT
CEO, Buckelew Programs