Sunbeam Family Services

Sunbeam Family Services
Linh M. Sasser, Marketing Coordinator, Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits

Over the next few weeks, as we spotlight the 2019 Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits (OKCNP) Visions honorees, we are highlighting a nonprofit meaningful to each of the honorees.

Paula Gates, 2019 Inasmuch Special Recognition Award Recipient, has dedicated much of her career to growing the Early Childhood Services programs at Sunbeam Family Services (Sunbeam). Sunbeam is Oklahoma’s longest-serving social services agency.

Sunbeam was founded in 1907, when Lizzie Swisher saw a need for a children’s home in Oklahoma City. In the late 1930s, services were expanded to include child psychological services, casework, foster care and adoptive home placement.

In the 1940s, Sunbeam opened the first community-based mental health services operation in Oklahoma, adding adult services to their programming. In the early 1970s, Sunbeam added services for the elderly, which led to the opening of an emergency shelter for senior citizens in 2001.

In 2004, Sunbeam was awarded a grant to administer the Early Head Start program in Oklahoma County, the same year Paula joined the Sunbeam team as Director of Early Childhood Services.

Today, Sunbeam serves in four program areas: Counseling, Early Childhood Services, Foster Care and Senior Services. Sunbeam serves central Oklahomans from cradle to cane, all stages of their lives.

Sunbeam provided 559 Oklahomans with direct counseling services during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Sunbeam also provided 311 individuals with training on a variety of mental health topics the same year.

In Sunbeam’s 2017-2018 fiscal year, they served 14,597 Oklahomans. Not only did they serve individuals at their locations, Sunbeam and Educare, but also they assisted in fifteen child-care centers in some of the most impoverished zip codes in the Oklahoma City metro.

In 2017, Sunbeam served 741 children and more than 2,500 family members through their early childhood services. Of the children they served, 78% were fully up-to-date on well-childhood exams and 97% had access to a dental provider.

As of late October 2019, there are 8,023 Oklahoma children in custody – 2,739 of them are in foster care. Sunbeam currently serves 48 of these children by placing them in 29 foster homes. Children who are placed in Sunbeam foster care homes have the opportunity to receive wrap-around services, including priority access to Educare and mental health counseling services.

In their 2017-2018 fiscal year, Sunbeam served 3,110 senior adults, including 238 grandparents who are raising 869 grandchildren, 187 seniors received training on self-care, legal, health and depression. Ninety-nine of the seniors served were homeless and were able to find safe and -permanent homes. One-hundred senior companions provided in-home support to 203 homebound seniors.

To learn more about Sunbeam Family Services visit their website:

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