Stockton is the city Restore was birthed in and it is where the majority of the residents in our Leadership
Mentor Training program reside. Since its beginning in 2010, Restore has grown into a community of people whoare committed to engaging, empowering, and equipping the residents of our city. Restore believes that transformation can only occur in the context of relationships, and we have developed multiple programs to facilitate this. Some of these programs include youth mentoring, community gardening, leadership
development, and job training. Restore staff members reside in the neighborhood where all of our programs take place, which creates a solidarity between those we mentor and the people running programs. Restore is based in the downtown historic Magnolia district of Stockton, an area that is full of paradoxes - beautiful mansions from the 1800’s stand next to run-down apartment buildings, and people earning six figure salaries are neighbors with those who have lived off of government unemployment assistance for their whole lives. Our desire in living in this particularly needy area of Stockton is to bridge the gap between those who have and those who have not, not just through food drop-offs or clothing drives, but through significant and transformational relationships. We are surrounded by youth who need to know their value in order to believe that they can become productive members of society, and Restore programs exist to facilitate this development.
The mission to see restoration in people’s lives and in a city through mentoring relationships is not exclusive to Stockton. We know that people all over the world are doing essentially the same work that we are in Stockton, and we get excited about seeing other cities transformed through missional living and mentoring relationships. The Gallegos family had been engaging relationally in their hometown of Ventura, California for several years before officially coming under the banner of Restore in 2012. Gerardo and Angie Gallegos have a heart to see restoration happen in the run-down places of their city through engaging kids and their families in community gardens. In the past few years they have had the opportunity to establish several community gardens in the Avenue neighborhood of Ventura while also reaching their city through involvement in the local government. The Gallegos family has witnessed incredible transformation of impoverished areas in Ventura while also inspiring the youth around them to create beautiful futures for themselves.
Since 2011 the Restore community has been developing a relationship with a pastor and his family who
are native to Roatan, Honduras. Roatan is a small island off the coast of Honduras with a population of about 50,000, most of whom are Spanish-speaking. Rampant drug use has caused parts of Roatan to become
impoverished, while tourism has dominated other parts of the island. The issues of physical and spiritual
poverty that are prevalent on the island are near and dear to our hearts because they are so similar to the
issues that plague Stockton. Through our relationship with a locally run ministry, His Island Outreach, we are partnering to build a five acre self-sustaining farm with housing and a community center for the local population. Restore traveled to Roatan in 2014 with a team of 10 people, and out of this trip Whitney began to dream about taking a group of high school students to the island regularly on a service project. This dream became a reality in 2015, and the Restore Roatan youth service trip has been an incredible way to further build a bridge between the work in Stockton and Roatan.
Restore has been working in the downtown Stockton area with at-risk youth and their families since 2011. Our focus has always been primarily on the youth, because from the beginning we realized that they are the most desperate for and open to relationships. The youth are the heartbeat of a city, and when they believe the lie that they are not worth anything or that they are not cared for by those in authority, then they will become the problems people say they are. However, we know the power of relationships, and we know how believing in a teen's potential can change their life. Our mentoring programs started with a vision to see the lives of youth in our city transformed through relationships. Throughout the years these mentoring programs have impacted the lives of hundreds of youth in Stockton.
The vision to see gardens planted in Stockton’s downtown Magnolia district began as a simple dream for inner-city kids to have an opportunity to experience life beyond their current circumstances. Most of the kids that Restore works and interacts with have spent very little time outside of Stockton, which means that their life experience is confined to what they see around them every day between home and school. Additionally, many of the families we work with have limited or no access to fresh fruits and vegetables because the area we live in is considered a food desert. In areas like downtown Stockton where families often can barely pay for rent or utilities, health and nutrition are all too easily sacrificed. Through our experience working with such families, we at Restore began envisioning what it would look like to be able to provide fresh produce to the families while also teaching them valuable life lessons through gardens. We have developed several school and community gardens as a way to engage and support youth and their families, and we have seen significant results physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually in the people who have been involved in the garden.
R.A.G.S. (Restore Art & Graphic Styles) is an apparel and lifestyle collection designed and created by a group of artists and makers in Stockton, California. The purpose of RAGS is to empower at-risk youth in Stockton to develop entrepreneurial skills and artistic talents through the creation and maintenance of an apparel line. RAGS gives Stockton youth the tools to create a career and venture into new industries, which simultaneously gives them a chance to fulfill their potential as they are mentored by the RAGS team of designers. All proceeds from RAGS support further youth mentoring in Stockton.