On Tuesday of this week, I had the privilege of being at a resource fair for one of our local school districts. The point was to have several organizations come out and highlight the services they provide especially to students, elementary through high school.
These times are always good because even though I may know several of the organizations, I learn more about what they do every time.
I believe we live in a unique area in terms of collaboration among non-profit organizations rather than the competition that I hear about in other areas. That said, I hope that other areas are starting to shift to more of a collaborative model knowing that no single organization can provide all of the answers.
By far, Teen Life was the smallest organization represented at the resource fair, but I was still able to see the value in the services we provide and how what we do complements what these other bigger organizations are able to do through their network and resources.
It was amazing to hear how much help is really out there, and the one word that kept coming up was FREE. Free housing, food, counseling, job search, health screening & training. Amazing! People really are wanting to help, and they don’t want there to be any barriers to getting that help. The services typically require certain forms, financial status or location, but not all of them. Because they are free, that just means that they can prioritize how people get help.
The purpose here is to simply share what I heard about these organizations yesterday. I won’t get into the requirements, you can find that out from them. I also hope that as you read, it may prompt you to think about the service that could be most helpful. Or maybe there is a service not listed that you know of – help us out by sharing that with all of us!
ACH Services offers so many different programs and services, there is no way I can outline all of them here. Two of the things they talked about at the fair were the homeless shelter and the FREE counseling for youth and families. And when they say free, they mean free. The counseling service is a no-fee-at-all service. They typically see people for 3-4 sessions, but can see them up to 6 months. The goal is to understand the situation they are facing and help them form a plan of action they can use to help things get better.
Their shelter is exactly that, a place for teenagers without a home to live. This can be temporary or longer term. They work with teens up to 17, and while they are there, they must participate in the program. This is not a place to go and sleep the day away. It includes school and chores that the teen must do or face being removed from the home.
These are just two of the amazing programs, check out more on their website, ACHServices.org.
The Community Enrichment Center, CEC, also provides a lot of resources beyond what just students would need. This includes a food pantry, housing, job search and High School equivalency prep, as well as many other programs. The CEC is very much about helping families stay together, find the resources they need and move forward on their own. They do not intend to keep people in services for extended periods of time. This being the case, families that do get help tend to succeed and the youth in their homes learn valuable life skills about hard work and how to seek out the help they need rather than staying stuck.
The Women’s Center
Resources that stood out from The Women’s Center included abuse prevention training and counseling. They also offer rape crisis and victim services. This applies to anyone connected to a rape situation. If you know of someone that has been raped, or you suspect may have been, this is the place to go. They offer guidance and counseling, including group counseling, for people dealing with this traumatic event.
MHMR, MHA, LOSS Team
I am personally connected to these organizations for two reasons. I meet monthly with the Suicide Awareness Coalition that the LOSS team was begun out of. Also, I have called the Crisis Line for family and friends in need that MHMR provides. Both of these services are extremely helpful. If you don’t know who else to call I highly recommend starting with the MHMR Crisis Line, and they will direct you where you can get help. This line is for anyone of any age that is dealing with a crisis issue. It is completely anonymous, and they will help you find the resource you need and even follow up with you. For those more tech savvy, you can even text the local 817 number during regular business hours.
The Salvation Army
Who doesn’t know about The Salvation Army? They do so much good for so many people. The one thing that stood out this organization was that families, specifically moms with kids, can get housing and coupling through The Salvation Army. This can be a huge help. There are so many other programs and services available, simply go to their local website and search for what you would benefit from.
The Ronald McDonald House
Again, the Ronald McDonald House is a well known organization, but there were a couple of things that I didn’t know until yesterday. Probably most important was that any 5 people can stay in a room for a patient. Even if you live down the street. They want to make it easy for families to stick together, and so they provide a common gathering place no matter how near or far they live. Secondly, they do ask for a donation of $20, but there is no obligation. But $20 is nothing compared to a hotel stay.
It’s so great to know these kind of resources are available when they are needed. Check out RMHFW.org for more.
The primary focus for Safe Haven is on providing housing for abused women. However, as they talked about this, much more involved then just providing a safe place. It includes counseling, job training, education and more. The application to the students we were focused on this week is the preventative education they offer. By raising awareness for teens about abuse and dating violence, the likelihood of them ending up in an abusive relationship as they get older is drastically reduced. You can read more about the prevention program, including dating violence stats, on their Teens and Dating Violence page.
Alliance for Children
This organization is all about kids. They provide prevention education, abuse counseling, family advocacy and forensic interviews. All of these services work together to prevent abuse for children and to help those that have experienced abuse cope with the trauma of that event and the ongoing care necessary to maintain a healthy life. There isn’t a lot more to explaining their service because what they do is so involved, there are not a lot of extensions of what they offer.
Mesa Springs Hospital
Finally, Mesa Springs is primarily focused on offering substance abuse treatment. They do offer services that complement and enhance that core purpose, but their main mission is to give people their lives back. A couple of highlights I picked up on are that there are treatment programs that involve computer based tools. These make it much easier to access anytime you need it and to be more discrete about the recovery process. In addition, they also have counselors available online to start the process of getting connected to help. They also offer specific programing to involve the family in a healthy and helpful way. Anyone that has dealt with substance abuse recovery knows that the process is bumpy at best, and family can either be a hinderance or a huge support. Mesa Springs wants it to be the latter. Check out their website for more, MesaSprings.com