12 Days of Giving – Day 8 – Battered Women’s Shelters

Not fun to discuss.

But after Monday Night Football, I went to a favorite hangout of mine.  And my friend, S,  who is a hairdresser, bartender, mother, and grandmother, and a former victim of domestic abuse, vented to me and one other patron.

She relayed, healthily, the story of how her son-in-law recently, and in the past, had abused her, her daughter, and her grandchildren by the transitive property.

My friend, S,  had been through this before, on her own with her own former a-hole spouse, so she understands her daughter’s predicament, and how much she must protect her daughter, her five grandchildren, and even herself from the abuse (physical, verbal, emotional, and property damage) that her son-in-law is inflicting.

I instantly grabbed my phone and Googled “Battered Women’s Shelters.”

There are so MANY resources out there, both locally and nationally; however, women are often socialized to fly under the radar and make things better without outside  help.

That is simply an injustice. To everyone.

So here is what I stumbled across with fewer than 7.42 minutes of effort.

1.) Valley Trauma Center – “Interpersonal violence can affect anyone. No one should suffer alone. If you have been assaulted, you have the right to information and support. We are here to help.”

2.)  Safe Passage Live – “Safe Passage clients have a 95% success rate in breaking the cycle of domestic violence and creating a new life for themselves. They are our Role Models sharing their life stories to inspire other women and children to a New Life!”

3.) LAPD Online Communities  – “Domestic violence is more than just a ‘family problem’; it is a crime. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) recognizes that domestic violence is a major problem in Los Angeles County and throughout the United States. Each year, more than two million women are victims of domestic violence, and one million children are physically abused.”

4.)  AARDVARC.ORG  –  “This site is for victims of violence, their families and friends, and the agencies and programs which serve them, both public and private. The goal of this website is to assist efforts to aid and support those trying to remove themselves from abusive situations and build healthier, stronger lives. ”

5.) Violence Unsilenced – (National) – “Survivors submit their personal stories of abuse in their own words, and two are posted live on the site each week. Readers take an annual pledge to listen, and the intention for the comment section is a space, supportive safe.”

This is a large and unspoken about problem; we need to end that.

To be just: do not strike your spouse either.  Abuse is not one-way nor gender-specific.

PLEASE speak up. What can YOU do to assist a battered woman?

Know it or not: we all know one…

 Sidney Patrick writes at My Mother in Law is Still Sitting Between Us… Find her on Twitter

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12 Days of Giving – Day 7 – Hillsides

Anyone who has a close relationship with someone who had been in the foster care system for an extended period of time knows how much can slip through the cracks.

There are so many children in the system, sometimes it is hard to find special care for those who need it.

Hillsides is a private non-profit located in Pasadena, and is considered an official institution of the Los Angeles Diocese of the Episcopal Church, that works with abused children.

It works to counsel both children and families, offer support, therapy and advocates children’s rights.

What I think is one of the most important programs at Hillsides is its Youth Moving On Transitional Housing program, which gives young adults age 18-24 affordable housing and support after emancipating from the foster care system. I really believe now, more than ever, those kind of programs are needed for those struggling for jobs as they grow independent.

Hillsides has a long wish listwish list full of items for the
children in their care.

Hillsides offers a family adoption program at the holidays, and they are still in need of families to be adopted for the holidays!

Megan writes at Sunshine Wonderland

12 Days of Giving – Day 6 – The Los Angeles Food Bank

Carolyn West writes at This Talk Ain’t Cheap.

We are very fortunate to be able to live in Southern California.  The weather is beautiful, the people are beautiful, it’s the entertainment capital of the world.  But… even in a city full of million dollar homes and Bentleys, there are people who are living in their mini-vans and waiting in line at the unemployment agency.  Southern California definitely has a reputation of opulence and while it IS in some areas, we also have our share of low-income housing and poverty and one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

People are hungry.  Hunger in this country is a crime.  There is no reason for it.  Yes, our country is in a dire financial situation, but how much food do we throw away every single day?  Farmers, markets, restaurants… these organizations constantly have extra food that gets disposed of on a daily basis.  Hopefully, they will all consider the families that are barely making ends meet and could really use a little extra help.

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is an amazing organization.  They supply food to charities all over the county.  In business for 38 years, the Food Bank is partnered with Feeding America, the nations’ largest non-government, domestic hunger relief agency.  Their mission: that no one goes hungry in Los Angeles County.  There are so many different ways to get involved.  They have volunteer opportunities for anyone over 14 years of age and hold regular information and training sessions.  You can also donate money if you don’t have the time to volunteer.

Keep in mind as well that most local cities have their own “Food Pantry” where you can donate non-perishable food.  It’s as simple as a Google search.

As you are preparing your holiday meals this year, think about those families who can’t put food on the table for their children.  Maybe the next time you go grocery shopping, you can pick up a few extra cans of food and drop them off at a local hunger organization.  There is no reason anyone should be hungry in this amazing country we live in.

12 Days of Giving – Day 5 – Break the Cycle

Jamie Gall, of Minnesota Girl transplanted into LA, shares her favorite charity.

I was first introduced to Break the Cycle by an event I was invited to called, “Cooking for Love.”  This event was phenomenal in that it brought some of the top chefs from the Los Angeles area together.  As people donated to the cause they were able to try a variety of samples of food and wine.  It made for a wonderful evening learning about Break the Cycle while also being surrounded by friends.

But what is Break the Cycle?  It is an organization that promotes healthy relationships for teens.  Their motto of, “Everyone deserves a safe and healthy relationship.”  It specifically focuses upon ending dating violence within teens.

Did you know that 1 in 3 teens will experience some kind of abuse in their dating relationships and two thirds of those teens will never report it to anyone?  Break the Cycle empowers teens to recognize dating violence, and gives them the tools needed to end it before it even begins. They have a variety of programs that they do including going into schools and talking about dating violence.  The also do a variety of trainings working with college campuses and even law enforcement officials.  And of course, they have an entire program designated towards Public Policy in which they work to bring laws into effect that will help keep teens and young adults safe and healthy.

For more information on Break the Cycle, you can check out their website here: http://www.breakthecycle.org/

They are open to donations and also volunteers!  It is a great organization looking to improve the lives of teens and young adults everywhere.

For me, I just love that there is an organization out there educating the world on dating violence especially in teens.  It is something that happens more often than we like to admit.  The more education we can give teens and young adults, the better.  Low self-esteem starts young, and if we can continue to support the young ones into becoming more confident human beings, and show them what a healthy relationship looks like, they can continue to keep that spark going.

12 Days of Giving – Day 1 – The SCV Youth Project

I wanted to kick off our 12 Days of Giving with an amazing charity located in my home town.

The SCV Youth Project was founded in 2000 to serve the needs of local at-risk Santa Clarita Valley Youth.

 “Our mission is to provide a safe, nurturing environment where at-risk teens and their families are strengthened, empowered and equipped with the tools they need to live successful and healthy lives.  We intervene early, offering unconditional acceptance and cost-free programming in order to mitigate the impacts on health and academic success associated with high-risk behavior.” – SCV Youth Project Website

Counselors are available to handle any teen issue that comes up: drugs and alcohol addiction, abuse, divorce, depression.  The  SCV Youth Project provides that safe environment to really help kids and their families.  Led by Executive Director, Kim Goldman, the Youth Project is active on in all of the high schools in the Santa Clarita Valley.  They provide group support as well as individual support.  Services are provided free of charge and the Youth Project relies on grants and donors for all of their funding.

But wait… there’s more.  The SCV Youth Project website is an amazing resource for helping teens (and parents) with issues from choosing the right college to helpful birth control information.  They are available to answer your questions

I think there is definitely a serious lack of help and intervention for teens these days so I love that we have a local source to call on.  What really sets The SCV Youth Project apart for me is that not only are they helping teens, they are also helping the parents.

For more information about The SCV Youth Project, take a look at their extensive website.

To keep updated on The SCV Youth Project, follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Carolyn West writes at This Talk Ain’t Cheap.  Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.