12 Days of Giving – Day 9 – The Gentle Barn

Living in Santa Clarita, I know all about The Gentle Barn.  Considering it’s only about 15 minutes away from my house, we’ve been there several times.  The Gentle Barn was founded in 1999 and currently makes it’s home on 1/2 acre in Santa Clarita, California.  It is home to 130 animals who were rescued from abuse, neglect or slaughter.  The animals are taken care of, rehabilitated and then they live out the remainder of their lives on the property. If that was all this charitable organization did, it would be more than enough.  But that isn’t all they do.

The Gentle Barn has opened it’s doors to help troubled kids, foster kids, kids from the inner city and has become a favorite place for locals to host birthday parties and school field trips.  This place is truly a wonder and I highly recommend planning a visit.  They are open to the public on Sundays from 10am – 2pm and they ask for a $5 per person donation to help with the upkeep of the animals.

The Gentle Barn has a mission to open other Barns in other areas as well.  But they can’t do it alone.  They rely solely on donations and they have many ways to get involved.  You can donate monetarily, of course, but you can also sponsor an animal or volunteer at the Barn itself.  Please check the website to see all the ways you can help.

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

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

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.