Build a strong community, one life at a time

I met a brave woman the other day. Actually, I meet brave people every day.

Or at least I see them: a little boy runs ahead of his mom, making a beeline for the toy area while she checks in for his appointment. A young man tries to decide if making eye contact is ok as he waits for his representative payee to answer a question about his rent payment. A recent high school graduate stops by, just to say hi and thank you to the people who helped her through difficult days and were there to celebrate her walking across the stage.

You can help build a strong community for them and everyone who faces challenges to big to handle alone by donating to the Give a Chance Campaign. The goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of the year.

This brave 30-something woman I met the other day came to Family Service for a different reason. She knows several staff members, through community-based and office-based services for her two children. She greets the receptionist like an old friend. She catches up with a few people before settling in to share her story.

She wants to do anything she can to encourage others that asking for help is strength.

She recently suffered a tragedy, when the father of her children died suddenly. She’s struggling to knit their support system back together, while also grieving and paying attention to how her 8-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter are handling it.

She first came across Family Service when the children met with a community counselor at an after-school program. That helped her son handle some behavior issues he struggles with due to ADHD.

After their father passed away, she was looking for more support for them. Her community counselor referred the family to play therapy and both her son and daughter started coming every other Thursdays to see different counselors in the office.

She also decided it would be helpful for her to talk to someone about her grief. With community-based services, and outpatient counseling for children and adults, the family has been able to find the support network they need and build a strong foundation for their future together.

This brave woman came into the office recently to record her story for others to know how they may be able to build their own strong foundation, and invest in a stronger community, one life at a time. You will be able to hear her full story at If These Walls Could Talk on January 25.

Did you know, 26 percent of children will witness or experience a traumatic event before they turn four (such as the death of a parent), according to the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention (2012). People who have experienced trauma are 15 times more likely to attempt suicide, four times more likely to become an alcoholic, four times more likely to inject drugs – the list goes on, unfortunately.

People who reach for help through counseling, and those served through personal affairs management and guardianship, receive a strong foundation. Teens like those pictured above come to depend on the life skills and relationships they develop through the Teen Outreach Program (TOP)® and other programs.

For them, the seed for a happy, healthy future is planted. They have their whole lives ahead, and will always have the strong foundation built through their relationship with Family Service. Your gift will give more of our neighbors the chance for that same strong foundation to cope with and overcome life’s challenges.

Your gift will give our community a chance to be as healthy as possible.

All of us will at one point face a challenge too big to handle alone. That’s why Family Service is here to help people identify and develop their own strengths. No matter their age or stage of mental wellness, people become happier, healthier and more resilient by participating in peer groups, therapy, or being involved with a caring case manager.

To create lasting bonds and a healthy community, give today and build a strong community, one life at a time. Give a Chance to All!