The past few weeks have been somewhat of a shocker to me; a real hit from the blindside. Every year, the Family Care Network engages the community to provide a lovely holiday for the children, youth and families we serve – all of whom are victims of trauma and unfortunate life circumstances. This year, instead of asking folks to provide specific gifts for specific individuals, we asked people to contribute cash or gift cards so that we could empower our families to care for their own so they could experience the joy of giving themselves.
Is anyone else besides me feeling overwhelmed and worn out by the constant barrage of negativity permeating our lives? Seriously, I long to escape into the solitude of my garden, or retreat into my car to bathe in gentle, refreshing music. It is an ominous sign when every day seems to bring another scandal, tragedy or shocking event without reprieve; even worse than the day before! Thank goodness for corny Hallmark movies.
Homelessness in San Luis Obispo County is a very real problem. SLO County recently published a study (read it here) on the root causes of homelessness in SLO County, confirming it is one of the biggest issues impacting our community. The census, conducted in January 2017, found that there were 1,125 homeless persons in SLO County. Many state that the root cause is that there aren’t enough vacant rental units available. This report can be summed up in their statement that, “Insufficient supply of housing continues to be the biggest barrier to eliminating homelessness in the County.”
About ten years ago, my husband Doug introduced me to one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), specifically the island of Tortola. Doug has spent half of his life going to the BVI and befriending many local people on Tortola. Our local friends who call this small island home are intelligent, wonderful, fun, passionate and so incredibly special to both of us. It is hard to explain how much we love the BVI and how much we love its people. We have always felt so fortunate to share a part of our lives with them.
In honor of November being National Adoption Month, we're revisiting a blog written by Daniel Carlisle, an adoptive parent, as he shares how honoring his children’s race has changed his perspective.
I have spent many years traveling to Sacramento to conduct one-on-one advocacy with state legislators and key policymakers. It’s a challenge, especially living several hundred miles away with no direct flight to Sacramento. The four to five hour drive gets old!
Each year, the Family Care Network has the honor of partnering with local organizations and businesses to make a difference in the lives of the children, youth and families we serve. Recently, we had the pleasure of partnering with Old Navy to create a unique opportunity for our young adults who are eager to learn about employment and working.
I’m writing this from the table in our motorhome; the motorhome we bought two years ago when we decided we were ready to retire, sell our home and go traveling. In the past two years we have been through so much--continuing to foster teens while keeping the house clean and ready to show with only four hours notice. One thing that made me so happy was that our kids were supportive of our plan to retire and sell the house, even if it meant they would have to move on. We were happy to be part of Wraparound Foster Care which meant that there was a plan for the kids and placements were intended to be short-term. None of the kids ever complained about picking up their rooms or about heading with me out of the house so we wouldn’t be around for the showings. It took about a year and a half, but we finally sold our house and either sold, gave away or stored the majority of our belongings in order to move into the motorhome. It’s been about three weeks and I have been doing a lot of reflecting about life as a Resource Parent and about some of the kids who touched my heart over the last 22 years…
Recently, I pulled up a slide presentation for a training I lead for staff here at Family Care Network about Intimate Partner Violence. In my effort to refresh the slides and update statistical information, I was reminded that October marks National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
In providing this training to my colleagues, I sometimes preface my presentation by stating that although I did not learn what I am sharing in college or at an institute, I feel that I have expertise in the subject of Domestic Violence because I lived it. As a child who grew up in an abusive home where the cycle of violence played out over and over again with the abuse becoming increasingly worse over the years, sometimes I feel as if I have earned a degree in the subject from the school of hard knocks.
I have been working in the Human Services field in California for over 45 years, and I have to say, innovative, efficacious programs development by the State have been for the most part nonexistent. Seriously. Almost every important program for children and youth has been the result of litigation or the force of advocacy from the private sector. Even California’s new CCR-Foster Care Reform effort was birthed in response to a lost lawsuit.