Folks often ask me if our local nonprofits ever work together — yes, every single day! We all have limited resources so we are very aware of what supports other agencies offer and regularly collaborate to provide the best client response most cost effectively.
 Today I was at the Saratoga Center for the Family, working with the staff of the Harriet West Child Advocacy Center. You can’t walk into their building without smiling at what a kid-friendly vibe they have. The bright colors are uplifting, which is important as they deal with really serious issues of child abuse, “helping children and families with coping, healing and moving forward.” Click here for more about how we work together… but more importantly look at all the small handprints on the wall behind the staff.  Those prints aren’t just decorations; kids who’ve been helped at the CAC get to pick a place on their walls and leave their mark– not only on the wall, but on the hearts of the staff who see every day the  magnitude of child abuse in our community and help each child to transcend these experiences and have a bright, safe tomorrow.
Most people know about the basic needs assistance Wellspring provides for families, including, clothing, emergency shelter, subsidized housing, and food assistance — these services help both adults and children. However,there are a number of smaller programs that rarely get the spotlight.  Two of these programs are our summer camperships and school supply assistance programs.  These programs allow the children in families that are transitioning from homes with domestic violence to be kids doing normal kid things like playing with friends at summer camp or starting school off on the right foot (even if that first day you’re in a new school where you’ll need to make all new friends). While these services provide normalcy for kids during a period of transition, they also reduce stress for the parent that has just left the abuse, giving her/him time to focus on things that may be difficult to do while juggling childcare, like job searches, court dates, and looking for an apartment.