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S.U.G.A.R Shines on HOPE

At HOPE we believe that education is a powerful step in prevention. Last year alone, HOPE's Prevention Team was able to educate, train, and reach over 1,500 youths in Manatee County. We visited local middle and high schools, youth faith-based programs, juvenile detention centers, and after-school programs. Raising awareness and educating adolescents can have an impact on the way they look at personal relationships for the rest of their lives.

We are so fortunate to have organizations in our community that share our belief in educating the youth about important issues, especially domestic violence. One great example is S.U.G.A.R. (Showing Unconditional Goodwill And Respect). This club objective is to create and projects that encourage kids to become involved in their community while teaching them about the cause they are serving.

S.U.G.A.R. initially started off as a desire for three mothers to have their children learn the value of kindness. However, it has developed into something much bigger than that. Last year alone, SUGAR had over 450 volunteers participate in projects that supported over 50 local organizations. We are grateful that HOPE Family Services was selected by SUGAR as a local nonprofit to support.

Recently SUGAR volunteers helped create “fresh start baskets” for transitioning families in the process of leaving our safe shelter to get back on their feet. The event was held at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, with packages that included donations from a local school drive and other friends in the community. SUGAR made the activity hands-on and fun for the kid volunteers, by encouraging the children to walk around and collect each item for their care package.

The room was organized similarly to a grocery store, with tables divided into sections for the home: cleaning; dinner; breakfast; paper goods; and miscellaneous. Each volunteer was given an index card with a “shopping” list for a family and a laundry basket for their items. They all picked up paper towels, laundry detergent, dish soap, and other items specific to each family. By the end of the event, every package contained a complete dinner and breakfast and the essentials to support the first 24 hours in a new living situation. In total, 31 specialized baskets were made for families transitioning into independent living.

The educational portion of the event was led by HOPE’s Shelter Manager Dawn. She spoke with the volunteers about the purpose of HOPE Family Services and the work the staff does daily. “A lot of the kids didn’t know that there were relationships that aren’t healthy,” said Stefanie Guido, Co-Founder of SUGAR. “I think they felt good knowing that there are places to go for people that feel unsafe and can get care provided to them.”

SUGAR’s children reacted by asking questions about what domestic violence looks like and why it occurs. Both the SUGAR adult team and Dawn broke it down into bite-sized pieces by explaining that it may look like someone hurting you physically, or hurting you in your head (emotionally). Stefanie Guido noted, “if kids know what boundaries are, and how to identify them at an early age, it will help increase awareness and protect them for their future.” Dawn also discussed the importance of community support for non-profits like HOPE. Because of community support, 470 residents stayed in HOPE’s emergency shelter last year.

We are so grateful to have a generous and supportive community and organizations like SUGAR to encourage the future generation to help out and give back.


To learn more about SUGAR Volunteers and how you can help, visit their website here.

View event photos here

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM)

When people think of domestic violence and unhealthy relationships, they most likely think of adults. Unfortunately, teen dating violence is much more common than people think. 

Statistics show 1 in 3 teens (ages 12-18) in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse by someone with whom they are in a relationship. Nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive behaviors from a dating partner.

In light of these alarming facts, every year during the month of February, HOPE Family Services joins with other local and national organizations to raise awareness about dating violence and to promote healthy relationships.

Adolescents are especially vulnerable to dating violence as many are entering relationships for the first time. The effects of those unhealthy relationships tend to last much longer than the relationship itself. Teens in abusive relationships will often bring the same unhealthy patterns of violence into future relationships. Many continue those patterns without an understanding that they are unhealthy and shouldn’t be accepted.

That’s why it’s important to understand and recognize the warning signs. Being able to tell the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships can be difficult because no two relationships are the same.  See a full list of warning signs here. Bringing awareness to this issue is the first step in preventing dating abuse.

So, how can you help a teenager in your life prevent dating violence?

  • Spread awareness to stop dating abuse before it starts!
  • Practice these three strategies with your teen regularly:
    • Ask a question
    • Listen up
    • Stay connected
  • Know how to recognize warning signs
  • Become informed about resources to help
  • Show your willingness to support them
  • Be non-judgmental
  • Encourage them to participate in activities outside of the relationship, with friends and family
  • Help them develop a safety plan

While you are trying to help someone that is experiencing dating violence, remember that you cannot “rescue” them. They are ultimately the one who has to make the decision on what they want to do.  Although it is difficult to witness someone you care about get hurt, it’s important to show support and help them find a way to safety and peace.

HOPE Holiday Recap

The holidays are the season of giving; it's the time of year when people come together to share with others. Throughout the 2018 holiday season, HOPE Family Services (HOPE) invited the community to participate in several festive projects that impacted the lives of survivors and their families, and helped survivors take important steps towards healing during what can often be a difficult time of year.

“The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than in things.” - Thomas Monson

The Embrace -A-Family project invited families, neighbors, and co-workers to come together to embrace our HOPE families by purchasing specific items from a survivor’s wish list. We were fortunate enough to have 15 sponsors who assisted 19 families and 52 children for a total of 71 individuals. Your contributions helped make these family's wishes come true.

Our Holiday Gift Shop gave participants a sense of excitement; each had the opportunity to shop, for their little ones, free of charge. These gifts ensured survivors experienced the joy of shopping so that the holidays felt safe and happy for their families. The children in the shelter had a special treat when their name was chosen from an angel tree in the community. This extra gift brightened the faces of children facing a bleak holiday morning. We are so proud to say that a total of 350 individuals (97 families and 253 children) were supported though this project.

We couldn’t share the news about our holiday projects without mentioning our wonderful Angels at Work volunteers, who donated their time to help set up the Holiday Gift Shop for our participants.

We would like to thank everyone who opened their hearts to support our annual holiday projects. On Christmas Day, there were lots of children with presents waiting for them, thanks to your donations and support.

Every gift given, regardless of size, helped the holidays become more joyful for everyone. Remember, together there is HOPE. Click the button below to check out a photo album of donations and thank you cards from families!

THANK YOU!  

Save a life today

We would like to start by saying thank you. Your support throughout the year means so much to us, and survivors are more than grateful for each and every one of you.

With that being said, the year is coming to an end. We would like to ask you to continue your efforts of supporting us with an end-of-year donation. To put into perspective the importance of our organization, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) there were 2,432 domestic violence offenses reported in Manatee County in 2017. Experts believe only about 10% of domestic violence cases are reported. An estimated 10 million people are affected by intimate partner violence each year in the United States. Annually, domestic violence is responsible for over 1,500 deaths in the United States and as many as 200 deaths in Florida alone.

Whichever form of abuse you or a loved one is dealing with, YOU and THEY deserve better.

Your donations fund our many survivor focused services which include:

  • 24-Hour Helpline and online Live Chat
  • Emergency Safe Shelter
  • Attorney Injunction for Protection Project (restraining order assistance)
  • Advocacy Programs
  • Counseling
  • Children’s Programs
  • Prevention Programs

Help us continue to create a brighter future for survivors at HOPE!

ENSURE WELL-BEING $1,000: Provides trauma-informed counseling sessions for children

CREATE SAFETY $500: Feed 35 shelter residents for a week

PROVIDE STRENGTH $100: Ensures safety planning and intake service

PROMOTE EMPOWERMENT $25: Buy a gas card so a survivor can get to work

Donate online at https://www.hopefamilyservice.org/about/donate

Mail your donation: HOPE Family Services, PO BOX 1624, Bradenton, FL 34206

 

Find our contact information and learn more about our foundation by clicking the link below:

https://www.hopefamilyservice.org

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