HOPE’S 2020 Holiday Recap 

HOPE’S 2020 Holiday Recap 

HOPE’S 2020 Holiday Recap 

During the holidays, HOPE’s staff and volunteers work hard to ensure a festive atmosphere for the families who come to us for safety. The community was invited to participate in several projects that have a positive impact on the lives of survivors and their families and remind them there are people who care, which helps healing during what can often be a difficult time of year. Despite the uncertainty of 2020,  residents and participants were fortunate to have an outpouring of support for our annual holiday campaign. It was a glorious holiday season!

 

Our holiday projects included: 

Embrace-A-Family 2020: 151 individuals in total (45 families | 106 children) 

The Embrace -A-Family project invited families, neighbors, community groups, and co-workers to come together to embrace HOPE families by purchasing specific items from survivors’ wish lists. We’d like to give a special shout out to our friends at Peach’s Restaurants. They embraced 17 families, including 30 children! Well done Peaches, well done!

 

The Holiday Gift Shop 2020: 380 individuals in total (117 families | 263 children) 

Our Holiday Gift Shop gave participants a sense of excitement; each participant had the opportunity to shop for their children, free of charge. These gifts ensured survivors experienced the joy of providing for the youngest family members and made their holidays safe and happy. The children had the special opportunity of surprising their moms with gifts from our mom’s store too.  It was so much fun to help children learn the gift of caring for someone else.

 

Total Impact of 2020 Holiday Projects: 531 individuals! (162 families | 369 children)

On behalf of the survivors we serve, thank you for opening your hearts to support HOPE’s annual holiday projects. Every gift given helped the holidays become more joyful. Remember, together there is HOPE. 

 

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The photos below are a few thank you cards from our HOPE families!

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November: HOPE Heroes

November HOPE Heroes

Julie Ann & Natoria - HOPE Attorneys

Our HOPE Heroes for November are the hardworking Injunction for Protection (IFP) Project attorneys at HOPE. The IFP Project attorneys are Florida Bar-licensed, provide free legal representation and legal counsel to survivors in Injunction for Protection (restraining order) cases against their abuser.

 

About Julie Ann: 

Julie Ann Embler moved to Florida from the suburbs of Philadelphia to attend the University of Central Florida.  She went on to Stetson University College of Law where she graduated from the Honors Program, Cum Lade. Ms. Embler started her legal career with legal aid where she focused on family law and housing issues before starting at HOPE Family Services.

 

 

 

About Natoria: 

Natoria D. Hubbard received her B.A. from the University of South Florida in 2006. Ms. Hubbard received her M.S. from Troy University in 2008 and her Juris Doctor degree (with honors) from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2012. Prior to attending law school, Natoria worked as a case manager for children and families involved in dependency court as a result of abuse and/or neglect. During her tenure as an Assistant State Attorney in Lee County, she managed a docket with over 400 cases and obtained jury trial experience. She concentrated her efforts in the Domestic Violence Unit and developed an affinity for helping victims and relied immensely on the efforts of victim advocates.

 

 

What have you learned while working at HOPE?

Julie Ann: I have learned that there is always something that you can do for someone, even if you can't do everything for everyone.  

Natoria: I have learned that our work has a huge positive impact on the lives of the families we serve. 

 

What motivates you to work with HOPE?

Julie Ann: I went to law school with one goal in mind - to find a career that allows me to help those in need on a full-time basis. HOPE allows me to do that while being surrounded by compassionate, skilled professionals at every level, which keeps me motivated to do this difficult work every day. 

Natoria: I am motivated by being able to assist clients during difficult times and the ‘clients-first’ philosophy adhered to by the organization. 

Natoria has been instrumental in starting the IFP Project at HOPE and has been here since the project’s inception.

 

Tell us about your most memorable accomplishment with HOPE.

Julie Ann: Every time we get a favorable outcome for a survivor is memorable. 

Natoria: Overall, being able to assist survivors during critical times is the most rewarding aspect of the job for me. 

 

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.

Julie Ann: The views from the chairlifts and gondolas in the Swiss Alps.

Natoria: The arch of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico.

 

What’s your pizza order?

Julie Ann: Meatballs & mushrooms!

Natoria: Pepperoni!

We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission!

HOPE in Motion 2020

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About HOPE in Motion: 

At HOPE Family Services, we provide essential services to local survivors of domestic violence free of charge to help them stay safe, gain strength and evaluate their options. The COVID-19 pandemic has created new circumstances where the safety of survivors and their children may be further compromised. During this unprecedented time, it has been reported that domestic violence has increased by 25%+. Our virtual event, HOPE in Motion, was created in response to the increased acts of intimate partner violence and in support of the victims and survivors in Manatee County. 

The Inaugural HOPE in Motion Challenge will begin on October 1st and run through the entire month of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You can participate in this virtual event from anywhere, individually, or as part of a team. We are asking participants to just move, whether it's walking, running, jogging, biking, doing yoga, or even just strolling with your dog. Each step taken helps to raise awareness while supporting our goal of bringing services to those who need it the most.

 

Take Steps for Domestic Violence Survivors!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 

STEPS TO PARTICIPATE

STEP 1: REGISTER NOW THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30TH  

  • Registration is $40 per participant. 
  • The first 300 participants registered with will receive a HOPE in Motion “swag bag” which will include a Domestic Violence Awareness month shirt. 
  • Sign up as an individual or add to the fun by forming a team and challenging others to some friendly competition.

 

STEP 2: SET YOUR STEP & FUNDRAISING GOALS

  • We are encouraging each participant to raise funds with an individual goal of just $75. All funds raised from this event will go to support services for battered women and their children.  
  • Set a personal step goal and invite family, friends, co-workers, exercise buddies, etc. to participate or support you to raise much-needed funds and awareness.
  • Each week we will celebrate the “step” and fundraising leaders! 

 

STEP 3: GET READY TO TRACK YOUR STEPS FROM OCTOBER 1ST-31ST

There are three ways to track your progress:

1. Download the free Charity Footprints App

2. Sync your fitness device (Fitbit, Apple Watch, Garmin, Google Fit, Misfit, Strava) OR just use your health app on your iPhone.

3. Manually enter your miles on your event page. (See step conversion chart below) 

 

STEP 4: GET MOVING AND SHARE YOUR STORY

  • Connect with your social network to help raise awareness and reach your fitness and fundraising goals. 
  • Share your progress regularly on social media by posting pictures and short videos to spread the word.
  • We encourage you to share photos on your social media pages wearing your HOPE in Motion t-shirt or something purple to help spread awareness during Domestic Violence Awareness Month!  
  • Make sure to tag us (@hopefamilyservices) and use #HOPEinMotion2020

 

Remember Because of YOU, There is HOPE! 

 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 

Back to School Drive 2020

We are incredibly thankful for everyone who showed their support by donating to our Back to School Drive during this uncertain time. Thanks to generous hearts in our community, we were able to provide children with essential school supplies to start this school year. 

As we approached this year’s Back to School Drive -- similar to how we’ve all felt over the last few months -- we felt an immense degree of uncertainty. We were not sure whether our community would feel comfortable with donating items in-person like previous years, so our team created new ways to make donations online. We added an Amazon Wish List where donors could select specific items to be delivered directly to our office and offered the opportunity to “sponsor a backpack” filled with school supplies by making an online donation of $25. As schools began preparing for a new year that would be a mix between in-person, online, and hybrid learning, we adapted our donation lists with new items to help students learn virtually, such as USB flash drives and headphones. 

We were absolutely blown away, after receiving an outpouring amount of support from our community, we had a fully stocked school supply room ready to offer the families we serve an opportunity to “shop” (free of charge). Smiles and excitement filled the room each time a participant visited and picked out their very own supplies for their children.  Each donation made, small or large, will help set these students on the right track to excel in school. This opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without help from a community that believes in our mission and cares about kids. We can’t thank you enough for your support during this year’s school supply drive!

Our doors are always open for donations of all types - whether time, talent or treasure - to help women & families in our community. For a list of items we need urgently, please visit the donations section of our website.

 

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August: HOPE Hero

August HOPE Hero: Gregg

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About our HOPE Hero:

Gregg lived in Annapolis, Maryland, and Pittsburgh before moving to Florida four years ago. He graduated from the University of Maryland and spent his career as a supply chain manager for the food and beverage industry before retiring to Florida. Gregg volunteers with HOPE by dedicating time on the weekends and holidays to pick up donations from Publix and deliver them to our Emergency Safe Shelter. 

 

What have you learned while volunteering with HOPE?

What I have learned is that without a service like HOPE Family Services a lot of women in Manatee County who are abused would continue to fall victim to abuse with little or no option to escape. They would, along with their children, be stuck in a never-ending cycle of abuse.  

 

What advice would you give to a future volunteer or employee?

Whatever you do to volunteer with HOPE,  remember that you are doing good for people who need support in probably their darkest hours.

What motivates you to volunteer with this organization? 

Every time I deliver food to the shelter, I see the dedicated shelter staff that supports and tends to the needs of survivors of domestic violence. I see a staff that works hard with the survivors to help them become independent from their abusers. I also see a lot of very young children who are continuously supported by the shelter staff. I always feel motivated when I get to talk to the shelter staff and witness their dedication to HOPE’s mission, especially with Dawn, Kathy, Letty, Uganda, and many others.

 

Tell us about your most memorable accomplishment with this organization.

Moving the food donations from Fresh Market to Publix opened up an opportunity to add meat and produce to the donation list along with baked goods. I got that started just out of blind luck by simply asking if Publix would donate meat and produce. Moving the donations to Publix introduced an opportunity for many more boxes of donations, this was a huge win for the shelter and continues to be a win for them every week. 

 

Describe yourself using only film titles.

I love the movie Ben Hur, especially the line where the Roman Centurion says to Juda Ben Hur when he is a galley slave, "We keep you alive to serve this ship, so row well.....and live!" The Outlaw Josey Wales comes in a close second — Clint's the man! And last but not least, Vincent Price in the Last Man on Earth, Vincent saves the world from the Vampire Pandemic and it’s a great 60s Horror movie.

 

Is there something that excites you so much it keeps you awake the night before?

Driving a thousand miles from Maryland to Florida in one day. I've done it many times over 40 years before we moved down here permanently.

 

What’s your pizza order?

I like meat on my pizza. My wife likes veggies. I always say, "Hey! If I wanted veggies on my pizza I'd order a salad!" I want meat on my pizza: pepperoni, sausage, ham, bacon......yummy! So what do we order every Friday.......veggies!  (Mostly Greek Pizza)

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We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission! 

September: HOPE Hero

September HOPE Hero: Jim

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About our HOPE Hero:

Jim grew up in Dover, New Hampshire, and graduated from Dover High School.  He moved to Florida seven years ago and began helping at HOPE Chest by organizing and rearranging the furniture department and helping unload and load furniture donations. He continues to volunteer at HOPE Chest to help make an impact on survivors of domestic violence. 

 

What have you learned while volunteering with HOPE?

The number one takeaway for me has been how nice it feels to help others. 

 

What advice would you give to a future volunteer or employee?

If you have spare time and want to help others, HOPE Chest is the place to volunteer! The rewards are much greater than expected.

 

What motivates you to volunteer with this organization? 

Once I started volunteering, I got to meet the other wonderful volunteers and staff, now they are my Florida family! I have never met such wonderful people!

 

Tell us about your most memorable accomplishment with this organization.

The very first time I had a client who was so grateful for our help, she cried. It made me so happy to help!

 

Describe the most incredible view you've ever seen

My daughter being handed to me after her birth. 

 

What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?

She would say I’m reliable and that I take care of my loved ones and my responsibilities.

 

What’s your pizza order?

Oma's Pizza and Italian Restuarant's white pizza!


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We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission! 

October: HOPE Hero

October HOPE Hero: Dan

About our HOPE Hero:

Dan was born in Sharon, Pa just outside of Pittsburgh, graduated from Saint Francis University with a degree in Sociology, and later earned a Masters in Hospital & Health Administration from Xavier University. Dan has been dedicated to supporting the mission of HOPE for 16 years and is the current Board Chairman for HOPE Family Services.

What have you learned while volunteering with HOPE?

The small things we can do for other people can really make a difference and have a big impact on the recipient.

What advice would you give to a future volunteer or employee?

Do not underestimate the impact you have on those around you.

What motivates you to volunteer with this organization? 

We are a valuable community resource — our mission is to reach out and serve those who are in a difficult situation and need the loving help that only HOPE has the means to provide them.

Tell us about your most memorable accomplishment with this organization.

About 10 to 12 years ago, I lead a day-long retreat with the HOPE Staff where many of the ideas for today’s programs and facilities had their origin. 

Describe the most incredible view you've ever seen

Wow, I have been fortunate to have so many: Looking out at the Great Wall of China, coming up on the menagerie of animals at a watering hole while on a photo safari in South Africa, schools of fish while diving, and always the view from my front porch looking in! 

What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?

I always take time to share a kind word and to give a good pat on the neck. 

What’s your pizza order?

Pepperoni, Mushrooms, Sausage, and Black Olives.


We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission! 

July: HOPE Hero

July HOPE Heroes - Dina

About our HOPE Hero

Dina was born and raised in the Washington D.C. area but is thrilled to be in Florida.  She became an elementary art teacher after going to art school in Boston and decided to resign from being in the school system to pursue her passion for coaching power skating for ice hockey. Dina then spent 8 years working with a non-profit whose mission was to create a better quality of life for veterans and first responders. She has always enjoyed helping others in any capacity she can. Dina ran a skating program for outpatient veterans at Walter Reed Hospital for two years and was also involved with animal rescues for many years, fostering any dog she could. Now, Dina is primarily a painter and is in the process of trying to sell her work online. In her free time, she loves being creative, and seeing things that can be ordinary, become extraordinary with a little paint. 

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What have you learned while working at HOPE? 

Everyone has a story and a journey.  For some, life is more difficult than it should be and we should show compassion and empathy in any way possible.  Whether making food baskets or Christmas packages for anyone in need, it is something that makes my day better hoping that whatever I do to help will create a smile and a glimmer of hope.  The positive energy and enthusiasm of the staff and volunteers make me want to do more for the survivors, families, and children. 

What motivates you to volunteer with this organization? 

I love the positive vibe and how the volunteers and staff are so dedicated to working with and helping survivors.

What advice would you give to a future volunteer or employee?

I would tell them that positivity and a smile go a long way.  Any type of volunteer work that can be done for the organization is valuable. Showing empathy and compassion is important and no judgment is important. 

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.

Flying on a plane with the sunset coming through the clouds was incredible or seeing a huge double rainbow when the skies opened up after a storm. 

Is there something that excites you so much it keeps you awake the night before?

I still wake up thinking about creative skating drills for ice hockey.  I will also wake up with a thought on my next painting or an idea to add to what I am currently working on. I am constantly creatively thinking. 

 

We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission! 

Impact of COVID-19 to HOPE Family Services

Domestic violence is often stereotyped to look like bruises on battered women and sound like loud arguments from neighbors. However, it’s important to remember there are many behaviors used by an abuser to maintain power & control. Domestic violence has different forms including physical and sexual violence, threats, intimidation, emotional abuse, and economic deprivation. 

We know external factors that add stress, isolation, and financial strain can create circumstances where a survivor’s safety is further compromised. When survivors are forced to stay in the home or in close proximity to their abuser more frequently, an abuser can use any tool to exert control over their victim, including a global health concern such as COVID-19.


The Impact of COVID-19 to HOPE

During the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, domestic violence centers across the country were experiencing a slight decrease in cases and hotline calls. In fact, the National Hotline for Domestic Violence shared that its contact volume in March 2020 decreased by 6% compared to the previous year. At HOPE Family Services during the month of March 2020, we experienced a similar decrease in hotline calls, compared to March 2019. (The HOPE Family Services 24-Hour HelpLine is (941) 747-8499) We believe the decrease occurred because this global pandemic has put up unique barriers for survivors to access support safely.

The 24/7 Live ChatLine on our website is a service where survivors can talk to advocates without the fear of being overheard by their abuser. Over the last three months (March 2020 - May 2020) we have received 248 chats from survivors in our community.

During this time of great uncertainty, one of the most important services our advocates offer is personalized safety planning. This could not be more critical during this three-month period as survivors navigated shelter-in-place requirements with reduced in-person support services because of social distancing.

As quarantine orders began to lift throughout the country, our HelpLine contact volume from March 2020 to May 2020 had an increase of 14%. As Florida lifted its safer-at-home orders and survivors found brief windows to contact our advocates safely. Even when the major threat of this pandemic is over, there will be long-term effects on the health and safety of survivors – and we must prioritize their safety and their needs.

 

The effects of COVID-19 will continue to be felt by survivors - Here’s how you can help:

Many of us feel socially isolated and fearful of the uncertainty of this pandemic. These feelings are only amplified for survivors of domestic violence. You can help a survivor by being supportive, helping to focus their attention on the things they can control, and encouraging them to practice self-care. For more tips on how to stay safe during COVID-19, click here. 

If you suspect someone you care about is experiencing unhealthy behaviors in their relationship, reach out and connect with them. The connection and support you provide could be critical for a survivor’s well-being. 

Wondering how to support and give back to survivors? Please help us spread the message that HOPE is here and survivors are not alone, by sharing our posts on social media, especially Instagram and Facebook. You can also support our services by donating (clothing and household items) or shopping at the HOPE Chest thrift store, located at 1215 8th Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205. The proceeds from purchases at HOPE Chest directly impact the lives of survivors in our community. 

 

If you are feeling unsafe during this time, or if you are concerned that a family member, friend or neighbor may be in danger, please call (941) 747-8499 or if you’re unable to speak safely, visit our 24/7 Live Chatline: www.hopefamilyservice.org 

HOPE is here.

June HOPE Heroes

June HOPE Heroes - Louise & Holly 

About our HOPE Heroes

Caring mother and daughter-in-law duo, Louise and Holly, are dedicated volunteers at our HOPE Chest Thrift Store and this month's HOPE Heroes!

Originally from Michigan, Louise retired to the Bahamas for 20 years and began volunteering at HOPE after returning to Florida. Louise is a proud mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, and for nine years has been a wonderful volunteer for HOPE! Originally from Massachusetts, Holly retired to Florida after spending time traveling and teaching ballroom dance. After being invited to volunteer at HOPE Chest with Louise, she immediately loved being able to make a difference in someone’s life and has volunteered ever since. 

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What have you learned while working at HOPE? 

Holly: Since working at the HOPE Chest, I've learned that anyone, from any economic level or background, can find themselves the victim of domestic violence. It's amazing what HOPE can do to help those who find themselves in this sad situation. 

Louise: The work is very fulfilling, and you get to meet and talk with lots of different people who donate to the HOPE Chest.

 

What motivates you to volunteer with this organization? 

Holly: There are two main motivating factors why I volunteer at the HOPE Chest.  First, because of all of the outstanding work they do for survivors of domestic violence, and second, because of the camaraderie among the volunteers. It's a lot of work, but a lot of fun.  

Louise: I get a great deal of satisfaction at the end of the day. Volunteering at the HOPE Chest makes me feel that my work matters, and that in some small way, I have made a difference in someone's life. That is an amazing feeling, and an achievement to make anyone smile!

 

What advice would you give to a future volunteer or employee?

Holly: I would advise any new volunteer to feel free to ask anyone working at the HOPE Chest for guidance or to answer questions if needed. The volunteers and employees are fantastic and are always eager to help others.

Louise: The work is very fulfilling and you will learn a lot about working with different people and different personalities.

 

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.

Holly: Watching the sunset while in Hawaii.

Louise: The view of the ocean right from my house in Abaco, Bahamas.

 

Is there something that excites you so much it keeps you awake the night before?

Holly: Going on a trip, getting to see friends that I haven't seen in a long time and any type of animal adventure - like swimming with dolphins!

Louise: Definitely before going on vacation. I never sleep the night before due to my level of excitement!

 

We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission! 

March HOPE Heroes: Emergency Safe Shelter Staff

 

THANK YOU, Emergency Safe Shelter Staff!

We want to recognize our Emergency Safe Shelter advocates as the HOPE Heroes of the month for their continuous efforts in providing safety to survivors of domestic violence. As many individuals and companies are able to make the transition to working remotely during COVID-19, our shelter staff are working around the clock 24/7/365 to help provide safety to those who are not safe in their own homes.

HOPE provides a safe place in a confidential location for victims of domestic violence to evaluate their options. The shelter, designed to allow those who need it time in a safe place to make choices that empower them to live a life safe from the controlling tactics of an abusive partner. We provide survivors the resources and opportunities to be utilized in their best interests of themselves and their children. 

The shelter staff provide 24-hour advocacy by answering the Helplines, Chatlines, and providing safety planning options. They also help provide basic needs, supportive services, activities for the families and above all, cleaning to make sure all families stay safe and healthy during this pandemic.

We truly appreciate their dedication and commitment to helping save lives. #HOPEisHere #WeAreHOPE

Our advocate team works around the clock to support those in need. Unfortunately, not all of our advocates are featured below.

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COVID-19 Community Services

COVID-19 Community Services

Manatee County

**New Updates**

Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.

Previous Information

Turning Points is still open serving critical and essential services to the most vulnerable men, women, and children in the community.

  • Anyone who enters the One-Stop Center is screened - with their temperature taken and questions asked.
  • The Medical Clinic is OPEN and seeing primary care patients only (8:30am-4pm). Specialty care appointments are being rescheduled.
  • The Dental Clinic is OPEN seeing emergencies in the morning (8:30am-Noon). All other appointments are being rescheduled.
  • The Open Door Resource Center is OPEN and is providing these services (8:30am-2pm) - Bathroom Access, Mailroom, Laundry, Showers and Food Stamps (but can change on a daily basis).
  • Transitional Development Program TDP (rent & utilities assistance) - new applications will be accepted through their website on Monday morning starting at 9 am. 
    • Interviews with Case Managers will be over the phone. There are further instructions on their website as well as the application.
  • Veterans Services - same process as TDP above.
  • MAPS Program - no change in services.

The Food Bank of Manatee is providing food to Manatee County food pantries and partner agencies who are ready to assist those in need.  For a complete list of food pantries, hours of operation, addresses, and contact information, please click here.   It is recommended for those in need of assistance to call ahead and confirm hours of operation.

The Salvation Army Manatee - Shelters are now at the maximum service capacity per COVID19 precautions. They are temporarily suspending new intake into the facilities. They will continue to provide services to families and single women in their Shelter Programs.

  • Starting Monday, March 30th they will have a Shelter in Place at the Shelters. Clients may only leave to go to the store once a day or to work or doctor appointments. 
  • Community Dinner Feeding - We are still doing community feeding. It is taking place outside with to go meals. The meal time has been changed to 3:00 in the afternoon for community feeding.
  • Social Services - Lobby is closed but services are still available. 

Manatee County COVID-19 Drive-Through Collection Site - Visitors to the collection site must have a prescription to be tested for COVID-19 and have made an appointment in advance with Manatee County Health Department. To make an appointment, call (941) 748-0747.

United Way Suncoast is now accepting applications for our COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, which provides emergency funding to agencies supporting individuals and families affected by COVID-19. We welcome applications from any eligible non-profit human services organization serving people in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and DeSoto counties in the priority areas listed below, with an emphasis on the ALICE population.

Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) temporarily closed all storefronts and lobbies.

Goodwill Manasota has closed the Job Connection offices until further notice.

The Salvation Army Manatee has shifted their evening community dinner from 5 pm in the dining room to 3 pm outside, where they are passing out food in the clamshell “to go” containers.

Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County has decided to suspend in-person interactions at our office in Palmetto. Effective, Thursday, March 19th at 6 pm, they will suspend in-person client appointments, and all Coalition operations and services will be provided remotely.  Ongoing operations to serve the children, families, and early learning programs of Manatee County are operating at full capacity remotely.

Centerstone Hospital and Addictions Center is fully operational and continues to serve clients. They are screening people who come to the hospital campus and clinics by asking questions about their recent health and travels. This screening includes taking temperatures using an infrared thermometer.

  • They are conducting the same screenings during client phone intake interviews.
  • They have stopped all visitation to the hospital and addictions center until further notice.
  • They have stopped participation in offsite meetings and instead offer video or phone options.
  • They have stopped volunteer participation in their facilities.
  • They are checking the temperature of their staff, including cleaning crews, prior to each shift.
  • They have increased cleaning procedures and have posted additional information regarding handwashing and virus symptoms.
  • They have increased hygiene/handwashing practices for all clients and staff.

Stillpoint Mission has reduced open days for clients from two to one. (Fridays 9AM-11:30 AM) They provide food, diapers (baby & adult), hygiene items and financial assistance.  Due to their days-of-service reduction, they are doubling the number of items they distribute.

Women’s Resource Center has set up the framework to offer remote programming for their clients. These programs include: Resource Advising, Mental Health Counseling, Employment Coaching, and Ask an Attorney. For information and to make an appointment, please call 941-256-9721 or stay up to date on all programs through their website mywrc.org.  

Healthy Start Manatee has taken the necessary steps to close offices to the public, transition staff and providers to working remotely from home. Intake Coordinators and Care Coordinators will still follow-up on screens and referrals and continue to work with clients via text, telephone and video conferencing until it is safe to begin conducting home visits again. Additionally, scheduled General Membership Meetings for April 3, May 1 and June 5 have been canceled and speakers will be rescheduled for a later date. 

Regarding the Manatee Community Baby Shower scheduled for May 9, in conjunction with partners at the Florida Department of Health in Manatee County, we have decided to postpone the event until later in the year.


Sarasota County

**New Updates**

Sarasota County

  • All Sarasota County public beaches and libraries remain closed. 
  • All Sarasota County playgrounds, tennis courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts and dog parks within county parks have closed to public use.
  • Sarasota County libraries are closed through April 12.
  • Sarasota County schools are closed through April 15.

Previous Information

DOH Sarasota To Offer Drive-thru Specimen Collection For COVID-19. Visitors to the Sarasota County COVID-19 testing site must be referred by a physician to be tested. The physician's office will contact DOH Sarasota who will then contact the individual with an appointment day and time.The site will be open from 8 a.m. to noon, beginning Friday, March 27 2020. To make an appointment, call (941) 861-2883.

The site has been set up at Twin Lakes Park, located at 6700 Clark Road in Sarasota.

Please be reminded:

  • Individuals being tested must be in a vehicle. No walk-ups.
  • Remain in their vehicle at all times.
  • Present a photo ID and prescription for specimen collection, written by their health care provider. (Name on ID and prescription must match.) 

Sarasota County residents who believe they may have COVID-19 are asked to call the Sarasota County COVID-19 call center at (941) 861-2883 BEFORE visiting a hospital emergency room or health care provider.  For general information, call the DOH COVID-19 Hotline at (866) 779-6121 or visit www.floridahealth.gov/covid-19 .

Sarasota Memorial Behavioral Health Services

  • Visitation Restricted: Effective March 20, visitors are no longer allowed at Sarasota Memorial’s Bayside Center for Behavioral Health. To help protect our vulnerable patients and prevent the spread of infection, restricting visitors is a difficult but necessary step to further safeguard our patients’ health and safety. We encourage loved ones and patients to connect through phone calls. Our social service team and unit staff members are available to assist. All units have a phone that is accessible to our patients. Please call (941-917-7760) with any questions.
  • Infection control: Cleaning and infection control measures are in place at all times. However, patients and staff are now being monitored with screening protocols and temperatures taken each shift.
  • Baker Act Receiving Facility: Sarasota Memorial’s Bayside Center for Behavioral Health is fully operational as a Baker Act Receiving facility. All patients are screened at the Comprehensive Assessment Center (CAC) prior to entering the units.
  • Behavioral Outpatient Programs: The Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is serving clients via telehealth using both telephone and virtual platforms. For more information, contact (941-917-2660) or fax referrals to (941-917-3269)
  • Behavioral Health Assessments Services: Individuals needing urgent behavioral health services may contact the Comprehensive Assessment Center (CAC) for assessment and referral services at (941-917-7760).
  • Hotline: SMH has launched a public coronavirus hotline (941-917-8799) offering local coronavirus information that is updated regularly.

United Way Suncoast is now accepting applications for our COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, which provides emergency funding to agencies supporting individuals and families affected by COVID-19. We welcome applications from any eligible non-profit human services organization serving people in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and DeSoto counties in the priority areas listed below, with an emphasis on the ALICE population.

Teen Court

  • Is utilizing tele-counseling, online tools, and visuals with continued communication from staff. 
  • They continue to serve the teens that were referred before the COVID-19 virus and provide support to the new referrals that come through local law enforcement agencies and parents. 
  • Students are doing essays, there are check-in times, scheduled phone calls and court sessions have been converted to virtual juries with verdicts being emailed. 
  • Case Managers will continue to communicate with clients and monitor the unexpected needs of families. 
  • Court Sessions, CAMP X-RAYD, Group Counseling (Risky Behaviors) are postponed. Mental Health Care providers are utilizing teletherapy. 

The Salvation Army Sarasota County 

Emergency Financial Assistance & Family Services at 1750 17th Street 

  • The Salvation Army's Emergency Financial Assistance services and Family Services at 1750 17th Street Building N is operating through the following methods: telephone, mail, email and fax. Please call 941-364-8845 to schedule a telephone appointment. Family Resident Services is taking applications for eligible families over the phone.

Center of Hope/Emergency Shelter at 1400 10th Street

  • Overnight Shelter/Emergency Shelter
    • Overnight shelter is operating, with heightened precautions and CDC recommendations.
    • Nightly community dinner is sack-style with neighbors' dinner being served outside on the back porch and yard area.
  • Thursday Open Lunch is canceled indefinitely.
  • Public Bathrooms outdoors/back porch area are open from 4:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
  • Showers for overnight guests are available from 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Residential Programs

  • All Residential programs are operating with heightened precautions and CDC recommendations; no new intakes until further notice.
  • Meetings on campus are canceled
  • Center of Hope Sunday Services open to residential participants only and following CDC recommendations
  • Non-essential volunteers and mentors are asked not to come until further notice. 
  • Essential transportation only for Residential clients

Food Pantry

  • The Salvation Army Center of Hope 10th Street location does not operate a year-round food pantry open to the public. We have a food pantry that serves existing clients in need and in certain emergency situations. At this time of crisis and great need, we are stepping up as we are able, with limited capacity, to help people in need of food. We are accepting appointments for food pantry services from Tuesday through Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Please call 941-954-4673 (HOPE) to schedule an appointment for pick-up. 

Updated CDC Procedures for Program Services at 10th and 17th Street Locations

  • For All Activities Involving Clients (classes, meetings, groups, church):
    • No more than 10 people total in a room, for one hour or less (10 people includes 9 clients and 1 teacher/facilitator)
    • 6 feet between each person
  • For All Meals:
    • 6 feet between each person
    • For indoor meals, clients will sit 6' apart
    • For outdoor meals, this is understandably a challenge. Staff have been trying different patterns and approaches to encourage social distance and will continue to do so.
  • Staff and Client Social Distancing:
    • Everyone must try their best to maintain 6' of social distance when meeting, in conversations and in passing
    • Encourage clients to space themselves out
    • If 6' cannot be achieved, in staff or client situations, do your best to achieve at least 3-4 feet of distance.
  • Overnight Sheltering:
    • Mats are placed 6' apart
    • Clients are configured in head to toe pattern
  • Residential Sheltering:
    • Ensure there is no more than 10 people in one dorm
    • Encourage spacing and head to toe configuration even in dorms when it makes sense
  • Screening:
    • Any staff or volunteer must conduct a self-screening before coming to campus by asking themselves the questions below. If the answer to any of these questions is yes, contact HR if you are staff and please stay home if you are a volunteer.
      • Do I have a fever? (equal to or greater than 100.4 degrees)
      • Do I have shortness of breath?
      • Am I coughing more than usual?
      • Am I over 60, immune-compromised or otherwise at risk for infection?
    • Residential clients are regularly screened, monitored and questioned by the staff
    • Overnight Clients are educated and screened as they enter 
    • Dinner clients are educated and screened as possible
  • Public Education:
    • We have been posting signage regularly and will continue to do so. Our most recent signage focuses on 6’ of social distance.
    • All staff, caseworkers, coordinators, roaming monitors, managers, etc., etc. are continually and consistently creating and communicating the expectation to other staff and clients.

Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice are focusing operations around three key areas including food distribution, financial assistance, and tele-mental health services. All other Catholic Charities programs (with the exception of early learning and after school programming) remain operational with communication limited to telephone and email. Please contact any one of the three region-specific numbers below for more details on programs and services. 

Until Further Notice:

  • Catholic Charities is restricting its offices to staff only. 
  • Persons in need will be assisted by phone only. 
  • They are asking all volunteers to refrain from coming to offices.
  • They are suspending shower services and clothing donations until further notice.
  • Food distribution will take place ONLY at pantry locations listed below on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9AM – 11:30AM. Persons in need will receive one pre-packaged bag or box of food items for their families.
    • Bethesda House – 1670 4th Street, Sarasota, FL
    • EKG Pantry – 4235 Michigan Avenue Link, Fort Myers, FL
    • Bonita Springs – 28360 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs, FL
    • Judy Sullivan Center – 3174 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, FL
    • Guadalupe Social Services – 211 South 9th Street, Immokalee, FL
  • Financial Assistance – We are working to provide financial assistance for those in need. Financial assistance may include utility payments, prescription medication, or other critical needs.
  • Tele-Mental Health Counseling – will be available for existing clients on a limited basis using phone or videoconferencing. 

If you need assistance in any of these areas, please contact the number for your area below:

  • Sarasota/Manatee/DeSoto/Hardee/Highlands counties: 844-385-2407
  • Charlotte/Lee/Hendry/Glades counties: 844-385-2423
  • Collier County: 844-385-2404
  • Hours of Operation: 9 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday

Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) temporarily closed all storefronts and lobbies.

Goodwill Manasota has closed the Job Connection offices until further notice.

Harvest House all services are still currently taking place. They are still operating the Harvest Food Pantry which distributes 16,000+ lbs of food to the community weekly - next distribution is planned for this Thursday from 10 am to 12 pm at 3650 17th Street, Sarasota, FL 34235. Food distribution will be executed drive-thru style. All life-skills classes are canceled until further notice‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The Center Of Hope of South County/ The Center Of Hope Neighborhood Church is handing out food in the courtyard at 2395 Shamrock Rd., Venice, FL to those who have a need Tuesday through Friday 8 AM to 11 AM.  They are still assisting with Season of Sharing applications. The daycare is closed until school resumes. They will not be doing access point due to DCF closures

First Step of Sarasota programs are all operational. Beginning on Monday 3/23/2020 all of their outpatient offices will be closed to foot traffic. They will conduct all client visits and communications through either telehealth or telephonic contacts. Their doors will be locked and only staff members will be permitted in the offices with very few exceptions. Until further notice:

  • No new client assessments/intakes will occur face to face.  They are working on a solution to allow them to occur via telehealth and will inform all of you when they are ready to begin.  
  • All existing clients will be contacted via telephone to arrange for telehealth services.  DCF and AHCA have recognized that some of their clients do not have smartphones or PC’s/Tablets.  Both are allowing services to occur telephonically.
  • If a client is due for a treatment plan review, the service can occur via telehealth.  For the client signature, please write the following, “COVID-19 Client unavailable”
  • They will not be admitting any new Suboxone clients and existing Suboxone clients will be maintained using Telehealth. 

Exceptions:

  • Current clients who are scheduled for injection medication visits will be seen in their office to ensure continuity.
  • All services are subject to change based on evolving circumstances.

 

Mobile Pantries Available Times/Dates

  • Booker Middle - Sarasota 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. March 23, 2020
  • Vet's Pantry -Sarasota 9:00 am to 11:00 am March 24, 2020
  • Friendship Baptist Church - SRQ 10:30 am to 11:30 am March 24, 2020
  • Nocatee Elementary - Arcadia 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm March 24, 2020

Laurel Civic Center 

 

JFCS of the Suncoast has temporarily closed all locations in order to safeguard the public and employees from the spread of COVID-19. All JFCS employees are working remotely. 

  • The main number, 941-366-2224, is being answered Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 8:30am – 5:00pm; Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30am - 8:00pm. There are signs on all sites in both English and Spanish informing anyone who arrives to call 941-366-2224.  
  • JFCS is practicing physical separation, not social isolation. They are staying in contact with all their clients, but have temporarily eliminated all face-to-face contact.  
  • JFCS continues to monitor and respond to intake calls. 
  • Clients in Counseling Services are being served by Licensed Clinicians and Interns through telehealth. 
  • Case Managers and other support staff continue to communicate with clients via text, email, telephone, video chat, zoom etc. 
  • We have temporarily closed the following: Fruitville Main Campus & Flanzer Campus, Bradenton Office, Glasser/Schoenbaum (17th Street) office; North Port & Port Charlotte Offices.

The Healthy Start Coalition will have a staff person in the office every day during the week for Care Coordinators that need to bring Clients in from CenterPlace Health or anywhere else from 9am - 1pm.

First Step & Coastal Behavioral outpatient offices will transition the majority of their services to telehealth and temporarily be closing offices to anyone other than staff members (or individuals making deliveries of supplies or mail carriers). Beginning on Monday 3/23/2020 all of its outpatient offices will be closed to foot traffic. They will conduct all client visits and communications through either telehealth or telephonic contacts. Doors will be locked and only staff members will be permitted in the offices with very few exceptions.

All Faiths Food Bank is continuing to use its parking lot for its mobile food pantry.  AFFB has incorporated measures to safeguard the health of its staff, volunteers, and clients by going to a drive-thru style distribution.

General Updates

**New Updates**

DOH Vulnerable Populations

Previous Information

NAMI has now scheduled two weekly meetings for our Online NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group via. We will be hosting groups Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-7:30. The access code to join the group is 202-455-533.

Children’s First has made a few resources available -  Tip Sheets for Youth:  Freaked About Finances Tip Sheet and Reemployment Assistance.  Guidance for Professionals who work with Transition Age Youth  COVID-19 Tips for Professionals.

Women’s Resource Center created a list or resources.

National Low Income Housing Coalition CARES Act Analysis

From DCF

  • Governor DeSantis directed DCF to waive work requirements for SNAP and TANF. 
  • The federal “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” allows states to suspend these work requirements.
  • Governor DeSantis directed DCF to work with the USDA to submit a plan to allow families whose children are eligible for free and reduced-price school lunch to receive SNAP benefits. 
  • The federal “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” encourages utilization of this proposal which will provide additional benefits to parents of more than 2.1 million children in Florida. 
  • Governor DeSantis directed DCF to pursue extending food, cash and Medicaid benefits for an extra two months for those families who are scheduled to recertify to ensure that health care, food and cash assistance benefits are provided without interruption. 
  • This will provide continuity for Florida families who are currently receiving SNAP, TANF or Medicaid benefits without requiring them to interact with the department during this public health emergency. 

Some Additional Resources for Reference  

National Health Care for the Homeless Council 

CDC "Get Your Home Ready" Detailed Planning Guidance

Florida Department of Education - Free Resources for Families and Teachers 

Reemployment Assistance 

COVID-19 Guidance for those with HIV/AIDS

Governor DeSantis Executive Orders

#2020-51 Executive Order re: Establishes Coronavirus Response Protocol and Directs Public Health Emergency
#2020-52 Executive Order re: Emergency Management – COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
#2020-68 Executive Order re: Emergency Management – COVID-19 regarding bars, beaches, and restaurants
#2020-69 Executive Order re: Emergency Management – COVID-19 – Local Government Public Meetings
#2020-70 Executive Order re: Emergency Management – COVID-19 – Broward and Palm Beach County Closures
#2020-71 Executive Order re: Emergency Management – COVID-19 – Alcohol Sales, Restaurants, and Gyms
#2020-72 Executive Order re: Emergency Management – COVID-19 – Non-essential Elective Medical Procedures
#2020-80 Executive Order re: Emergency Management – COVID-19 – Airport Screening and Isolation
#2020-82 Executive Order re: Emergency Management – COVID-19 – Isolation of Individuals Traveling to Florida
#2020-83 Executive Order re: Emergency Management – COVID-19 – Protective Measures for Vulnerable Populations, Gatherings of Private Citizens and Density of the Workforce

Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bridge loan program, managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), provides short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury from COVID-19. The application period is open and runs through May 8, 2020. Interested businesses should visit FloridaDisasterLoan.org for more information.

HUD will not be enacting evictions for the next 60 days for single-family homes with FHA insured mortgages. This does not include any other HUD properties.

For updated information please go directly to the CDC, HUD or the local Health Department sites. 

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH): COVID-19 Resources

SNAPS COVID-19 Infectious Disease Prevention & Response

National Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) Council: COVID-19 Resources

World Health Organization (WHO): COVID-19 Advice for the Public

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): COVID-19 & Homeless Shelters Guidance

National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH): Coronavirus and Homelessness

GovTech: A Resource Guide to Coronavirus for Government Leaders

National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH): COVID-19 Resources

National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV): COVID-19 Resources

National League of Cities (NLC): Resources for Local Leaders

National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE): COVID-19 Resources

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security: COVID-19 Resources

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA): COVID-19 Resources

Homelessness & the Response to Emerging Infections Disease Outbreaks: Lessons from SARS

National Governors Association: Steps states have taken to address Coronavirus

Statement from Rosemarie Fisher, Chairperson of the HOPE Family Services Board of Directors

 BRADENTON, FL (February 19, 2020) -- HOPE Family Services, Manatee County’s certified
domestic violence service provider, offers domestic violence victims and their families
protection, advocacy, and resources. HOPE serves nearly 2,000 adults & children each year
through outreach programs, counseling, voice- and text message-based hotlines, and a 24-7
Emergency Safe Shelter. To deliver on its mission, HOPE Family Services receives pass-through
funding from federal and state sources by way of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic
Violence (FCADV). HOPE remains a completely independent stand-alone corporation governed
by a local Board of Directors committed to empowering survivors.


HOPE’s Board of Directors and staff including CEO Laurel Lynch fully support and are
cooperating with the State of Florida’s investigation of potential spending irregularities by the
FCADV. Annually, all Federal, State, and Manatee County supervisory organizations that award
grants to HOPE perform comprehensive monitoring and thorough audits of HOPE’s internal
control systems, financial statements, and all supporting documents. HOPE Family Services
consistently receives high marks for financial accountability and on behalf of the Board of
Directors, we are confident this investigation will prove HOPE’s commitment to transparency
and our quality services to the community’s most vulnerable.

View HOPE's most recent financial audit reports on GuideStar > 

 

HOPE Infographic v5 100119

 

 

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Throughout the month of February, HOPE Family Services (HOPE) invites the community to participate in Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). Almost 1 in 10 teens report being physically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the last year. Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness, protect teens from violence, and promote programs to prevent it.

Everyone has the right to a safe and healthy relationship. However, 1 in 3 adolescents in the US is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner and two-thirds never tell anyone. Teen dating violence is a pattern of abusive behavior done by one dating partner to another. Abusive behaviors can include violent words, threats, or actions. 

Within the last 10 years, cell phones and the internet have become common tools used by abusers to stalk and harass in violent relationships. At a rapidly increasing rate, many teens in dating relationships have reported being controlled, threatened, and humiliated through the use of cell phones, social media, and the internet.

"Our goal is to get the community engaged in prevention and start a conversation about teen dating violence," says Laurel Lynch, CEO of HOPE Family Services. "We want everyone in the community to promote messages to help teach the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships."

Participation from the community during TDVAM will help to spread awareness and work to stop dating abuse before it starts! Remember, love has many definitions, but abuse isn’t one of them. HOPE staff members have reached out to local middle and high schools to engage and educate students on the importance of Teen Dating Violence Awareness. 

During the month of February, participants are encouraged to engage others on social media using #TDVAM2020 and #HOPE4TDVAM. 

  • Feb. 9-15: Respect Week! This is a great time to learn about unhealthy behaviors. 
  • Feb. 11: Wear Orange Day! Please wear orange and share your picture on social media to increase awareness of TDVAM. Don’t forget to tag HOPE Family Services, too!

HOPE’S 2019 Holiday Recap 

THANK YOU 1

During the holidays, we work hard to ensure a festive atmosphere for the families of HOPE. Throughout the 2019 holiday season, the community was invited to participate in several projects to impact the lives of survivors and their families to take important steps towards healing during what can often be a difficult time of year. We were fortunate enough to have an outpouring of support from our community for our 2019 campaign.

Our holiday projects included: 

Embrace-A-Family 2019: 193 individuals in total (48 families | 145 children) 

The Embrace -A-Family project invited families, neighbors, and co-workers to come together to embrace HOPE families by purchasing specific items from a survivor’s wish list. We’d like to give a special shout out to our friends at Peach’s Restaurants. They embraced 21 families, for a total of 97 individuals (21 adults and 76 children) - a record!

The Holiday Gift Shop 2019: 339 individuals in total (93 families | 246 children) 

Our Holiday Gift Shop gave participants a sense of excitement; each participant had the opportunity to shop for their little ones, free of charge. These gifts ensured survivors experience the joy of providing for their children and feeling safe and happy. The children in the shelter had the special opportunity of surprising their moms with a gift from our mom’s store.

Total Impact of 2019 Holiday Projects: 532 individuals! (141 families | 391 children)

We couldn’t share the news about the holiday without mentioning the wonderful Angels at Work, who donated their time, talent and gifts to ensure the Holiday Gift Shops were organized and well-stocked for participants.

On behalf of the survivors we serve, thank you for opening your hearts to support HOPE’s annual holiday projects. Every gift given helped the holidays become more joyful. Remember, together there is HOPE. 

Click the button below to check out a photo album of donations and thank you cards from our HOPE families! 

VIEW ENTIRE PHOTO ALBUM

The Great Mates Support HOPE Family Services in 2020

SAIL THROUGH SUMMER DRAWING copy

Each year, The Great Mates, a nonprofit organization within the Bradenton Yacht Club, selects one local organization to support through their annual fundraising efforts. The Great Mates have raised and contributed more than $525,000 since 2002 to local Manatee County charities. This year, we are excited to announce they have selected to support our mission at HOPE Family Services! Matching funds up $25,000 provided through the generosity of the John J. Gorr Foundation (Alexandra St. Paul, Donor Advisor) of Manatee Community Foundation. We are grateful for the hard work and dedication the Great Mates have for helping the Manatee County community.

 

Join us for the Great Mates’ Annual Gala!

March 7, 2020 | Bradenton Yacht Club |  5:30pm

The theme “Island Hoppin’ to Kokomo” will feature the sounds, sights, and food of the Caribbean islands! Please support us by attending the event (individual tickets are $95 with $50 to charity), participating in the raffle for a week’s stay at a gorgeous Blue Ridge, GA cabin, donating items for the silent auction or sponsoring the Annual Gala.

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CLICK HERE TO VIEW FACEBOOK EVENT

February HOPE Hero - Kimberly

meAbout our HOPE Hero: 
Kimberly is a Bradenton native and graduated from USF with a Bachelor's degree in psychology and social work. Her friends would describe her as very creative, loving, kind and funny. Growing up, she always had a passion for children and pursues that every day through her work as a Primary Prevention Advocate for youth in Manatee County. Kimberly’s role brings her into local schools, programs, and clubs to educate about Teen Dating Violence, the warning signs of domestic violence, and safety planning services available at HOPE. She also trains mental health professionals, nurses and dental students on how to identify and help a victim of intimate partner violence. If you see her at a community event, make sure to say hi!

HOPE Hero Q & A 

What have you learned while working at HOPE?

Working at HOPE has helped me to overcome my fear of public speaking and reminded me that I am exactly where I should be. I’ve also learned that going through difficult situations can teach you important lessons that allow you to better help others.

What motivates you to work with this organization? 

I find new people that motivate me on a daily basis. Whether it’s clients and coworkers in the office or the youth I engage with outside of the office, I am inspired simply by helping, encouraging, and educating them. 

What advice would you give to a future volunteer or employee?

My advice would be if you love what you do and if it comes from the heart then never stop pursuing it. 

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.

The most incredible view that I have ever seen is when I was on a plane as a little girl. I was on my way to Jamaica and I looked out of the window. I felt like I could see the whole world and that’s when I knew that the world is bigger than we know.

Describe yourself using only film titles.

Jumanji –  I am adventurous,  ready to take on new things and continue to work on my imperfections. Trolls – I want to save the world and make everything glitter again in people’s lives by encouraging them.  

 

We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission! 

Lakewood Ranch Women's Club Holidays on Broadway

LWRWC's Holidays on Broadway Raised Over $9,000 for HOPE and Other Local Charities

On Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, about 130 people attended the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club’s (LWRWC) spectacular “Holidays on Broadway “Dinner Theatre Charity Fundraiser at the beautiful Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club.

A fabulous silent auction with 41 tempting items and a Giving Tree contributed to the fundraising success. All proceeds will benefit the LWRWC ‘s adopted 501(c)(3) charities, HOPE Family Services, helping victims of domestic violence, SMART (Sarasota Manatee Association of Riding Therapy) dedicated to enhancing the physical, emotional, and cognitive growth of children and adults with special needs, and SOLVE Maternity Homes, helping pregnant women in need and their precious babies for over 40 years. Holidays on Broadway Charity Fundraiser truly represented the fun, friendship and community service that signifies the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club and the wonderful LWR Community, because supporting charity and celebrating together is what great communities do! It takes a community to pull off an event of this magnitude and with the help of the Lakewood Ranch Business Community and individual sponsors and donors, Holidays on Broadway raised over $9,000 to help LWRWC's adopted charities with their most critical needs. All of the sponsors and donors are true “Holiday Angels” for helping to make wishes come true for those in need!

HOPE 2                    

"HOPE's Table at Holidays On Broadway," Photography by Allyson Sokol                        

 
Attendees enjoyed favorite holiday songs performed by the very talented Belle Canto Women’s Vocal Ensemble, a gourmet dinner, and music and dancing provided by JB Baxter from More than Music. The highlight of the evening was a fabulous musical show performed by Jeffery Kin, Artist Director of the incomparable Players Centre for Performing Arts and performers, Eliza Morehouse, Kay Siebold, and Nancy Creighton, who wowed the audience with their magnificent vocal and dancing talents. Jeffery charmed us with a lovely rendition of “We Need A Little Christmas” and Eliza ‘s gorgeous voice matched the title of the song she sang- “Astonishing” from the Broadway Show, Little Women. Kay and Nancy performed a wonderful crowd-pleasing tap dance routine to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” followed by a group sing-along finale to the ever-popular classic -“White Christmas.”


LWRWC has over 320 members and is a not-for-profit service club founded to improve the quality of life in the LWR community. To learn more about LWRWC fundraising events and the charitable organizations they support, or to join, please visit www.lwrwc.org

December HOPE Hero: Kathyrn

Kathryn - “Angels at Work” Coordinator

About our HOPE Hero: 

Kathryn began her career as a counselor at a battered women's shelter in Camden, NJ. She then went on to work in the field of alcohol and substance abuse. After retiring to Florida, Kathryn found HOPE. In 2003, Kathryn helped to start a service group in her community to assist HOPE, which is now known as “Angels at Work.”  They have continued to grow over the years and are now able to serve other local organizations as well. 

What have you learned while volunteering?

I’ve learned that we can all do amazing things if we come together. Our group, “Angels at Work”, all live in a 55 & older community in Ellenton and strive to make a difference in our corner of the world. We may not be able to change everything but we can change some things. Our group is dedicated to bringing light, hope and smiles to the faces of those who do not have much to smile about when their lives are in crisis. We believe that HOPE Family Services saves lives and we want to support that effort however we can. 

What motivates you to volunteer with this organization?

I love the feeling of doing something that makes a difference for others. Another motivation is the wonderful community that backs me up and the many residents, who believe in what we are doing. We are shedding a light on the issues of domestic violence and homelessness.

What advice would you give to a future volunteer?

Find what you love to do, find a group that has the same values and goals. Then get involved, you will be the better for it. You will grow in ways you can only imagine!


We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission! 

A Letter from our CEO, Laurel Lynch 💜

Thanks to your generosity more than 2,300 survivors received life-changing resources from HOPE Family Services (HOPE) this past year. With your help, these survivors and their children have been able to heal and live their lives without fear.

HOPE is more than just a shelter... It’s an empowerment-based organization with a variety of life-saving services all designed to keep people safe from their intimate partner. HOPE provides survivors of domestic violence with services ranging from a 24-hour helpline/chatline to children’s counseling and more. We help both adults and children move from a victim to survivor and ultimately, a thriver. Simply put, HOPE happens here.

This transformative experience is demonstrated in survivors like Claudia. She came into HOPE’s shelter when her former husband threatened to kill her and take their 2-year-old daughter. Thanks to donations from supporters like you, our staff was able to provide safety, counseling, food and welcome baskets upon entering HOPE’s shelter. One of HOPE’s attorneys assisted Claudia with securing an Injunction for Protection (restraining order) against her former husband. With the help of HOPE, Claudia and her daughter have now relocated to a neighboring county and feel much safer in their new location.

We’re here to thank you on Claudia’s behalf. We are so grateful to have supporters like you making success stories like these a possibility for domestic violence survivors.

Today, we embark on our Year-End Campaign. Our goal is to raise additional funds to keep our services free and confidential and to help more women and children like Claudia and her daughter.

We’re reaching out to you because you’ve already demonstrated your compassion for survivors. You have the power to ensure that every woman has the opportunity to be free from violence, stay safe, and live her dreams. Would you be willing to make a special year-end contribution to make a life-changing impact on a survivor’s story?

Please join us by making your gift on our website, www.hopefamilyservice.org, or by sending a check in the enclosed envelope.

Thank you for your continued support.

Best wishes,

Laurel Lynch, HOPE Family Services CEO

 P.S.  You can learn more about the amazing work made possible by your donations via our website, Facebook, and Instagram. 

 

$25 - Provides a welcome basket with linens and personal hygiene items for a shelter resident. 

$50 - Provides a monthly bus pass to help a survivor seeking employment and housing.

$100 - Provides safety planning and intake services for a woman in crisis.

$250 - Provides assistance from one of HOPE's lawyers to secure an Injunction for Protection.

$500 - Provides 3 meals a day to all shelter residents for one week.

$1000 - Provides trauma-informed counseling sessions for children.

 

DONATE ONLINE HERE 

November HOPE Hero: Katie

Katie - HOPE Board Secretary

About our HOPE Hero: 

Katie is a Manatee County native and loves raising her son and twin daughters here in Bradenton. She has served on HOPE’s Board of Directors for four years and currently holds the position of Board Secretary. Katie considers herself a “2nd generation” Board Member because her father was the Board President 20 years ago!

 What have you learned while volunteering?

HOPE has given me a new level of awareness about the impact of domestic violence. I knew the basics prior to volunteering, but HOPE has taught me even more about the unfortunate details of domestic violence in our own community. 

 Tell us about your most memorable accomplishment with this organization.

Besides our tremendous fundraising efforts, one of my fondest memories with HOPE is having the opportunity to help a friend who found herself as a victim of domestic violence. I was able to give her trusted advice on where she should go to get the help she needed. 


What advice would you give to a future volunteer?

Get involved!! No matter your background, or place in the community, you can make a DIFFERENCE. 

 Is there something that excites you so much it keeps you awake the night before? 

Definitely traveling - I love it! I used to travel a lot with my husband while he was with the Army and it always excites me to explore new places. 

 

We truly appreciate all of your hard work & dedication to our mission! 

Hops for HOPE 2019

Copy of HOPS4HOPE 1

 

HOPE Partners With Good Liquid Brewing Co. To Promote Domestic Violence Awareness Month

 

HOPE Family Services (HOPE) in partnership with Good Liquid Brewing will host “Hops for HOPE” in an effort to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The event will take place at Good Liquid Brewing on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, from 5 pm - 9 pm. The night will include specialty craft beer, music, food, and more!

During “Hops for HOPE”, Good Liquid Brewing will offer an exclusive purple beer to support Domestic Violence Awareness Month. $1 from each pint sold will be donated to HOPE Family Services. Proceeds will support the life-changing services HOPE offers to those affected by domestic violence. The community is encouraged to show their support for victims and survivors during Domestic Violence Awareness Month by attending this event. 


“Events with community partners, like Good Liquid Brewing, are fun ways to bring attention to the issue of domestic violence and spread awareness of the services HOPE offers to our community,” said Laurel Lynch, CEO of HOPE Family Services. “Having community support is essential and allows us to continue to provide all of our services free of charge.”

 

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), which first began in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence as a Day of Unity to connect battered women’s advocates across the country.

DVAM statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 

  • On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner violence. 
  • 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.
  • 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner.

RVSP ON FACEBOOK

October HOPE Hero: Rosemarie

October HOPE Hero

Rosemarie - HOPE Board President

 

About our HOPE Hero: 

Rosemarie has an inspiring heart for helping those affected by domestic violence. Prior to moving to Florida, she lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and for 12 years served on the Board of Sojourner Truth House, the local domestic violence agency. Since 2003, Rosemarie has been dedicated to supporting the mission of HOPE Family Services; serving as a Board member for 16 years! She currently serves as Board President and is committed to sharing HOPE’s resources with the community. 

 

What have you learned while volunteering?

HOPE has an incredible staff that is dedicated to keeping the organization organized and running smoothly. Most people don’t know, HOPE’s programs for survivors and their children cover not only emergency action and long term care but also support prevention education for youth in the community.

Is there something that excites you so much it keeps you awake the night before?

Packers football!!! From February to July, I go into a mild slump waiting for football to start again. I also love having visitors; friends who come from out of state and stay for a week or more. I also love to have guests for dinner and try new recipes, even though it can be risky.


 What advice would you give to a future volunteer?

 Learn as much as you can about all of the programs HOPE offers. Share your passion for HOPE with friends and the people around you as often as you can. You never know when services may help someone who wasn't familiar with HOPE.

 

 

 What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?

 My dogs, Ditto and Toby, would say, “She's our mom, she loves us and takes good care of us.” Ditto would say that she doesn't like it when I jump on her. Toby would say that she makes sure I get my three pills a day at different times, but I remind her by barking anyway. We all love our neighbors and their canine friends too!

 

We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission! 

September HOPE Hero(es): HOPE's Administrative Staff

HOPE ADMIN

This month, we wanted to recognize our entire administrative staff: Char, Elsa, Kayla, Lynn, and Maria. Each of them are truly passionate about HOPE’s mission and are essential to HOPE’s day-to-day operations. They have answered a few questions to help you get to know them a little better.

Here’s a little background on their roles at HOPE: 

  • Char is our Chief Financial Officer and has been with us for 20 years! 
  • Elsa began working with us in our Donor Relations role but now heads Contract Compliance for HOPE.  
  • Kayla is our Development Manager. Her role is to coordinate our volunteer groups and donations, schedule and attend speaking engagements and events, and work with HOPE's marketing and social media team.
  • Lynn is an Executive Assistant at HOPE and is currently pursuing a business degree with a focus on leadership and management. 
  • Maria works as a receptionist at our Outreach Office. Her role handles scheduling appointments, receiving clients when they come in, taking calls and making everyone that comes and or calls feel safe. Maria is the calm reassuring voice for a caller trying to negotiate a storm in their lives. 

 

Q: What have you learned on the job? 💡

Char: While working at HOPE, I've come to realize that I will learn something new every day!

Elsa: I have learned to be grateful and appreciate all that I have and to listen and believe when a participant shares her/his experience. 

Kayla:  Survivors come first, that's why we are here. We need our community to bring awareness of domestic violence, support survivors and hold batterers accountable.

Lynn: I’m originally from Canada, so working for HOPE has given me an opportunity to learn quite a bit about the not-for-profit world on this side of the border.

Maria: I have learned many things! I’ve learned how to create a safety plan for a survivor and to be a good listener when someone is in crisis. 

 

Q: What’s your favorite pizza order? 🍕

Char: Thin crust with pepperoni and pineapple is definitely my favorite.

Elsa: It’s a tie between Chicken Alfredo and Pepperoni.

Kayla: Hmm...a Wood-Fired Margherita Pizza with fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and maybe some arugula and a balsamic glaze drizzle.

Lynn: It would have to be Canadian bacon, red onion, jalapeno, and pineapple.

Maria: Pan pizza, pepperoni with jalapeños, yummy!

 

Q: What advice would you give to a future volunteer? 🙌

Char: HOPE is a great place to work (and volunteer) if you like to help people and maybe have a laugh along the way.

Elsa: If you are compassionate, can listen, and believe the participants with an open mind - you are in the right place.

Kayla: Be compassionate, patience, non-judgmental and expect the unexpected. When you learn the experiences of individuals you otherwise would have never met, and see how hard they’re working to rebuild their lives, you start to see people differently, in general.

Lynn: Get to know the people you’re working with, have a sense of humor and live the mission of non-violence, safety, and lending a hand. 

Maria: Be a good listener -  Let participants share their situation and remember that it's all about helping them to be safe. Also, if you don't know or are unsure of how to help them, always ask others in the organization for assistance.

 

Q: What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference? 🐶

Char: My girls, CoCo and Chloe, would say I give the best belly rubs and I love to go for a W-A-L-K (which we only spell out in our house)!

Elsa: My beloved, Ziva, who is no longer with me, would say, "My Mommy is loving, giving, caring, and protective, and reprimands with kindness, when necessary."

Kayla: Lady would say, she always wears a smile and gives the best hugs, cuddles, scratches, and treats. She really likes the outdoors and going to the beach. (and that's my favorite because I often get to go with her).

Lynn: Simon would report, she's an efficient cookie distributor, highly talented in the tummy rub department, and completely lacks self-control when kissing my head.

Maria: Oh my, at this time I have kittens I'm nursing because their mommy passed away. I am feeding them and cuddling them and I think they will say, "Thank you for your patience and your time with all eight of us!"

 

Q: What motivates you to work with this organization? 💪

Char: I have the pleasure of working with a group of compassionate, hardworking women who never cease to amaze me in their ability to find ways to help.

Elsa: My passion and dedication to serving domestic violence survivors!

Kayla: What we’re doing here at HOPE is so essential to people’s lives and we're helping to create a healthier existence for everyone. Our awesome team of staff and volunteers is truly what motivates me to come to work every day.

Lynn: I’ve always been interested in social justice and women’s issues; HOPE’s method of empowering survivors is inspiring and should be adopted by more organizations serving others.

Maria: My motivation is knowing that I can help someone leave an abusive relationship, stay safe, and change a life. 

Bradenton Yacht Club Features Work for HOPE Family Services

The blog below is an excerpt from the Bradenton Yacht Club's Monthly member magazine, "Poop Deck". This article can be found on page 17. 

SAIL THROUGH SUMMER DRAWING copy

It’s finally time for our first Great Mates dinner meeting of the year. It will be held on Thursday, September 19th at 6 pm. Check the Poop Deck for reservation information or call the Club at 941-722- 5936. All BYC members are invited. If you have never been to a Great Mates meeting, please come. If you haven’t attended a meeting in while, please give us another try. We have a professional comedian, Juanita Lolita, to entertain us at the September meeting. It should be a lot of fun.

Hope Family Services is the charity chosen to be the recipient of our March 7, 2020 Gala. Hope is a private not-for-profit corporation whose primary purpose is to provide services to victims of domestic violence. We will have some information to share with you about the organization at the September meeting.

On July 11th, Mayor Wayne Poston was kind enough to join us at the Hope Chest Thrift Store on 1215 8th Avenue in downtown Bradenton to draw the names of the two winners of our Sail through Summer Giveaway to benefit Hope Family Services. One winner won a donated 12 ft. Sailboat and the other won 2 weeks of sailing lessons for a child at Bishop Sailing Center. Whether you have items to donate or want to shop to find some treasures, Hope Family Services will benefit from your generosity to The Hope Chest Thrift Store.

At our October 17th dinner meeting, Palmetto Mayor Shirley Bryant, as well as Brian Carter, President of Bishop Museum will speak to us. Mary Ann Gamrot has a lot of ideas for our entertainment, some of them still tentative. For our January 16th meeting she is thinking of WORLD TRAVELER NIGHT. We know that so many of you have stories about unusual travel experiences. Hopefully, you’d like to share your stories with us, whether they be funny, scary or exhilarating Mary Ann would love to have you get in touch with her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

She would welcome any entertainment ideas you may have as well. So, bring your $1 to the September meeting to renew your membership for the upcoming year or to join the Great Mates for the year. Visit our website at TheGreatMates.org for information. – Sharon Goslee 

 

 

Economic Empowerment Program

Economic Empowerment Program

Domestic Violence Isn't Always Physical...

When most people read or hear about domestic violence, their minds often think of physical abuse. However, domestic violence can include other forms of abuse such as emotional, sexual and financial abuse. As defined by the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV), domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors, violence, or threats of violence that one person uses to establish power and control over an intimate partner.

According to the annual report to the legislature by FCADV, financial abuse occurs in 98% of all domestic violence cases. In the annual report, survivors stated that abusers utilized a multitude of economically-related tactics to gain and maintain power and control over them. Some tactics that an abuser can utilize to maintain power and control include:

  • Ruining their partner’s credit
  • Giving an allowance to their partner
  • Denying access to income or financial accounts
  • Making financial decisions without consulting their partner
  • Not paying child support so they can’t afford rent, food, and other needed items
  • Preventing their partner from working or demanding they quit their job
  • Stalking or harassing their partner at work

Experiencing financial abuse can prohibit a survivor from leaving an abusive relationship since they don’t have the financial security to move into a safe place. At HOPE Family Services, we have established the Economic Empowerment program where the participant can meet with an advocate to create a financial safety plan and work on achieving financial independence.

Our Economic Empowerment program can assist participants with developing a spending plan or budget, securing affordable housing, and achieve higher education such as a GED, certifications, or degrees. The program also helps with assistance in job search strategies, resume development, and job interview skills to help obtain employment. We work with our participants based upon what their goals are so that they can achieve economic stability.

For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (941) 747-8499 

 

Handbags & Happy Hour 2019

Handbags & Happy Hour 2019

We’re counting down the days to Handbags & Happy Hour! Meet us at the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club on Thursday, October 24, 2019, at 4:30 pm. 

HOPE Family Services (HOPE) and Women’s Resource Center (WRC) are excited to be collaborating once again to bring awareness of the life-changing services offered to women in our region. We loved the first-ever Handbags & Happy Hour event last year and are thrilled to bring it back for 2019. 

Join us for an evening full of fun & fashion – it’s women supporting women! You can expect delicious appetizers, a premium open bar, a wide variety of gorgeous designer handbags, jewelry and other raffle prizes. This event will also feature pop-up shops, a photo booth, music, and much more!

Invite your friends to a fabulous girls’ night out! Guests are encouraged to bring purses to donate to women who are working to change their lives at HOPE Family Services and the Women’s Resource Center. 

Every ticket to Handbags & Happy Hour helps to ensure women in our community have support to empower themselves and transform their lives. Thank you for your belief in HOPE & WRC!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE YOUR TICKET 

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please email Lynn Lavigne-Quinn at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling (941) 747-8499.

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Masala Giving Circle Grant

On May 15th, the Masala Giving Circle, a philanthropic organization of African-American women, held its Annual Grant Award Ceremony at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Nearly $20,000 was provided to four organizations with missions to improve the quality of life for African-Americans in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Since its founding, the Masala Giving Circle has awarded nearly $60,000 into the community.

HOPE Family Services (HOPE) was honored to be one of the organizations recognized by this amazing giving circle and thanks to their generosity, $2,500 was awarded to provide multicultural hair care products, education, and empowerment to victims and survivors of domestic violence who reside in HOPE’s Emergency Safe Shelter. HOPE’s goal is to provide hair care products to all survivors of domestic violence, including African Americans/Blacks, who reside at HOPE’s Emergency Safe Shelter. HOPE staff want to make sure all residents are provided with basic needs. Ensuring they have what they need helps them move forward to a healthy and independent life. 

With the Masala Giving Circle grant, HOPE staff are also able to provide empowering educational classes for Women of Color. Through the classes, staff teach residents how to minimize bullying of their children, which often happens when incorrect products and techniques are used. We have seen an increase in children’s and adults’ self-confidence by using new products, styles, and techniques. Being sensitive to the needs of all clients is important and thanks to the Masala Giving Circle, their needs are met.

“Masala Giving Circle exists to promote economic and personal empowerment in our community,” says Marilyn Thompson, the group’s president. “Since our inception, our giving philosophy has been to carry on traditions of support passed down through African ancestry and do our part to make the African-American communities stronger and more self-sustainable.”

We are so grateful to the wonderful women of the Masala Giving Circle for supporting women of color in our community and supporting HOPE’s mission

 

Pictured below are photos from the Masala Giving Circle Annual Grant Awardee Ceremony & products purchased with the grant awarded to HOPE. 

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Grant Products 2          Grant Products 3



Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Donation

Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Donates $710 to HOPE Family Services Emergency Safe Shelter

 HOPE donation Aug 2019

(Pictured from left to right are Barbara McCrea of MUUF, Elsa Hanna of HOPE, and Rev. Fred L Hammond of MUUF.)

Bradenton, FL, August 15, 2019. - The small congregation of Bradenton’s Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (MUUF) recently donated $710.00 for the Emergency Safe Shelter needs of HOPE Family Services in Bradenton.  The Special Collection was specifically designated to fund the needs of the Shelter which is one of the many services provided by HOPE to promote safety, strength, and well-being for those affected by domestic violence.

HOPE is Manatee County’s state-certified domestic violence service provider.  Elsa Hanna, a HOPE staff member, was present for the donation.  Bill Hayes, Special Collection Coordinator for MUUF, said: “Our Fellowship is committed to social justice and it is a pleasure to support you with this financial help.”

HOPE provides a safe place in a confidential location for victims of domestic violence.  The Shelter is designed to give victims time in a safe place, so they can evaluate their options and gain skills that empower them to live a life safe from an abusive partner.  Mothers and children arrive at the Shelter with few belongings – if any.  Mothers have urgent demands on what little money they may have and are unable to replace what they couldn’t bring with them.  There are always ongoing Shelter needs, that’s why the Special Collection was specifically designated to fund the needs of HOPE’s Emergency Safe Shelter.  To find out more about domestic violence and HOPE’s services visit their website at https://www.hopefamilyservice.org/ or contact HOPE’s Outreach Office at 941-747-8499.

MUUF is a friendly beacon for religious freedom, supporting lifelong spiritual growth and working for social justice with compassion and love.  For more information about MUUF call 941-746-0067 or visit the MUUF website at www.manateeuuf.org.

August HOPE Hero

August HOPE Hero

Carol - HOPE Volunteer

About our HOPE Hero: Carol 1

Carol was born and raised in Pennsylvania. She found herself in Bradenton after retiring from her job, of 24 years at Universal Orlando. Carol began helping at HOPE during the Children’s Group sessions. She listened to music with the kids, played games, and helped with homework. Her role at HOPE now is working in the Outreach office, where she helps staff with reports for local, state, and federal agencies.

 

What have you learned while volunteering?

HOPE does amazing things for survivors and their families. I’ve learned that domestic violence is widespread and while there are many resources available to participants, there is a need for even more. 

 

What motivates you to volunteer with this organization?

I worked with a sister domestic violence agency in the Orlando area before moving to Bradenton and wanted to continue to give back.

 

What advice would you give to a future volunteer?

The biggest advice I can give is to be committed to the organization. It isn’t always easy to find the time, but you must be willing to give some of your time to helping others.

 

Tell us about your most memorable accomplishment with this organization.

One evening while I was helping with the Children’s Group, I was asked to help with a homework assignment. The student needed to invent a product and describe its use, using some words provided by the teacher. Extra credit would be given if they used words from another list. We selected a product, completed the outline, and the child finished the rest of the essay at home. The next time I saw the child, I asked what grade they received and they told me it was the first "A" they had ever received!

 

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We truly appreciate all of your hard work & dedication to our mission! 

July HOPE Hero

July HOPE Hero

Cheryl - HOPE Board Member

About our HOPE Hero: 

Cheryl is a Florida native and grew up in Brandon before making her way to Bradenton in 1981. Cheryl loves her job, but when she isn’t working as a Realtor with Michael Saunders & Company, she is volunteering as a Board Member for HOPE Family Services. She says hearing success stories from survivors always keeps her motivated to volunteer.                                                                                                                       

What have you learned while volunteering?

I've learned there is a tremendous need for HOPE to help victims of domestic violence. HOPE helps in so many ways such as: preparing safety plans, providing counseling, shelter, legal assistance and more.

 

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.

I've been lucky enough to travel to some pretty exotic locations. I can't pick one, so here are my top 3: the most amazing shades of blue waters in Tahiti, waterfalls in Hawaii, Cadillac Mountain/Acadia National Park in Maine.

 

What advice would you give to a future volunteer?

Find what moves you and help in any way you can; share HOPE's message when you have the opportunity. I have a friend and board member, Mindy Hill, to thank for introducing me to HOPE.

Tell us about your most memorable accomplishment with this organization.

I am very proud to represent HOPE within our Michael Saunders MSC Foundation and pleased to contribute through the foundation to help support the vital work HOPE does to save lives. It makes me so happy to help contribute to HOPE!

Describe yourself using only film titles.

Working Girl (I'm always working!)

Psycho (Some days...) 

As Good As It Gets (most days)



We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission! 

Sail Through Summer 2019

Bradenton Yacht Club’s Great Mates Host Giveaway Benefiting HOPE Family Services

The Great Mates, a 501(c)3 of the Bradenton Yacht Club (BYC) partnered with HOPE Family Services for their Sail Through Summer giveaway. The prizes for this giveaway were a 12-ft. Zuma sailboat and a two-week sailing camp session for a child, aged 8-13 at The Bishop Sailing Center at BYC (either July 15-26th or July 29-August 9th). 

Manatee County residents were able to enter for both giveaway prizes at HOPE Chest Thrift Store from June 10 - July 10, 2019. The HOPE Chest Thrift Store, located in downtown Bradenton, is open to the community and operated by HOPE Family Services to benefit survivors of domestic violence. One drawing entry was provided free per family visiting the store, but in exchange for a donated item from  HOPE’s “Wish List,” (such as non-perishable foods, diapers, toilet paper, formula, etc.) for HOPE’s safe shelter residents, the donor received five drawing entries. 

During the month of the “Sail Through Summer” giveaway, HOPE Chest saw an increase in donations as well as traffic to the store. There were over 100 entries to the “Sail Through Summer” giveaway, which directly will benefit the resources HOPE Family Services provides to survivors of domestic violence in Manatee County. 

On July 11, 2019, board members and staff from HOPE Family Services, members from The Great Mates, and the public joined together at HOPE Chest for the announcement of the 2019 Sail Through Summer winners. The giveaway drawing at HOPE Chest also included light refreshments, bites, and, of course, shopping. City of Bradenton Mayor, Wayne Poston attended the event and drew the two winning tickets. 

Congratulations to both Olivia Zapata, winning the Zuma Sailboat & Landon Sinphay, winning a two-week Sailing Camp at BYC’s  Bishop Sailing Center!

SAIL THROUGH SUMMER DRAWING copy

Pictured: Front, Left to Right: Detective Yolanda Cox, Gail Henderson, Mayor Wayne Poston, Mary Ann Gamrot, Beverly Beaucage, Mirinda Hill, HOPE Chest Manager Dawn Simpson. Rear, Left to Right: HOPE Family Services President & CEO Laurel Lynch, Sharon Goslee, Katie Williams.

Thank you to everyone that participated in the 2019 Sail Through Summer giveaway and a special thanks to The Great Mates for selecting HOPE Family Services as their annual charity. We are so excited for the year to come!

HOPE Hero - Dawn

 

June HOPE Hero: Dawn - HOPE Chest Manager  💜

 

About our HOPE Hero:                                     dawn2

Dawn is originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan. She has a long history working in the customer service industry; starting at the age of 10 pouring root beer at her family’s drive-in diner. She is the Manager at the HOPE Chest Thrift Store (HOPE Chest) which is open to the public and serves as a resource for survivors of domestic violence to receive items they need to be successful. Dawn describes HOPE Chest as, “A wonderful place to find awesome treasures, while supporting survivors of domestic violence.”

What motivates you to work with HOPE?

I’m one of the lucky ones and I truly can’t wait to get to work in the morning! Just knowing that what we do every day helps change lives for the better is the biggest motivating factor for me. Just think, together with donors and shoppers, we are making a difference in our community.

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.

Seeing Lake Michigan from 3,500 feet up while skydiving. It was amazing how quiet it was up there and just so beautiful. 

What advice would you give to a future volunteer?

Our motto at the HOPE Chest is, “We get serious about having fun.” So, my advice would be, have fun and always remember by volunteering for HOPE you are saving lives. It doesn’t get better than that!

Describe yourself using only film titles.

Let's see... Beaches, Airplane, and some days it can feel like One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest. But those are some of my most favorite days!

What have you learned on the job? 

I've learned to never judge a book by its cover, and just how far a healthy dose of patience, kindness, and respect can go. Another big one for me is how much I still have to learn and grow.

 

We truly appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to our mission!

 .      

Reasons You Should Be Thrifting

 Hope chest green dishes               Hope chest orange dress

Donating and shopping at HOPE Chest helps to support survivors of domestic violence.

However, there are many other reasons to thrift this summer!  

Here's our list of the top reasons why you should be thrifting: 

  1. Stretch your budget 

If you’re looking for a good reason to shop at thrift stores, look no further than your own wallet. It’s no secret that thrift stores, like HOPE Chest, sell items for a fraction of the full price for new items. The idea of frugal living isn’t just good for people with limited financial resources - everyone can benefit. Looking for bargains can help you save money to put toward a financial goal, splurge on that item you want, or pay your expenses. 

Many thrift stores go a step further and offer greater savings on certain days. At HOPE Chest, we offer specials on the first Thursday of every month, including everyone’s favorite, all items over $1 are 50% off. 

Caution: After shopping at a thrift store, you might not want to purchase anything at full retail price - again. Thrift store shopping will save you some serious cash!

  1. You can create your own style 

If you’re in the market for new summer looks and you head straight to a department store to pay full price, you’re bound to run into other people wearing the same outfits. Discovering a new look means finding your next staple piece. Thrift shops also have a diverse assortment of clothing, meaning you’re less likely to find yourself wearing the same top or as a friend or co-worker. Thrift shopping is a way to try a new look, trend, brand or style without sacrificing our savings account. 

After all, we’re all unique — shouldn’t our wardrobes reflect us? 

  1. It’s fun to treasure hunt

Just like auctions, yard sales, or flea markets, you never know what you’ll find at a thrift store. With donations coming in daily, there are always hidden treasures to find. Avid thrifters call it the thrill of the hunt and it can get competitive; searching through racks for your own personal treasure can be exciting, suspenseful, and addictive. 

Pro tip:  If you like it, hold onto it, because you may lose the opportunity to grab it later!

  1. Thrift stores help the community

Most thrift shops, like HOPE Chest, are run by charitable or non-profit organizations that use their retail platform to provide much-needed services to the community. At the time survivors need it most; participants of HOPE Family Services (HOPE) are able to shop free of charge at HOPE Chest, from socks to home furnishings. By shopping at HOPE Chest your proceeds help to pay for utilities and repairs at HOPE’s Emergency Safe Shelter. Whether you donate to HOPE Chest or shop at HOPE Chest you are saving lives and supporting survivors of domestic violence in Manatee County, FL. 

  1. There is SO much more than just clothes

Whether you’re looking for a handbag, kitchenware, clothing, or anything in between, thrift stores have it all. At most stores, you can find sections with kitchen appliances, artwork, toys, furniture, jewelry, shoes, books and much more. For many, thrift stores a go-to place for their sizeable furniture selections, including quality items and great discounts. HOPE Chest offers an array of items and even has rotating seasonal decorations in the Holiday Room! 

  1. It’s environmentally friendly 

Donating and buying from a thrift shop is an excellent way to reuse and recycle. The reuse of items such as clothes, electronics, furniture, etc. decreases the waste going to landfills and the number of new items that need to be created. Thrift shopping is also an eco-friendly alternative to fast fashion, which is the process of getting new and trendy items to consumers as quickly and cheaply as possible. Buying second-hand means you don’t have to sacrifice your style to be kind to Mother Earth. 

Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club Donates to HOPE’s Children’s Reading Library

On Wednesday, May 8, 2019, the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club (LWRWC) hosted its annual Speakers Series Fundraiser Luncheon that raised over $2,000 and 825 books to benefit HOPE Family Services Children’s Reading Library, “The Book Nook.” The luncheon featured internationally acclaimed author, Lucetta Zaytoun.

The event was held at the LWR Golf & Country Club with more than 80 women in attendance, opened with beautiful music by gifted violinist, Margot Zarzycka, who plays with the Sarasota Orchestra. After a warm welcome from LWRWC President, Kathleen Cleveland, and Event Chairs: Cheryl Breining and Eileen Buzzard, HOPE Family Services CEO, Laurel Lynch, expressed her gratitude to LWRWC for the donation and for bringing the joy of reading to children and their mothers at HOPE’s Domestic Violence Shelter. Laurel explained that inspiring children to read will positively impact their futures. The original idea of the LWRWC was for mothers in the shelter to read to their children, but it is just as valuable (if not more so) for children to read to their mothers.

Keynote speaker, Lucetta Zaytoun, was deeply moved by the mission of HOPE Family Services because she is a courageous survivor of domestic violence. Lucetta shared her own horrific story of her escape with two toddlers from a physically abusive husband, with only two trash bags filled with clothing and toys. After finding the strength to overcome her trauma, she married a man with four children and became a devoted mother to all six kids. When the children were grown, she discovered that her husband was in love with another woman. Finding herself with no career, Lucetta turned tragedy into triumph with a remarkable global journey, backpacking through third world countries, and learning to overcome her fears and find her true identity. When she returned to the US, she became a certified life coach, a bestselling author and an international speaker.  Lucetta wrote a best-selling memoir of her incredible solo journey around the world entitled “It’s Already Tomorrow Here: Never Underestimate the Power of Running Away.” By conquering fear, Lucetta gained remarkable success in her personal and professional life.

The giving women of Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club consistently raise awareness and drive community support for organizations like HOPE Family Services. We cannot thank them enough for their donation of 825 books and $2,000 for HOPE's children's library in our shelter. The donation could not have come at a better time because they will help enhance our summer reading program, which helps children in our shelter overcome the summer learning slide, who are at an even higher risk of the summer slide. Our new Children’s “Book Nook” will help decrease the summer slide by providing the tools needed to achieve their academic goals. We are so grateful for HOPE Heroes like the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club.

Below are some photos from the book drive fundraiser and the finished Book Nook in our safe shelter!

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       Book Nook 5.15.19 1    

Supporting a Friend with a Mental Health Issue

Are you worried someone close to you might be battling with their mental health? You’re not alone. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans live with a mental health condition, many undiagnosed.

Like any other health problem, someone with a mental health issue needs extra love and support.  You may not be able to physically see the issue, but it doesn’t mean that you’re powerless to help. If you are unsure of how best to approach someone who may be struggling, these tips may help.

How to know when to help

It’s important to understand the warning signs that come with different mental health issues. Some signs that a friend or family member may need your help include: 

  • Suddenly they lack interest in hobbies and other interests they used to love
  • They are talking about taking their life or feeling hopeless
  • They are avoiding their close friends and family members
  • Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • They seem emotionally numb like they don’t feel anything anymore
  • They used to be healthy, but now they’re always saying they feel a bit sick or “off”
  • Not eating, throwing up or using laxatives to lose weight; significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Drastic changes in mood, behavior, personality or sleeping habits.
  • They seem to be anxious or overwhelmed about situations or objects in life that seem normal to you and to others
  • Repeated use of drugs or drinking heavily to cope
  • They have mentioned or seem to be hearing strange voices or having unsettling thoughts

What you can do to help

Start the conversation

Just a simple conversation can go a long way in helping your friend. Share your observations with your friend. Focus on being nonjudgmental, compassionate and understanding. Make sure to actively listen and use “I” (instead of “you”) comments to get the conversation started.

Examples:

  • I've noticed that you haven't been acting like yourself lately. Do you want to talk about it?
  • I am someone who cares and wants to listen. What do you want me to know about how you are feeling?
  • I’ve noticed you’re [sleeping more, eating less, etc.]. Is everything okay?

Offer support

Keep in mind that your friend might not be ready to talk about what they’re going through or simply may not want your help right now. Be patient, understanding and provide them with hope. You can make sure they know they are not alone, it can be a comfort just to know that they have people that care.

 It’s also important to support their healthy behaviors. Strategies such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising can be helpful when managing one’s mental health. Supporting your friend by eliminating or reducing alcohol or drug use is another great way to help him or her build healthy habits.

Be a friend

Being a friend means being there in easy times and more difficult times. If your friend is experiencing a mental health condition, this is a time when he or she needs you the most. Sometimes just talking about it might help your friend feel less alone and more understood.

 Here are some ways you can show you care:

  • Be a resource for them by giving them ideas on where they can go to get help.
  • Check-in with them regularly.
  • Learn more about mental health conditions.
  • Treat them with a non-judgemental attitude, empathy, and honesty.

Get Advice

Helping a friend with mental illness can be hard to handle by yourself. Don't hesitate to reach out to someone and talk about how you’re feeling as a friend/caregiver, especially  for advice to most effectively help your friend. Consider talking to a trusted individual in your life like a family member, counselor, teacher, faith leader, or friend.

 You can be the difference in helping a friend who needs support but is too afraid to seek help.  It could save his or her life!

Self-care Practices For All Areas of Your Life

Self-care Practices For All Areas of Your Life

Some weeks, you may feel on top the world… but others may feel never-ending. Life is full of factors that are out of your control, and that stress can actually affect your health. Stress can drain your energy, increase anxiety, cause headaches, weight gain, and lack of concentration.

Practicing self-care on a regular basis will help you to handle all of the challenges and uncertainties life can bring. Self-care simply means taking care of yourself in all areas of life: emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially. There is no prescribed formula that works perfectly for everyone. Craft your self-practice to suit what works best for you, so you will enjoy it.

Below are the areas of life everyone should incorporate in their self-care practice:

        1. Physical Self-Care

This aspect of self-care is the most straight forward and focuses on making sure that your body is well-nourished and happy. When you are consciously caring for your body, you will think and feel better. The three basic aspects of physical self-care are good nutrition, proper recovery time (sleep and rest), and exercise. Begin with practices that are fun and rewarding to you.

Small steps such as eating more of the greens you love, drinking more water, and being active will make an impact on your well-being. (Remember to find the balance and rest when your body needs it too.)

       2. Mental Self-Care

Constant thoughts running around in your head can drain you. Mental self-care includes activities that declutter your mind and reduce your stress levels. These activities look different for everyone. Fuel your mind by learning about a subject that fascinates you, and reading books or watching movies that inspire you.

Some easy ways to relax each day include yoga, doing a craft, unplugging from technology, decluttering your home, or going for a walk.

     3. Social Self-Care

Life gets busy and it can feel impossible to make time to nurture relationships with friends or family. Social self-care is identifying your social needs and maintaining close connections in your life. There isn't a certain number of hours you should devote to your friends or work on your relationships. Everyone has slightly different social needs. Build enough time in your schedule to create an optimal social life for your well-being.

     4. Spiritual Self-Care

In this case, spiritual self-care doesn’t refer to religion or believing in a sort of higher being (although if that is what helps you - great!). Instead, in this sense, spiritual self-care is the act of getting in touch with your values—what really matters to you. This practice will help you cope with stress and foster a calm mind.  

Spiritual self-care activities include cleaning your spaces, joining a community that shares your values, meditating, going for a walk, or volunteering for causes you care about. It’s up to you to engage in whatever form of makes you feel best!

     5. Emotional Self-Care

Emotional self-care doesn’t mean that you never have negative or uncomfortable emotions, like anger, anxiety, and sadness. It’s the practice of identifying and accepting all of your feelings in a healthy way. Allow yourself to process what you are going through.

Include activities that help you acknowledge and express your feelings on a regular basis. For example, writing down how you are feeling can help you feel more fully present and not confined to those feelings from the past.

Identify the ways you can incorporate these practices to develop your personal self-care practice. If you take a few moments each day to care for your wellbeing, then you will be rewarded with a positive outlook and decreased stress.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month or SAAM for short. During this month, champions of domestic violence prevention across the United States raise awareness about sexual violence, how to prevent it, and how to support those who are affected by it.  Each year the National Sexual Violence Resource Center selects a campaign theme. This year’s campaign theme, I Ask, supports the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and a necessary part of everyday interactions.

 What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault includes any sexual behavior that is against the will of another person (often through manipulation, force or coercion). Types of sexual assault include rape, sexual battery, child sexual abuse, incest, and same-sex assault.

Did You Know?

  • Every 2 minutes someone in the USA is sexually assaulted. And every 9 minutes, that victim is a child.
  • Each year there are about 293,000 victims of sexual assault.
  • 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted while at college.
  • 42% of college women who are raped tell no one about the assault.
  • 1 in every 4 girls and 1 in every 6 boys will be sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday.

 What can I do?

Educating yourself and others, helping a friend who is being abused, speaking up, and being an engaged bystander are all examples of things you can do to help.

  • If a survivor shares their story with you, help them feel comfortable by being an active and supportive listener. It is important that they feel heard and believed.
  • Spread awareness through social media and educate those around you.
  • Learn more about laws and policies impacting survivors and prevention programming.
  • Participate in Denim Day - April 24th. Denim Day began after a 1998 Italian Supreme Court decision that overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore tight jeans. In a statement by the Chief Judge, he argued, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.” Denim Day has grown into a national movement to raise awareness of rape and sexual assault.


Where can I go to get help?  

Always call the police in the event of an emergency. Domestic violence shelters, like HOPE’s Emergency Safe shelter,  accept rape and sexual assault victims who need a place to stay as space permits. HOPE Family Services also provides free group and individual counseling to those affected. Colleges and universities also offer resources and completely free counseling. Be sure to know where and how they work and what services they provide.

Another local agency, Centerstone, is a great resource and specifically works with sexual assault and trauma services. At the national level, RAINN and Take Back the Night are the two biggest organizations devoted to victim advocacy and sexual assault and rape prevention and care.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available by phone (800.656.HOPE) and online (online.rainn.org). Talk with someone who is trained to help anytime, 24/7.

Recap: 22nd Annual Black & White ... An Evening Over the Rainbow

On Saturday, March 16th, our 22nd annual fundraising gala event Black & White...An Evening Over the Rainbow was held at IMG Academy Golf Club.

The event’s theme spoke to its occurrence on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, and our fabulous planning committee created decorations that included a traditional St. Patrick’s theme with green shamrocks and pots of gold coins at the end of a rainbow. Every guest was greeted with a glass of champagne at the door and invited to mingle and meet the other guests while enjoying the h'orderves and cocktails. Throughout the night, guests participated in a fun photo booth, wine drawings, and raffles.

Once everyone was seated, HOPE Family Services’ CEO, Laurel Lynch, spoke and presented a video with an emotional, survivor’s story (see video here). After the video, the survivor, Amy, shared some thoughtful words about the help she received from HOPE Family Services. Stories like Amy’s helped to remind us about the impact of each donation and the importance of educating the community about domestic violence. During dinner, Laurel Lynch presented the featured raffle prize winners (Bucket of Booze winner - Terry Brennan and Lottery Pot O’ Gold winner - Shannon Schmidlin). The live auction was hosted by our wonderful grand auctioneer, Brad Laduciana. Items for auction included a week-long luxury getaway in Colorado, week-long sports camp at IMG, an ultimate local date-night including tickets to the Lion King at Van Wezel, and a limousine ride to dinner for 4 at Beach Bistro. The rest of the night included fantastic food and lots of dancing to DJ Keegs.

We were lucky enough to have 190 people attend our 22nd Annual Black & White. This event left us feeling incredibly thankful to have such a strong community supporting our mission.

Our Black & White Gala has been an important part of our annual fundraising efforts and this year was no different. Each contribution made, benefits those affected by domestic violence in Manatee County. We could not have asked for a better evening with better friends! Must be the luck of the Irish!

 

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We would like to give heartfelt appreciation to:



Presenting Sponsor: It Works! Gives Back Foundation

Event Sponsors: Fidelity Bank, GTL, Oneblood, Beach Bistro, and the Bradenton Herald

VIP Sponsors: Patti & Bob Wrobel, MaryEllen Wilson-Smith, Lawman Benefits Consulting, Inc., Blake Medical Center, Tim & Ashley Gruters, and Cross Country Wealth Management

Committee Chairs: Twila Averill & MaryEllen Wilson-Smith

Auctioneer: The amazing Brad Laudicina

Music: DJ Keegs, Charles Clapsaddle & the magnificent METV Team

Dedicated Board Members: Rosemarie Fisher, President; Mindy Hill, VP; Katie Williams, Secretary; Michelle Cross, CPA, Treasurer; Dr. Judy Smith, Immediate Past President; Ken Alicea, Twila Averill, Detective Yolanda Cox, Daniel Friedrich, Stacey McKnee, Christi Milan, Cheryl Roberts, Neil Unruh, MaryEllen Wilson-Smith, and Patti Wrobel.

We would also like to thank our wonderful volunteers and staff members who work every day to make the world a better place.

Our 22nd Annual Black & White was a huge success, and we are so grateful to everyone that contributed. Until next year!

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’s objective is to create 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. 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 families transitioning from the 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 Director, Dawn. She spoke with the volunteers about the purpose of HOPE Family Services and the services provided by staff on a daily basis. “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, 463 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)

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

Saving lives with The HOPE Chest

What can you say about a place that reuses, recycles and resells, all to save lives? That’s my kind of place. Welcome to HOPE Family Services’ (HOPE) thrift store, the HOPE Chest. 
 
Survivors of domestic violence too often leave in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Children don’t have time to grab anything, they are simply whisked away to a safe place. Both parents and children are overwhelmed and afraid and when they come to us and they need everything. Thanks to you and your generous donations over the years, we’ve been able to meet the need for these survivors while selling, (recycling if you will), your unwanted or no longer needed items. 
 
When survivors are leaving HOPE’s Safe Shelter and starting over, they often need household items, like sheets and towels, pots and pans, silverware, etc. Again, through the kindness of donors and the hard work of staff and volunteers, clients can access those items at no charge from the HOPE Chest.
 
People often wonder, if, in addition to giving survivors what they need, we sell things. We do indeed! The HOPE Chest generates income that ensures all of HOPE’s life-saving services are offered at no charge to survivors of domestic violence who need them. You should see the first Thursday of the month sales events when just about everything in the store is 50% off – the sales are legendary. You also have more time to shop, donate and volunteer on Thursdays with our extended hours until 6:00 pm.

You can visit the HOPE Chest Monday through Saturday from 9:00am-4:00pm at 1215 8th Ave. W, Bradenton, FL 34205. 

HOPE can only be successful by meeting the needs of survivors because of you. Please donate, shop and volunteer at the HOPE Chest, you’ll be glad you did!
 
On behalf of those whose lives you’ve saved, thank you.

Give the priceless gift of time

Help HOPE this holiday season by donating the priceless gift of time at our HOPE Chest Thrift Store. As we swing into “season”, we’re welcoming back out northerner pals and saying hello to friendly new faces throughout the community. The roads and restaurants aren't the only things getting busier though – the HOPE Chest Thrift Store is too!

The HOPE Chest Thrift Store helps support our mission of promoting safety, strength and well being for those affected by domestic violence throughout Manatee County. The thrift store sells a wide variety of amazing items for resale, like clothing, household items, furniture, and electronics. All proceeds from the store directly benefit the clients of HOPE Family Services.

If you’re interested in volunteering at the HOPE Chest Thrift Store, we’d love to hear from you! Please reach out to Dawn by calling 941-745-2034.

The HOPE Chest Thrift Store is located in downtown Bradenton at 1215 8th Ave. W, Bradenton, FL 34205. Hours of operation are 9:00am-4:00pm from Monday-Saturday.

The Danger Report: How to spot deadly red flags in a relationship

If you’ve seen the news recently, you’ve probably been struck by the deeply saddening headlines of domestic violence fatalities in Manatee County and neighboring communities. Our hearts and condolences go out to those affected by these tragedies.

Knowledge is powerful – and in this case, it could be life-saving. It’s important to be informed and aware in high-risk situations.  Author and Speaker Lundy Bancroft provides a powerful list of factors that should be taken seriously in identifying dangerous men.  

Abuse can come in many different forms, from both men and women, but the following risk factors for fatality are focused on the most common form of death as a result of domestic violence, perpetrated by a man to his, intimate female partner.

Risk Factors for Domestic Lethality

  • She is taking steps to end the relationship or has already done so.
  • He is depressed, suicidal, or shows signs of not caring what happens to him. He has, for example, threatened to kill himself if she leaves him.
  • He has killed or in other ways been violent to pets, or has used other terror tactics.
  • There are stepchildren or non-biological children involved.
  • He has access to weapons and/or he is familiar with their use.
  • He has threatened to kill her or to hurt her severely, has strangled her, or has threatened her with a weapon (including making verbal reference to using a weapon, even if he did not actually brandish it)
  • He was violence during her pregnancy.
  • He is unemployed.
  • The woman has a strong “gut” sense that the man could kill her or her children, or could carry out a serious and dangerous assault against any of them or against himself.
  • He is extremely jealous and possessive. This characteristic becomes even more worrisome when he appears to be obsessive, constantly keeping her at the center of his thoughts and appearing to be unable to conceive of life without her. He has, for example, made statements such as, “If I can’t have you, nobody will.”
  • He has a history of severe or very frequent violence toward her, or toward other individuals such as past partners.
  • He follows her, monitors her whereabouts, uses high-tech means to keep tabs on her, or stalks her in other ways. He knows where she lives and works, knows the names and addresses of her friend or relatives, or is in very familiar with her daily routines.
  • He has threatened to kill the children or the whole family.
  • He isn’t close to anyone, and no current relationships with friends or relatives are important to him.
  • He has a significant criminal history and/or he has a history of using violence or threatening violence against other people.
  • He abuses alcohol or drugs heavily, especially if his habits involve daily or nearly daily intoxication.
  • He has been violent to children.
  • He uses pornography heavily and/or has a history or perpetrating sexual violence or degradation against his partner or others.
  • He has exhibited extreme behaviors when his current partner or past partners have made attempts to leave him.

While these predictive factors of dangerous abusers are important to understand, there are documented instances where men didn’t exhibit these risk factors prior to killing. It’s important to trust your intuition and consult with a trained professional if you’re experiencing any kind of coercive control. HOPE offers qualified advocates to assess and build strategic safety plans for you to take control of your life. We’ve created a safety plan and encourage you to check it out.

Finding HOPE

If you, or someone you know, has experienced ANY of these behaviors or ANY signs of abuse from an intimate partner, please reach out to us to keep you–and your children–safe. Our services are completely free and confidential–designed to bring you empowerment and HOPE.

Whether you need to talk, need counseling for you or your children, need to escape to our Emergency Safe Shelter; we’re only a phone call away and ready to serve you and anyone affected by domestic violence in Manatee County.

More than a shelter… A place for HOPE

More than a shelter… A place for HOPE

At HOPE Family Services, we’re dedicated to providing services and empowering survivors of domestic violence (DV) by helping them stay safe, gain strength, and evaluate their options throughout Manatee County.

While we provide an Emergency Safe Shelter in the Bradenton area for those looking for safety, we have plenty of resources available for those dealing with other types of difficult situations.

 

Advocacy

Our advocacy services are designed to assist clients in identifying and overcoming barriers in their life.

The advocacy department addresses emergency issues such as financial concerns and housing, food and clothing needs. There’s also viable information regarding information and referrals to other incredible organizations that can be of assistance.

Advocates also assist participants with job training opportunities and issues surrounding economic justice.

 

Preventative measures

HOPE Family Services also offers a Primary Prevention Program that is designed to teach young people the signs of an abusive partner early on, with the ultimate goal of preventing them from becoming victims or perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

If you’re planning an event, whether school or business related, we can provide you speakers and trainers to spark Social Change. Social Change allows youth, professionals, and paraprofessionals to learn how to prevent conditions that allow batterer’s controlling behavior as we work to hold community members accountable and bring peace & an abuse-free society.

 

Counseling and more

Each week, we host individual counseling sessions and support groups for survivors of DV in English and Spanish. Domestic violence has a substantial impact on the family and we’re here to help address those issues.

We also offer supportive individual and group counseling to children affected by domestic violence. The goal is to teach children who are dealing with trauma, non-violent coping mechanisms in an effort to break the intergenerational nature of domestic violence.

 

Full-time access

If you are in need of a friendly voice to talk to, we are here for you. We offer a free and confidential Help Line that is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Start the conversation by calling 941-755-6805 (V/TTY). A friendly, non-judgemental and informed person will be waiting on the other line, right here in Manatee County.

We also provide a safe place in a confidential location for victims of domestic violence to evaluate their options. The shelter is designed to allow those who need it time in a safe place to make choices that empower them to live a life safe from the controlling tactics of an abusive partner and to organize opportunities in the best interest of themselves and their children.

5 Warning Signs of Violence

5 Warning Signs of Violence

Domestic abuse is defined as a “pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship”. Learning the warning signs can be life-saving. Keep reading to learn abusive actions to look out for in your relationships, and those of your loved ones.

 

Red flags to look for:

1. Physical abuse

Physical abuse can range from hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, strangling, hair-pulling, biting, etc. It also includes driving recklessly while you’re in the car; preventing you from eating/sleeping; denying medical care or forcing alcohol/drug use; abandoning you in unfamiliar places, and putting you in danger.

 

2. Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.

 

3. Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes but is certainly not limited to marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.

 

4. Financial abuse

Economic abuse is making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one's access to money, or forbidding one's attendance at school or employment.

 

5. Digital abuse

Digital abuse is when a partner utilizes technologies to bully, harass, and intimidate. It can include controlling your online activity, like who you can and can’t be friends with on Facebook, to insisting on having all of your online passwords to keep tabs on your online accounts. It can also include using technology to monitor where you are, like spyware on your GPS or phone.

 

Recognizing violence in our community

Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone, despite age, race, sexual orientation and more. While it’s hard to know exactly what someone is going through, there are key signs to keep a lookout for. According to the National Hotline of Domestic Violence, warning signs can include:

  • Their partner puts them down in front of other people
  • They are constantly worried about making their partner angry
  • They make excuses for their partner’s behavior
  • Their partner is extremely jealous or possessive
  • They have unexplained marks or injuries
  • They’ve stopped spending time with friends and family
  • They are depressed or anxious, or you notice changes in their personality



No matter what form of abuse you are dealing with, whether it is physical or digital, you deserve better. You are not alone. Last year HOPE helped over 2,000 people find safety, strength, and well-being. We offer a variety of free and confidential services to empower women in Manatee County, FL. We are only a phone call away to bring HOPE to you or someone you know. Reach our 24-hour Help Line at  (941) 755-6805 (V/TTY).

Sip, Shop, and Save Lives!

Sip, Shop, and Save Lives!

We’re counting down the days to Handbags & Happy Hour, on Thursday, October 18, 2018 from 5-7pm at Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club. Handbags & Happy Hour is a fabulous & collaborative event created with our friendly partner agencies, Women’s Resource Center (WRC) and Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, Inc. (SPARCC).

Previously known as “Empower Your Purse,” this event is the same sell-out fundraiser, with even more to love! Join us for an evening of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and the opportunity to purchase new and gently used handbags at our Pop-up Store. Participate in our raffle to win up to 12 fabulous designer handbags, jewelry and accessories!

Please consider bringing a new or gently used purse to donate to women who are working to change their lives at HOPE Family Services, WRC, SPARCC. All proceeds from this event go to programs and services directly benefiting clients from all three partner agencies.

This event helps bring empowerment to thousands of women in our community. Last year alone, WRC had 147 referrals to domestic violence agency community partners and SPARCC had 113 referrals to WRC. Also, more than 10% of HOPE clients were also receiving services from the WRC.

Call up your friends and join us for a fantastic evening of sipping, shopping and saving lives! Get your tickets before they’re gone, they’re only $40! 

Purchase tickets now!

 

Many thanks to all for supporting our Back to School Drive!

Many thanks to all for supporting our Back to School Drive!

We are incredibly thankful for everyone who showed their support by donating to our Back to School Supply Drive this month.

Thanks to the giving hearts in our community, we were able to provide nearly 240 children with the needed school supplies to start the school year off right. These donations provided invaluable help to set these young students on the right track to excel in school this year.

With a variety of items donated, from paper & notebooks, to pens & pencils – it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Angels at Work, Girls Night Out Lakewood Ranch, Gator Lounge, Keller Williams on the Water, East Manatee Bulldogs Football/Cheer and Victory Over Violence of FL, Inc. We can’t thank you enough for your support during this supply drive!

Our doors are always open for donations, of all kinds, to help women & families in our community. For a list, please visit the Donations section of our website.

 

All calls to HOPE and services provided by HOPE are confidential. HOPE Family Services is committed to serving people living with disabilities. HOPE is pleased to provide accommodations, including sign interpreters, translation services and alternative formats of printed materials upon request from persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or are living with disabilities.

Outreach Office:

Phone: (941) 747-8499 (V/TTY)
Fax: (941) 749-1796
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mailing Address:

Post Office Box 1624,
Bradenton, FL 34206-1624

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