2020 Lifeline Awards
Thank you to everyone who joined us for our virtual 2020 Lifeline Awards. If you missed itor would like to watch again, click the link below to watch the recording. Watch the Recording!
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Give the Gift of Education
COVID-19 Brings New Barriers to Academic Success Even with the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise, uncertainty about howschools will operate this fall, and the financial burdens of our weakened economy, families across the nation are beginningto prepare for the upcoming school year. The start of the school year traditionally brings new teachers, classroom friends, and new opportunities for academic and extracurricular success, but this school year has a different feel already. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and for many of the families we serve, the anxiety and stress over the looming costs associated with sending a child back to school weigh heavy on them.Our youth and young adults heading back to school need your help now more than ever. According to the National Retail Federation, the average U.S household can expect to spend$789.49per child on back to school essentials this year. If you take into account the hybrid (modified in-person learning mixed with online components) and distance learning models many school districts have proposed, that number can be expected to almost double! Most county schools are not at a 1:1 ratio for devices, so the burden of providing Chromebooks and tablets for online learning will fall back onto the families.The AnnualBackpack Index, performed by Huntington Bank, shows the school supply cost breakdown for elementary, middle, and high school students. For many families the choice may be between paying their rent or purchasing school supplies...and for some families the choice could be between purchasing food and basic needs items or purchasing school supplies. For students from low-income families, having all of the necessary supplies at the beginning of the school year helps to remove barriers to learning and sets them on a level playing field with their peers. Online learning has it's own set of challenges, and we are committed to helping the youth in all of our community-based programs start the year off right. Please join us by donating new Chromebooks, earbuds, backpacks and school essentials, or by hosting your own backpack and school supply drive, now through August 10th. Every donation makes a difference in the lives and education of the youth and young adults we serve! Donate Today
What is LGBTQ+ Pride? Just as one definition of the word implies, for members of the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community, Pride month signifies the “confidence and self-respect as expressed by members of a group, typically one that has been socially marginalized, on the basis of their shared identity, culture, and experience.” In 1969, due to Sodomy Laws, it was a criminal offense to be openly gay in most states. Despite that fact, there were still several bars in New York City that catered primarily to LGBTQ+ clientele. One such bar was the Stonewall Inn. It was owned by the mafia and operated without a liquor license. The Stonewall Inn was often the target of raids and police brutality of its patrons and employees alike. In the early hours of June 28th during a raid on the establishment, plain clothed officers obtained a warrant to investigate the unlawful sale of alcohol on the premises and sparked a six-day confrontation between police and LGBTQ+ protestors. This chain of events, known as The Stonewall Uprising has changed the social landscape of the United States and members of the gay community forever. By sunset on June 28, 1969, thousands of protestors had gathered outside of The Stonewall Inn to support the gay men, lesbians, drag queens, queer youth, transgender and gender non-conforming people whose rights had been denied solely based on their sexual orientation. A movement for LGBTQ+ equality, acceptance, and acknowledgement in mainstream society began at the Stonewall Inn and has continued to this day. Pride celebrates the progress that has been made for LGBTQ+ rights and that love, no matter the parties involved, is love. Since the first Pride March was held in New York City in 1970, communities around the world have designated June as Pride month to celebrate the history, culture, triumphs, and achievements of the LGBTQ+ community. At Lifeline Community Services, it’s important for us to recognize that our connection to the LGBTQ+ community goes beyond just the clients we serve. At our core, we are an organization which thrives upon the power of diversity, and we take great pride in the contributions to our programs from staff members, volunteers, and partners in the LGBTQ+ community. We understand the statistics which show that LGBTQ+ youth and young adults are at a greater risk for homelessness, and human trafficking. Our prevention and intervention programs help to lower these risks and establish self-reliance for LGBTQ+ youth and adults who have experienced trauma from human trafficking, are exiting the foster care system, recovering from addiction, or are in need of treatment for mental health issues. We are a Safe Zone for all. “LGBTQ+ people like myself are very aware of the fact that we live in a heteronormative society and will often choose not to disclose their sexuality at work and hide their private lives from their colleagues due to fear of not being accepted and/or being discriminated against. I have worked for Lifeline Community Services for 5 years and have always felt seen, heard, and supported. Lifeline Community Services has taken a pledge to support their employees irrespective of their gender or sexuality and they have created an inclusive atmosphere, which has provided a safe space for me to be ME. I don’t have to hide who I am”. -Kristen Carvajal-Witek, LifeSpring Program Manager “I’m proud to work for Lifeline and Project LIFE as a queer, non-binary staff member as we work to help LGBTQIA+ folx recover from trafficking and exploitation. I’m proud to work for an agency that values my identities and community”. – Kathleen Thomas, Project LIFE Clinical Training Coordinator “I heard about the drop-in center and needed help, but was scared to come in because of the way I look. I am a trans woman and I experience so many people who treat me different because of the way I look. I saw the sign on the door with the rainbow and that was a relief. I walked in and everyone there was so nice and welcoming. I feel comfortable in the house and they help me a lot” – The House Drop-in center youth Despite the impact of COVID-19 affecting every demographic worldwide and a time of palpable civil unrest, we are reminded of the origins of Pride month. A painful beginning and decades of trials have brought noticeable progress for the LGBTQ+ community, but we understand that there is still progress to be made. This June 28, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of annual Pride traditions, and we hope you will join with us in celebrating this day! The number of large, in-person events is limited this year due to COVID-19, but there are still celebrations happening online throughout the world. San Diego Pride Month is in full swing with educational, celebratory, and fitness events taking place well beyond June. Lifeline Community Services joins our community partners in support and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. We will continue to lend our voice and services to educate our staff, volunteers, and stakeholders on LGBTQ+ issues. The only acceptable outcome is that love wins!
Congratulations Class of 2020
What is Juneteenth?
Over the past few weeks, Lifeline has joined with thousands of companies and community based organizations around the world to stand in solidarity with the black community. Internally we’ve begun the discussion about what that actually means, and what our actions should be beyond just words. Laying the groundwork for change is not a simple fix, but Lifeline Community Services has a strong and sincere desire to be a part of the emerging solutions. For starters, we’ve had to recognize that there’s a lot about black history that we do not know. We’re taking this opportunity to educate ourselves, and along the way we want to share what we’ve learned with our supporters and community partners. What is Juneteenth? Though recognized in 47 out of 50 states, the history and meaning behind this day has only been informally lauded since its inception. Our own Executive Director comes from Galveston, Texas - the city of Juneteenth’s origin, and he has acknowledged not carrying its recognition with him as he moved across the country. And now, we at Lifeline, have taken the opportunity to learn more and share why everyone seems to be talking about Juneteenth right now? June 19th, or Juneteenth, marks the day hailed by many as the official ending of slavery in the United States and has been celebrated by diverse communities nationwide every year since 1866 on June 19th. We’ve searched the internet and talked to staff who are knowledgeable about Juneteenth, and here’s what we found: The Emancipation Proclamation marked the official beginning of freedom, but NOT the end of slavery for most enslaved African Americans throughout the country. When Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, thousands of slaves were freed each day, yet it was almost two and a half years before all slaves in the nation were informed of the order. On June 19, 1865, over two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to the Union army at the Appomattox Court House, Maj. General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops were sent into Galveston, Texas. The first of his duties was to announce General Order No. 3 which read: “The people are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and of property, between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor: The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes, and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” The slaves in Galveston, and in fact, most of Texas, were the last to be informed of their freedom, as it had seen very little of the Civil War embattlement. It was one of the few states who’s slaveholders held on to the practice of slavery for several more months beyond June 19, 1865. Once the 13th Amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865, close to 4 million enslaved African Americans officially claimed the legal right to live as free men and women. However, that freedom continued to be a hard fought battle for many – with legalized slavery giving way to racial injustices against black people continuing throughout the country to this day. Jim Crow laws, lynching, unequal access to fair housing, vast educational disparities, and denial of voting rights replaced legalized slavery for many African Americans. Through all of this though, the hope that accompanied the original Juneteenth celebration has endured for over a century, and that is why we’re talking about it now – when hope is needed in this country more than ever before. Since 1866, June 19th has been a day of celebration, recognition, and reflection for not only black communities, but for people of every color across the country. And we need more participation in that celebration and hope from all Americans. We simply cannot accept the stains of our country’s past without vowing to be a tool for its rebuilding. Lifeline Community Services is now, and has always been an advocate for all people – including black, indigenous, people of color, people at-risk, and people in need of assistance on their road to self-reliance. But we still recognize that there is more we can do to support the black community and be a balm for the souls of those who need to heal. This is a part of our journey to advocate for and create meaningful change. For us, Juneteenth is a vehicle for conversations about the bigger picture and the questions that remain unanswered. Where do we go from here as a country? What can we do to affect change in our own community? Where do we start? We start here! We can assure you that our words are not empty and our support is not in vain. As individuals, as an agency, and as a voice in our community…together we will rise!
Lifeline Stands With the Black Community - A Letter From Don Stump
Dear Lifeliners, My heart has been troubled over the last week, and I have been struggling with what to say and who to say it to.With the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, we are again faced with the institutional racism and bias that has persisted in our country for decades.We are at a tipping point. Those of you who know me well, know I am a do-er. In my 30 years working in social services in community based organizations, I have served and been part of making changes in the system locally in which you now work, as supporters and advocates for children, youth, and families impacted by institutional racism and disproportionality. Thinking about this has also made me reflect on and remember the fact that our Lifeline team is already doing a lot—and has been for more than 45 years. Our juvenile diversion, Community Assessment Team, and Alternatives to Detention programs represent 20 years of community based advocacy to develop services in community, closest to where the youth and families live, to intervene on risks that might disproportionately place young men and women of color in the criminal justice system. And we have been successful. Over the last 10 years the County has closed two juvenile lock-up facilities and its Juvenile Hall only operates at one-third its capacity. This is good. This is you and your work. We have made things better—but it is not enough. There is still disproportionality. The Community Services for Families program where we partner with Child Welfare Services was designed by a community team 20 years ago, also to address children of color being disproportionally removed from their homes in this County. This, as part of an array of interventions, has worked well over 15 years, resulting in less than a third of families being separated through “out of home placement”than were in the mid-90s. And we continue to advocate for the resources to serve more prevention and community referred families in that program to have a bigger impact. This is good and I honor and support the work that you all do to create this outcome for families. But again, as we all know, it is not enough. So we need to do more. I am reaching out to leaders in the community, elected officials, partner organizations, and to you to figure out how we can do even more. I know you are feeling exhausted in this COVID-19 world and are now having complex feelings about what is happening to our family, friends, and clients in the community. Lean on each other for support and let’s all be patient with each other and our clients as we continue to feel our feelings and process the events we witness.We are listening. And both your program leaders and the Cultural Competence Committee are open and listening and looking for ways that we can do more to help our community as Lifeliners. I welcome your thoughts and ideas. Be well and be safe. Don
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Lifeline Community Services’sBehavioral Health programswork with youth and adults who are struggling with mental health issues, emotional trauma, substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide. Individuals who come to Lifeline for help are often diagnosed with anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, oppositional disorder, eating disorders, and autism. Lifeline’s Behavioral Health programs include aSchool-Based Mental Health Full Service Partnership; the adult substance abuse program,Recovery for Life; and the teen suicide prevention programHERE Now(Helping, Engaging, Reconnecting, and Educating Now). Nearly 450 million people worldwide are currently living with a mental illness, yet almosttwo thirds of people with a known mental illness never seek treatment. Like cancer and diabetes, mental health is a disease that can be treated, and shouldn't be ignored. One way to help break the cycle of stigma and negativity surrounding mental health illnesses is to talk about it openly, and encourage others to do so as well.#breakthestigma During the month of May you can join us in our ongoing work in the mental health movement by taking ourMatching Maygiving challenge!
LifeSpring Volunteer Spotlight
In honor of National Foster Care Month, we are highlighting a volunteer at The House Drop-in Center, which serves former foster youth and youth and young adults experiencing homelessness through our partnership with Just in Time. Allie shares that "the most rewarding part of volunteering is the people that I’ve gotten to meet. The staff and participants are all such wonderful people and I’ve learned a ton about all the work that goes on, especially behind the scenes." "Allie was constantly having positive interactions with youth and their children and was a warm face for those first entering into the space. She went above and beyond to assist in daily functionality within the Drop-in Center.”- Katie Ramos, LifeSpring Program Coordinator Thank you for your dedication to the community, Allie! To join Allie in her support of the youth and young adults in the LifeSpring program, you can take our Matching May Challenge.Donations made in May will be matched dollar for dollar by the David C. Copley Foundation to support homeless and foster youth and young adults.