How do you communicate and express your love to the people in your life? We communicate with people every day through our words and actions. Sometimes inconsistencies create confusion in the people we care about and this is almost always unintentional. If we tell a child that we love them and would do anything for them, then tell them they cannot have chocolate cake for breakfast, that can be confusing. Of course our intentions are clear to us, but frequently children struggle with understanding these inconsistencies.
I spoke with a parent who was upset that their child is gay. The parent grounded the teen and took their phone away. The parent told me that they did not believe their child was gay but that they were just trying to fit in with their friends. The parent also felt that if their teen were gay, they would be subject to bullying and harassment at school. They were concerned that this would have negative long term impacts on the life of the teen. They believed that by preventing their child from being gay, they were in fact helping them. The parent told me that they loved their child and only wanted what was best for them.
I explained that sexuality is not a choice, just as height and hair color are not choices. Unfortunately, 40% of youth who identify as gay or bisexual report they have seriously considered suicide. These youth are 4x more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual youth. For those who who have not seriously considered suicide, the support of a loving parent was listed as one of the major factors. Young people need a loving and accepting parent more than anything else. While not all parts of society have fully accepted sexuality, a home should always be a place that is filled with acceptance and love.
The best way to love your child is to accept them for who they are. We all need someone to love and support us, especially children.
In honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, Hope House wanted to share what our participants think about the topic of love. When asked how they defined love our participant Sherri said that love encompassed many things, she said she found love in family and friends, it meant being compassionate and forgiving and that true love would make you feel a sense of support no matter what situation you were in.
Our participants were also asked how they show and share love with others in their life, Laney stated that she shows love by reminding the people in her life that she is thankful for them, Lupe says, “It’s important to remember we are all only human, that we come with flaws, I think one of the best ways to show love is by learning and growing together and being patient with one another”.
The last question we asked was how they practice self-love, Lupe started by saying she avoids things that do not serve her mentally, physically, and emotionally and focuses on the things that matter to her such as making new memories with her kids and engaging in her hobbies. Laney stated she sees self-love as rejuvenation, so she remembers to enjoy trips to the beach when she can and makes time to pray and reflect.
Hope House and our participants want to serve as a reminder to take a second to stop and appreciate the love in your lives because love comes from not only the people around us but within ourselves and can be expressed and felt in infinite ways
During National Human Trafficking Month, the Open Door facilitated and was a part of over eight community trainings and partnerships. The Open Door’s Community Engagement Manager was a part of the expert panel alongside District Attorney Jason Anderson, Sheriff’s Department, Angel Magallanes with C.A.S.E. and human trafficking survivor and pioneer Rachel Thomas, for San Bernardino County Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s screening event of the film California’s Forgotten Children. In addition, The Open Door supported the San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force in their Reclaim and Rebuild operations throughout the County of San Bernardino and aided in the rescue of over 20 victims.
The Open Door wants to thank the City of Rancho Cucamonga, The City of Redlands & The City of Chino for providing The Open Door with proclamations of National Human Trafficking Month. As well as the County of San Bernardino Board of Supervisors for providing us a Certificate of Recognition for National Human Trafficking Month. We are grateful for the support of our community members as we push to fight human trafficking in San Bernardino County.
Open Door continues to help victims of human trafficking who need to flee imminent danger at our HT shelter. Since opening at the beginning of January, we have assisted 12 victims. Our goals are safety first, increasing access to available services, and housing stability. Our participants can use the shelter as a place to heal and access coordinated care and services such as medical and mental health appointments and referrals to longer term housing. Our case managers work with each participant in finding the best choice for housing after leaving the shelter. Our 24-hour staffing allows for round the clock care and an empathic person to speak to at any hour.
If you are interested in volunteering with us, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org We’d love to have someone with skills such as cooking classes, finance 101 class, art classes, and a yoga or meditation class.
We serviced 614 individuals for January and provided clothing to 112 individuals during our weekly hygiene and clothing giveaway. We assisted 70 individuals with replacement ID vouchers so they can obtain their ID’s. We offered 67 bus passes to individuals to attend their court hearings, job interviews, and appointments. Jobi has been assisting individuals with Covered CA health insurance identity verification and referrals. Eight class participants have received a certificate of completion for participating in anger management and parenting classes. As we transitioned our classes to Zoom, last year, due to the pandemic, we’ve continued to have many individuals register for classes and continue attending even after receiving a certificate of completion. Ahea, our class facilitator, has received feedback from some of our class participants.
· Mr. Davila completed Spanish parenting classes and mentioned that attending classes has helped him change his parenting style. He also recently attended court and now shares 50/50 custody of his 6-year-old son. He’s very happy for everything he has been able to accomplish and is thankful for the Family Assistance Program.
· Mr. Crawford has been attending parenting, anger management, and domestic violence support groups for seven months with us. He has completed each class and support group and continues to attend all classes. He mentioned he looks forward to attending class as it helps him learn and understand how to be a better parent.
· Mr. Madrigal completed Spanish parenting and Spanish anger management. He continues to attend after six months. He shared that his interest in attending is because he notices that the classes have helped him with his parenting. He mentioned that he’s recognized his growth and looks forward to continue learning. He shared that he doesn’t feel alone going through the complicated process of child custody and parenting. He expressed that the class holds a space where he can learn from others and share his experiences.
We had a great day of community outreach, which we shared with some two of our other program, the Fam Spot 2 in Yucca Valley and My Place in Victorville. We all came together Saturday at Open Arms to administer resource guides, hygiene kits, and backpacks with food for the youth in San Bernardino. We handed out 50 kits and spent several hours together out in the community spreading some love and hope in times when it is needed most. We will continue to offer these outreach services and are currently in need of hygiene donations as well as snack and food donations. Please direct any questions to our Outreach Coordinator Chloe at email@example.com
This past week the Youth Advisory Boad (YAB) had the pleasure of hosting newly elected California Assembly member Thurston “Smitty” Smith from the 33rd Assembly district. He attended our weekly Youth Advisory Board meeting and spoke with our young people about a variety of topics. Much of the conversation was centered around the importance of perseverance and resiliency. As well as the growing need for young people to use their voice when it comes to voting and policy in general. The youth asked questions about the Assemblymember’s policies and shared their own stories of resiliency as well. We look forward to more meetings with our elected officials in the near future as they are on the schedule. As always any questions in regards to our Youth Advisory Board can be directed to Levi at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to congratulate two more participants who have achieved employment! With the daily struggles that our participants have and the added stress of the pandemic, it can be hard to find the motivation and the drive to get things done. This is true for people from all walks of life. With encouragement, empathy, and understanding, our participants can find their own purpose and motivation to complete their goals. We strive to meet our participants where they’re at in life and are happy for these successes. In addition, we had one participant sign up for therapy this week.
Next Step is continuing to do all that we can to find ways to better serve our participants. Next Step aims to work with our participants and reduce recidivism and homelessness. We do this by assessing their risks and needs and by using those assessments along with the participants’ wants to make a plan. We take their strengths, personalities, learning styles into consideration and listen when they tell us what they feel they need and what they don’t. We are careful not to speak for them, and use skills to help them identify the challenges they are facing and what their expectations are. We want them to be successful and this looks different for everyone. We want them to leave our program feeling empowered and with a sense of pride; that they’re proud of how far they’ve come and ultimately, it was them who did it. We work together and learn from each other to give our participants the service they deserve.
Recently, one of our participants made a powerful statement. She has been through a lot and has had many obstacles that could have been an excuse for her to lose faith and hope. When talking to her case manager, she said that she’s being shown a new way to look at the presenting situations and to trust that something positive will come out of it, even when she can’t see it in front of her. Moments like this inspire us to never lose hope.
The Fam Spot 2 has been doing great and staying safe while we continue to work through the pandemic. We are continuing to do outreach in our community. We are extremely grateful to have pizza donated to the center for Fun Food Friday every week. Our participants enjoy this weekly treat and use it as a time to come together and feel a part of a community. We will continue to help our youth however we can.
We took a trip to San Bernardino this month to help some of our other programs and join them at their outreach event. It went great and all the youth had a great time helping the community. We plan to keep doing these outreach events at some of our other locations. We are looking forward to having some of our other programs spend some time in our Morongo Basin community, as well.
We at My Place are proud of the youth we serve. Not only are they making great progress in their personal goals but they also want to help the community. They have come up with a plan to help the homeless in our community and to start cleaning up the community as we take our weekly walks.
We are teaming up with Levi and his outreach team at our San Bernardino Community Center, Open Arms, to do community outreach throughout our community, Yucca Valley, and San Bernardino. We participated in our first outreach with Levi on January 30th and the youth really enjoyed it. They came back excited and talked about how they made people smile. We look forward to many more outreach days.
As for helping clean up our community, our participants have seen the need to help with the litter and trash problem in the High Desert. The youth have decided that they want to walk different areas, bring trash bags, and pick up trash while we walk. We go out once a week as weather permits.
If you would like to come take a tour of the My Place Youth Shelter please email email@example.com to set up a day and time.
Family Assistance Program envisions a community where each person has a loving, nurturing home life. We provide the tools necessary to create healthy interpersonal relationships, economic empowerment, and stable housing.