What would a world without violence look like? I encourage you to take a minute, close your eyes, and try to imagine it.
Now I’ll share with you what I see.
Instead of abuse, I see consistent early education and parental support for all children in their formative first five years.
Instead of the fear of sexual exploitation, I see young people who feel free and safe to explore the world and dream of what they will become.
Instead of violence in the home, I see loving and peaceful relationships built on a foundation of trust and compromise.
Instead of sexual violence and harassment, I see relationships rooted in equality that always include affirmative consent, mutual respect, and active communication.
Instead of poverty, I see enough. Enough for everyone. Enough income to feed one’s family. Enough income to provide shelter for one’s family. Shelter that is safe and affordable.
Instead of racism and injustice, I see a place where all people, especially those whom we have historically marginalized— Black people, women and girls of color, LGBTQIA people, and immigrants throughout our community – have the freedom to live safe, healthy, joyful lives as equal members of our collective family. Where diversity is seen not as something that divides us but as that which makes us stronger in every step we take together as a community.
At Family Services, our people, our purpose, and our passion weave together the possibility that we can create this future for our Tulare County community.
Whether you’re a client, a member of our staff, a volunteer, a donor, or a community partner, you contribute greatly to our Tulare County community experiencing less violence and trauma, and becoming one of greater openness, kindness, strength, and resiliency. Read on to learn some of the ways this is happening. Thank you for helping us to do more than just imagine.
Caity Meader, Chief Executive Officer
When you meet Tanya, a resident in Family Services’ Permanent Supportive Housing program, the first thing you’ll notice is her bright smile. And when you hear her story, you can appreciate just how much that smile means after everything she’s been through.
Tanya was emotionally and sexually abused throughout her childhood, and as she began to form relationships of her own as a teenager and into adulthood, she accepted further abuse from men, including the father of her children. To numb the out of control feelings that came with the complex trauma, Tanya started using drugs.
“When I first started using, everything felt better,” said Tanya. “But drugs fool you, rule you, then destroy you. And that’s what happened to me.”
When my wife passed away in 2013 I lost everything. It was an extremely hard time in my life, and though I understand now that I was trying to fill a void, then I just thought I was helping a family friend who was also experiencing hard times. It took me four years to realize I was in an abusive relationship with this person. It was like quicksand, I felt like there was no way out.
As a man, it was very difficult for me to come forward and ask for help. Society tells us that we are supposed to be strong. There is stigma and shame around men who are abused. It took me countless attempts to get out of this abusive situation. I was able to leave my abuser for good with the help of Family Services and many different agencies within Tulare County.
Clients who stay at Karen's House, Family Services' emergency domestic violence shelter, fill out a survey when they complete their time with us and move to a different home. Here's what a few of them said in 2019:
Our work is broad, but the common thread that ties together everything we do is safety. We help people establish physical and emotional safety, so they can heal from violence and thrive in healthy relationships. And when we have safe homes, safe relationships, and safe children, we have a safer community where everyone can thrive.
Emergency shelter and transitional housing for domestic violence survivors and their children; supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals and families; all with wrap-around services and child advocacy. Learn more.
Affordable or no-cost counseling; comprehensive services for survivors of sexual assault, rape, human trafficking, and abuse in later life; and prevention and intervention projects that address root causes of violence to build a violence-free future. Learn more.
No-cost counseling for children who have been exposed to violence or abuse; evidence based parenting programs designed to keep kids safe; supervised visitation services; and a resource center serving families in Goshen. Learn more.
They're advocates. Case managers. Educators. Preventionists. Therapists. Listeners. Encouragers. Entire support systems. None of Family Services' work would be possible without our team of dedicated employees. We asked members of our team to share their "why"-- the reason they do this work. Here's what a few of them said:
Dozens of volunteers give of their time and energy to help Family Services be there for our community. Total volunteer hours for 2019 added up to the equivalent of more than 10 full time employees.
Diana (left) and Ghalia (right) are both volunteers with the Goshen Family Center, and were recognized during 2019 as Volunteers of the Month. Diana has volunteered for a little over 3 years and has helped in many different ways, from clerical assistance to interpreting for our Spanish-speaking clients. She has been a big help with the monthly food distribution at the Center and is always seeking opportunities to help.
Ghalia started volunteering in October 2018 as a College of the Sequoias Work Study student. She gained experience by accompanying Parent Educators to their In-Home Parenting visits and volunteering at the Goshen Family Center. She was instrumental in organizing the clothing closet and played a major role in planning the Goshen Community Carnival. During her time as a volunteer she became known for her work ethic and enthusiasm to work on any assignment that came her way.
Ghalia says of her time at Family Services, “I volunteer because it's the least I could do for my community. FSTC offers so many services to the Central Valley. I am lucky to be associated with an amazing agency!”
Hundreds of people, businesses, and organizations donate to Family Services every year. Whether through sponsoring or attending the Guest Chef Series or the Purple Party, purchasing a chrysanthemum plant during our annual mum sale, mailing in a check or donating online, creating a birthday fundraiser on Facebook, planning an event or donation drive to support Family Services, or sponsoring a meal at Karen's House, we feel the generosity of our community every day.
Because of you, Family Services is a safe place for anyone in Tulare County who needs us– to provide hope, healing and safety. When you invest in the work of Family Services, this is the community that you are creating.
Because of you, our team can touch the lives of thousands— a domestic violence survivor fleeing a dangerous home in the middle of the night, a child learning new coping skills to break the generational cycle of violence, a homeless neighbor sleeping in a safe bed for the first time in years, a parent re-establishing a relationship with a child after years of drug abuse.
Because of you, we are reducing the amount of violence and trauma in Tulare County and actively building a community of greater safety, strength, and resiliency.
Thank you for your support!
Click here to view our audit for fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.
Click here to view our Form 990 for fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.
Click here to view a list of major public funders for 2019.
Click here to view our list of donors for calendar year 2019.
The work that supports children, adults, and families in Tulare County as they heal from violence is possible through the generous donations of caring community members like you. With your help, Family Services can build safety in homes, in relationships, and for children. Please consider a donation and help us create a safer community, where everyone can thrive.