Valley Crisis Center’s Peace for Families Event 2018

Merced Peace for Family’s Mach and Community Gathering Oct 4th 2018

This was my first time helping officially with the Peace for Families March and I wanted to feature a new location to start the March.  We normally started at the County Courthouse Park and March to a venue downtown.  I felt that it was a bit short and wanted to stretch out the distance a bit plus the fountain is one of my favorite photo ops in town.  I wanted to invite people to a new spot they might have only drove past rushing down M St.  Today they took the time to see Merced and spread awareness about Domestic Violence.

The march participants arrived at the city hall at 6:00 Pm, where they were met by community resources and refreshments.

Man, I worked up a sweat trying to capture the video and photos of our March.  They were loud from the very start with the chant. “There is no excuse for domestic abuse, Stop the violence. “  We had around 50 participants in the march and about 100 total people at the community gathering held at the Civic Center.  The Mayor and a survivor spoke to the crowd.  Hotdogs were sponsored from the Merced Breakfast Lions.

Los Banos Peace for Family’s Mach and Community Gathering Oct 16th 2018

This was my first time working with Los Banos Chief of police Gary Breeze.   The Police department was a huge partner in this event.  The Chief started up the march with opening remarks and then we proceeded to march to the community Center where the Mayor opened up the evening with heartfelt words of encouragement followed by testimony from a survivor of Domestic Violence.   District Attorney Kimberly Helms Lewis also spoke on the DA’s trust and support for Valley Crisis Center and the work we provide to Merced County.  Hotdogs were sponsored from Los Banos Soroptimist.

I want to thank those who attended and support either event and I hope to see you next year!

~Robert, Volunteer Specialist

 

REACHING THE API COMMUNITY IN MERCED AND MARIPOSA

Under the umbrella of Alliance for Community Transformations, Valley Crisis Center and Mountain Crisis Services work in collaboration with their communities to prevent domestic violence and sexual violence by advocating for positive changes in the lives of individuals and our community as a whole. Over the past several years, both agencies have been working to address issues related to Asian and Pacific Islander cultural competency.

 

Valley Crisis Center is proud to be located in Merced County since June, 2008. Since we opened our doors we have been extremely successful in serving victims, honoring diversity, and growing into a program that truly meets the needs of this community. Valley Crisis Center strives to foster a better understanding of domestic and sexual violence through community education while providing culturally diverse direct services that empower all victims of abuse. Valley Crisis Center initially started with one Program Director and six advocates. Six months later we hired an API Advocate due to the population of API services needed in Merced County. One of the ways Valley Crisis Center is succeeding, in relation to API cultural competency, is through offering a Hmong Children’s Group, Tso Siab. Participants in the group are aged 3-13 and they meet monthly to learn about Hmong culture, history, cooking, dance and art. Valley Crisis Center has a diverse staff and offers several bilingual services. Our 24 hour crisis hotlineis available 209-722-HELP (4357).

 

Mountain Crisis Services was founded in 1990 by a small group of community members who were concerned about the growing problem of Domestic Violence in Mariposa County. Our mission is to reduce the incidences of domestic violence and sexual assault by increasing awareness in the community and by providing professional and compassionate services to survivors. Mountain Crisis Services provides assistance with legal advocacy, peer counseling, case management, prevention programs, a confidential safe house, and transitional housing. Mountain Crisis Services has a 24 hour crisis hotline for victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and offers bilingual services. One of the ways the agency is growing in relation to API cultural competency is by offering cultural competency training to all staff and volunteers. By bringing awareness to and inspiring action within our community regarding the challenges and barriers that API individuals sometimes face, we continue to embrace our values of equality and respect for all.

NEXT GENERATION

CHAN is an interagency network created by Pana Lee of Valley Crisis Center and Sitra from My Sister’s House, in order to provide a safe place for Hmong advocates to meet on a quarterly bases. CHAN has now grown to as many as 6 advocates in California. The purpose of CHAN is to allow a space where we can encourage, inspire and provide culturally relevant information to one another to better serve our community.

Valley Crisis Center recognizes the need for the Hmong children to have a safe place to talk about healthy lifestyles among an environment free of violence. The goal of “Tso Siab” is to educate the children about their culture, including Hmong dance, their language, gender equality and much more. It is our mission to serve the Hmong community while respecting their cultural identity. Currently “Tso Siab” has as many as 20 children attending our groups, and most recently the group performed a traditional dance they learned for the Hmong New Celebration and community fundraising events.

Recently Valley Crisis Center has incorporated a male Hmong advocate. Cha works closely with the volunteers in our agency as well as helps facilitate Tso Siab children’s group. The work of an advocate is important to Cha because of his life experiences of a culture where sexism and polygamy was socially acceptable. He explains growing up in a traditional society women were seen as property and not as individuals, which adversely affected his mother her entire life. The children’s group is extremely important to him because he wants help shape the future of the Hmong community through education and encourage young people to be aware of domestic violence and sexual assault.

December 18th through the 20th Merced hosted the Hmong New Year Celebration. This is a time for the Hmong people to come together and celebrate the beautiful traditions of their culture. Merced expected a large showing including many people from out of town.  Advocates of Valley Crisis Center tabled the event all three days to encourage stronger ties to the people, including advocates who were not Hmong but wanted to learn more about the culture. During our tabling event we spoke with many families to provide them information of our services emphasizing “Tso Siab”.

INSPPIRE Los Banos News: New Advocate!

Valley Crisis Center is pleased to announce we will now have an advocate on the Merced College Los Banos campus 2 days a week. Our advocate will provide crisis intervention to and counseling services to students, faculty and staff. Another role of the advocate will be to provide support services to the Rape Prevention Education program INSPPIRE. INSPPIRE has done outreach to around 10 different classrooms with around 200 students hearing our presentations. We have provided resources for them when they are on and off campus and hope to continue doing so until all students have had the opportunity to learn about domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking and ways to help reduce the occurrence of such acts. We hope through collaboration of Merced College and VCC to provide the West side community with services they have had limited access to, and continue to help keep our community safe and free from violence.

Hairspray Fundraising Event

Valley Crisis Center put on a fundraising event full of fun and excitement. There was wine and chocolate, what better combination right? Aside from the good refreshments the show was amazing. Hats off to the cast who represented Hairspray, with a great performance. Also a big thank you to the community who contributed to Valley Crisis Center’s cause. The turnout was great and the contributions were too. The proceeds went back to the community to help survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. We appreciate all of you who supported the event and we look forward to next year.

We would like to thank our sponsors and donors: A Blooming Affair, Aloha Floral & Gifts, Assembly Member Adam Gray, Costco, F&M Bank, Lee’s Community Food Market of Merced, Lori & Mike Gallo, Merced Irrigation District, Oak Ridge Winery, Raley’s, and St. John’s Lutheran Women of Los Banos.

 

Teen Dating Awareness Event

Teen Dating Awareness Month

February 2016

As you may or may not know, February is Teen Dating Awareness Month, and Valley Crisis Center proudly put on a teen event February 23rd 2016 at city hall. At the event there were many community partners to share their resources. The event was led by UC Merced CARE Program Coordinator Taylor, and her student intern Irais, who did a great job talking about the 3 D’s. The 3 D’s are Distract, Delegate, and Direct. These are ways we can help to dissolve a potential domestic violence or sexual assault. Statistics have proven that violence is a learned behavior and can affect how a person perceives life in their future, which is why it is very important to reach teens where they are at now. At the event Captain West was a huge help in interacting with the crowd by reading scenarios and teaching a different way to approach the situation. A big thanks goes out to all the community members who attended the event and helped get the community informed. We would like to remind everyone about Teen group at Valley Crisis Center, it is held every Wednesday at 3:30 pm until 4:30 pm and is available to teens ages 13 to 17, no appointment needed. We talk about teen dating and how to be safe, refreshments are provided and everything is kept confidential. Hope to see some new faces.

 

 

Ally Silva

My name is Ally Silva, and I will be receiving my Master’s degree in Social Work through the University of Southern California. I have spent the last year as a student intern at Valley Crisis Center, and it has been the most rewarding experience I could have asked for in an internship. The staff at Valley Crisis Center is a group of the most passionate and empathetic people I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and I am privileged to have been a part of this team.

My passion for domestic violence prevention stems from a college relationship in which I was emotionally and verbally abused on a daily basis by a boyfriend who was showing signs of becoming physically abusive as well. Like many survivors, I did not realize at the time that I was experiencing abuse. After I “freed” myself from this relationship, it took me many years to admit I was depressed and that I needed help. I sought counseling, which truly helped me. From then on, I realized I wanted to focus my career goals on helping to empower and strengthen survivors of domestic violence.

When USC contacted me regarding a field placement interview with Valley Crisis Center, I was ecstatic. It was the kind of organization I had hoped to obtain placement with, and I was going to have the opportunity to provide counseling to survivors of such traumas.

Through Valley Crisis Center, I had the opportunity to be trained in sexual assault prevention advocacy. I was also able to participate in Domestic Violence Awareness Month and VCC’s Peace for Families event as well as An Evening with Gatsby, an amazing fundraising event in which the staff dressed the part in flapper costumes galore. I have participated in presentations throughout the Merced community, tabled at various events, and I am participating in my very first Denim Day this year.

Most importantly, I have genuinely enjoyed being a peer counselor and implementing the tools and training that VCC and USC have provided me with. Seeing individuals transform from feelings of hopelessness to empowerment is one of the most rewarding experiences. Throughout this entire year, I have seen the impact that Valley Crisis Center has on this community, and I could not be prouder to have been blessed with such a great field placement to finish my graduate studies with.

To the team at Valley Crisis Center and Alliance for Community Transformations, thank you from the bottom of my heart for this amazing opportunity. I will truly miss all of you.

An Intern’s Experience:

My name is Ally, and I will be receiving my Master’s degree in Social Work through the University of Southern California. I have spent the last year as a student intern at Valley Crisis Center, and it has been the most rewarding experience I could have asked for in an internship. The staff at Valley Crisis Center is a group of the most passionate and empathetic people I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and I am privileged to have been a part of this team.

My passion for domestic violence prevention stems from a college relationship in which I was emotionally and verbally abused on a daily basis by a boyfriend who was showing signs of becoming physically abusive as well. Like many survivors, I did not realize at the time that I was experiencing abuse. After I “freed” myself from this relationship, it took me many years to admit I was depressed and that I needed help. I sought counseling, which truly helped me. From then on, I realized I wanted to focus my career goals on helping to empower and strengthen survivors of domestic violence.

When USC contacted me regarding a field placement interview with Valley Crisis Center, I was ecstatic. It was the kind of organization I had hoped to obtain placement with, and I was going to have the opportunity to provide counseling to survivors of such traumas.

Through Valley Crisis Center, I had the opportunity to be trained in sexual assault prevention advocacy. I was also able to participate in Domestic Violence Awareness Month and VCC’s Peace for Families event as well as An Evening with Gatsby, an amazing fundraising event in which the staff dressed the part in flapper costumes galore. I have participated in presentations throughout the Merced community, tabled at various events, and I am participating in my very first Denim Day this year.

Most importantly, I have genuinely enjoyed being a peer counselor and implementing the tools and training that VCC and USC have provided me with. Seeing individuals transform from feelings of hopelessness to empowerment is one of the most rewarding experiences. Throughout this entire year, I have seen the impact that Valley Crisis Center has on this community, and I could not be prouder to have been blessed with such a great field placement to finish my graduate studies with.

To the team at Valley Crisis Center and Alliance for Community Transformations, thank you from the bottom of my heart for this amazing opportunity. I will truly miss all of you.

Valley Crisis Center’s Groups

Valley Crisis Center is continuing to grow its support groups for both domestic violence and its children’s group as well. We are hoping to also grow our sexual assault support groups and teen group. All the groups are offered weekly and provide information on how to stay safe when dealing with abusive relationships. The DV and SA groups are offered in both English and Spanish and are offered in Los Banos and Merced. Children’s group is also offered in both Los Banos and Merced but only in English. Teen group is offered in Merced at our office and also at Golden Valley High school for their students while school is in session, but also only in English. These groups are very helpful for survivors of DV and SA as they offer support from other survivors and can be beneficial in learning about healthy relationships. Each group has a 14 week curriculum and once completed each participant will receive a certificate of completion. Children’s group is for children ages 5-12 and we do many different activities like art, reading, and games, all surrounding healthy attitudes and non-violent environments.  If you have any questions on time and dates for the groups please contact our office and we will be happy to assist you.

–          VCC Counselor

June’s API Next Generation Blog

 

API Next Generation

June 2016

The family mentioned in this passage fled from a Domestic Violence incident and was referred to our Safe House Program by Valley Crisis Center (VCC) for safety reasons. They have received support from Mariposa Crisis Services (MCS) since early 2016. This is an API family made up of a Mom and several Children. Mom is considered a young adult and her husband was much older than her. Due to years of abuse and isolation, Mom had no extended family or community support.

During their stay at our Safe House Program VCC Advocates continued to support the family by shopping at local API stores, so the family could continue with familiar foods from their community. Every Wednesday night the Safe House residents would cook and have dinner together. Mom enjoyed cooking and sharing food from her cultural background. She would often introduce roommates and Safe House staffs to home-made API dishes. She gladly taught others who were interested, how to prepare their delightful dishes.

During the families stay the oldest daughter who was a teenager took over complete care of the children’s needs. She was very patient, empathetic and practiced a lot of conflict resolution. Her responsibility is indicative of the API culture, which some staff was not accustomed to.

Even though they were hiding in Mariposa, Mom was able to work with Merced’s Human Services Agency to find housing. This task was sometimes difficult with a $30 charge for background checks (sometimes four in a day). She also worked with Victim Witness in Mariposa County who collaborated with their sister agency in Merced County with the clients best interest at heart.

When Mom needed to see her Doctor (of over 10 years) in Merced County, the Doctor did not want to see her. Her Doctor was afraid of the repercussions from her extended family, as the API community in Merced is relatively small and well connected. She told her Doctor that refusing service was against the law; she had been referred to an attorney and was given that information. The Doctor made accommodations to see her privately and provided her with the care she needed.

The Human Services Agency (HSA) wanted to ensure the family to have a house that fit their needs. Mom found a house to rent in and HSA assisted with the security deposit, first month’s rent and PG&E. Moving forward this HSA program will then continue ongoing through a special grant.

To accommodate the family’s search for housing, their stay with us was extended to 3 months.

This family’s experience showcased the prospect of how community accountability works in bridging partnership, especially between two different counties with several social agencies—whose common goal is to assist those suffering from violence. This also has given both MCS and VCC an opportunity to help bring domestic violence and sexual assault awareness to local health care and social services providers, in providing more culturally sensitive services.