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Geographical Isolation and Serving Diverse Populations – Taking on the Challenge

cropped-map-2Tri-Valley Haven is located in Eastern Alameda County, one of the wealthiest and least diverse areas of the county. Geographically isolated from the rest of the county by the Dublin Grade, our shelter population is vastly more diverse than the area in which we are located. Because of this isolation, shelter residents often tell us they feel especially safe from their abusers in the Tri-Valley.

It is an ongoing struggle for us to attract and retain a diverse shelter staff at a nonprofit salary rate that does not support someone who is living alone or a single parent in our immediate service area. Most of our new staff members live out of the area, either “over the hill” in less expensive parts of Alameda County, in the Brentwood/Antioch area or in Stockton. Staff turnover is more frequent than we would like, most often because these staff members find employment closer to home.

obj40-1Despite these challenges, we are pleased that we have been able to increase the diversity of our staff to try to better reflect the population we serve. When we have a job opening, we advertise widely, and share the job listing with statewide coalitions such as CPEDV and CalCASA in order to reach all of our sister organizations.

We have also greatly benefitted from participation in learning collaboratives such as the Fostering Cultural Competency project, funded by Blue Shield. Through this project, we made connections with other organizations outside of our service area that have expertise in working with specific Asian populations who shared information with us and remain a source of support that we can access when working with a client from a culture we are unfamiliar with. We also had the opportunity to learn about more resources in our own community when each agency in the project convened a panel discussion of representatives from local Asian communities to discuss how domestic violence is viewed and addressed within these communities.1

We look forward to participating in the Next Generation project in which we will share  our experiences with other agencies, and further develop our support system .

Vicki Thompson

Director of Domestic Violence Services

Tri-Valley Haven

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Tri-Valley Haven’s Highlights of 2014

Without your generosity, we could not continue to provide vital shelter and support services to women, children and families in need throughout the Tri-Valley area. Every successful program and event at Tri-Valley Haven is made possible thanks to our local community. We are so very grateful for your support.

Before we jump into the New Year, let’s look at some highlights of 2014!

  • 2,600+ calls received on Tri-Valley Haven’s crisis line! That’s almost 10 calls every day, from women, children and families in need.
  • 267 clients served at our Domestic Violence Shelter! With 30 beds, Tri-Valley Haven’s Shiloh Domestic Violence Shelter houses and supports women and their children who are survivors of domestic violence.
  • 245 clients served through our Rape Crisis Center! Survivors of sexual assault receive advocacy and crisis counseling from state-certified advocates through our Rape Crisis Center.
  • 96 clients served at our Homeless Shelter! Sojourner House is the only homeless shelter in the Tri-Valley Area that accepts two-parent families, single fathers with children, and families with teenage boys.
  • 249 clients received counseling at Tri-Valley Haven! Tri-Valley Haven offers counseling and support group services to empower and support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • Almost 30,000 visits to our Food Pantry! Each month, the Tri-Valley Haven Food Pantry distributes free groceries to more than 4,000 low-income Tri-Valley residents.
  • 70+ volunteers trained during this year! No only did we train over 30 new volunteers as crisis line and sexual assault advocates, we also trained volunteers for our food pantry, thrift store and childcare services.
  • 40+ incarcerated survivors served by our Rape Crisis Center! Now incarcerated survivors at Santa Rita Jail and FCI-Dublin are able to contact our 24-hour toll-free crisis line and request advocacy services through our agency.
  • 150+ walkers/runners participated in our annual Pace for Pace event! In the past, Pace for Peace has been a smaller event (averaging about 30 participants a year), so we were floored when over 150 participants signed up to show their support for Tri-Valley Haven.
  • $2,000 raised for Tri-Valley Haven during #GivingTuesday! On December 2nd, our Tri-Valley community joined the new tradition of generosity after Thanksgiving and Black Friday. This was TVH’s first year participating and we received $2,000 in donations!
  • 4,036 individual family members signed up for our annual Holiday Program! With your support, we were able to provide food and gifts to over 900 local families in need this holiday season. Our Tri-Valley community went above and beyond this holiday season.
  • 1 incredibly moving experience at a middle school!  After one of our presentations on healthy relationships and bullying prevention at a local middle school in Livermore, a 12-year-old told our staff that no one had ever talked to them about ways to stay safe and prevent bullying. To thank TVH, the student gave the Preventionist .30¢ as a “a tip.”

With your help, we’ll raise funds to bring hope, healing and safety for women, children and families recovering from domestic violence, sexual assault and homelessness in 2015.

Make your 2014 tax-deductible donation by midnight to help Tri-Valley Haven to meet our fundraising goals this year, to enable our services to continue forward next year.

Together we can build a world without violence!

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Support Local Families this Holiday Season – Donate to Our Holiday Program!

Over 3,000 local families in need received food and gifts through Tri-Valley Haven's Holiday Program last year!Every year, Tri-Valley Haven helps local families in need during the holidays through our Holiday Assistance Program. Families who participate in our annual holiday program are given the opportunity to choose their own gifts, cook their own food and develop their own holiday traditions. Our annual holiday program fosters independence and empowers families who have been affected by homelessness, domestic violence or sexual assault.

Last year we provided food and gifts to over 3,700 individuals in the Tri-Valley region – and this could not have happened without your generous support. Our holiday program relies on donations from community members to be able to provide food and gifts to so many local families. We could not provide this program without the support of the tri-valley community.

Past Holiday WarehouseWe are preparing once again to help local families in need with food and gifts during the Holidays – and we’re asking for your help! We hope we can count on you to once again help make this program a success. We are requesting donations of cash, gift cards, new toys, and gifts for teens, women, men and seniors, to meet the needs of the Tri-Valley community.

If you’re interested in learning more, please click “Read the Full Post” to see our Holiday Wish List below. Please keep in mind that we looking for non-violent toys and gifts. We will not accept guns, knives or other items depicting violence.

Please contact Christine at (925) 667-2707 or Jessie at (925) 667-2727 to arrange your donation or if you have any additional questions.

Thank you for your unwavering support!

 

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Tri-Valley Haven Races Ahead!

20141011_065953The Tri-Valley Haven’s main awareness-and-fundraising event for the month of October was our Pace for Peace, a combination 5k/10k race that left from our very own little cul-de-sac in Livermore near the arroyo and sent our runners and supporters off across a beautiful fall landscape.  The morning was beautiful and clear, the racers enthusiastic, and the air cool.

In previous years, our Pace for Peace had evolved and changed in various ways.  It started as a very small race originating at the HaIMG_2518ven and coupled with an equally small “Family Fair” with some kids activities and other attractions.  Then, for a number of years, we migrated with it to downtown Livermore and began the race in front of the Panama Red Coffee Company – a great independent coffee place that has long been a fabulous supporter of ours.  In conjunction with that move, we got a bit more ambitious and combined our Pace for Peace with a Block Party.

All of these events were successes in their own way.  But this year, we decided to bring the Pace back home to its origin point at Tri-Valley Haven, and poured our effort into just plain making it the best race we’d ever hosted.

IT WORKED.

We had over 155 race participants and together they, and the people who pledged to support them, raised $12,000 for Tri-Valley Haven’s services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and homelessness.

20141011_072457Work on setting up began before the sun had fully risen – putting out the EZ Ups, getting water and snacks ready – and the all-important balloon arch!

The more people arrived to pick up their runner-numbers or register for the race, the more excited we volunteers and staff became!  We could tell this was shaping up to be our biggest race ever.  And the people…just kept coming!  T-shirts were distributed, with20141011_073442 the first-place winning design on them created by Inna Goiubchik, an 8th grader at Thomas Hart Middle School in Pleasanton. Her vision of a world family, united in peace, won our hearts and her design was so popular that – for the first time ever – we completely ran out of shirts!

P4PArtwork2014 WinnerNot only was the winning shirt design extremely popular, but we had so many great submissions that it was hard for us to narrow down our choices – as a result, we also had a second place winner and three third-place winners in a close tie.  All the kids and teens who placed in the contest came to the race to receive applause and certificates in recognition and gratitude.

Pace for Peace Race Start

At last, it was time for the opening horn to sound, and the runners were off!  First through were the 10k-ers and fastest racers, followed by a stream of laughing and talking walkers.  It seemed like everybody was in a great mood, and there was a fantastic combination of racing teams – some with hilarious names like “Run to Eat” and people on their own, in pairs, or competing as families.

The race took our supporters out into the beautiful fall air and along arroyos and beside beautiful sycamore trees.  When they came back to Water Table 3the Haven, it was to applause, snacks, awards, and a huge amount of gratitude from us at the Haven.  That $12,000 raised will go toward general funds, which means wherever we have the greatest need in our programs, 20141011_093939that’s where the money will go.  Everybody who participated in the Pace for Peace has guaranteed that life can be a little bit safer, a little bit less hungry, a little bit brighter for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and homelessness in our community.  Thank you, everyone, so much for all you do!

The Longest Night of the Year – National Homeless Persons Memorial Day

169_IreneHomelessIn the midst of gratitude and holiday spirit, we are reminded that there is still so much work left to do and so much change needed in the world.

Tomorrow is National Homeless Persons Memorial Day – a day to remember, honor and mourn our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, cousins and friends who died this year on the streets.  Homeless people die from illnesses that affect everyone, and are frequently without health care. Homeless people die from exposure, unprotected from the heat and cold. Homeless people die from violence, often in unprovoked hate crimes. Health care is a human right. Housing is a human right. Physical safety is a human right. Remember our neighbors and friends who have died without homes. Remember why they died.

December 21st is the first day of winter — the longest night of the year.  Who is outside and without shelter on this night?  The Tri-Valley Haven’s family homeless shelter and food pantry provide resources.

What can you do to help?

You also might ask — this is a blog about ending sexual assault — what do homelessness and National Homeless Persons Memorial Day have to do with sexual assault, or ending it… or this blog, for that matter?

Sadly, a lot.

Homelessness and sexual assault are closely tied to each other for women in particular.  Many scholarly studies have shown the extraordinarily high levels of abuse and victimization that homeless women endure before, during, and after episodes of homelessness.  Here are a few statistics to make you sit back and think – they certainly hit me hard!

  • 92% of homeless mothers have experienced severe physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives, with 43% reporting sexual abuse in childhood and 63% reporting intimate partner violence in adulthood.
  • In another study, 13% of homeless women reported having been raped in the past 12 months and half of these were raped at least twice.
  • Compared to their low-income housed counterparts, the sexual assault experiences of homeless women are more likely to be violent, and to include multiple sexual acts.
  • One study of women seeking help from a rape/sexual assault crisis center found that childhood sexual abuse was reported by 43% of the homeless participants, compared to 24.6% of the housed participants.
  • It is estimated that half of all homeless women and children have become homeless while trying to escape abusive situations.

Oftentimes, we talk about various social problems as unrelated to each other.  We talk about homelessness as a problem.  We talk about sexual assault as a problem.  Or domestic violence.  Or substance abuse.  Or mental health issues.  In reality, these problems are often combined, feeding on each other and tearing at lives, families and hearts in conjunction.  When you see someone who is homeless, you might only be seeing the tip of an iceberg of challenges.

How can you be an involved bystander when it comes to National Homeless Persons Memorial Day? 

Inform yourself about resources in YOUR area.  Is there a shelter?  How about a food pantry?  Free or low-income counseling services?  What is in your community and who is helping?  If you see someone who is homeless and you want to help, what can you give besides spare change?  Maybe one thing you can give is information – directions to the shelter or the food pantry, for instance.  They may already know all about these resources, but maybe they don’t!

Do you hear someone talking about victims of homelessness in a way that is abusive or stereotypes homeless people?  Take the time to let them know the real facts about homelessness.  For a great resource and quick read on the topic, you can take a look at this handout.  It’s aimed at high school students but it’s great for youth, young adult and adults alike!

There are so many ways one can be an involved bystander, actively working to help.  Brainstorm ways you might be able to make a difference this holiday season, and all seasons.

Thank you, and happy holidays!

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