This month we’re featuring our Drug Court AmeriCorps Skill Builder Tony Pisciotta, who shared with us this story of resilience and hope:
On my caseload at Juvenile Probation- Drug Court we have a young girl who is pregnant and She has been working hard and excelling in this drug court program. I had been hearing nothing but good things about this young girl on my drug court caseload. She is 17 on probation and being given a chance to succeed and have a fighting chance at life through this probation program. There is a team of people working for her; a therapist/ clinician, Drug and alcohol counselor, Probation officer and two AmeriCorps servants, a Parent Partner and myself her Skill Builder.
She is very engaging and are blossoming with open-mindedness and willingness. She’s on track to complete the Drug Court program and have been utilizing both myself the skill builder and Angie our Parent Partner. From my first day we have been setting goals and have achieved a few so far. It was a pleasure working with this pregnant young woman and getting to walk alongside her getting registered for college, talking with the Councilors and setting up her education plan and assisting her to complete the financial aid process.
. I was amazed how prepared this young woman was to not only visit the college campus but her willingness and gusto to go forward and continue her education. In our first meeting we talked about her desire to go to college and set goals to get registered at the college and obtain a student ID number, meet with a councilor to set up her education goals and student education plan, and get lined up with financial aid Without being prompted she came prepared and ready to get things done. The day could have not gone better and smoother in one afternoon we accomplished 3 out of 4 goals and set two more in the process.
In addition to helping her with information and resources for continuing education we found out she had not had her baby shower and her family had no interest in throwing her one. So together as a team we coordinated a baby shower for her. It was a lot of fun. She got to experience going to target and setting up a registry and at the shower the fun games that accompany that sort of event. Her family members attended along with other members of our Juvenile probation team. I could see her joy humility and gratitude as she was opening the various gifts and presents for her expecting child. The father whom was also there and on the Juvenile Drug Court program was there and participating as well.
In the short time I have been an AmeriCorps member I have gotten to jump right into being of service, drawing out strengths, connecting clients with resources, setting goals and with this client tackling goals with gusto. These successes working with others is what makes me proud and honored to be a AmeriCorps Member.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Redding, CA – Day of the A gives back to the Community with Bookshelves and Box Gardens Volunteer Service Day!
Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 marks Day of the A, which is a part of AmeriCorps Week, this is a time to salute AmeriCorps members and alums for their service, thank AmeriCorps community partners, and communicate AmeriCorps impact on communities and on the lives of those who serve.
To kick off AmeriCorps week, we are giving back to our community by having Bookshelves and Box Gardens Volunteer Service Day at the MLK Community Center. “We have seen what an impact the MLK Community Center has been for our city, says Julie DePrada, AmeriCorps Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, for Shasta County Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council, “This year for AmeriCorps Week we really wanted to give back even more and the MLK Community Center is a perfect fit.”
Volunteer service day will begin at 9 am and go until 3 pm. The whole community is invited to come down and lend a hand in either helping upgrade the community library or dig in and help us create a Community Garden. Rain or Shine. All supplies for the two projects will be provided.
For more information on how you can help please contact Julie DePrada at 530-241-5816 or email@example.com.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Multicultural Community Center empowers disadvantaged and at-risk youth through programs that cultivate moral, community and intellectual development. In a supportive environment, youth are able to develop skill sets, connect with new educational and recreation opportunities and forge a better sense of self. The MLK Community Center is located at 1815 Sheridan Street, Redding, CA 96001.
The Shasta County Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council is a non-profit organization that serves as an umbrella for a wide range of projects throughout Shasta County that provides community outreach, youth development, family support and child abuse prevention education and awareness activities.
“Did that person really just do that? What should I do? Maybe it wasn’t that bad… I should just pretend it didn’t happen.”
All of us have been a bystander to bullying at some point in our lives.
These situations are so hard, no matter how old we are. Yet we often don’t admit how difficult it truly is to act — as if it’s easy to speak out against bullying and do so effectively.
Really, it’s a very complicated process. Our brains make a series of complex decisions that we usually don’t have time to articulate (even to ourselves), and before we know it, we’ve reacted to the situation. We’ve pretended to ignore what happened, laughed it off, or backed up the person being mean. Or we’ve stayed neutral and “stayed out of it” — which certainly doesn’t look neutral to the target.
When you’re a child or a teen, it’s even harder to act because it can feel like the bully has enormous, almost mythological power over you. It feels like if you speak up, your life will be over because every friend will abandon you.
The children and teens I work with have told me how complicated the decision of whether to speak out or not can be. Choosing when to intervene typically depends on how well they know the person. If it’s at school and they see it going on with a group of people who aren’t their friends, they think it would be weird to intervene. After all, they could be misinterpreting what happened, and if it was really that bad, wouldn’t one of the kids who knows the situation better do something about it?
Adults can’t gloss over how hard this is when we try to encourage kids to speak out against bullying or ask them a million questions about what they did in the moment, then tell them what they should have done instead.
Remember: If you weren’t there, you don’t know how hard it was.
There are two different kinds of bystanding: when you see it in the moment and when you witness a pattern of behavior you don’t agree with. The first demands split-second decision-making. The second gives you some time to prepare what you want to say, to whom you want to say it, and where you’ll say it.
At some point, every kid will be a bystander. So before they’re even in such a situation, it’s important for them to stop and think about the theoretical minimum they’d want to do. Pull the victim away? Distract the bully? Tell them to stop? If so, what’s the most general, realistic thing they can visualize saying and/or doing?
The reality is that bystanders usually don’t figure out what they should have said until after the moment passes. Here’s what I tell young people to keep in mind about bystanding: It’s never too late. If you don’t handle the situation in a way you feel proud of, you can always go back and address it later.
Here’s what you can say to the bully: “Yesterday when you said X to that person, it was wrong. I didn’t say anything when it happened because I was surprised and unprepared, but I want to tell you now.”
It’s always hard and uncomfortable. No one wakes up in the morning looking forward to telling someone they’re wrong. That doesn’t mean it’s OK to stay silent, but it does mean it’s critical to acknowledge that it takes a lot of courage to tell someone you don’t like something they did.
People don’t always laugh when they think something is funny. Sometimes people laugh when they’re nervous or uncomfortable. But you can always go back and tell the bully later, “I laughed yesterday when you did X, but I laughed because the whole thing made me nervous. I didn’t think it was funny. That kid really didn’t like it.”
You can talk to the target of the bullying. You can always apologize to the target for not handling it the way you would have wanted. At the very least, talking to the target about it tells them that they aren’t alone. And maybe you can brainstorm together how you would handle it if it happens again.
Getting involved doesn’t depend on how much you like the person. Speaking out when someone is being bullied shouldn’t be based on how you feel about the target or the bully. Getting involved should be based on whether someone’s dignity isn’t being respected. If that’s happening, bystanders need to speak out.
Sometimes it can be too dangerous to intervene all by yourself. If you are in a situation where your physical safety is at risk, you should find an adult who can help. Before you run off to find a grown-up, stop for one moment to think about where the closest adult is. You want to run toward help and safety as quickly as you can — and that one moment of thinking about where to go can make a huge difference.
No matter what, somewhere along the line we will all be bystanders, so we all need to have some empathy for each other. We can only encourage others to speak out when we collectively support one another.
This post originally appeared on Fatherly.
by: Crystal Johnson
My connection to AmeriCorps started way before I decided to be a member. I made many poor choices in my life and found myself at the receiving end of services in 2010. I had just got my son back from foster care and was in the process of learning how to do EVERYTHING. I was 30 years old and had never really been an adult. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to have an AmeriCorps Parent Partner walk alongside me during my transition. Like many of the clients I serve today, I had a long history of drug abuse and no support system. My Parent Partner was an angel and I cannot put in to words how important it was to have somebody on my team. My Parent Partner encouraged me to enroll in school and as a result I was able to get the job that I have today.
Fast forward 5 years, I found myself at an interview for Shasta County Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council. The door was opened for me to walk alongside others who are faced with similar circumstances. My Parent Partner read my success story at her AmeriCorps graduation 5 years ago (I heard there were tears). I would have never guessed that I would follow in her precious footsteps and serve for AmeriCorps as well. I know first-hand how much an AmeriCorps member can impact a family. How cool is it that I was able to come full circle and give back what was given to me? I continue to learn from the families I serve and remain hopeful that they too can achieve anything they put their minds to. I am AmeriCorps, WE ARE AMERICORPS!
Enjoy our very informative PSA for North State Giving Tuesday.
There is a commonly held belief in our society that academic success is about achieving 4.0+ GPAs, student leadership, and admittance to college. We are expected to “Dream Big”. While getting a higher education is undoubtedly a valuable pursuit, it is important to acknowledge and affirm the dreams of youth that do not fit in with or want to achieve this standard. In my two years I have been working with Shasta County Child Abuse Prevention at the Anderson Teen Center, I have had the privilege to develop a program that combines mentoring with tutoring, and strives to engage youth in no matter what they see themselves doing in the future. Many adults dismiss teenagers as being lazy and lacking motivation. However, I have not met a young person that does not have a dream for their future. Most simply need to have someone to listen non judgmentally, and to help them make a plan to create that life.
One student I worked with this term really helped me to redefine my perception of academic success. He began the program in the summer of 2015, and was supported through the end of spring semester 2016. The student did not graduate with his 8th grade class, and was not upset about it at all. He finished the year with a 0.7 GPA. He did not care about school, and openly stated that he wanted to grow up to “be a bum,” but also would occasionally talk about wanting to be a good father and is interested in blue collar work. The student attempted to play football during fall semester, but was removed from the team because he could not make the required 2.0 GPA. Toward the end of the first semester he found a passion. His family allowed him to be an assistant coach for a youth basketball team in a recreational league, which was an experience that he chatted about constantly. He loved being able to coach and mentor the young basketball players, and was looking forward to possibly having a paid coaching position the next year, if he could keep his grades up.
When spring semester started, much to the surprise of his family, he began spending time at home studying, which was something he had never taken the initiative to do. When spring semester arrived, he really wanted to play baseball, and something switched on. He maintained the 2.0 GPA he needed to play, and remained on the team until the season was over. Academically, he started to slip after baseball was over, and ended the semester passing 5 out of 6 classes with a 1.7 GPA. He was required to attend summer school to make up the credits for classes he failed during the year, and finished summer school a week early. During the last appointment he proudly stated again that he wants to grow up to be a good family man, stay away from risky decisions and behaviors that have been an issue for his immediate family, and be the first among his siblings and cousins to graduate from high school, and not continuation school.
In summary, the primary objective of Reaching Academic Success program is to help guide youth on a path that is most meaningful to them, and gives them a positive outlook on what their life can be.
For More information on the Reach Academic Success Program, please visit our website:
Throughout this year I have felt so much pride working for Shasta County Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council that it was hard for me to pin point one particular experience. I have had the opportunity to walk in the shoes of the people that we serve. I have been surround by a multicultural group of men, women and children to celebrate our differences. I have held a sign to remind everyone why diversity is one of the most important things we have in this country. But of all these things I have done in the last year, by far the most rewarding part of my experience is seeing the change and emotional growth in our high risk families.
I have been so very lucky to have helped facilitate Parent Cafes. This monthly program was created to help us teach Protective Factors to our families, in a more relaxed setting. That is to say we are talking with them about Protective Factors and not at them. Every month a new topic is chosen and both new and returning families meet up and discuss how they handle certain situations in their lives. We don’t give advice, we don’t lecture, we just listen and help keep conversations on topic.
I watch as the parents start off apprehensive and on edge at the beginning. Sometime after the first round I can see parents starting to relax, putting their guard down and listening to other people’s similar experiences. The absolute best part of the night, the part that makes me so proud to be involved with Parent Cafes, is the Ah Ha moments at the end. When the parents are debriefing and defining their experience that evening. When a dad who has said no more than 10 words the whole night tells the group that his Ah Ha moment was hearing other parents going thru the same thing as him and not feeling as alone as he did before. When parents use words like; supported, empowered, safe, happy and respected. When a family comes to me afterwards to thank me for putting on the Parent Cafes and how it had become the catalyst of change for them. It’s the moment you know that what you have been doing has affected and changed someone’s life for the good.
For more information about Parent Cafes, please give us a call at 530-241-5816
From Melissa Gandy, Board Chair, Shasta County Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council
It is with a mix of sadness and gratitude that the Board of Directors announces Rachelle Modena’s departure as Executive Director of Shasta County Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council, effective December 15, 2016. Since 2013, Rachelle has played a critical role in the development and success of the organization as Executive Director, and while we will miss her and her inspiring leadership, we wish her the best of luck in her new endeavors. We want to thank her for the 14 years of dedicated service which involved many significant roles and accomplishments, including:
- 2 years’ service as an AmeriCorps Member,
- 9 years in multiple positions of leadership including Project Coordinator, Project Director and Deputy Director.
- Successfully developed the Parent Partner Programs that have been replicated several times as a community based child abuse prevention strategy.
- Successfully competed for and received AmeriCorps grants to implement the North State Rural Assets Project, bringing more than 10 million dollars in federal funds to the county.
Over the next few months, we will be conducting a search to find the new Shasta CAPCC Executive Director. During this transition period, it is our priority to find the best individual to lead, while still maintaining a stable and effective organization. We will share the job announcement soon and ask for your help in identifying candidates who can help Shasta CAPCC continue along this successful trajectory.
Again, we cannot thank Rachelle Modena enough for the dedication, passion, enthusiasm and motivation she has given Child Abuse Prevention over the past 14 years. She will be greatly missed by the staff, Board, and partners alike. We look forward to following the success of her career and are hopeful and excited for the next chapter of Shasta County Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council as we continue to support our community in the important work to end child abuse and neglect. If you have any questions or concerns during this transition process, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org .
From Rachelle Modena, Executive Director, Shasta County Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council
After 14 years with Shasta County Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council, I recently submitted my resignation to the Board in order to pursue a new opportunity to serve our community. While I have a mix of emotions as I move into this next chapter of my career, I will still be able to continue in the work that has become so important to me. The decision for my transition did not come easily as I am extremely proud of all that Shasta CAPCC staff and board have accomplished during the past 3 years and hold dear to my heart the relationships I’ve built during my time as Executive Director.
I want to give my deepest gratitude to all who have been so supportive of the organization and of me personally over the years: the most amazing and talented CAPCC staff, board members, and, of course, our partners and donors. Without you, the organization would not be as strong and vibrant as it is. I am so honored to have been the leader of this incredible organization and will watch with much excitement and anticipation as it makes strides in supporting and creating solutions to end and prevent child abuse.
All my best,
An inside prospective of one of our AmeriCorps Member’s Service.
At seventeen and a half she walks into my office slowly, sits down in a rolling chair, quietly folds her feet Indian-style under her legs and says, “Jenny, I have to tell you something.” I had been working with her for six months at this point, and had been through a series of trials and errors filled with successes and failures, and without her even opening her mouth to speak the words, I knew exactly what was coming. She pauses, leans forward and laughs awkwardly, trying to find the space in her mind to say the words out loud, before finally blurting, “I found out I’m pregnant.”
It is not an unusual admittance for teens in “The System” by any means: they live a risk-filled lifestyle of failed coping mechanisms, alcohol and drug reliance, and unprotected promiscuity. To ice the cake, they all run in the pack together. This client in particular struggled with years of addiction, emotional abuse, and habitual self-sabotage stemming from a childhood I couldn’t even begin to describe. I knew her friends; I had met her father; I had been to her house, and for several months straight was the sole provider of transportation to get her to and from her high school. The team was endlessly working hand-in-hand to bring her to a state of awareness, of health, and to a place where she could realize her full potential. She did well and was committed to school, worked the program flawlessly on the good days, and always had a smile on her face. She matched the effort we put in with every step without fail – but I found myself looking at her that morning, wondering how this new chapter was going to fold out.
The first few months seemed a bit surreal to her. We spent each meeting in a flurry of resource hand-offs, appointments, intakes, and check-ins. We went from community partner to community partner, praising her sobriety, her resilience, and her strength. We talked in staffings about whether or not the reality had set in for her. Then, her best friend went on the run. We waited in tension for the call we knew was coming. Two days later, her father called and said, “I haven’t seen her.”
In all of the time we had spent in resourcing, we all were wondering the same thing: will this stick? Will she stay? Will this be enough? That morning phone call set in with a hurried worry for all of us – we were no longer looking for one child who had hopped out of the house in the night, but three. Resources came to a fast pause, and our team relayed information faster than Olympian runners. Where had she been seen? What family members had she been in contact with? Where was mom? Were the girls together? Where is dad? What do we need to do now?
We knew that once she was found, things were going to get much, much more difficult for this case. We were not wrong. When, finally, her best friend turned herself in, and four days later her father calls us saying “She’s been here for a few days , she’s smoking a joint on my bed,” our wheels went back into motion on a road filled with potholes and toll fees. It became a rushed process of one step forward, a hit in the head with a hammer, two steps back and “We have another meeting in three weeks.” Our team grappled in frustration at The System hesitating on decisions for a teen direly in need of a new home, a new life. We passed the time doing mock grocery trips, budgeting sheets, tallying the costs of baby supplies, talking about bills and credit and “real life,” all while pulling her in and out of custody, waiting for a better home to send her to. We heard back from group homes and placements that refused her: a pregnant teen with a meth habit and a criminal history, come to find out, is very hard to find a home for.
We spent weeks tallying the resources she had become involved with, quantifying her progress, pushing at meetings and simply not shutting up. “What’s next?” were the words after every hallway stop-in, but it still felt like we were scrambling. Months of pulling teeth to try and get her into an independent living situation, a live-in mentor in the apartment, as many resources as we could. But, even amid all of the work, we still had the same question on our mind: Were we making a difference, was she changing?
She walked the mall with me in her orange and blues, and each day we met I watched the heaviness of her stomach slowly weigh into her brain. She was growing weary of the System’s struggle. The team lamented the three months of waiting with her, all of us on the edge of our seats in weekly meetings endlessly frustrated by, “We will come back to this next time.” Finally, during a team meeting, sitting across from her in a brick room with her Probation Officer, Drug and Alcohol Counselor, Mental Health Clinician, and Parent Partner, she cried, “I just want to be ready, I want to get out of here so I can be prepared.” We heard the emotional echoes of the silent room, her wiping tears from her face. We heard her thinking I don’t feel like that is going to happen, I feel like I’m going to fail. We had a collective moment, each team member sharing glances with one another. Was this the girl who had been sitting cross-legged at my desk six months ago? No, not by any means.
This is not the end of the story, and our success isn’t the home we find her. Our struggle in placing her hasn’t ended. We are still running over road block after road block. However, she sits patiently, listening, gears turning in her mind, collaborating with us, telling us what she needs and what she has changed. She doesn’t need to tell us, we see it, but we listen; we give her the support and share in her celebrations. She smiles, showing us all a picture of a sonogram, proudly exclaiming, “I’m naming him Alex.”
My job is to teach her, to get her prepared, but she returns the favor. I learn from her daily. Successes are not simply the slaying of the dragon at the end of the book; they’re the steps you take in the journey, and the growth and strength you gather to hold the sword to begin with. And, while we are still waiting with bated breath on which option we can take for her, to keep her with us and surrounded by the support she has been given, the movement I see her in her heart, given as a gift from the movement in her belly, is a story of success, and a story of a hope that we hope she continues to see for a life she was never given.
* All names have been changed for staff and client confidentiality
On July 1st, 2016 a woman left her 1-year-old infant unattended in a hot vehicle while she went into a popular Anderson retail store, stating she forgot that the child was in the backseat. A citizen bystander did the right thing and alerted authorities to the status of this baby and as a result this story does not end in tragedy. No matter what the season, remember that we all play a role in keeping our community’s children safe and avoiding tragedy. Children age 6 and under may not be left unattended in a vehicle unless they are being supervised by someone at least 12 years old. When you see unattended children in a vehicle don’t hesitate to call 911.
The tragedy of forgetting your child is in the car happens all too frequently across the country. This year alone, 18 children have died from heat exposure from being left in unattended vehicles. You may think that you would never forget your child in the car, but with today’s busy lifestyle there are some preventative strategies to take to help ensure that your family will never experience this type of tragedy.
- When placing your child in their car seat, leave your phone, wallet/purse, or one of your shoes in the back seat too.
- When you place your child in their car seat, set a large stuffed animal in your front passenger seat. Put the stuffed toy into the backseat when you take your child out of the car.
- Open your back door every time you get out of your car, whether your child is with you or not.
- Ask your child care provider to call you if you do not show up at your scheduled time without notifying them.
- Recognize that you might be more distracted during holidays and other stressful life events and be extra vigilant.
- Install a smart phone app targeting this issue, Kars4Kids Safety and Precious Cargo are just two options.
Children dying from heat stroke in vehicles is 100% preventable. Please help keep our children in Shasta County safe. Share these tips with the parents and caregivers of young children in your life.
To learn more about being the best parent you can be please visit our website http://www.shastacapc.org and plan on joining us at one of our Parent Cafes.
Contributed by: Rachelle Modena Shasta CAPCC - Executive Director