Volunteers and Donors at the Heart of the Crittenton Services Mission
Every year in April, nonprofits, celebrate the importance and positive outcomes that volunteers contribute to community causes.
Whether you’re fighting the good fight for children’s causes, homelessness, or the environment a nonprofit’s mission would be unable to reach its peak of performance without someone like ‘you’ willing to contribute energy and talents to a social issue in need of support.
Some may ask, “How can one person or a group of committed people make a real difference in the great scope of things?”
Crittenton Services can tell you from experience that EVERY kind action an interested volunteer, donor or supporter contributes to a nonprofit’s mission creates a ripple effect that directly helps a nonprofit’s client base or cause build resiliency.
You may continue to ask, “Why does building resiliency matter or how can my volunteerism truly impact the ‘big societal picture’?”
Well, let’s give you some real life examples to show you how those little acts of kindness actually do matter.
Why Donating Matters
At a time when there are talks of deep budget cuts to health and human services at the federal level, organizations like Crittenton Services need your support more than ever. For those donors that care and strongly advocate for accessible and affordable children’s mental health, for example, please remember that mental health, in general, is not necessarily talked about and overlooked in the ‘big’ healthcare debates.
Therefore, Crittenton Services will always strongly advocate for all members of our community to have access to quality and affordable mental health services when they are most needed. In particular, we pay special attention in advocating for children’s mental health and making sure that the most vulnerable children including those that come from low-income or system-involved (foster care and juvenile justice) backgrounds are not forgotten in the discussion nor in the service delivery.
This year Crittenton was honored to receive a challenge grant proposal from an anonymous donor. The donor stated that they would happily provide matching funds of up to $100,000 if we prioritized fundraising in 2017 for our children’s mental health efforts in our InSight Program – it’s the Crittenton program designed to help teen girls cope with the aftermath of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Without thinking twice we took the challenge! And with the support we continue to receive from everyday donors like ‘you’ it has been a real thrill to actively see our donations grow in support of children’s mental health at our organization. So, yes, every $1 you decide to give us today really does make a difference in helping a young girl cope with the abuse that was inflicted on her in the cruelest of ways.
Because of ‘you’ we are getting closer to our fundraising goal of $100,000 by the end of the year! And because of ‘you’ children’s mental health is still being prioritized and funded at the local level.
Why Volunteering and Mentoring Matters
Building resiliency at Crittenton is essential to our lifelong mission. It’s the element that helps the young people we work with cope with the many emotional challenges and adversities they’ve faced and will continue to face once they leave our care.
So, we can’t stress enough, how important your contribution as a volunteer or mentor is when it comes to building emotional resiliency in children and youth who seldom see kindness.
Sometimes all it takes is for our youth to see either ‘you’ or a group of your friends or colleagues come by and help them celebrate a holiday event or their birthday.
Sadly, for many of kids that Crittenton serves to consistently have an adult show them how important they really are and that there is someone out there that believes in them no matter what the circumstances might be is not the norm. It’s one thing when the young person’s social worker or therapist says how valuable they truly are (repeatedly for the most part). The message can oftentimes fall flat. But when the same message is delivered by a volunteer or mentor it’s a game changer.
Whether the young people we work with are involved with child protection services, foster care or the juvenile justice system they all have something in common – adverse childhood experiences. This exposure to high levels of toxic stress, abuse or neglect at an early age is detrimental to a child’s mental health and social development. So, when volunteers or mentors engage with young people who have had exposure to multiple and repeated emotional and psychological traumas this idea of building resiliency is important in order to help these young people positively cope with what life throws their way.
We can tell you from experience that when our volunteers and mentors consistently engage with the youth in our care it helps them build an internal reservoir of confidence that empowers them as they continue to develop into adults. Many former clients mention that the reason they were able to believe in themselves is that someone really nice that visited Crittenton said they deserved happiness and they could accomplish anything they set their mind too. So, this resiliency building is a good thing as ‘you’ and I won’t always be around when these young people transition into adulthood on their own. It really doesn’t take much to make a difference!
Case in point, we recently added a new volunteer team to our roster. A local employee of CVS Health got to know our mission this past December. She helped us out with a couple of donations and was so inspired by what we do in the community that she told us she would be back with reinforcements. Well, she kept her word!
The local CVS employee took it upon herself to convince the local CVS Health Community Crew Program in Southern California to engage with Crittenton’s mission. And they did! We had about 30 volunteers (some actually flew in from Arizona) stop by our youth shelter this past December. From planned activities, stocking stuffers, a pizza dinner and a visit from St. Nick the kids were able to enjoy themselves during the holidays. As the holiday event wrapped up one of our youth said to us that the Christmas event was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for him, and he would never forget what the volunteers did for him that day.
We thought this was a one-time volunteer event, but grateful to host the employees from CVS Health at our youth shelter. To our surprise, the CVS Health Community Crew came back recently to help the kids at the youth shelter celebrate Easter! Only this time the special guest at the most recent event was none other than the Easter Bunny. And by the way, the Easter Bunny was, in fact, a CVS Health regional executive that took some time off his busy schedule to not just volunteer but to transform into a positive experience for kids who really needed this happy childhood memory.
There is now word that the CVS Health Community Crew may come back to help Crittenton continue to build resiliency in the near future! And trust us, we need all the help we can get in order to make those “happy” memories happen for young people who really need them.
Why Your Support Matters
Perhaps you’re reading this and would like to help but you find yourself cash-strapped or over-committed with other pressing family, school or work obligations. It happens, we understand.
However, did you know there are other ways to get involved with a nonprofit mission like ours?
Social Media Support
You can always make an effort to follow us on social media when you check your social feeds during your breaks or weekends. Every time you retweet, share, or like something Crittenton mentions you help us share our message and help us convince your network of followers that our mission is worth supporting.
Simple, right? Social media support in this day and age is crucial for smaller nonprofits with little to no advertising or marketing budgets. Your social influence is crucial for nonprofits like Crittenton to reach a wider audience that may have more time or extra funding to dedicate to a good cause. And at the end of the day if someone in your network decides to support Crittenton it’s because ‘you’ convinced them to help.
If you can’t help by directly engaging with a nonprofit than perhaps helping indirectly. So, please, if you like what Crittenton is all about share our message, our needs, our success stories. It helps, honest!
Shopping for a Cause
We all have to purchase everyday necessities we need. And wouldn’t it be cool to be able to give back to a cause you care about and still get something you need or something nice for yourself? Oh, wait, that actually exists through retailers like Amazon!
Crittenton is registered through the Amazon Smile Program and that means that every time you purchase on Amazon by using your preferred nonprofit’s Amazon Smile unique donation link you help your cause. You simply shop for whatever you need and Amazon gives to the charity of your choice. And just in time as Mother’s Day is just around the corner!
Thank You for Supporting
These are just a couple of ways your engagement with Crittenton has made or can make a difference to our 50-year-old mission. However, there are many possibilities to get involved in the community and we hope that we were able to convince you of how important your contribution truly is.
So, on behalf of those we serve we’d like to thank you for your kindness. Because no matter how much kindness you show it’s always appreciated and it’s always in season.
Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a non-profit social services agency whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966 Crittenton has a highly trained workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive mental health services, shelter care, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a full array of residential, in-home, community-based programming, wraparound family services, outpatient mental health, transitional age youth programming, foster care, and adoption services with a service planning area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties.