KurpeDiem Gives $1000 to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay
I want to thank all of you who voted for me to become the next Sam-e Complete Good Mood Blogger! In just 2 weeks I received just fewer than 1,000 votes, and although I didn’t win the gig I’m still in a good mood! That’s because I get to give $1,000 to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.
Last week I visited the Crisis Center during one of their many facility Compassion Tours. The tour began with a light lunch consisting of Publix sandwiches, chips and cookies and an introduction from the President and CEO, David Braughton. Dave was a humble man with a genuine concern for the families in Tampa Bay. He shared with us the mission and vision of the Crisis Center, and told stories of families that have been helped as a result of their work. As he spoke of children who have been victims of sexual abuse he wiped tears from his cheeks.
His stories encouraged us. Although many children have been ripped of their innocence while enduring horrific violence, the children who receive treatment at the Crisis Center are offered an opportunity to have their childhood restored.
His stories also challenged us to take responsibility for our community. He taught that although the Crisis Center provides these types of services to 300 children each year that there are over 3,000 annually reported incidents of abuse in Hillsborough County. “What happens to those children?” he asked. “Who restores their childhood? It is our responsibility as a community to provide support for our families in crisis.”
After introductions and testimonials from other staff members, we were escorted to various departments throughout the center. Our first stop was the 24/7 2-1-1 call center. Here both volunteers and staff members provide free counseling to those in need. They also have 24-hour surveillance of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which allows the counseling team to dispatch emergency services when they see someone who is contemplating taking their own life. They have a direct line to the bridge so they can contact the individual and provide counseling intervention.
Our next stop was Sexual Assault Services, where victims of sexual abuse can receive free exams and counseling to minimize the traumatic affects of sexual abuse.
We were then taken to Family Stabilization Services, a department that provides basic needs for families in Hillsborough County. Every day there are 400 people in the county who have their electricity shut off, and many more who struggle to feed their family and pay rent. We heard a story of a single mother who, after being diagnosed with cancer, struggled to provide these basic needs to her family. Her two children had to do their homework by candle light and she was facing eviction. With the help of the Crisis Center she was able to get her electricity turned back on, avoid eviction and make it through this rough patch in her life. Although she still faces struggles, she is back on her feet and providing for her family without financial assistance. She and her family still receive ongoing training from the Center to help prevent crisis situations in the future.
Our last stop on the tour was Child and Family Safety. It was the most colorful environment of the day, with Alice and Wonderland murals, stuffed animals, and children’s artwork decorating the walls. This department serves 300 children and their families each year. While there, we were told the story of a single mother who found out her daughters were being abused by another family member. While checking out at Publix she received a horrific call from her neighbor that Child Services was on her doorstep and she needed to go home. A school teacher had notified Child Services of the abuse after reading about the assault in the child’s school journal. The Crisis Center has since provided individual and group counseling to help them get through this nightmare.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the Crisis Center, I highly recommend this tour as an informative and engaging way to learn about this critical resource in our community. Where would you turn if you found out your children were being sexually abused? What would you do if a family member took their own life? Who would you call if you were diagnosed with an illness and couldn’t provide for your family? A crisis situation can happen to anyone regardless of race, religion, occupation or income. When it does happen, the Crisis Center is there to bring hope, help and healing to your family.
I want to give a special thank you to Carissa Caricato, Director of Marketing for the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, for getting involved with my campaign to be the Good Mood Blogger and for introducing me to the Crisis Center.