Below are a just a few highlights of challenges the FSS staff, board, and volunteers faced, and the goals they accomplished, in 2014:
- In August, FSS received a Healthy Outcomes through Prevention and Early Support (HOPES) grant to provide child abuse prevention services in Potter County. In research completed by the Department of Family and Protective Services, Potter County was identified as the number one county in the State of Texas in need of child abuse intervention services. The HOPES program is intended to address child abuse and neglect prevention of young children by focusing on community collaboration. Services offered through HOPES are evidence-based parent education and support, home visiting services, and wrap-around services for families, with children 0-5 years of age, who are considered at-risk for child abuse and neglect.
- In our Domestic Violence Shelter, we continue to research ways to ensure that all of our friends, family members, and neighbors in need of safe shelter have access to these life-saving resources. Developments this year include:
- Currently renovating a storage shed at the shelter into a climate-controlled kennel so that survivors of abuse do not have to leave their pets behind to be tortured or killed by their abuser. Statistics show that half of women in domestic violence situations who have pets do not leave their abuser, delay leaving, or go back to their abuser due to concern for their pets.
- Developing new ways to ensure male survivors of family violence have access to the same resources that female survivors do. Also, FSS now has the only male shelter manager in Texas, giving women and children in the shelter the opportunity to see that not all males are abusive.
- Providing Equine Therapy to shelter residents. This program has been very successful, with words such as “blossomed” being used to describe shelter clients who have participated. This therapy is being expanded through grant funding to our VRC and to local participants of the Amarillo Recovery from Alcohol and Drugs program, a non-profit intensive outpatient treatment program.
- FSS has also made renovations and changes that can’t be seen by the public that enable us provide more efficient, effective services and communicate with those in need, such as expansion of social media, a revamped Website, and a new phone system (the previous phone system could not be accessed, updated or changed due to the software being uploaded on Windows 95 with a floppy disk).
- New and expanded partnerships with community stakeholders, including but not limited to AISD (Student and family advocate program, HOPES), ARAD and Guyon Saunders Resource Center (made possible Harrington Cancer Center Women’s Circle grant and CDBG grant), and Texas Panhandle Centers, Texas Workforce Solutions, and Legal Aid of Northwest Texas (Veteran Resource Center and intake services)
So on behalf of the people we serve, we would like to thank you for all that you have done for them. None of the accomplishments described above would have been possible without the support of all of you who have supported our vision: A community where individuals and families are healthy, stable, and violence-free.