March 30, 2012

What keeps you going?

Posted in General Information tagged , , at 4:07 pm by Every Cent Counts

I started out seven years ago as a volunteer at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. I was referred to this organization, by a professor as a way to gain experience in the mental health field. I had no idea this organization would change my life.

I spent a few years volunteering on their crisis hotline in my free time between back to back classes and volunteering my services at other agencies throughout the Tampa bay area. When I moved on to graduate school, I realized I would have to cut back on the amount of volunteering I was partaking in, so I chose the one agency that gave me a sense that I was truly making a difference. I mean where else can you answer a call from a woman desperately trying to figure out her options in order to get out of a domestic violence situation, or talk a man off the side of a bridge by reminding him of his reasons for living?

As time went on, I was presented with the opportunity to move from volunteer to employee. Once an employee, I became more aware of the various ways in which the Crisis Center impacts the community. Whether it is our 24 hour ambulance services (Transcare), our Sexual Assault Services (which conduct the majority of the rape exams and advocacy for victims in Hillsborough county), our Trauma Recovery Services (which provides low cost counseling to children, families, and adults coping with past trauma), our Family Stabilization program that reaches out to families that have fallen behind on a utility or rent payment and need help getting caught up, or our 211 and Suicide Prevention Service, which provides 24 hour crisis counseling over the phone.

I realized I wanted to do more, and I became a Suicide Prevention Care Coordinator. I was tasked with calling clients at their most desperate of times, and making sure that they were doing well, and getting access to the services they need. I helped them overcome roadblocks, that seem monumental to someone in crisis. I reached out to the community and provided presentations, informing them of suicide and its warning signs.

I then made the move to the 211 Call Center Supervisor. I would provide trainings to new staff and volunteers eager to make a difference. I attended conferences to hone my own skills, and continue to develop best practices with other agencies within the nation. I even helped bring in our newest way of helping, Crisis Chat. However, I found myself wishing I could see the difference I was making in people’s lives. I knew I was helping, but rarely did people come back and thank you.

An opportunity presented itself to help develop and run a new program within the Crisis Center. The Every Cent Counts program. This program would reach out to those in the community who could not find assistance anywhere else. These people had come across hard times and needed a helping hand to get back on their feet. Through partnerships with local community businesses we would be able to provide these clients with direct services to fulfill their needs. Best of all every cent that was donated to these clients would be given directly to the client. Now this was a program where I would be able to see the impact I was having on people’s lives.

I jumped on this opportunity, and there is not a single day that I regret my decision. I love what I do, and I believe in the cause. I am out there every day, spreading the word, recruiting clients, donors, sponsors, and vendors. But it is only with your help, people that donate to these clients and help them fulfill their needs that I am able to complete my job. Those are my best days, the days when I call a client and let them know their need has been funded and they will receive the assistance they so desperately need.

So now I ask you, what is it that keeps you going? What makes you get up everyday and keep fighting? Or like I used to ask my callers in crisis, what is your reason for living?

If you would like to know more about the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay visit their website at www.crisiscenter.com

You can also visit www.everycentcounts.org to see our current clients and help fulfill a need today!

 

March 29, 2012

Our first gas card winner!

Posted in Giveaways/Challenges tagged at 6:44 pm by Every Cent Counts

Our first gas card winner!

Congratulations to our first gas card winner! Be one of the first six people to have 25 of their friends like our Facebook page, and you could be a winner too.

March 28, 2012

Who did you help today?

Posted in Clients and Needs, Updates tagged , , , at 7:29 pm by Every Cent Counts

Who did you help today?

This is one of our clients that we were able to help, because of your donations. She lost her wallet about a month ago, and today she was able to replace her ID and 30-day bus pass.
Thank you!

March 27, 2012

Domestic Violence

Posted in Those that need help tagged , , , at 2:52 pm by Every Cent Counts

Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten by her significant other. Many of these women never reach out to anyone for help; those that do, find themselves faced with hard decisions. One of the biggest and most dangerous decisions they will face is deciding whether or not they will leave. The time when a victim of domestic violence is at their greatest risk of being severely injured or killed, is the time when they are preparing to leave. Once out of the situation, they are faced with difficulties getting stable housing, and employment. Many end up living in a constant state of fear, always watching for their abuser. Many of our clients on the Every Cent Counts website, have come from an abusive home. They need your help to regain their sense of security and independence. So they don’t have to return home, because they don’t have the financial means to make it alone. Visit our website, and help someone in need today! http://www.crisiscenter.com/everycentcounts.aspx

March 26, 2012

Giveaway Challenge

Posted in Giveaways/Challenges tagged at 12:18 pm by Every Cent Counts

Five more days left in the Gas Card Giveaway Challenge!! The first 6 people that get 25 of their friends and family members to like the Every Cent Count Facebook page will win a $25 gas card. You will need to send me the names of the 25 people that you referred via email or message. The only stipulation is you cannot count other Crisis Center employees towards your total. Good luck!

March 23, 2012

Help a client feel safe again!

Posted in Clients and Needs tagged , , at 12:39 pm by Every Cent Counts

Bridgette has been an independent and hard worker her entire life, but in the past year, she was caught in a domestic violence situation, forcing her out of a very successful career and into a state of constant fear. Now she has freed herself and wants nothing more than to be independent again. She spends every day looking for employment, but every night at her new apartment, she is afraid.

There are no locks on the windows and doors. Her biggest concern is that her ex-husband will find her, or that someone else could easily break in. However, she would also like a post office box, so she doesn’t have to worry about her mail being stolen, or her address becoming public record.

Please help provide Bridgette with safety and peace of mind.

http://www.crisiscenter.com/everycentcounts-detail.aspx?id=87

March 22, 2012

Unexpected Accidents

Posted in Those that need help tagged , , , at 2:27 pm by Every Cent Counts

In 2009, 5.5 million people were involved in a serious traffic accident. Accidents such as these could result in unexpected property loss, income loss, medical bills, and emotional scarring. It is easy to go about your day to day responsibilities, and not think about the potential consequences of having an unexpected accident. Accidents such as these could drastically change your life. Where do you turn when your expenses out measure your income? How will you return to normalcy? Many people rely on the state and local organizations for assistance, but what happens when that runs out, or you simply don’t qualify? Would you turn to those in your community for assistance? Every Cent Counts is there when you have nowhere else to turn and you need assistance getting back on track. Donors throughout the community choose a client whose need appeals to them, and donates any amount of their choosing to fulfilling the need. Every penny will go to the client. Visit our website today, and help someone in need. http://www.crisiscenter.com/everycentcounts.aspx

March 21, 2012

Florida unemployment rate decreasing, but still higher than national average

Posted in Those that need help tagged , , , at 2:13 pm by Every Cent Counts

Florida’s unemployment rate has decreased from 9.9% in December to 9.6% in January. However, this is still far above the 8.3% unemployment rate for the nation as a whole. With this many people facing the loss of their primary source of income, it is no wonder why so many people have turned to local agencies for assistance making ends meet. Imagine being unemployed and struggling to find a job, when your only means of transportation breaks down, leaving you struggling to find alternate means of searching for work. It is easy to imagine such a worse case scenario, but everyone hopes it will not happen to them. What if one day it did? Where would you turn for help? Every Cent Counts is a program that could be the light at the end of the tunnel, but we need your help. This program helps clients entirely through donations from people in the community. Every penny you donate is given to the client, ensuring you can feel confident that you have changed someone’s life for the better. You have provided them with hope and light in a time of darkness. Be somebody’s hero today! Visit our website at http://www.crisiscenter.com/everycentcounts.aspx and help someone get back on the road to success.

March 20, 2012

Hunger in America

Posted in Those that need help tagged , , , , at 12:58 pm by Every Cent Counts

World hunger is a growing epidemic. When people think about world hunger they commonly envision individuals that are starving in other countries. However, one in six Americans does not have an adequate food supply to sustain a healthy life. Many of these individuals rely on food pantries and the generosity of others to obtain their next meal. Hunger doesn’t just impact people in foregin countries, but in our own backyard as well. Remember to help those less fortunate than yourself.

March 19, 2012

Homelessness and Every Cent Counts

Posted in Those that need help tagged , , , , at 7:52 pm by Every Cent Counts

The majority of shelters in Hillsborough County do not accept teenage boys, and fathers are almost always separated from their families. This is because men need a background check to be housed with children, and it is more cost effective to house the family members separately. What happens when there are two young children staying with a single father? He is faced with the hardest decision, separate from his children, so they can be cared for and housed where they are safe, but alone; or face homelessness as a family. Many families face this terrible decision every day. Some choose to deplete their money for food and basic living expenses, trying to stay in a hotel for as long as they can; others are forced to live in their cars.

Unfortunately, the public image of homelessness doesn’t consist of struggling families, which are one of the fastest growing populations of homeless individuals. Many of these individuals are in this situation due to an unplanned expense, that caused them to fall behind and they were never able to catch up. However, there is hope. You can help those in the Tampa Bay area overcome financial setbacks and meet their needs so that they can stay on track. Visit our website at http://www.crisiscenter.com/everycentcounts.aspx and help one of our clients get back on the road to success.

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