Grand County, Utah is in Rural South East Utah with a population of nearly 9000. Grand County relies heavily on the tourism trade, which means some parents have to work two or three jobs to support their families.This scenario has been the case for many, many years. But now with the weak economy and people not traveling or eating out as much, and as with many of the other industries hurt by the economy, Grand County has many more people struggling to make ends meet. This situation causes a spiral effect, putting a great deal of stress on agencies that are providing services to local communities. People are depressed, feeling afraid and are in need of more services, in turn, adding to their sense of desperation when trying to provide for their families. This makes the additional support we provide at the Family Support Center that much more important.
The Family Support Center provides a temporary safe haven for kids 0-12 that are caught in a world of crisis, stemming from drugs and alcohol use, or worse, physical and/or sexual abuse. The children come to the Centerby way of referrals from the Department of Children and Family Services following reports of neglect or abuse that may be under investigation, or are placed there when a parent is arrested and there is no other family member available to step in and care for the child. The Center is also used as a respite for foster parents who get a few days off each month.
The majority of children that come in are going through trauma, removed from the only home they know, frightened, feeling alone and have no belongings of their own.
Volunteers from the Grand County Senior Center and members of the Delicate Stitchers Quilt Guild have come to the aid of the “Children in Crisis” by collecting donations and making Love Bags filled with age appropriate comfort items such as quilts, afghans, stuffed animals, coloring books, homemade “quiet activity books,” toothbrushes and puzzles that children can keep as their own. The hope is to provide children with items that will let them know they are not alone, and create a sense of security and comfort as they spend time away from family in a conflict-free environment.
There are many worthwhile service projects that people can get involved in, particularly in an unstable economy, but there is nothing more rewarding that helping a child in turmoil smile, feel comforted and most importantly, feel safe.
To get involved in a similar project in your area, keyword search: "at-risk youth" "trauma" "shelter"