How would you like to sit in the Madden Box Seats for TWO to one of the upcoming games!! Now is your chance.

Come to the Contra Costa Crisis Center Gala and bid on some great prizes from John Madden autographed football helmet to games to tickets to collectible wines from the Football Hall of Fame!!

The fundraiser is coming up on August 24th!! Get your tickets now by going to this link https://www.crisis-center.org/gala-rsvp/!!!

 

Congratulations to Ron Potts, the recipient of the Annual “Judy Guthrie Volunteer Appreciation and Recognition Brunch” Volunteer of the Year Award for 2019!

Sunday, July 21st, 2019 was a day of appreciation for all the many volunteers and staff that contribute in making the Contra Costa Crisis Center the best it can be! All of them work tirelessly to ensure that we fulfill our mission to keep people alive and safe, help them through crises, and provide or connect them with culturally relevant resources in the community.

Many of the attendees came from the Leftovers Thrift Shop, which operates entirely through the staff of volunteers who sort, price, create displays, and sell merchandise. Since the shop was founded in 1976, it has never had a paid employee.

And other attendees came from our call center’s hotline, which operates 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, and serves as a touchstone for the community. Answering nearly 70,000 calls a year, the 211 Information and Referral program, assists to connect individuals and families in need to agencies that provide emergency shelter, food, mental health and substance abuse counseling and hundreds of other services.

Thank you all for your volunteer work. Thank you all for attending.

And a special thank you to Ron Potts, our Volunteer of the year!

We wish to thank our Wonderful Sponsors for the upcoming Contra Costa Crisis Center Black & White Gala on August 24th!!

Silver Circle

Bronze Circle

The CC Crisis Center is filming a documentary about The Center and all the great work it does.

The film includes our Executive Director Tom Tamura introducing us to The Crisis Center.

It will include testimonials from parents and spouses who have lost loved ones due to suicide or sudden death and how The Center helped with the loss and grieving process for them.

 

Also, for the first time, you will get to see inside The Contra Costa Crisis Center.
You will see the “Memorial Wall”, the grief rooms, the call center, the group therapy meeting rooms, and more.

This film will have its debut at The Black and White Gala to be held on August 24th.
For reservations, click here.

The Center handles:

  • 24 hour crisis line
  • grief counseling
  • information and referral
  • mobile grief response
  • outreach and education
  • community projects

Keep checking back for more information on this wonderful film.

 – and the Crisis Center will be one of the beneficiaries!

Lafayette Juniors will host their 19th Annual Kitchen Tour on Saturday, May 19th, from 10am to 3pm. This year’s Tour benefits our organization as well as four other local non-profits dedicated to helping women, families, and individuals in need. It’s a special chance to see six beautiful Lafayette homes for a great cause, with masterfully designed modern, elegant, and awe-inspiring kitchens.  Tour tickets are $50 ($45 tax deductible). You can purchase tickets online at www.lafayettejuniors.org.

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The start of spring can bring a renewed sense of purpose, a time to commit or recommit to goals and intentions, a sense of renewal and returning energy,  and a time to set priorities for the coming months.

For those in the non-profit and social services sector, a renewed commitment to practicing self-care should be at the top of our list. Self-care is often stressed as a core competency or mandate for those in the social services sector, yet many of us struggle to develop and sustain meaningful self-care practices.

Self-care is far from self-indulgence, rather it is the safeguard against burnout, compassion fatigue, and secondary trauma. Without self-care practices, we are attempting to carry out our daily task and fulfill our agencies mission without the necessary resources or equipment.

Developing your own self-care plan 

Unsure where to start?  The  University of Buffalo, School of Social Work has developed an online self-care starter kit that is an excellent resource for those who have been working in the social services sector for a few weeks to a few decades.  The kit includes tools to help you assess your coping strategies, identify your stressors, and develop a plan to help you build healthy habits and practices and protect against compassion fatigue.

You can see the full self-care starter kit here.

This year’s events remind us the unexpected and unthinkable can happen at any time.  Our hearts and thoughts are with everyone touched by tragedy.  Hurricanes, earthquakes, the devastating wildfires caused untold destruction and loss of life.  They’ve left many feeling vulnerable and anxious.

Where would you turn in a time of crisis for support?  Who listens to your fears?

We do.  Our Crisis Center volunteers are here to help and to listen, just as they have since we first opened in 1963.  That’s why your support is more critical than ever.   Please consider a gift this year.

In addition to crisis intervention, we provide grief support and our 2-1-1 line which helps people make timely connections to safety-new resources.  And to support the safety net, we recently added Share the Spirit and Corporate Volunteer Week.  Donors like you make this possible, alongside our dedicated board, volunteers and staff.  Together we create a safety net for anyone in need, whatever their income, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or citizenship status. 

Rob Park, board member, has seen the value of safety-net services firsthand.

He is a psychologist at Kaiser Permanente, working with children, adolescents, and families throughout Contra Costa County.  He knows how emotional stress and catastrophic events impact individuals and families.

Rob said, “The Crisis Center is such an important safety-net for the entire county.  Working in the mental health field, I understand the vital role a crisis intervention volunteer fills when someone is in deep distress.  What I didn’t know is that volunteers and staff receive calls from individuals and families in all types of crisis – from homelessness and food insecurity to joblessness, elder abuse and drug addiction.  Staff maintains an extensive database so we can provide current information on local services.”

“What surprised me most is that this critical work is not fully publicly funded.  That means each year, to keep these call lines open, the Crisis enter needs to reach out and ask our donors to support this life affirming work.  I’ve never viewed myself as a fundraiser, but I am inspired by our dedicated staff and volunteers.  The Crisis Center is an amazing asset to the community and I want people to know about it and support this work.

Our trained volunteers, dedicated staff and generous donors, like you, keep our work alive so we can be here when needed.  In 2017, we’ve received 23,738 calls on the 2-1-1 line from people seeking basic assistance or shelter.  Our crisis lines received 20,626 crisis intervention calls.

Please give generously.  Your donations shares light and hope with the lives of so many.  On behalf of the Crisis Center volunteers, board, and staff, I thank you for your support.

 

Sincerely,

Mary Vradelis, Interim Executive Director

This year’s events remind us the unexpected and unthinkable can happen at any time.  Our hearts and thoughts are with everyone touched by tragedy.  Hurricanes, earthquakes, the devastating wildfires caused untold destruction and loss of life.  They’ve left many feeling vulnerable and anxious.

Where would you turn in a time of crisis for support?  Who listens to your fears?

We do.  Our Crisis Center volunteers are here to help and to listen, just as they have since we first opened in 1963.  That’s why your support is more critical than ever.   Please consider a gift this year.

In addition to crisis intervention, we provide grief support and our 2-1-1 line which helps people make timely connections to safety-new resources.  And to support the safety net, we recently added Share the Spirit and Corporate Volunteer Week.  Donors like you make this possible, alongside our dedicated board, volunteers and staff.  Together we create a safety net for anyone in need, whatever their income, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or citizenship status. 

Steve Grimes Volunteers at the Crisis Center seeking meaningful connections and the opportunity to help people.

“I learned firsthand about the Crisis Center years ago,” he said, “when my son Kevin passed away from a rare medical condition.  We were on a Scout outing when it happened and it sent him into septic shock.  He was almost 16.  Kevin’s mother and I didn’t know if we’d survive.  After trying other resources, we found the Crisis Center offered 8-week grief sessions.  We went to two, back to back, and they really helped.  I knew even then that when I retired I’d volunteer here.”

“Now,” he added, “after 40 years with PG&E, where I always loved connecting with and helping people, I am making a difference in people’s lives as a crisis line volunteer.  The training and mentoring, with professional staff to guide you through is great.  Whether I am answering calls for our 211 information and referral line or one of the crisis lines, this work brings balance and connection.  You come to know what is most important in life.”

Our trained volunteers, dedicated staff and generous donors, like you, keep our work alive so we can be here when needed.  In 2017, we’ve received 23,738 calls on the 2-1-1 line from people seeking basic assistance or shelter.  Our crisis lines received 20,626 crisis intervention calls.

Please give generously.  Your donations shares light and hope with the lives of so many.  On behalf of the Crisis Center volunteers, board, and staff, I thank you for your support.

 

Sincerely,

Mary Vradelis, Interim Executive Director

This year’s events remind us the unexpected and unthinkable can happen at any time.  Our hearts and thoughts are with everyone touched by tragedy.  Hurricanes, earthquakes, the devastating wildfires caused untold destruction and loss of life.  They’ve left many feeling vulnerable and anxious.

Where would you turn in a time of crisis for support?  Who listens to your fears?

We do.  Our Crisis Center volunteers are here to help and to listen, just as they have since we first opened in 1963.  That’s why your support is more critical than ever.   Please consider a gift this year.

In addition to crisis intervention, we provide grief support and our 2-1-1 line which helps people make timely connections to safety-new resources.  And to support the safety net, we recently added Share the Spirit and Corporate Volunteer Week.  Donors like you make this possible, alongside our dedicated board, volunteers and staff.  Together we create a safety net for anyone in need, whatever their income, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or citizenship status. 

As the Crisis & 211 Call Center Manager, Lesley Garcia, shares Steve’s enthusiasm.

Initially volunteering on the suicide prevention hotline, she soon joined the staff, right after finishing her BA in psychology.  She said, “In my teens, I lost a family member to suicide and wanted to learn how to help other people.  Volunteering was so fulfilling.  To hear and learn from peoples’s stories and provide support.”

She left to continue her education and pursue a Masters in Counseling, then worked in the Oakland Diocese as a counselor for 9 years.  A position opened at the Crisis Center just when she wanted a change.  She smiled and added, “Some of the same staff were still here.  It felt like coming home.”

She continued, “I am impressed with the diversity and experience of the call center volunteers – from such varied backgrounds and aged 21 to 70!  I’ve learned so much from them and gained a rich perspective on life.  I love getting up and going to work each morning.  It’s a life-changing experience.  I can’t change the world, but I can change a lot of little worlds.”

Our trained volunteers, dedicated staff and generous donors, like you, keep our work alive so we can be here when needed.  In 2017, we’ve received 23,738 calls on the 2-1-1 line from people seeking basic assistance or shelter.  Our crisis lines received 20,626 crisis intervention calls.

Please give generously.  Your donations shares light and hope with the lives of so many.  On behalf of the Crisis Center volunteers, board, and staff, I thank you for your support.

 

Sincerely,

Mary Vradelis, Interim Executive Director

 

Susan Platt: Call Specialist & Mobile Grief Response Team Volunteer

Susan Platt became interested in volunteering for the Contra Costa Crisis Center 11 years ago when she began her search for a more meaningful and fulfilling life – one that included a charitable component.

What was her first impression of the Crisis Center? “It was an intimidating experience because of the huge responsibility I would have on the call line to the people in distress. Of course, the training was thorough and we were able to practice until we felt competent.  I made a leap of faith believing that I could do this work, trusted myself and my colleagues, and fell in love with the whole organization.”

Susan trained in Crisis and Grief Counseling; she worked in the Call Center and was also part of the Grief Support team for nearly five years. A few years ago, she began working with the Crisis Center’s Spousal Support Grief Groups as well as the Mobile Postvention Team. “I have been trained so thoroughly in so many areas, I feel that I can jump in anywhere I’m needed. Ultimately, this diverse training has allowed me to join other county agencies and assist in a variety of roles as needed – I cannot express how grateful I am to the Crisis Center for what they have taught me.”

Susan’s friends often express to her that the work sounds depressing, sad and overwhelming; they  wonder how she handles this weight.  While Susan does not dismiss the seriousness of these crisis
situations, she doesn’t experience these interactions with callers and clients as depressing. She says, “I am them. I’m just currently in a bit of a different place. Everything they are experiencing, I have, am
or will experience as well.  And, this is the reality of a life fully lived; I embrace it and learn from it. At some point in a crisis call, you recognize whether this is regarding a potential suicide, homelessness, a job loss, mental illness, a family crisis or any number of tragedies or difficulties. As I’m listening, I’m also recognizing that it could be me on the other end of the line. As I realize the connections I have with others, the similarity of circumstances and the shared humanity, I no longer have the idea of ‘helping’
or ‘giving back’ – I simply realize we are basically all the same and I can relate to what’s being said to me and learn about myself through this process. In essence, I live it with them.”

Susan’s wish for society is that it somehow changes its antiquated, judgmental and painfully ignorant attitude about mental illness. She says. “The stigma attached to those who experience mental illness is
sad and causes immeasurable pain to those who suffer. Additionally, the distress people feel when confronted with crisis, but are unable to seek help because of the stigma attached to needing help, is
damaging, counterproductive and completely unnecessary. I want us to allow people to feel unashamed regarding their illnesses or their need to seek emotional support.”

Susan sees a societal dichotomy: there is an increase in the population’s distress, along with a decrease in people’s ability to find solace. She says, “We are more divided, it seems, than ever before – philosophically, politically, financially. Bullying is on the rise, suicide is epidemic, poverty is increasing, children are in emotional danger more than in the past, drug and alcohol abuse are on the rise – people seem more distressed and agitated than in the past, and our social and coping skills seem to be decreasing as the need for them increases. I am quite disturbed about the level of self-destruction I
see around me, and lament that we are not more educated and enlightened about the need for health care – both physical and mental.”

Susan feels that the Crisis Center is part of the answer to some of the dilemmas mentioned above. She says, “This agency is superbly managed with integrity, stability, kindness and an ongoing commitment
to education and training. Its influence extends to clients, staff and volunteers – how we feel about the work we do and how we treat each other. Since Rhonda James took the helm, I have felt her steadiness, her vision, her commitment, and of course her delicious sense of humor. I know she and the staff she has chosen have my best interest in mind as well as everyone we serve. I take enormous pride in working with this incredible community resource, and I am dedicated to its continuance.