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News Archives

Talking to Kids About Tragedy

Children don’t think exactly like adults. When discussing this week’s shooting at an Ohio high school, deadly severe storms or other tragedies with children, it’s important to take special care. Carrie Little, program coordinator/educator at Family & Children’s Services, has tips to help parents talk to their children about tragedy.

 

 

 

 

Need professional help in dealing with trauma in your child’s life? We can help. Click here to learn more about trauma treatment services at Family & Children’s Services.

New Ideas in Health Care Benefit Clients, Entire Community – By Dianne Hughes, Program Director, Case Management and Special Projects

We hear a lot these days about the poor state of health in Oklahoma as compared to the rest of the nation. Perhaps you’ve also heard the news that people diagnosed with a serious mental illness are at a higher risk of premature death. Earlier this month, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/Health Resources Services Administration Center for Integrated Health Solutions explained that these premature deaths are “largely due to complications from untreated, preventable chronic illnesses like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, which are aggravated by poverty-driven health choices, like poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and smoking.”

We at Family & Children’s Services are acutely aware of this problem. Many of our clients don’t have a regular medical doctor. They use the emergency room for their health care or, sadly, forgo needed medical attention. Through a partnership with the George Kaiser Family Foundation and Morton Comprehensive Health Services, Family & Children’s Services took a bold step to help improve the health of our clients by opening a medical clinic in October 2011 inside the Sarah & John Graves Center.  

Currently, the clinic operates one day a week and is available for adults receiving mental health services from Family & Children’s Services. Clinic patients may also receive free medication as prescribed by a Morton medical provider. Patients receive treatment for colds and other minor complaints and serious, chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

So, can one day a week really help? By mid-February, 281 clients had been seen during the clinic’s 16 operating days. Over 70 percent of those served said they didn’t have a primary care physician and, instead, used to visit hospital emergency rooms for care. More than 20 percent didn’t seek care when sick. But now, these individuals have a resource for getting treatment and, just as important, managing their wellness.

The direct impact on our clients and their loved ones is evident. However, our community as a whole benefits, too, through less crowded emergency rooms and lower health care costs. 

Mental Illness Impacts 1 in 5 Americans, report shows

A new national report reveals that 45.9 million American adults aged 18 or older, or 20 percent of this age group, experienced mental illness in the past year. The rate of mental illness was more than twice as high among those aged 18 to 25 (29.9 percent) than among those aged 50 and older (14.3 percent). Adult women were also more likely than men to have experienced mental illness in the past year (23 percent versus 16.8 percent).

 

To read the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s full news release on the study, click here.

Fun & Free Time Together as a Family

Too often, parents find themselves caught in a game of “gimme” with their children – as in, “Gimme this, Mom.” or “Dad, can you gimme a new video game?” However, how much money you spend on your kids matters less than how much time you spend with them.

Tulsa World Blogger Natalie Mikles has some fantasic ideas for spending time together as a family free or on the cheap. We have a few other suggestions:

Have a board game night. Younger children can be paired up with older kids or parents. Reading game cards reinforces language skills, and moving the pawn and handling money helps with mathematics.

Channel Scheherezade, the fabled Persian storyteller. She told a story that lasted 1,001 nights, ending each night’s session on a suspenseful note. Let every member of the family have an opportunity to tell part of the story you create together.

Go dancing without the stars. Turn on some music and cut a rug on your own rug. It’s a great way to get some exercise and is likely to leave everyone giggling.

Stage your own “Chopped” challenge. Set out an array of motley ingredients, start a timer and tell your little chef to create a culinary masterpiece. Plan to be on hand to help younger children with cutting and any cooking required, but let their creativity guide the final product.

 

 

Do Your Part — By Carrie Little, Family Life Education Program Coordinator

“He isn’t even trying anymore.”

“She doesn’t care.”

 

Sound familiar?  If so, you are not alone.  Many couples go through times when one or both feel that they are the only one “working” on the relationship.  It becomes frustrating to reflect on your relationship and see only those things that you do to make your relationship work.  It can become a habit to focus only on those things that your partner ISN’T doing.  When this habit forms it is likely that other bad habits form in its wake, including bouts of escalation when trying to discuss issues with your partner, or starting sentences that begin with, “You never… ” or “You always… .”

Especially if you have children together, it is important to find ways of relating to one another without damaging your closeness.  One way to begin this process is called “Do Your Part.”  This concept relies greatly on your ability to look closely at your thoughts and actions to bring about change in your relationship.  In other words, in every situation, find a way to do the best you can.  Whether that be choosing not to yell and scream, or choosing to do something nice for your partner even in times of irritation. 

This does not mean you can change your relationship on your own.  It takes two to make a relationship work over time.  However, if both you and your partner begin a daily practice of “Do Your Part,” the need for each to focus on the other’s bad behavior will cease.  This involves trust.  You have to trust that your partner is doing everything he or she can to make your relationship and family life work, and vice versa.  This also involves a lot of respect and kindness, both toward yourself and your partner.

“Do Your Part” can change the tone of your relationship.  You will begin to process events in a different way.  Instead of automatically going toward the one thing your partner did wrong, you will be thinking in “I” statements instead.  Like, “What could I have done to make that conversation better?”  or, “What could I do today to make my relationship stronger?” 

 

If you would like to learn more about “Do Your Part,” and other concepts and skills to make your relationship strong, Family & Children’s Services offers a free class called Forever. For Real. In this class, couples learn together the skills needed to create a lasting and loving partnership.

Calling All Retailers: Clear Your Racks!

Family & Children’s Services is asking local retailers to clear their racks. The agency’s popular warehouse sale fundraising event is just around the corner – and merchandise is needed!

F&CS will host its ninth annual Abersons & Friends Warehouse Sale on March 28-30, 2012, at its central office, 650 S. Peoria Avenue. Proceeds of the sale will help F&CS provide counseling, treatment and support services to children who’ve been abused, families in crisis and individuals faced with overwhelming problems or mental illness.

Local merchants can support the effort by donating unsold stock – including home décor, housewares; women’s, men’s and children’s clothing; accessories and more – to F&CS. The agency will coordinate pick up from stores. Participating merchants may take a tax deduction for any items they donate, will be listed in promotional materials and – best of all! – will have more room on their racks to display the latest spring merchandise. 

Nearly 35 stores and hundreds of bargain-loving shoppers participated in last year’s Abersons & Friends Warehouse Sale. To get more information or schedule a pick up date, contact Rochelle Dowdell, the F&CS special events coordinator, at 918.560.1115 or rdowdell@fcsok.org.

Rally at Oklahoma State Capitol Focused on Mental Health Funding

Yesterday, a tour bus full of F&CS staff, consumers, and community partners made the trek to Oklahoma City for the My Mind Matters Day at the Capitol 2014.  

Mental health providers, families and individuals concerned about mental health and substance abuse services attended a full day of activities  to advocate for full funding of behavioral health and addiction services. Terry White, the Commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, said it is a shame that mental illness wreaks more havoc in the lives of Oklahoma families than any other illness.  She stated that mental illness and addiction account for the majority of lost productivity at work.  In a state focused on economic growth, this is a huge issue.  White led the crowd of mental health advocates in a rousing chant, “Fully Fund Mental Health and Addiction Services!”  The chant could be heard all throughout the capitol building.

 

F&CS staff and consumers met with their representatives after the rally.   They passed out flyers with client stories and passed on their own experiences to select legislators.  If you would like to have your voice heard on this important matter, you can find your legislator and his/her contact information by clicking here.

Echo the message we left behind yesterday to fully fund mental health and addiction services! Help us spread the word that Family & Children’s Services’ 49 unique programs can help give hope for recovery.  

CATS Home Based Services Break Down Barriers To Treatment

Let us introduce you to the CATS (Child Abuse Trauma Services) Home Based Services.  Our home based services team began taking cases in January of 2013.  Four specially trained therapists and one case manager have seen a total of 61 cases at last report. 

Home-based services are designed for families that have barriers – such as a lack of reliable transportation, child care issues and other complications – which prevent them from coming to a traditional office setting for treatment. In the home, our highly skilled therapists help children overcome a wide range of problems – from mild to severe – that can develop following traumatic events.

Our CATS Home Based Services program is yet another example of Family & Children’s Services’ unique effort to treat kids effected by child abuse in our community.  

To learn more about CATS’ services, click here.

Related Post:  How You Can Make a Difference in a Child’s Life – Child Abuse Prevention Month

 

How You Can Make a Difference in a Child’s Life – Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention month and there are many ways you can make a difference in a child’s life.  

Download 101 Ways to Praise a Child by clicking here.  Your words matter, and telling the important kids in your life that they are special is a great place to start.  Share the download with all your friends and family.  

Carrie Little, F&CS’s Community Relations Manager, spoke on Fox23′s Great Day Green Country about other ways you can make a difference.  Click here to watch the segment.  

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the Oklahoma Hotline to report the situation: (800) 522-3511.

It is up to us to make our community safe for our kids.  Family & Children’s Services can help your family when you need us.  Our 49 programs are designed to  strengthen families, heal children who’ve been abused or suffered other trauma, help divorced parents meet their children’s needs, bring recovery to those struggling with mental illness or addiction, restore children’s well-being, provide comprehensive treatment as an alternative to incarceration for non-violent, prison-bound women; assist with unexpected events and transitions, and enhance parenting skills.

F&CS Strives To Hire ALL Internship and Practicum Students Trained In Our Programs

At F&CS we strive to employ the interns we train extensively in our programs. F&CS hiring managers, our Human Resource Department, and our Students Services team partnered today to hold the very first F&CS Intern Job Fair. The fair was open to all graduating interns eligible for hire.  Ten students attended, along with twelve program hiring managers.  Claudia Arthrell, our F&CS Student Practicum Placement Coordinator, said that the fair’s goal was to explore strengths of programs and employment opportunities for students to consider.

The twelve hiring managers, including Krista Lewis our Chief Program Officer for Medical and Crisis Services, spoke in depth about their programs and open positions.  Students left feeling excited about their futures within the agency.  One of the interns likened the event to the “NBA draft process” and stated that it felt good to be recruited so strongly.  The fair reiterated the message sent to students from their first interviews throughout the final days of their internships or practicums.

The F&CS  message to students is:  “We want to match your passion and future vision for yourself and your career with one of our wonderful and exciting programs.  Of our 49 different programs- which is right for you?  We know at least one will be!”

Related Post: 49 Programs- Which is right for you?

5-Year-Old Helps Homeless, Changes Lives with Spare Change

When a five year old provides a teaching moment, it’s time to take notice.  The following story of kindness and generosity was recounted by Senior Program Director for Homeless Services Greer Fites.

“We had a very touching event at the Salvation Army office recently. A grandmother came in to the Salvation Army office lobby with her granddaughter, and asked if we received donations.  She said that her granddaughter, who looked about 5 or 6, had been saving all of her change since Christmas and wanted to donate it to the homeless. The little girl brought in a gallon-sized zip lock bag of change.  In addition, the grandmother said the girl also wanted to know if there was another little girl who would like her cabbage patch doll. Front desk staff happily received the items and asked for names and an address so we could send a formal thank  you note, but they declined to give any information.  Dacia did learn that the little girl’s name is Emily. The grandmother and granddaughter each left Family & Children’s Services with a thank you note and our gratitude.”

Emily’s donation of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, added up to $53.47.  this thoughtful gesture from a generous child and one we appreciate and admire very much. To Emily, we say “Thank You”!

Learn more about Family & Children’s Services Homeless Services

 

Related posts:

The Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation Grant Embeds F&CS Case Manager in Libraries

Family & Children’s Services Case Workers Count Tulsa Homeless

12-Year-Old Donates Shoes, Socks to Tulsa’s Homeless

New Pharmacy Hours at Graves Center Effective March 24, 2014

 NEW Pharmacy Hours

 

Beginning Monday, March 24, 2014 the Family & Children’s Services Pharmacy at the Graves Center, 2325 South Harvard Avenue Suite 400, will have new operating hours. This pharmacy is a “closed retail pharmacy” that only serves agency clients.

New Pharmacy Hours Effective March 24, 2014

Monday 8:30am- 4:45pm

Tuesday 8:30am- 4:45pm

Wednesday 8:30am- 4:45pm

Thursday 8:30am- 5:30pm

Friday 8:30am- 4:45pm

 

Clients may order refills any time, day or night, through our online medication refill ordering system or by leaving a message on the pharmacy phone line, (918) 712-3407.

Family & Children’s Services’ Tulsa Area United Way Campaign Honored

The Tulsa Area United Way experienced a truly historic year in 2013. For the first time in its 89-year history, the TAUW surpassed $26 million during the annual campaign for the community. 

Generous employee support resulted in Family & Children’s Services raising $110,593 – our largest contribution to date. Now, TAUW is is recognizing Family & Children’s Services record-breaking campaign efforts with the Gold Award. The Gold Award honors organizations with employee per capita giving of $125 or more.

As a TAUW agency, Family & Children’s Services is proud to LIVE UNITED.

The Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation Grant Embeds F&CS Case Manager in Libraries

A grant from The Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation now makes it possible to provide resources and outreach services for the homeless population who frequent Tulsa City-County libraries. A full-time Family & Children’s Services homeless outreach case manager is now based at The Librarium, 1110 S. Denver Avenue. In addition to being headquartered at The Librarium, the case manager will rotate among the 23 branch libraries.

Senior Program Director for Homeless Services Greer Fites explains how one case worker can make a tremendous impact. “We know that the homeless congregate at libraries for shelter, resources and because it is a safe place. By embedding a homeless outreach case manager at the gathering point for people in need, we create an instant opportunity to make contact and share resources.”

In 2013, the part-time case manager position yielded 787 services for homeless clients. Fites says, “Based on last year’s results with a part-time employee and the fact that we now have a full-time position funded, we expect the interactions and services provided to only increase.” According to the 2014 Homeless Survey, Tulsa’s homeless population is 699. Of the nearly 700 homeless, 88% are adults and 12% are children. To be classified as homeless, the individuals surveyed were staying in a shelter or on the streets.

Services to be provided by the homeless outreach case manager;

  • Crisis intervention
  • Mental health treatment
  • Health services
  • Housing
  • Employment services

In addition, the case manager will educate and train library staff on crisis intervention, homeless and mental health issues, addiction and substance abuse. Tulsa City County Library Chief Operating Officer Laurie Sundborg said, “Having a case workers on site is an invaluable asset for both our staff and customers.”

Fites adds, “Libraries are a community resource and so is Family & Children’s Services. By embedding a homeless outreach case manager at The Librarium we are connecting directly with people who need our help the most.”

 

Your tax-deductible gift to Family & Children’s Services helps provide life-changing services to 1 in 6 Tulsans each year. Please consider making a donation today.

$100    Puts a roof over a homeless man’s head for one week

$250    Gives eight parents the opportunity to attend a six-week parenting education program

$500    Provides one day’s worth of crisis stabilization services at CrisisCare Center

$1000  One month of medication for a client suffering from bipolar and schizophrenia

$5000  Funds one year of specialized treatment for a child who has been sexually abused

 

 

 

 

Spring 2014 Family & Children’s Services Fundraisers

Now’s the time to mark your calendar for a trio of fantastic Family & Children’s Services fundraisers.

 

Abersons Chairs + Dana
Abersons & Friends Warehouse Sale
March 26-28, 2014
Snap up your Preview Sale tickets today for the legendary Abersons & Friends Warehouse Sale and get the first shot at amazing designer deals. New merchandise donated by 60 Tulsa-area shops and boutiques are marked down up to 85%.

 

 

 

 

 

WP 2013

The White Party
May 2, 2014
Sponsorships are still available for the coolest ticket in town. The White Party, hosted at The Vault, offers an evening of dancing, craft cocktails and the Tulsa Nightlife Awards. Dress your best in all white and dance the night away!

 

 

 

 

BB for Web

 

Brainiac Ball
May 31, 2014
It’s called the smartest soiree in town for good reason. Brainiac Ball combines brains and benevolence to give hope to those who need help most. Join us for an evening packed with dinner, drinks, team trivia and a lively live auction. 

Family & Children’s Services Employees Donate Blood

Despite the snowy conditions, Family & Children’s Services employees answered the call for blood donations.

Monday, March 3 nearly two dozen employees rolled up their sleeves at the Sarah and John Graves Center, 2325 South Harvard, to donate blood to the Oklahoma Blood Institute.

Family & Children’s Services Health Home Project Director Cindy Webster, RN, spearheaded the blood drive. “It was our first blood drive for Family & Children’s Services and I was thrilled with the response. We hoped for 16 donations, but ended up with 22 donations.”

According the American Blood Center more than 700 blood donations are need every day for local area hospitals receiving blood from the Blood Institute. With each donation, as many as three lives can be saved. Family & Children’s Services is proud to support Oklahoma Blood Institute and share life saving stories.

 

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