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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

Family & Children’s Services Fundraiser, The White Party, Creates Buzz

The Eighth Annual White Party, benefiting Family & Children’s Services, will be held Friday, May 1, 2015, on the rooftop of The Vault. Sponsors and their guests don all-white attire to dine and dance the night away in Tulsa’s unique Art Deco District while sampling craft cocktails specially made by Tulsa’s premier mixologists.

Tulsa World Shaking Things Up: Six Tulsa Bartenders to Watch

Buy Tickets and VIP Packages Here


Women in Recovery Program Settles Into New Home

Family & Children’s Services Women in Recovery program, which is funded primarily by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, welcomed program partners, funders and supporters to an open house at its new home on Thursday, April 16.

Read the complete Tulsa World article here

Public support of Women in Recovery evident in Tulsa World editorial A New Home for Women in Recovery

Read the Journal Record article here





Hearts and Hands Quilting Group Donates to Family & Children’s Services

Green Country Quilters Guild and its Hearts and Hands group members love the  joy of quilting and keeping alive the art of quilting, but also giving the quilts away to organizations like Family & Children’s Services.


Generous donors allow Family & Children’s Services to serve 1 in 6 Tulsans each year. Today, we provide 49 life-changing programs for adults and children in mental health, substance abuse and family services. Our dedicated staff heal traumatized and hurting children, strengthen individuals and families and provide hope and recovery for those battling mental illness.



Mimi Tarrasch, Women in Recovery Senior Program Director, Named YWCA’s 10 Women of the Year

Mimi Tarrasch, Family & Children’s Services Senior Program Director of Women in Recovery, which seeks to curb the effect of the high incarceration rate of women in Oklahoma and bettering the lives of at-risk children and families in Tulsa has been named YWCA’s 10 Women of the Year.

This year, the YWCA will be honoring 10 women at its 12th annual Wine, Women & Shoes event. The 10 women chosen for the Women of the Year honors were nominated by members of the community, with the finalists chosen by a committee of YWCA board members, staff and organizers of the Wine, Women & Shoes event.

Read complete Tulsa World article here


The White Party Honors Tulsa Mixologists

The Eighth Annual White Party, benefiting Family & Children’s Services, will be held Friday, May 1, 2015, on the rooftop of The Vault. Sponsors and their guests don all-white attire to dine and dance the night away in Tulsa’s unique Art Deco District while sampling craft cocktails specially made by Tulsa’s premier mixologists.  Join The White Party and enjoy handmade, craft cocktails, an experience that not only entices your taste buds, but also showcases the artistry behind the entertainment.

Noah Bush – Saturn Room

Josh Coffee – Valkyrie

Jared Jordan – MixedCo

Lesley Nelson – Hodges Bend

Sydnee Partin – The Vault

Shanna Postoak – The Bramble

Breeze Waitkus – R Bar

Abersons & Friends Warehouse Sale Underway

Shop and save at the annual Abersons & Friends Warehouse Sale March 25-27, 2015. Designer clothes, top-of-the-line housewares and other items from dozens of local stores and generous donors, all marked up to 85 percent off. Read Sunday’s Tulsa World Article or watch this interview on Good Day Tulsa.

March 26, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. // Admission: $5 (re-entry permitted for both days of shopping)
March 27, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. // Admission: $5

Family & Children’s Services Central Office
650 S. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74120



Family & Children’s Services volunteer, Meredith Henry, and Family & Children’s Services employee, Fallyn Alexander, man the check out  station at the Abersons & Friends Warehouse sale.

Abersons & Friends Warehouse Sale Preview Party Tonight

Shop and save at the annual Abersons & Friends Warehouse Sale March 25-27, 2015. Designer clothes, top-of-the-line housewares and other items from dozens of local stores and generous donors, all marked up to 85 percent off. Read Sunday’s Tulsa World Article or watch this interview on Good Day Tulsa.

The preview party is 4-7pm on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. You can buy preview party tickets here for $30 or purchase tickets at the door for $35.

March 26, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. // Admission: $5 (re-entry permitted for both days of shopping)
March 27, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. // Admission: $5

Family & Children’s Services Central Office
650 S. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74120


Abersons Susan and Kelly Family & Children’s Services volunteer Kelly Gibson and Susan McCalman, Family & Children’s Services Development Director, organizing merchandise for the Abersons & Friends Warehouse Sale.

Now Accepting Donations for Abersons & Friends Warehouse Sale

Family & Children’s Services annual Abersons & Friends Warehouse Sale is scheduled for March 25-27, 2015. Currently, Family & Children’s Services is accepting new, unused merchandise from area merchants. All donations are tax deductible and a form will be issued at the time of the donation.

If you would like to donate, please contact Sean Conner at or (918) 560-1113. Did we mention that we will pick up your merchandise? It’s a win-win for everyone!


Tulsa Area United Way Honors Ruth Nelson

Groundbreaking female community leader and longtime supporter of Family & Children’s Services, Ruth Nelson, was honored Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at the annual Tulsa Area United Way luncheon. Kaiser was awarded the 2015 Tulsa Area United Way Clydella Hentschel Award for decades of service to the Tulsa community. Gail Lapidus, CEO of Family and Children’s Services, said, “She’s been a strong female role model and leader in my professional life, and I’ve admired her work and tenacity. She provides a double impact with philanthropic gifts from the heart and the giving of her time.”

You can read the entire Tulsa World article here

OU College of Arts and Sciences Honors F&CS CEO Gail Lapidus

Three University of Oklahoma alumni, including Family & Children’s Services CEO Gail Lapidus, will be recognized for their accomplishments by the university’s largest college, the College of Arts and Sciences.

Gail Lapidus1264

Photo Courtesy of Tulsa People Magazine

Gail P. Lapidus, ’79 MSW, is the executive director and chief executive officer of Family and Children’s Services, a human services provider in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area. She has been with the agency for 40 years, serving as director since 1986. It has grown to a staff of more than 500, and has been recognized for its services.

Among several awards and honors, Lapidus was named a Woman of Distinction by the Tulsa Business Journal in 2011; received the ONE Award on behalf of the center from the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits in 2004; received the Pinnacle Award from the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Tulsa Women’s Foundation in 2010.

Her record of service includes serving on the OU Zarrow School of Social Work Board of Visitors, the Tulsa Institute for Trauma Abuse and Neglect, the Oklahoma State University Tulsa Associates Board for Human Environmental Sciences, the Tulsa Area United Way Long Range Planning Committee, and the Tulsa County Planning and Coordinating Board for Services to Children and Youth.

Homer Paul, ’54 BA History, hails from Pauls Valley, founded by his great-great grandfather. While attending OU, he was a member of the Naval ROTC on campus. Following graduation, he joined the United States Marines and achieved the rank of Battalion Commander. He participated in the Navy Marine Corps landing exercise in Iwo Jima on the eleventh anniversary of the original battle and spent three days on the island.

Paul has had a distinguished banking career, having started his career at Liberty National Bank in business development, and retiring as president of Citizens Security Bank in Bixby, Oklahoma. His service to the community includes chair of the Oklahoma Finance Authorities; former president of the Oklahoma Bankers Association; Boy Scouts of America-Oklahoma City Council board member; trustee, National Fraternity Phi Gamma Delta Educational Endowment; chair of the Oklahoma Blood Institute Foundation; board member of the Chickasaw Nations Industries; Rotarian for more than 50 years; and board member for the United States Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Oklahoma.

Brandi Coyner, ’05 BS Zoology, has been named the inaugural College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Young Alumna. Coyner is a curatorial associate in mammals and genomic resources at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. A native of Chandler, Oklahoma, Coyner grew to love mammalogy while attending the Oklahoma Biological Station as an undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma. Her undergraduate research was recognized by the Texas Society of Mammalogists and the American Society of Mammalogists. In 2010, Coyner was recognized as one of the top three doctoral students at Oklahoma State University; she received the Albert R. and Alma Shadle Award from the American Society of Mammalogists, which recognizes graduate students for their contributions, service and potential with the American Society of Mammalogists.

Coyner’s research has led to the description of four mammal species new to sciences, and she recently began writing her first book, titled “The Mammals of Argentina.” She enjoys working at the museum, filling that time with lectures to student groups, behind-the-scenes tours for guests, or explaining advanced genetic techniques to high school students.