Something magical happens at CALM during Adopt a Family time. A very special connection is formed between the vulnerable and challenged families in our community who need help and those who can provide it. Each year, CALM (Child Abuse Listening Mediation) staff evaluates the families we serve to identify where there is the greatest need. This year CALM received over 250 wish lists from vulnerable families in need of extra help over the holidays. Wish lists are often very simple. For example, children often ask for a book, a single toy, or a blanket, and parents’ lists will include a grocery gift card or a warm jacket for the winter. The parade of presents from our generous supporters represents something much more than gifts to the families who receive them. It sends a message to these parents and these children that they are valued members of our community.
When we connect people to one another across the county, we strengthen protective factors for our children and we actually prevent abuse. We send the message that each person is accountable to one another and reliant on one another. We say clearly to the at-risk children and families of Santa Barbara County that there are people who care.
Yes, Adopt a Family is about making sure that children served by CALM receive a gift at the holidays. But, more importantly, Adopt a Family communicates to each recipient that we care about them. This caring makes our clients better mothers and fathers, and better sons and daughters. Thank you for being a partner in strengthening our community.
Cecilia Rodriguez is executive director of CALM, which has a mission is to prevent, assess, and treat child abuse in Santa Barbara County since 1970.