Empower Yolo
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Organization Details

Programs

Description
Empower Yolo's confidential shelter, the Wallace and Vannucci Shelter opened in November 1999 and is the only facility in Yolo County serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. The thirty-five bed facility is staffed 24 hours a day. While the shelter is known for its invaluable safety net from violence, the less-known objective of the shelter program is to educate, empower, and support survivors in healing and rebuilding their lives free from violence. More than just a temporary refuge, the shelter also provides a comprehensive empowerment program designed to assist survivors in becoming independent and free from violence. Programs offered at the shelter include case management, safety planning, weekly goal-setting and process groups, parenting classes, economic empowerment and life skills development classes, art therapy, and domestic violence education and support groups. Individual, on-site therapy is offered, as well as on-site legal and restraining order assistance.

We are still working on our 'Gather Around Our Kitchen' capital campaign to raise funds to remodel our shelter kitchen which has not been updated in nearly 20 years. In most homes, the kitchen is a focal point, a place where families begin and end their day, a place to gather around and take in the comforting smells of a favorite meal. Kitchens are a familiar place, even in unfamiliar surroundings.

However, the current kitchen has not been updated since it was built; it does not provide adequate space or storage for the many families using it. The space is cramped, cabinets are worn out and appliances are old and in constant need of repair.

The new kitchen facility will dramatically improve our ability to support individuals and families who come to us at the most difficult times of their lives. Our residents will know that this is a place that was built with them in mind, a clean and comfortable place to prepare food and share meals with their families providing comfort and healing for all survivors and their children.

Last year, 286 women, men and children stayed in our shelter for a total of 14,294 bed nights (over 30,000 meals).

Budget
$412,482
Program Successes
Jasmine's Story - a story of safety and economic empowerment

"My kids are the reason I left my abuser and came to Empower Yolo for help," said Jasmine (the client's name has been changed for confidentiality). "It wasn't going to be a good life for them to see and hear the abuse; and things could have gone worse," she said. "My kids were the ones suffering more than I and I didn't want them to think that was normal growing up. I didn't want my son to be the same way."

Coming to Empower Yolo has changed my life. They have been so nice and have helped me with the situation I've been living through. They helped me with my kids. They helped me with my restraining order and custody of my kids. They helped me get school supplies for my kids when they started school. When I first moved in they helped me with food and clothing. My kids and I felt comfortable and safe. At the beginning, I was embarrassed and kept to myself, but then I started talking to other clients and made friends and the shelter felt like home. Many of us would hang out in the kitchen and make meals together. I got more comfortable being there and I felt like I was home.

Empower Yolo also helped me find a place to live and start over after leaving the shelter. They helped me with the deposit. From there I will keep working to support my kids and keep them safe. Empower Yolo helped me with the first month's rent and deposit and furniture for my kids. I have to start completely over because I left everything behind. I feel better about my new life because no one deserves to be treated badly or be hurt. I'm excited to move on and start a new life. My kids were so happy to be moving into a new place with just the three of us, and it's not the same like it was before when they were living in fear. I am happy and excited we had the chance to start over again. When I first moved into the shelter my situation was stressful. I thought about going back because I was leaving everything behind, but then I started realizing that if I'm here at the safe house that's better than where I used to be. The shelter staff has really helped me a lot. I stayed at the shelter for 3 months. My kids and I felt well taken care of while we were at the safe house. I am lucky because I have a job and can take care of my family and become financially stable. It's worrisome if you don't have a job and you are here at the shelter, or if you have to depend on your partner for finances. "I feel like I've gotten a second chance since I've been here and I can start my life over," Jasmine said.
Description
Empower Yolo's Teen Education Program is focused on promoting healthy relationships and preventing abuse in teen relationships. This is done through student/community presentations and weekly groups meeting in local schools. Presentations cover a range of issues including abuse types, date rape, predatory drugs, teen dating violence, healthy relationships, and bystander intervention. "My Strength", a program for young men operates under the motto "My Strength Is Not for Hurting". My Strength groups are facilitated in local high schools by Empower Yolo's Prevention Education Coordinator. The group meets weekly throughout the school year and addresses positive and negative forms of masculinity - with a goal of educating young men on how to use their strength in a positive way. This group aims to prevent violence against women before it starts by engaging young men as allies to fight against sexual violence and domestic/teen dating violence. "Be Strong" is a development program for young women, which builds on concepts of womanhood, respect, and positive relationships as a strategy for health promotion and violence prevention. "Our Strength" is our eight week gender inclusive group which covers topics like healthy relationships, affirmative consent, and bystander intervention. These groups are held during class time or as lunch time groups.
Budget
$12,000
Program Successes
In the 2017-2018 school year Empower Yolo provided prevention education to 4,721 students in Yolo county schools.
- These presentations were held for multiple teachers and students at: Pioneer High School, Woodland High School, Holmes Jr. High School, Emerson Jr. High School, Davis High, Cache Creek High, ML King High, River City High, Winters High, and Yolo Juvenile Detention Facility.
- We also coordinated "My Strength" groups in six Yolo County Schools including: Woodland High School, Pioneer High School, Holmes Jr. High School, Emerson Jr. High School, River City High School, and Cache Creek High School.
- In addition, we facilitated "Be Strong" groups at Woodland High School, Pioneer High School, Holmes Jr. High School, Emerson Jr. High School, and River City High School.
- Finally, we facilitated "Our Strength" gender inclusive prevention program at River City High School (2 groups), and Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in Davis.
- In all, we facilitated 33 groups of eight weeks or more in Yolo county schools in the 2017-2018 school year.
Description
Human Trafficking identification and response have increased in Yolo County through trainings and greater partnerships with government and non-government organizations. We can no longer say that human trafficking doesn't happen in Yolo County because the reports tells us otherwise. However, the services and support survivors need to heal from human trafficking is immense. Many survivors experience long-lasting complex trauma while often lacking basic resources, like food, clothing and shelter. Empower Yolo strives to support survivors by offering therapeutic services as well as meeting clients' basic needs. Confidential Advocates are available 24/7 to respond to survivors who are identified by the police, hospitals or Child Welfare Services. Empower Yolo provides advocacy and support which can include coordinating with the Public Defender's Office, District Attorney's Office, Victim Services, CommuniCare, and Health and Human Services, as well as court accompaniment, housing and transportation.
Budget
$15,000
Program Successes
In one year, Empower Yolo provided services for 36 human trafficking survivors - 2 labor trafficking and 34 sex trafficking survivors.
Description
"Promotoras for Active Living" (PAL) project, which trains lay community members to deliver health education, family support to family, friends and other community members and to connect them to available health and social services in Yolo County. 'Promotoras' are recruited from existing Women's Support Groups. They are lay persons - the majority of whom are low-income, Latino and Spanish-speaking - that receive training on relevant health issues for the Latino community and learn how to access health and social services in the local region. The "promotoras" through community outreach are able to bridge the gap between hard-to-reach Latino residents and service providers. Meanwhile, they gain tangible skills in health education, resource and referral, insurance enrollment, and public speaking, thereby enhancing their employability.
Budget
$15,000
Program Successes
- Empower Yolo's Promotoras for Active Living serves the Davis, Woodland, Knights Landing, Dunnigan, and West Sacramento areas.
- They are bilingual individuals who educate Yolo County's population of low-income families.
- While the project serves anyone requesting services, 95% of our clients are low to very low-income, and 70% have limited English proficiency.
Description
ASSETs (After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens) program serves both Woodland Senior High and Pioneer High School students. ASSETs partners with schools and communities to provide academic support and safe, constructive alternatives for high school students. More than just an after school program, Woodland ASSETs team creates genuine connections with high school youth and families and provides unique opportunities for the development of life and leadership skills. We also provide family literacy services to the parents of our high school students. Our program operates after school, weekends, summer, intersession, and vacation periods.
Budget
$580,000
Program Successes
In the 2017-2018 school year 1,823 high school students at both Woodland and Pioneer High attended the ASSETs program at least one time. In 2018 high school students at both Woodland and Pioneer High attended the ASSETs program for a total of 62,487 times.