As we round the bend into 2017 and CORA gets ready to mark 40 years of service to San Mateo County, I can hardly believe how much we have grown. In many ways, last year was our best year ever. Increases in government grants (mostly state funds) and grants from foundations and individual donations, in particular, have made the future bright for CORA and for the thousands of families who turn to us in need.
This year we added several new programs and services. For example, we launched our Children’s Integrative Resiliency Program which provides therapy for child witnesses of domestic violence. That means CORA now offers a truly comprehensive array of specialized mental health services for individuals, groups, families and children. And we can now provide legal advocacy to support clients who have to face their batterers in court.
We also expanded our outreach and services to LGBTQ residents by bolstering our hotline with staff specially skilled in LGBTQ domestic violence and our clinical support for LGBTQ survivors, too.
While we have educated teens in the schools for many years, this year we will be teaming up with Rape Trauma Services to offer a more robust curriculum to keep teens safe and support teen victims of intimate relationship abuse. And, in order to better meet folks where the need is, we will provide community-based support in East Palo Alto where, for a variety of reasons, those who may need help would especially benefit from meeting with an advocate face-to-face in their own neighborhood.
I am inspired time and again by the resilience and courage of survivors. I am also grateful to be able to offer assistance to those who feel hopeless, but who, with our help, realize they are not alone, that abuse is not their fault, and who create new lives for themselves and their children. Because really, once they’ve got the legal support or housing they need, or a warm welcome from someone who really understands what they’ve been through, what we really offer is hope.
After this past election, I believe we need hope, or what some have even called “radical hope.” As the award-winning writer, Junot Diaz said, “Radical hope is our best weapon against despair, even when despair seems justifiable; it makes the survival of the end of your world possible. Only radical hope could have imagined people like us into existence. And I believe that it will help us create a better, more loving future.”
Onward into this very exciting, hopeful year. Together, we’ll transform lives – lives worth living, futures worth embracing.