Beeville family moves back home thanks to disaster recovery partners

Beeville Bee-Picayune | May 8, 2019

BEEVILLE – Mike and Marlene Juranek received the keys to their new home Tuesday, April 30, 20 months after the landfall of Hurricane Harvey. The celebration was made possible through the combined efforts of the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group (CBDRG), BCFS Health and Human Services, and a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Del Rio Community Comes Together in the Spirit of Giving

With some quick help from the community, BCFS Health and Human Services was able to make spirits a little brighter for more than 120 children and youth in the Del Rio area this Christmas. A gift distribution was being organized for the families enrolled in BCFS’ STAR program, but when the initial plans fell through just days before the gifts were to be delivered, staff reached out to the community to help make these children’s Christmas wishes come true. In just two days, BCFS collected over $1,500 for the gifts, thanks to the help and generosity of private donors and local businesses and organizations.

Del Rio Community Comes Together in the Spirit of Giving

More than 47 families in need received Christmas gifts

Photo: Allie Whitaker and Sarah MorenoDEL RIO – With some quick help from the community, BCFS Health and Human Services was able to make spirits a little brighter for more than 120 children and youth in the Del Rio area this Christmas.

A gift distribution was being organized for the families enrolled in BCFS’ STAR program, but when the initial plans fell through just days before the gifts were to be delivered, staff reached out to the community to help make these children’s Christmas wishes come true. In just two days, BCFS collected over $1,500 for the gifts, thanks to the help and generosity of private donors and local businesses and organizations, including Brown Automotive, San Felipe Ex-Student Memorial Center,  Inc., the Del Rio Chapter of the American G.I. Forum and the San Felipe Lions Club.

When staff at Dr. Lonnie Green Elementary School learned of BCFS’ plans, they organized a last minute two-day toy drive to help out as well. Everyone’s hard work paid off, and BCFS staff began delivering presents to local families on December 16. More than 47 families received Christmas gifts.

“Our staff gave out more than 129 gifts. We are so thankful that the community came together so quickly to make this happen for these families. We couldn’t have done this without them,” said Delia Ramos, Interim Director for BCFS Health and Human Services.

BCFS’ Services to At-Risk Youth (STAR) program helps Del Rio families create stable, loving home environments by providing free counseling, training for youth and parents, and help reducing family conflict and delinquent behaviors in youth, like truancy. The STAR program serves families with youth 17 years old and younger.

For more information about the STAR program or to request free counseling, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/STAR or call (830) 768-2755.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

 

 

Governor’s Office Awards Grant For Domestic Violence Survivors

DEL RIO – The Criminal Justice Division of the Texas Governor’s Office has awarded BCFS Health and Human Services $54,000 to expand its current services to victims of domestic violence in Val Verde County with the PAST program, or Peers Achieving Success Together. The PAST program provides crisis intervention, victim advocacy services, and peer support groups to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking crimes in Val Verde County.

“Over the next year, we expect to serve at least 100 victims of abuse through PAST, providing direct crisis intervention services,” says Delia Ramos, interim director for BCFS Health and Human Services in Del Rio. “This grant reaffirms Texas’ view, from the highest level, that abuse, in any form, is unacceptable, and there is no place for it in our society.”

Last year in Texas, more than 23,000 adults and children sought shelter from an abusive environment, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. One in three women in Texas is affected by abuse at the hands of a boyfriend, spouse or intimate partner.

Family Violence Specialists with the PAST program provide individualized needs assessments, crisis counseling, transportation services, safety planning and referrals to other community organizations for additional support as-needed. PAST also provides peer support groups, where program staff and abuse survivors utilize the Duluth Model curriculum, Tácticas de control: La visión de la mujer. The curriculum includes the first-person accounts of six Latinas who have survived abuse, and how the experience has affected their children, their relationships and themselves.

“Del Rio has a large Hispanic population, and we are mindful of the cultural nuances within our community,” adds Ramos. “Through the stories of these Latina survivors, Tácticas de control offers insight into an abuser’s mindset and how a relationship can evole into something unhealthy and dangerous.”

The Duluth Model, named after the small Minnesota town where it was developed, is a framework of ideas and information about domestic violence that asserts involvement from the entire community is critical to ending domestic abuse for good.

BCFS Health and Human Services has operated the Domestic Violence Del Rio (DVDR) program for five years, providing safety, support and resources to victims of abuse. BCFS also operates the Services To At Risk Youth program, known as STAR, which aims to reduce family conflict and prevent delinquent behaviors, running away, and child abuse by helping youth and their families learn to resolve crises and develop coping and parenting skills.

To learn more about BCFS Health and Human Services, or to support BCFS’ work in Del Rio visit DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

 

 

 

Healing from the inside out

Healing From The Inside Out

By Ecaterina Babin

*Featured in BCFS’ annual together magazine

Cristina was born in Moldova, the youngest sibling of four older brothers. Her mother was addicted to alcohol and became increasingly violent and abusive as her drinking worsened. She brutally beat Cristina, while her father did nothing to protect her. Her father neglected Cristina and her brothers, staying away from home as much as possible to avoid the harsh reality that his family was suffering.
Cristina’s mother died of a cerebral stroke in 2009. Even though Cristina has traumatic memories of her mother, she still misses her.
When she was 12, Cristina started having health problems. She had surgery on her appendix and later began experiencing epileptic seizures. She developed a spine tumor – all the while, her father showed no interest in helping her get critical medical treatment. Cristina was put on medical disability and spent most of her time at the hospital. Despite that, she managed to finish middle school with good grades.
After undergoing another surgery in 2011, Cristina found herself with no money or permanent place to live. A woman who worked at the hospital told Cristina about Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI), the overseas division of BCFS. Cristina wanted to start a new life and get an education, but her dreams felt hopelessly out of reach. In the fall of 2012, she asked CERI for help.
Cristina spent the next three years in CERI’s Transitional Care program, which provides case management, access to education and vocational training, financial literacy and life skills training, and guidance on how to avoid human traffickers that run rampant in the region. CERI helped place Cristina in a Christian center where she started going to church, and ultimately professed her faith in Christ. Soon after, she was accepted into the Christian University to study social work.
Things were looking up for Cristina! She enjoyed her college classes, and had a new church “family” to encourage her – but she was still very ill. She was hospitalized several more times that year, and ultimately underwent radiation therapy.
Today, she has a clean bill of health, she feels much better and believes that God has healed her. Cristina is in her third year of college and going to class in the evenings. She is a member of New Testament Church in Chisinau, Moldova, where she serves in their Sunday school program.

 

Turkey Giveaway in Del Rio

Del Rio Families Receive Free Thanksgiving Meal from BCFS Health and Human Services’ family program, STAR

Photo: A family recieving a free Thanksgiving meal

DEL RIO – More than 100 Del Rio families received a free Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings this week. As they gather around their tables Thursday, they have more to celebrate than just the good food and fellowship – each family received the meal to congratulate them for completing the STAR program operated by BCFS Health and Human Services, which provides counseling, trainings and other services to unify and strengthen families.

Last month, BCFS Health and Human Services announced the organization would provide Thanksgiving meals to families who completed three STAR sessions before the holiday. As a result, BCFS Health and Human Services helped 160 children and youth in November, and gave out 133 Thanksgiving meals.

Services To At Risk Youth (STAR) helps Del Rio families create stable, loving home environments by providing free counseling, training for youth and parents, and help reducing family conflict and delinquent behaviors in youth, like truancy and running away from home. The STAR program serves families with youth 17 years old and younger.

Interim Director Delia Ramos says BCFS Health and Human Services will be there to serve Del Rio families in times of celebration and crisis.

“Many of the families we serve live paycheck to paycheck, or are struggling with unemployment, so putting a full Thanksgiving spread on the table is a burden, or completely out of reach,” says Ramos. “We wanted to help families enjoy a holiday meal with loved ones, but also leave a more lasting mark on their lives through the STAR program.”

For more information about BCFS Health and Human Services’ work in Del Rio, call (830) 768-2755, visit 519 Bedell Avenue, or go online to www.DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio.


BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

BCFS awarded $15,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation

KERRVILLE – BCFS Health and Human Services has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation to support the Youth Averted from Delinquency (YAD) program. YAD serves youth in the juvenile justice system to decrease the incidence of recidivism for juvenile offenders, particularly those who have committed violent and serious offenses, and increase the number of truancy cases that are successfully resolved by the youth’s return to and completion of school.

YAD has served more than 500 youth over the past six years, providing intensive, wrap-around services to adjudicated juvenile offenders and youth with truancy cases. Youth in the YAD program receive individualized, in-home assistance from a therapist or case manager, case planning, and individual and family therapy. Nearly 90% of YAD youth successfully complete the program.

In addition to these home-based services, BCFS Health and Human Services provides life skills training, parenting training, educational assistance, tutoring, and other critical support services.

“The teens and young adults in YAD are a special group of people that need guidance and support. Many of them caved to peer pressure or the influence of negative role models, started down the wrong path and made poor choices – but at BCFS Health and Human Services we believe in second chances,” says Brenda Thompson, Director – Community Services for BCFS Health and Human Services in Kerrville, who oversees the YAD program.

For five decades, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $16 million in grants to charitable organizations across Texas. The devotion of its founders and continued Fellow support has made the Texas Bar Foundation the largest charitably-funded bar foundation in the nation.

“We are honored to partner with the Texas Bar Foundation to help these young men and women work hard and turn their lives around,” says Thompson. “This grant represents a significant investment in our community from the Texas Bar Foundation and the Board of Trustees.”

BCFS Health and Human Services helps local families and youth from the foster care and juvenile justice systems, as well as those at-risk of homelessness, substance abuse, poverty, unemployment and other challenges. The organization will open the new BCFS Hill Country Resource Center next month, which will house multiple nonprofits in the nearly 20,000-square-foot facility on Main Street. In the new center, Hill Country residents will have “one-stop” access to counseling, case management, emergency housing assistance, life skills training, educational support, literacy training, and much more.

For more information about BCFS Health and Human Services’ work in the Hill Country, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

 

 

 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

BCFS Health and Human Services to Hold Candlelight Vigil

DEL RIO — According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 12 million people are affected by intimate partner violence in the United States each year. One in three women in Texas is affected by abuse at the hands of a boyfriend, spouse or intimate partner. Last year in Texas, more than 23,000 adults and children sought shelter from an abusive environment.

As the nation marks October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, BCFS Health and Human Services in Del Rio will pause to honor victims of abuse, and underscore its programs that help survivors recover and work to end domestic abuse for good.

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Del Rio Domestic Violence (DRDV) program provides safety, support and resources to victims of domestic violence in Del Rio and Val Verde County. Victims receive one-on-one support, legal assistance, referrals to access community resources, emergency medical care, and critical safety planning. BCFS’ domestic abuse hotline is available 24/7 at (830) 768-2755.

In the last year, BCFS’ Del Rio Domestic Violence program has provided treatment and recovery services to 93 adults and 70 children affected by domestic violence.

On Thursday, October 29, BCFS Health and Human Services will hold its sixth annual candlelight vigil in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The vigil, Igniting Hope: A Community Commitment to Stop Domestic Violence, will be held at Del Rio’s Brown Plaza at 305 Cantu Street at 7 p.m. Community leaders, advocates and local families will gather with BCFS Health and Human Services to read aloud the names of every domestic violence victim who lost their life at the hands of their abusers this past year. BCFS’ community partners collaborating on the event include the Val Verde County Sheriff’s Office, New Horizon Women’s and Children’s Shelter, Quad Counties Council, the Laughlin Air Force Base Family Advocacy Center, Border Federal Credit Union and Casa De La Cultura.

“It’s a common misconception that physical violence is the only symptom of an abusive environment,” says Delia Ramos, interim director for the BCFS center in Del Rio. “But there are many ways individuals can be victimized, like suffering emotional manipulation and intimidation. No one has a right to abuse someone else. It’s important to recognize these heinous acts for what they are – abuse – and encourage victims to seek help.”

DRDV also promotes violence-free relationships and community awareness through public information, education and advocacy. DRDV’s community outreach involves classroom instruction on healthy relationships, collaboration with law enforcement, and self-defense workshops for teens and young women.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in a relationship used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Such abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological. It can include action or threats of action to influence another person, such as sexual assault, stalking or any behavior that frightens, intimidates, terrorizes, manipulates, humiliates, blames or injures someone else. Examples include withholding money from a partner, threatening to hurt pets or children, threatening to kill oneself in the event of a breakup or divorce, or constantly belittling or criticizing an intimate partner.

Domestic violence is not limited by gender, class, race, religion, economic status, age or sexual orientation. Whether a couple is married, living together, divorced or dating, any pattern of behavior used to maintain power and control over a partner is considered domestic abuse.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-779-SAFE (7233) or call BCFS Health and Human Services at 830-768-2755. All help is free and confidential.

For more information about BCFS’ Del Rio Domestic Violence program, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.