With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, I am reminded of one of her many ‘royal quotes’ used to inspire others – “When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.” This is such a powerful message for children, youth, and families dealing with trauma, abuse, and uncertainty. The fight or flight response is definitely real and drives many of the conversations, behaviors, and treatment plans for the children receiving our services. The emotions of fear, anxiety, sadness, and restlessness often interfere with our ability to maintain courage and optimism in difficult situations. As adults, we experience this.

As children and youth, the realities and emotions of life situations are sometimes too overwhelming for them. Trauma is relentless and every child that enters our doors is experiencing some type of trauma. They need help, and often ask for help in the most unloving ways. Our job is to offer them a safe space to manage all of the emotions related to their trauma experience and help them gain the courage for a better future. This is the goal, some children experience the impact of this goal and some children choose to fight the help being offered. We hope to impact all children in a positive way but the reality is that we will impact a few and their lives will be changed dramatically.

Sally Kate Winters Family Services has been busy this quarter with the unexpected. During a July thunderstorm, we experienced severe property damage to the TLP houses from falling trees. Thankfully, the three male clients asleep in one of the housing units were not injured when a hackberry tree fell through the center of the house. Frightened for sure, but no physical injuries!! Bob Lummus and his crew were Rock Stars for a few days so that our TLP clients did not have to be displaced for a lengthy period of time. We did however, suspend intake for female residents while one housing unit is receiving structural repairs. Hopeful this program will be back to normal by December 1st.

Also, Sally Kate Winters Family Services received notification of funding for several grant applications submitted to support all four programs. The Victims of Crime Act Grant renewed funding to support services provided for child victims through the Emergency Shelter Program and Children’s Advocacy Center Program. The Family and Youth Services Bureau approved funding for a three-year grant cycle for the Transitional Living Program supported by the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. This funding source also supports the Basic Center Grant for the availability of four shelter beds within the Emergency Shelter Program to serve runaway and homeless youth. This program is entering Year 2 of a three-year funding cycle. State Assessment funds allocated by the Mississippi Legislature was awarded through the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi to support services available through the CAC program and Multi-disciplinary response to felony child abuse cases. International Paper Foundation awarded a $3,500 grant to support improved well-being services for children placed in the Emergency Shelter Program. Grant applications along with local support are vital to meeting the annual operating budget of the organization. Local financial support and volunteer hours are identified as match sources to meet eligibility requirements for most of the federal and state funding secured. All revenue streams allow us to continue meeting the daily the needs of children and youth in crisis.

Sally Kate Winters Family Services will be experiencing a leadership transition within the last quarter of 2022. After twenty-eight years as the Executive Director, I decided to step down from this position. This decision is definitely bittersweet and I do not have the words to convey the impact this experience has made in my life. I am grateful for the opportunity to work for this organization and to make a difference in the lives of 4,352 children and youth in crisis. The growth and improvements made to our program and services are a true example of community involvement with 142 board members, 100 individuals employed, and countless volunteers, together we have built a stable organization. Now is the time to allow a new leader to emerge and move the organization forward. My hope is that the next Executive Director experiences the overwhelming generosity and support of this community that has been evident throughout my tenure. We look forward to this new transition and your continued support. Thanks again for entrusting me to serve in this capacity through the years, forever humbled by this experience!









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