Eight Ways to Strengthen Your Family and Community Before the End of the Year

Eight Ways to Strengthen Your Family and Community Before the End of the Year

Since November 1, Illuminate has been shining a light on ways you can get involved and illuminating ways that you can strengthen your family and the families in your neighborhood this holiday season. If you feel strongly about supporting your community, protecting the kids in your neighborhood and would like to make it a better place for your family, your neighbors, and generations to come, here are some small but effective suggestions from Illuminate Colorado you can implement right now:

Get to know your neighbors 

The first step to assisting your community is to get to know the people that are a part of it. If you don’t already know your neighbors, invite them over to share a cup of coffee or a home-cooked meal. Check for local groups on social media or visit in-person community meetings to build up connections. Organize a fun activity to bring people together.

Last year, we started a new tradition –  luminary lighting at home – to build a sense of togetherness in the community at a time when we needed to stay a part, to stay safe.  It’s something that we don’t want to let go off and hope more people will join us in organizing a luminary lighting for your neighborhood to build those social connections and friendships we know to be so important when trying to prevent child maltreatment. Post your neighborhood pictures on Dec. 10 #LighttheWayCO to inspire others.

Create a Crisis Plan for Your Family

If the unthinkable happened tomorrow, what would your family do? If for some reason, you lost all of the resources and support that you rely on everyday to provide for your family, where would you turn? One way you can help strengthen your family and your community in the process is to make a list of resources, before you’re in a panic and overwhelmed with stress. Becoming more familiar with the resources and programs available to strengthen your family will help prepare you to be a better neighbor if someone you know should need some advice on where to turn to for support. 

Start a fundraiser

Charity begins at home, they say. Start a fundraiser for someone you know, your local school or an organization on your family crisis plan. It can be a great way to bring your community closer together and potentially turn someone’s life around at the same time. Set up a donation jar at your holiday party, collect what you can and give an unexpected gift to a nonprofit or family this holiday season. 

Volunteer your time 

In every community, there are countless organizations like food banks, youth groups, domestic violence shelters, CASA organizations and family resource centers. They always need a helping hand. Volunteering your time at one of these places is an excellent way to help many people. If you prefer something less official, you can always offer to help a parent who has their hands full with babysitting.

Inform new parents or a family in need in the neighborhood you are going to help

Let’s face it, asking for help is a really hard thing for most people to do. Offer it up. Don’t ask parents “what can I do to help?” Instead, take steps to get the neighborhood meal train set up, ask if they have any allergies and what days they would like dinner dropped off. The comfort in knowing there are people around you who support and care about you is a gift unto itself.    

Taking care of yourself is an important part of parenthood. 

Schedule time for an activity that can help you decompress, relax and recharge. Resilience is built by learning healthy coping skills and strategies to manage stress and function well when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma.​ Take care of yourself, to take care of your kids.  

Incorporate charitable Giving into your business model. 

According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, corporate social responsibility leads consumers to believe products are better quality. Consider donating a % of sales or proceeds as part of your business model. 

Pick an organization you’ve never given to before and give $5 on Colorado Gives Day 

If you live in Colorado, you likely know that nonprofits are trying so hard to let everyone know to schedule a gift for next Tuesday, Colorado Gives Day. Five dollars is close to the price of a cup of coffee, but we promise you, every little bit helps. Of course, if you have never given to Illuminate before, we hope you’ll think of us, but given that our mission is to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment, you can also help by giving to anyone of the thousands of other organizations strengthening families throughout Colorado. We build brighter childhoods, together.

Today is DAY 32.  

These are just a few of the 61 ways we are encouraging people to light the way toward brighter childhoods before the year is done. Today is DAY 32.  

If you took inspiration from one or more of these ideas, complete the pledge form to let us know that you promise to do one or more of these ways to make a difference and Enter to WIN the Light the Way Prize:

4 general admission entries to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. (does not include surcharged temporary exhibits, IMAX, or Planetarium). All 4 entries must be used at time of admission. Entries expire 10/28/22.

Thank you to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for donating this Light the Way Prize to help build brighter childhoods in Colorado. A winner for this prize will be selected at random at 9 AM (MTN) on Tuesday, December 7 and notified at the contact information provided.

Hero’s Health Grant from CHC: Creating Healthier Communities Supports Fathers of Freedom in Colorado Springs

Hero’s Health Grant from CHC: Creating Healthier Communities Supports Fathers of Freedom in Colorado Springs

Today Creating Healthier Communities (CHC) announced Illuminate Colorado as one of four awardees of its Hero’s Health grant. The $10,000 grants, awarded to CHC nonprofit partners committed to serving active and retired military communities through program and service delivery that is focused on mental health or housing insecurity, will be used to create meaningful impact for America’s heroes and their families. The funding that Illuminate has been awarded will support Fathers of Freedom, one of 44 Circle of Parents groups meeting throughout Colorado. 

“CHC is pleased to support Illuminate Colorado’s efforts to improve the quality of life for our nation’s active military and veterans,” said Stacie Dennis, director of nonprofit engagement at CHC: Creating Healthier Communities. “Illuminate goes above and beyond for our armed forces population in this country and the Hero’s Health grant is just one way that CHC is investing in vital programs and services that make life better for our communities.”

Built around the foundations of mutual self-help, parent leadership, family support and increasing all five Protective Factors in families, Circle of Parents® groups strengthen families and prevent child maltreatment. Groups are parent-led and parent-driven and thus there is no curriculum – just a safe place for parents to share with each other and seek support and advice. Circles provide a friendly, supportive environment led by parents and other caregivers, where parents are the experts.  It’s a place where anyone in a parenting role can openly discuss the successes and challenges of raising children.  It’s a place where they can find and share support.

Parents with a social network of emotionally supportive friends, family, and neighbors often find that it is easier to care for their children and themselves. All parents need people they can call on once in a while when they need a sympathetic listener, advice or support. To help parents find that support in their lives, Illuminate Colorado is focused on growing Circle of Parents® in Colorado. 

“Illuminate Colorado is proud to serve as a nonprofit partner with CHC and delighted to receive a Hero’s Health grant as an award in recognition of our dedicated work of creating healthier communities for America’s military population, said Jade Woodard, executive director of Illuminate. “Our military veterans often need to recuperate from both apparent and invisible wounds after sacrificing and serving our country, so after they fight for us, we work attentively to support them. We are proud to support and empower these two military fathers in making such an extraordinary difference in their community; and thankful for their leadership which ensures that any veteran father in the Colorado Springs area can get together for dinner every Thursday at 5:00 pm.” 

When asked what their hopes are for 2022 with support from this generous gift, the Fathers of Freedom Circle of Parent facilitators shared:   

Personally, what I look most forward to about 2022 within our fathers groups is the opportunity to provide engaging activities for the families we serve, watching the confidence in our fathers grow and seeing the excitement in their children ignite. It’s important for us all to have support systems and feel connected, but that sentiment is much more pronounced with combat veterans, where the name of the game tends to be “isolation. We strive to provide a safe place where veterans can come to meet other fathers and speak openly about the struggles they may be facing internally  that could be putting a strain on their family life and their parenting. We want to give them the support and resources to help heal so they can be the best role-models for their children that they can be. And sometimes, that just comes down to listening.

Adam Combs

What I hope for in 2022 is that we are able to reach more fathers in our community and continue to bring them together with their families while providing healthy family events and support! I truly believe that when our military and veteran fathers are healing, their families are healing as well. We need each other just as we did in the military!

Adrian Nunez

CHC: Creating Healthier Communities, formerly Community Health Charities, is a catalyst for good health, bringing communities, nonprofits, and businesses together around a shared commitment to better health and wellbeing. The organization represents thousands of high-impact nonprofits nationwide, working to address barriers to good health and connecting them with capital from corporate, foundation and government partners to power transformative change. By listening to partners and convening community and business leaders, CHC aims to act in the best interests of communities, directing resources and expertise where it is needed most. For more information, visit chcimpact.org or @chcimpact.  Find more information and how to support CHC’s Hero’s Health cause here

 

Community Leadership Award Presentation & Fireside Chat with Adrian Nuñez and Adam Combs

Each year, Illuminate Colorado honors the contributions of exceptional individuals and organizations who have furthered our collective mission to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment.

WATCH THE VIDEO 
Illuminate Colorado Executive Director Jade Woodard talks with Community Leadership Award recipients and veterans, Adrian Nuñez and Adam Combs, about the work they are doing with Circle of Fathers and Fathers of Freedom in Colorado Springs.

November 11 @ 5:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Virtual Event

 

RSVP TO ENTER THE LIGHT THE WAY GIVEAWAY

A New Community Is Building a Stronger Foundation for Illuminate Colorado

A New Community Is Building a Stronger Foundation for Illuminate Colorado

Every year, April arrives amid a flurry of action and awareness surrounding Child Abuse Prevention Month. And every year, April ends and the resounding echoes of awareness campaigns fade to a whisper.

For thirty days, it’s so exciting to see all the awareness being spread and the work being done to create brighter childhoods. We even posted a blog this past week highlighting everything going on throughout the month of April. It’s, without a doubt, an exciting time to talk about the important work that we do.

But the work isn’t over when April ends. And that’s why we need Luminaries.

Building Brighter Childhoods Year-Round

With a research-based approach that emphasizes building protective factors and strengthening families, Illuminate Colorado addresses systemic and multi-sector issues by working across the Spectrum of Prevention. Our year-round programs and services operate upstream and downstream, spanning the Continuum of Prevention.

 

Launching a New Community

To support this work year-round, we’re launching a new community of passionate supporters – the Luminaries!

When you become a Luminary by pledging to donate monthly, you will join a community of supporters providing a stable foundation for Illuminate Colorado’s work strengthening families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment.

To help us get this new community off to a STRONG START, and in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Brenda and Raymond French family will donate $100 for every new Luminary pledge made through the end of April.

This means you could add $100 to your donation just by giving BEFORE May 1st!

As a Luminary, you’ll get all sorts of perks!

  •       You get access to exclusive events. We already have several lunch & learns scheduled!
  •       You will receive regular updates from the executive director.
  •       We’ll send you a free bouquet of Pinwheels for you to display if you become a Luminary before the end of April!
  •       And more!

We’re so excited about this growing community and are looking forward to having you as a partner in the amazing work that we get to do.

Join us and help build brighter childhoods in Colorado by becoming a Luminary today.

Celebrate a Day of Kindness with Illuminate Next Tuesday

Celebrate a Day of Kindness with Illuminate Next Tuesday

Like many nonprofit charitable organizations, Illuminate Colorado has had to cancel one of our favorite fundraising and awareness events of the year – the Acts of Kindness Breakfast – as a result of the Stay at Home Order in place in Colorado.

This event has always been a free event, giving our supporters the opportunity to introduce new friends and colleagues to our mission and raise funds to support the prevention of child maltreatment in Colorado. This year, our Board of Directors and staff members are asking everyone connected to the work of Illuminate Colorado to join us in a Day of Kindness next Tuesday to continue this tradition.

Join us on Tuesday, April 21st to raise funds to support Illuminate Colorado and spread kindness throughout the day.

Over the last year our organization has grown and evolved.  We continue to support our partners across the state, but we have also expanded our direct service offerings with programming like Circle of Parents and Bloom Yoga.  We are extremely excited to be launching our Mobile Child Care Pilot that will serve families seeking substance use treatment in Colorado.  This new and innovative program is the first of its kind and we are so hopeful for the impact it will have on families.

During these challenging times, we are also continuing to find innovative solutions to connect families to support their children.  Many of our Circle of Parents groups have moved online using video conferencing.  Bloom Yoga is going virtual and our training team has developed new ways to deliver effective and appropriate classes to partners.

With all that is happening the need for family support is greater than ever. Join us on our social media channels next Tuesday to find encouragement to be kind to yourself and others right now, as well as updates on how Illuminate Colorado is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      • Begin your day by being kind to yourself with Bloom Yoga at 7:00 am.
      • Hear from Jade Woodard, Illuminate Colorado Executive Director and learn how our programs are being impacted by this COVID-19 pandemic and how we are responding to strengthen families right now.
      • Hear from Melissa T. Merrick, PhD, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America.
      • Join us throughout the day on our social media channels to get ways you can inspire kindness during this stressful time.
      • Donate to support Illuminate Colorado during these challenging times.

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