Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona (JFCS) is the proud recipient of the Connie Hillman Family Foundation Impact Award in the amount of $5,000 that was awarded at the Social Venture Partners (SVP) “Fast Pitch” competition held at the Leo Rich Theater on November 9, 2017.
After a competitive written application, a series of skill-building workshops and final juried-selection process, Liz Hernández, JFCS Director of Marketing & Development, was selected as one of the 7 finalists for the prestigious SVP “Fast Pitch” live competition held at the Leo Rich Theater. At the sold-out event which included SVP judges and 500 audience members, Ms. Hernández spoke about JFCS’ flagship program PROJECT SAFE PLACE that provides trauma-focused psychotherapy to children, adults and families who are victims or witnesses of crime, violence and abuse.
“The wounds from emotional trauma can be just as serious as those from physical injuries,” explained Ms. Liz Hernandez. “Without proper treatment, children and adults with emotional trauma can face complex issues such as destructive behaviors, depression and even suicide.” JFCS is a trauma-informed counseling and social service agency with Master’s level, licensed therapists specifically trained to treat people who have experienced traumatic events, and suffer from PTSD or other trauma-related disorders. Last year, PROJECT SAFE PLACE served over 550 low-income people – mostly children.
“This generous gift from the Connie Hillman Family Foundation will go a long way to help expand our trauma-related services, including providing safe transportation for people to and from our clinical site,” said JFCS President & CEO, Carlos A. Hernandez. [*please note that despite the shared last name, he bears no relation to Ms. Hernandez].
The philanthropic mission of the Connie Hillman Family Foundation is to be a partner and connector among civic leaders and grantees who help improve the quality of life in our communities by adapting and growing in imaginative ways.
“We are very grateful for this gift because it makes sense to invest in childhood therapy rather than jails,” said Ms. Liz Hernandez. “Particularly since over 70,000 children in Arizona have lived through multiple traumatic events, and studies show that 70% of juvenile delinquents suffer from a mental health condition mostly resulting from emotional trauma.”
Each year in Tucson, SVP hosts a free communication skills workshop that trains nonprofit leaders to effectively communicate their stories, and compete for the chance to participate live on stage at the “Fast Pitch” event. This year JFCS of Southern Arizona joined a line-up of 6 other local nonprofits: The Abbie School, Literacy Connects, St. Luke’s Home Tucson, The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, Watershed Management Group, and Youth On Their Own.
“I am truly humbled and proud to have participated in the SVP Fast Pitch program with such an amazing group of nonprofits who are committed to helping others, promoting social justice, and providing sustainable solutions for our community,” declared Ms. Hernandez.