Week Four: October 11, 2020

In this Together: Resilient and United

Dear Friends,
This week we are leading with our appeal. We have to be honest – we are only about halfway to the goal that we would normally achieve for our fall event. In a year of constant change, we need your support more than ever. Our community has always risen to the occasion when we have asked, so we are asking: if you are in a position to do so, please make a gift today so we can continue providing mental health services and housing to our community’s most vulnerable people. Your support makes our work possible.

Yours in community,
The staff, clients, and Board of Directors of Transitional Resources

Have you watched Jim’s story? Earlier in our campaign, we shared what his life was like before TR. His tumultuous early life led to significant substance abuse, and eventually homelessness. Like so many of our clients, Jim felt like things might never get better. Even after coming to TR, he had the looming sense that his new home and supports could go away – after all, that’s what had always happened in the past. Today, Jim has a home, a job, and a community of support – and the confidence that TR is with him for the long haul, to ensure he always has the support he needs.

One of our core values is sticking with people. Many of clients have long histories of cycling in and out of homelessness and hospitalization. They have had ups and downs with their mental illness and co-occurring substance use. Some people we serve have spent a decade in the state hospital or living on the streets before they reach us – and then find that with the right support, they can thrive. We know that recovery isn’t a linear process, and our model of care is designed to support people whether they are doing well or struggling. And it works. Last year, 94% of our clients remained in safe and stable housing. Additionally, 94% of our outpatient clients experienced no psychiatric hospitalizations, at a huge cost savings to our community’s limited resources.

At TR, we know that you are with us for the long haul too, so we share Jim’s optimism for the future. We are in this together, and with you, our amazing community of support, we can continue to show unity and resilience in the face of any obstacle. Together, we can change lives.

We asked why you support TR. Your answers mean the world to us.

What we’re reading, watching and listening to on these topics. Think of this as a our virtual cocktail hour catchall.

We love to see people sharing their own stories of living with mental illness. Cecilia McGough shares her story of living with schizophrenia in a TEDx Talk, as well as an interview that we find really illuminating. We especially love this follow-up interview that touches on why her demeanor in those two previous videos shouldn’t be compared and how she’s coping with this chaotic year.

Loving this guide on building empathy. We are all stretched thin right now, but empathy is what binds us to one another – let’s all flex that muscle, together.

Food insecurity is on the rise, and this classic e-cookbook has a wealth of healthy recipes based on the budget of SNAP recipients.

TR Book Club: Check out our recommendations for the last week of our event – and let us know what you think of the reads we’ve shared!

Brene Brown has years of experience researching shame, empathy, and vulnerability, and has a few great books to show for it. Bonus: she also has a new podcast and a Netflix special!

Local author/artist Ellen Forney’s graphic novel Marbles explores her journey of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, worrying about its effect on her life and art, and learning about how mental illness shaped the lives of other great artists.

The Body Keeps the Score reflects on the ways traumatic experiences impact our mental, physical and even population level health.

Welcome to In this Together: Resilient & United

Week Three: October 4, 2020

 

What can one person do?

Dani Flanagan, the recipient of our 2020 Community Citizenship Award, has made an incredible impact at Transitional Resources and the community at large. During her time as a Jesuit Volunteer, and later working as a counselor at TR, she demonstrated the everyday acts of service and kindness that our clients rely on to help them move toward recovery. Now, as a volunteer on our Board of Directors, Dani has done everything from stuffing envelopes to helping develop the strategic plan that is leading to our new Yancy Street Project. In over 25 years with TR, she has touched countless lives, and made our community a better place. Hats off to Dani – we are beyond grateful to have you on our team.

There are so many people in our community who have demonstrated the power that each of us has to better our world:

Last year, we received a grant from a group of women in our very own neighborhood, Impact West Seattle. Individually, they contributed $100, and together they gave us an astonishing $18,000.

We never want to miss the chance to shout out the now-disbanded University Congregational Housing Association. With an all-volunteer effort, they spent years supporting organizations that provide housing in our area. They purchased a house for Transitional Resources’ use, and eventually transferred ownership directly to us. It is now a home providing permanent housing and new beginnings to five clients.

Our friends at CPRS tirelessly fundraise for us each year, as well as providing holiday gifts and cheer for our clients. Did you know that they are providing a match for each gift to TR over $350 made during this event?

Volunteer groups from employers like Verity Credit Union and Starbucks, community organizations like the United Way and Seattle Works, and groups of friends and neighbors come perform done-in-a-day projects year-round, which help us maintain our facilities and provide a safe and welcoming home for folks in need.

We are so fortunate to be the beneficiary of so much generosity. What lessons can we take from these inspiring groups and individuals? 

Community change starts with individuals! Every person can make a positive difference in our world.

Collective action is powerful. Impact West Seattle, UCHA, and CPRS are models of banding together to grow your ability to create change. If you are reading this, you are already a part of our special TR community – and your actions are part of the ripple effect that leads to real change. 

There are many ways to give to your community. Gifts of time and service are as valuable as financial gifts. Contact us to learn about ways to volunteer with TR!
Giving to your community is rewarding. In a time when needs in the world seem overwhelming and we can feel powerless, connecting to direct service organizations like TR is a powerful investment in your own community. 
Make your gift now!

We need your support today! You really can make a direct difference in the lives of our neighbors who need our services. Please consider making a gift to support our work.

Make your gift now!

This week: An interview with Dani Flanagan and what community means to you

We interviewed Dani about her her insights from her years of service to TR. Check out the excerpt below and read the full interview here!

What were your expectations when you first came to TR as a volunteer? What were some challenges?
I only had a textbook definition of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses and was admittedly a bit naïve to the realities of what living with these more serious forms of mental illness looked like. Then I got to TR and began working with the clients and learned so much. It helped me fully understand the truth that mental illness doesn’t discriminate. I saw so many people from different backgrounds and experiences who were all trying to cope, and it really challenged my perceptions and understanding of what mental illness looks like and how it can affect different people.

I remember my biggest challenge at first was knowing how to be helpful. Sometimes it was an activity like helping with meal preparation, or driving someone on a store trip, helping with medications and tasks like that, but other times it was just being someone who was willing to sit and listen, someone to laugh with or help through a difficult problem. I learned that the task or solution doesn’t have to be grand, it can simply be a small act of kindness that really can build a relationship and help with a person’s confidence in their recovery.

What are you most proud to see TR accomplish so far?
All of the new housing, most definitely. When I was first there in 1992, it was just the main TRY house and next to that there was a duplex TR also owned that had a single crisis bed. There were a few homes as well in the surrounding area, but many clients were off-site living in their own homes or apartments and had to commute to the house for their care. Even back then, TR saw the value of having the model of mental health services and supportive housing and how that builds stability and community.

But witnessing how much the housing piece has grown over the years has been incredible–seeing the two buildings that are now on-site so close to the main house and having the new Yancy Street Project in process as well. Obviously, housing has become even more of an important issue in our area since then, which is why I am so proud that TR continues to focus on addressing these issues in tandem.  It’s been great to see it come together with all the people involved and it is so exciting that it is officially underway! It feels so real and tangible now!

 


This week, we asked you, “What does community mean to you?”

“Community to me is a group of people caring for each other and looking out for each other. I see each day how TR truly embodies this; the clients and staff have this great opportunity to bond because of our small set-up, and people get a chance to really know each other. They develop meaningful connections and lift each other up–it’s truly what a community is all about.”
-Julie, TR Staff

“Community is being able to walk outside your door and know your neighbors. Feeling confident to be yourself and feeling like you belong.”
-Anonymous TR Client

“The people who live around you and who are sharing and experiencing the same things [you are]. People who fight for the same things, work towards a better state of living for their neighbors, and who are willing to give and support each other.”
-Morgan, TR Supporter

“Being part of something larger than myself. It’s a feeling of safety—being somewhere the door is always open and there is always a welcoming feeling.”
-Skip, TR’s Supportive Housing Manager

We want to hear from you!
Take our weekly survey so you can share your own advice, experiences and questions with the rest of our community.

  • Are you inspired by the idea of Impact West Seattle? If you’re local, learn about joining the group here. And for folks anywhere, you can read about the trend here – you can join or start a giving circle wherever you are!
  • Every day, we see the power of connection and support that our clients provide to one another. We love this story of friendship forged in a psychiatric hospital.
  • If you’re getting nervous about the winter ahead (who isn’t?), this article has some optimism and advice for making the most of the outdoors, even in the dark and wet season.
  • Have you watched this Netflix show about the invisible ways our world is interconnected?
  • This is a helpful guide on making big life choices in an uncertain time.
  • TR Book club: Books recommendations from our community. This week, we’re thinking about community and connection:
    • Bowling Alone: A modern classic in sociology and psychology, Bowling Alone explores the dissolution of community in America. And it’s timely too: a new edition is being released this month with a new chapter about the influence of social media and connecting online.
    • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A fascinating look at the development of cross-cultural care  through one family’s story. This touches on immigration, trauma, and medicine, with sensitivity, candor, and humor.
    • Bonus: Book clubs in the time of COVID-19.

Welcome to In this Together: Resilient & United

Week Two: September 27th, 2020

Jim’s story, above, is all too common for the individuals we serve at Transitional Resources. At the heart of our work is the belief that improving mental health requires that people have a safe, stable place to live. By pairing our continuum of behavioral health services with permanent, affordable housing, we are helping people like Jim find new beginnings.

Right here in King County, homelessness and its relationship to behavioral health are increasingly urgent issues. Compounding that, mental healthcare is just not reaching everyone in need. Mental Health America’s 2020 Access to Care Data confirms what we see each day, “Almost a quarter (22.3%) of all adults with a mental illness reported that they were not able to receive the treatment they needed. This number has not declined since 2011.” These disparities are even wider for Black, Indigenous, and people of color. There are many factors that contribute to this inequity, and it has devastating health and economic consequences for individuals, families, and our communities.

As the needs in our community have grown, we have been increasingly committed to finding ways to expand our reach. We are thrilled to report that our new Yancy Street Project, which will provide apartments and mental health services to 44 formerly homeless adults, broke ground earlier this summer. We look forward to the day that we can open our doors and provide a new beginning to more of our neighbors in need.

In these discussions, we can often lose sight of the human stories behind each number and statistic. Each of the people we serve at Transitional Resources is someone’s son or daughter, perhaps brother, sister, mother, father, friend, and neighbor. We believe that your loved ones, like Jim, deserve the same things we all do: safety, dignity, care, and opportunity.  You’ll get a chance to see the rest of Jim’s story in two weeks. We don’t want to spoil anything – but wow, does his life look different today.

You can directly impact our neighbors and loved ones like Jim by making a gift in support of our work today. Together, we can ensure that everyone living with a mental illness can find better health and the peace and comfort of home.

Make your gift now!

This week we answer your questions and share what home means to us.

We invited you to ask questions about TR’s year, and we’ve got answers for you from TR’s CEO, Darcell Slovek-Walker. What else do you want to know? Ask us in this week’s survey!

How are clients coping and complying with distancing guidelines?
Overall, the clients are coping well, although they really miss things like our agency’s summer picnic and are concerned about whether or not we can have our annual Thanksgiving feast.  We are trying to create new traditions keeping social distancing in mind. As for complying with distancing guidelines, mask wearing and such, I’d say our clients are mirroring the rest of our greater community.  Some people are really good at following the guidelines and others need some reminding.

How are the clients getting services?
We have an office that is staffed 24/7 for client needs, for both the residential clients and our outpatient clients that live in the surrounding neighborhood, who are used to visiting us daily for medication management and more. To limit traffic into the facilities, we actually converted an outside facing window into a service window for clients to drop by. We initially had to cancel or postpone many of our clients’ therapeutic and social groups, but now have found ways to adapt them by moving activities outdoors, running smaller sessions, and masking.

How are you ensuring clients are being treated with dignity with all the changes? COVID has made so many day-to-day interactions feel so sterile.
This is such a great question, because face-to-face interaction seems like such an integral part of our work. Fortunately, TR’s long relationships with our clients have helped us to weather the changes we’ve needed to put in place that could make things feel sterile. We let people know that the safeguards we have put in place are to keep everyone safe because we care about our TR community. It also helps that our outside space has allowed for more casual interactions to continue and to keep the atmosphere positive. In fact, after a period of adjustment, elbow bumps have become the new normal at TR!


This week, we asked the TR community, “What does home mean to you?”
“Home is a place where I belong. It’s a place where you can rest and enjoy yourself.”
– N., TR Client

“Home is not just family, it’s the people you enjoy being around everyday. I consider TR to be a home because I enjoy the people I work with and seeing our clients each day.”
-Josie, Intensive Case Manager

“Home is the place where I can build memories, new dreams and goals for my future, and work on myself in a space and with people who I feel comfortable and safe with.”
– Maddy, TR Supporter

“Home is where I can be and know that I am safe. A place I look forward to being in and getting to wind down after a long, intense day. A place where I can find comfort and hope. A place that my heart yearns for.”
– Kristen, TR staff

“Warm, cozy, safe, familiar.”
– Stephanie, former TR staff

“Home means safety to me, safety and comfort. It’s so much more than a roof over your head. Having a loving relationship with the people who you are living with and knowing you can trust them–that to me is home.”
– Ingrid, TR Client

“Somewhere safe, a sanctuary. A no judgment zone. A place where you can be yourself and be surrounded by like-minded individuals.”
– DJ, TR Case Manager

“Stability.”
– Brittany, TR supporter

“Home is where my heart and soul can rest, replenish and be free. Home is where my mind can relax, wander and contemplate the day, the world and life. “
– Colleen, TR supporter and client family member

A favorite from Instagram account @crazyheadcomics, linked below.

  • We love this Swedish artist and mental health advocate’s Instagram account. Here are a few of our favorite posts: One Two Three
  • Here’s a great list of social justice films and series available to stream from home.
  • Facing Homelessness is a project by local advocate Rex Hohlbein, sharing stories of homelessness through photos and stories. For even more perspectives on homelessness, here are a few standout Ted Talks from people across the board, from a city mayor looking for policy response to a story from one a woman living and working unhoused.
  • If you’re stuck in West Seattle with us, we can’t agree with this roundup of the best local restaurants more. TR staff are especially partial to Buddha Ruksa and Bakery Nouveau.
  • TR Book club: Books recommendations from our community. This week, we’re thinking about homelessness and social justice:
    • For a closer look at poverty and homelessness: Evicted.
    • For a way into the conversation about race, from a local author: So You Want to Talk About Race.
    • For a riveting memoir with social justice themes and sense of humor: Born a Crime.
    • Bonus! A great book list for finding books about race and anti-racism to share with the kids in your life.

Thanks for joining us for week two of of four weekly updates for our 2020 event!  Please consider supporting our mission by making a gift and by sharing this campaign with your own friends and families.

 

Sneak peek: Next week you’ll hear about the power of community, and how one can make a real difference. Stay tuned!


Welcome to In this Together: Resilient & United

Week One: September 20th, 2020

Dear Friends,

I wish we were preparing to gather this week for our usual dinner and celebration of Transitional Resources’ work! This year has taught us all about adaptability, but I do miss our rituals and routines. I hope you’ll watch my video update above to hear a little about how we have adjusted course throughout our year.

I know we are all feeling a bit livestreamed-out at the moment, so our series will reach you via email (just once a week for the next four weeks) or at this page, which you can visit at your convenience. We will bring you client stories, updates about our work, and more, all centering around our theme, Resilient & United. This year has certainly had its challenges, but with that mantra inspired by the traits we see in our clients each day, we know our work will continue.

Like everyone, we have been profoundly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m so grateful for our incredible staff and clients, who have weathered every change with creativity and consistency. Because of their dedication, our work has continued without interruption, keeping our clients safe and well, and avoiding unnecessary and expensive crises that could have arisen.

Above all, I want you to know that we are here for our clients and for you, our community. The isolation and stress that this year has brought is causing a secondary mental health pandemic, and we must stay connected to overcome it. If you are struggling, please know that there is no shame in asking for help. If there is one bright spot to emerge from this year, I hope it is that we can eliminate stigma around seeking support.

I hope that you will participate along with our virtual event in the coming weeks. And of course, I invite you to make a gift to support our work. We always rely on donations to sustain our work, and our expenses have only increased this year in response to the constantly changing protocols. I hope that if you are able, you will consider donating so we can keep moving toward our vision, that everyone with a mental illness leads a safe and meaningful life.

Wishing you and yours safety and connection,

Darcell Slovek-Walker
CEO of Transitional Resources

P.S. I’m thrilled to share that our friends at CPRS are leading the community charge once again. They have committed $15,000 to a matching pool to DOUBLE your gifts of $350 or more during this event.

Make your gift now!

We asked the TR community how they’re staying connected and beating isolation. Here are a few of their best tips.

Don’t wait until you are feeling lonely to reach out to friends, make it a regular part of your day.
– Miriam, TR Board Member

It’s a time when everyone is feeling a little uncertain. If you need support, reach out for it, because it really is needed more than ever. Try to fill your day as much as you can.
– Joey, TR client

Trying to get outside! Even just a 30 minute walk can help anyone’s mental health and get those endorphins going. And it’s nice to call a loved one during that time too.
– Jen, TR’s nurse

Focus on something that isn’t going to change because of the pandemic – like reading, drawing, poetry – things that don’t require being around other people. Add things that make you feel as though you are in the company of others.
– Lacey, TR Case Manager

Find creative ways to express yourself and talk to family. I’ve been doing a lot of video calls right now. Know that you’re not alone – we’re all a little scared, but we’re all going to get through this together.
– Kirby, TR case manager

It’s totally normal to have days where you don’t feel productive. There are a lot of feelings and emotions in a pandemic, so it’s really hard to get up every day and be 100%. One thing that’s helped me is focusing on my hobbies, so I’ve been working on learning a new language, and practicing the piano.
– Charlotte, TR client

Pick up a hobby or two that was on your list. Something that you never got to because of commute, work, and family obligations. Make the most out of this work from home situation.
– Rahul, TR Board Member

We want to hear from you! Take our weekly survey so you can share your own advice, experiences and questions with the rest of our community.

What we’re reading, watching and listening to on these topics. Think of this as a our virtual cocktail hour catchall.

  • Grief and sadness are a normal part of life, especially in challenging time. Here’s a reflection on managing sadness from our friends at NAMI.
  • If you keep hearing about self-care, but don’t know what that really looks like: Self Care: More than  a Bubble Bath 
  • Did you know that September is Suicide Prevention Month? It’s more important than ever to reach out to folks who may be feeling isolated or depressed, so here’s a list of ways to start a conversation for your loved ones who always say “I’m fine.”
  • How is the pandemic going to change the landscape of mental health? Here’s one look.
  • We may be trapped on West Seattle Island, but it could be worse: The Magic of West Seattle.
  • Book club: Recommendations from the TR community. This week’s topic is mental health. Our board member Rachel recommends Postcards from the Edge, Carrie Fisher’s semi-autobiographical novel about addiction and treatment. Bonus: there’s a movie version starring Meryl Streep. TR staff member Emily recommends Maybe You Should Talk to Someonea touching and funny memoir of a therapist seeking therapy.

What have you been reading on the topics of mental health, homelessness, social justice or other topics? Let us know and your recommendation could be featured next week!

Corporate Community Champion:

 


Nucor Steel

 

Platinum Sponsors: 


Matrx Pharmacy

 

 


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

 

 


Northwest Fire Systems

 


The National Equity Fund

 

Gold Sponsors:


Buchanan General Contracting Company

 


Lotus Development Partners

 


Catalysis

 

Silver Sponsor:


Wells Fargo

 

Friends of Transitional Resources

Lindley and Associates
Brown & Brown of Tacoma
Northwest K9 Bedbug Detectives

You can make an even bigger impact by joining us as a Community Champion. 

Although we are disappointed not to be able to gather in person, we know you are incredibly passionate about TR and helping us through this unusual time. In lieu of inviting people to join you at your table at the dinner, we are making it possible for you to invite your friends, family and colleagues to participate via your own fundraising page. Whether inviting your own community to participate in our event, or directly fundraising on our behalf, your support as a Community Champion makes a big impact on our work.

Click on the button below to sign up to be a Community Champion. You can also email our Development Coordinator at kristenj@transitionalresources.org for any questions you may have.