Lompoc, CA – Family Service Agency welcomed over 60 guests to their open house at their Dorothy Jackson Family Resource Center in Lompoc on Monday, September 22, 2014. Guests, including Lompoc Mayor John Linn and new Police Chief Patrick Walsh along with other dignitaries, joined FSA’s board and senior management.
Following a welcome by Board Co-President’s Bob Manning and Stephanie Wilson, FSA Executive Director Lisa Brabo detailed the agency’s work that positively impacts 1,800 residents in Lompoc and northern Santa Barbara County.
“Our success in Lompoc and all of Santa Barbara County is due in large part to the many local partners who work with us,” said Brabo. “We look forward to continuing our partnerships and launching additional services to meet the needs of children, families and seniors who are suffering silently right here in our own community.”
Police Chief Walsh, who attended the event on his first Monday on the job, said “I am so pleased to attend and support Family Service Agency. I’m hopeful that their services and that of others in the community will eventually put me out of a job.”
Countywide, more than one out of five children and adults live in poverty, many of whom also experience violence, mental illness, and substance abuse. These risk factors are consistently associated with negative impacts like physical and mental health challenges; and for children, challenges with school performance. Compounding the problem is an inadequate number of professionals available to address residents’ behavioral health needs, even for those with insurance. Also, cCuts in local human service programs have strained the safety net infrastructure, leaving low-income, at-risk individuals and families without adequate resources to make ends meet.
In addition, 34% of the Lompoc population has low to extremely low income levels, 35% are single-parent households with at least one child under the age of 18, and 41% are non-English speaking. Lompoc is also unique in that it is home to both a military base and state and federal prisons, providing an interesting set of diverse needs within a small community. Nearly 20% of Santa Maria’s population lives below the poverty level, 28% are single parent households, and 36.4% are non-English speaking.
Established in 1899, Family Service Agency addresses the negative impact of these and other challenging issues through four core programs.
- FSA’s Family Support Services program educates parents so they are better equipped to overcome major sources of toxic stress such as poverty, violence, mental illness, and substance abuse. Their bilingual staff guides families through active skill building to create a healthy environment essential to children’s lifelong learning, health, and behavior. This is done through parenting classes, home visits and linking to resources such as healthcare, food, shelter, child care, and education. This year, Family Support Services will help over 1,000 Lompoc residents through this program.
- Recognized as the single most effective prevention-based youth mentoring program in the United States, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully matches adult volunteer mentors with at-risk children aged 6-15. Studies find that the children served by the Big Brothers Big Sisters program are more likely to succeed in school, make safer behavioral choices and have stronger relationships with their parents and others. This year, Big Brothers Big Sisters plans to positively impact the lives of 90 youth in North Santa Barbara County (45 in Santa Maria and 45 in Lompoc).
- Accessible, affordable and effective mental health counseling services are provided for children, youth, adults and families through FSA’s Youth & Family Services program. The services, which include Child & Family Counseling, School-Based Counseling, Intensive In-Home Therapy and Youth Probation Counseling, help effect positive, long-term improvements for overall quality of life. This includes decreasing the likelihood of high-risk behaviors, and for students, improving academic success. This year, Youth & Family Services plans to impact the lives of 65 families and 235 individuals in Lompoc through this program.
- FSA’s Senior Services program gives seniors and caregivers the tools they need to cope and live safe, independent and healthy lives. The services provide clients with mental health counseling, support, and connection to resources such as nutrition, transportation and financial assistance. FSA also operates the Long Term Care Ombudsman program for Santa Barbara County, where Ombudsman advocate for people living in long term care residential facilities. This year, Senior Services plans to impact the lives of 435 seniors and caregivers in Lompoc and Santa Maria through this program.
Family Service Agency is a nonprofit charitable organization that depends on donations from the community to provide their services. Local funders include the Lompoc Unified School District, City of Lompoc, Central Coast Commission for Senior Services, Santa Barbara County, Eagle Foundation, and First 5 Santa Barbara County.