October 14 Fire Update

October 14 Fire Update

October 14, 2017

SAY Friends, Supporters, and Partners:

This disaster we all find ourselves in is far from over, and to that end SAY is redoubling our efforts to reach the most vulnerable youth and families in our community. We are grateful to report that despite increased smoke levels, the SAY Finley Dream Center, Tamayo Village, and Coffee House Teen Shelter continue to be undamaged from the fire. The Dream Center still remains closed for services and evacuated until further notice. Tamayo Village is no longer in the mandatory evacuation zone, but residents are strongly encouraged not to return home yet as the changing winds are still concerning.

HOUSING: All youth in our housing programs are safe. Those that are still evacuated at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds remain in the best hands of our staff.

SAY continues to assist youth who are evacuated from our housing programs, those that have lost their homes due to the fires, and those who were homeless prior to the fires. We are meeting their immediate needs by providing clothing, sleeping bags, hygiene supplies, backpacks, and smoke masks. Yesterday, our Street Outreach Team provided support and services in Forestville, Guerneville, Sebastopol, and at Dillon Beach. Today, they will be at Piner Skate Park and North County to serve ALL youth in need of supplies and resources. This week alone we have supported 65 youth who are evacuated and not accessing a shelter due to past trauma and difficulty coping with high stress environment. 

COUNSELING: Our counseling staff is still working extremely hard to support youth experiencing trauma right now. SAY counseling staff is working with the Sonoma County Office of Education and school districts across the county to plan for providing mental health support to teachers and students when they return to school, as well as offering training to teachers on how they can support students during this difficult time. The evacuations and fires may trigger past trauma for all youth, therefore SAY will be offering additional mental health services to youth in our current housing programs. Our mental health clinicians will be providing grief crisis counseling for youth and families dealing with grief and loss of home, anxiety from evacuations, and other trauma.

Our Youth Crisis Line remains open at (888) 729-0012.

CAREER SERVICES: Our Career Services team continues to work diligently to support youth in our employment programs that have lost jobs due to the fires. Staff is assisting these youth in filing for unemployment, ensuring they have safe housing and providing basic need supplies.

Financial donations to help support our expanded mental health care services in schools and at the SAY Counseling Clinic are greatly needed at this time: www.saysc.org/donate

Current in-kind donation needs for our youth are still N95 masks, backpacks, and NEW underwear for men and women in all sizes. Gift cards to Target, Big 5, and Safeway are the most helpful for our youth right now.  Requested items can be dropped off at Coffee House Teen Shelter (1243 Ripley St, Santa Rosa, CA 95401) from 9am-12pm daily.

We are overwhelmed with the generosity of our community. Thank you for loving our youth as much as we do.

Elizabeth Goldman

Chief Program Officer/Interim Chief Executive Officer