Harmony At Home

Harmony At Home: Ending Violence. Building Families.

Salinas, United StatesCarmel, United States
Year Founded:
2004
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Violence and abuse traumatizes a child. A traumatized child cannot learn and has difficulty coping. They show anger and lash out, or they might withdraw. Harmony at Home teaches children and families to communicate, to develop empathy and make safe choices. Together we break the cycle of violence.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if children, traumatized by violence and abuse, received the appropriate interventions that would support them in becoming emotionally healthy adults, thus breaking the cycle of violence and abuse for future generations?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Children who grow up in homes and communities with physical and emotional violence learn violence is the way to deal with difficult emotions. Traumatized children are unable to learn and may withdraw and become isolated. They have difficulty sustaining relationships and developing compassion and empathy. They have limited ability to cope with stress and respond with behaviors that are not only harmful to the community but to themselves as well.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Harmony At Home ends the cycles of violence and abuse. Sticks & Stones®, our school-based small group counseling led by professional therapists teaches children healthy ways to express their feelings and to be safe in violent homes. These small groups become a family that listens and nurtures the child. Our Bullying Prevention Programs encompass the entire school culture. All staff (including bus drivers and playground supervisors), children and their families participate. The prevention activities foster positive peer relationships that ensure a supportive learning community built on empathic mutual respect. Children understand how it feels to be bullied and come to the aid of other students.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Jeanne was living with her aunt as her mother was incarcerated, her sister was a drug addict. She had been abused and existed at the poverty level. She came to Harmony At Home to receive therapy at age twelve and remained with us through high school, attending our teen camp for 4 years. She married her high school boyfriend and moved to another state to get away from their environment of drug addiction, family violence, and law-breaking peers. Jeanne is now 30 and phoned to tell us they have broken the cycle of violence using positive parenting methods to raise their children. They are proud to be nurturing and loving parents of twins. She has volunteered to return to Salinas to share her story with teens and speak at our fall luncheon.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Begun in 1997, Harmony At Home’s Sticks & Stones® school based counseling was the first prevention program for young people exposed to violence and trauma in Monterey County. Over 1,000 children and youth are served each year. Teachers report 68%-70% of those completing the program improve academically and behaviorally. Sticks & Stones® is currently in 35 schools in Salinas and Salinas Valley. Next school year HAH is expanding to South County with a three-year contract with King City and to Spreckels. Oxnard School District will be hiring counselors to provide Sticks & Stones® and HAH will train their staff this fall, impacting 1000’s of children in Southern California. School year 2014-2015 two Salinas elementary schools will be using our Bullying Prevention Program. Harmony At Home totally funded this program for three years to insure continuity and provide time for evaluatio

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Harmony At Home is expanding in Salinas, Monterey County, and to Oxnard in Southern California. It has the capability to bring Sticks & Stones® to the entire state of California and potentially nationally and eventually internationally. Marriage and Family Therapist Julianne Leavy is HAH’s Executive Director and she developed the curriculum. Now the program is licensed and available for children who have been exposed to violence and trauma. In a world where children are exposed to violence on a daily basis, Sticks & Stones® can be a first step toward emotional health and healing.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Harmony At Home is fiscally strong with school and county contracts, grants, donations and business contributions. We have hired a grant writer and are making preparations to hire a funds development officer to oversee our finances. We will continue to provide highly qualified and responsible counselors to maintain our stellar reputation for providing effective and culturally relevant early intervention programs that deserve financial stability.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Many organizations, law officers, schools and even parents are addressing the problem of children traumatized by bullying, violence and abuse. We have strong partners in CASP (Community Alliance for Safety and Peace) working on root causes and potential solutions. HAH differs from these projects because our staff is licensed and intern therapists. They are trained to provide the safety and confidentiality to soothe emotional wounds and bring peace and health to young children who are doing their best to cope with their lives.
Team

Founding Story

A six year-old boy was shot while sleeping in his home by a stray bullet from a gang confrontation. This had certainly not been the first innocent gang casualty, but it was the moment that brought me to my knees. I had been witnessing Salinas violence escalating and as a marriage and family therapist I knew all too well the grief and trauma that would be caused by this senseless killing. I knew too few would be there to support his parents, his family, his friends, his neighborhood and his schoolmates work through their grief and trauma. It was on this day that I decided to go beyond my office and reach out to my community. It is from this moment that I can trace the beginning of Harmony At Home.

Team

Our team is Family Therapists and Interns helping traumatized youth in Monterey County. Our Board volunteers their time supporting our organizational growth and development. We have a full time Executive Director, a full time Bi-lingual Admin. Assistant, and 4 part time Program staff. We have recently added two new Board members and will continue to reach out to our community as we build a better and stronger team everyday!
About You
About You
First Name

Julianne

Last Name

Leavy

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, CA, Carmel

Country where this project is creating social impact

, CA, Salinas

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Individuals, Foundations, Businesses, Customers.

Supplemental Information
On which of the following California counties does your project focus its impact? (check all that apply):

Monterey.

How does your idea help cultivate empathy skills to strengthen communities and equip young people to become leaders of change?

Through our Bullying Prevention Program and School- based Counseling, Harmony At Home is ending the cycles of violence and abuse by helping children learn alternatives to violence and healthy ways to be in relationships.

Bullying has become younger, meaner and more pervasive and takes a devastating toll. Harmony At Home is doing something about it.

A safe school has a positive and powerful influence on children’s behavior, and the positive effects are already being felt. A teacher overheard a 5th grade boy say to some of his playmates, "Hey, guys, cut it out. We can't do stuff like that anymore, 'cause we're a "No Bullying" school."

That's how Bullying Prevention works. People begin to feel safe and change happens.

Needs/Offers
Need
Offer
Tell us about your partnerships

All of our partnerships are focused on ending violence. We partner with Community Alliance for Safety & Peace (CASP) to best serve our community in helping to end violence. CASP has partners from city and county government, education, faith community, business leaders, community members and non-profit service providers. There are over 100 members in CASP. We have partnerships with 6 school districts in Salinas, serving over 2000 children.

Challenges

Our challenge is exponential growth. We have doubled our Salinas schools’ contracts and signed contracts to bring Sticks & Stones® to two new school districts. Oxnard School District will be hiring counselors to provide Sticks & Stones® and we will train their staff this fall, impacting 1000’s of children in Southern California.

Our budget has doubled to over a million dollars. Harmony At Home has expanded our ED to a fulltime position and hired a Prevention Coordinator. We are hiring bi-lingual, bi-cultural therapists and interns who can overcome our Latino language barriers.

Does your project use any of the following approaches to cultivate community members as empathetic and collaborative leaders?

encouraging philanthropy, creating a safe space, developing emotional competency, building leadership skills, group play, storytelling, collective problem-solving, identifying shared values and differences, instilling courage, enabling action.

Target Age Group(s)

6-12, 13-17.

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