GUARDIAN ANGEL HELPING WOMEN IN CRISIS
October 20, 2015 -- With a mission "to meet the needs of women who have lost control of their lives,who are struggling to raise their children, or who have been left shipwrecked by economic or marital hardship,” the Guardian Angel Family Crisis Center, located at 239 Glen Cove Avenue in Sea Cliff, since 2009 has provided a variety of services to women in crisis. It’s “women helping other women,” says founder and president Barbara Costello.
Guardian Angel’s three pillars for recovery are “safety, stability, and self-reliance,” she explains - and the philosophy is one that recognizes both the importance of assistance from others and self- help in getting back on one’s feet. The center provides for both physical necessities such as shelter, clothing, and sometimes even food, as well as emotional support and life skills guidance for women who are victims of abuse, or who are facing financial hardship, or who are experiencing some other life altering crisis.
“With an abuser or being financially unsafe and about to be thrown out by a landlord , teetering on the edge of chaos, we first want women in crisis to be safe and to know that their children are safe,” explaines Beth Richert, Guardian Angel's goals setting coach. “We can then help residents with stability, setting up a routine, and bringing more regularity to their lives.”
Coaching is a big part of the Center's efforts to enable women to regain their footing - and setting goals is central to that end.
“We have goal setting sessions for each month,” Ms. Richert says. “They are like stepping stones.” The goals vary from person to person, and might be as seemingly routine for a person that is not debilitated by a personal crisis as making a dentist’s appointment for one’s children, or as difficult as writing a personal letter to a family member from whom one is estranged.
“I also ask them to think long term - what they would like their lives to be like in five years,” she explains.
Those who live at the center, do so for a full year and are required to sign a resident’s agreement. “It's more like a code of conduct,” Ms. Costello says, “in order to make sure residents are safe.”
Residents are required to volunteer their time once a month at the Guardian Angel’s thrift store, which supports its residents and other local families through the discounted sale of "gently used" women's and children's clothing, toys and furniture. They accept both donated items and cash contributions,
Many of the items the Crisis Center receives, Ms. Costello explains, have great sentimental value to the donors, and she sees herself as a steward for those donations. “They will tell me how important the doll is or a stuffed animal. I’m entrusted with that, and I want to make sure it’s given to the right families. . . It’s really powerful.” Additionally, she continues, “The simple act of kindness really becomes contagious.”
The Crisis Center for many women is, as its literature explains, “a springboard back into self-reliance, healthy relationships and a productive and fruitful life." And having made it back from the brink, those who have gone through the program are encouraged to return and counsel others.
“I say to residents, ‘I am confident, that one day when you get through this you will be sitting in a room with another woman in crisis and it will be you who is coaching her on how to succeed, - we are going to be able to do that.'” Ms. Richert explains. “And their eyes just light up.”
On Saturday, November 12 at the Brookville Country Club, Guardian Angel will be hosting its annual benefit dinner with this year's theme being "Pay It Forward," and will include its ever popular Chinese auction.
"It's been quite a productive and exciting year for us thanks to a very caring community," says Ms. Costello. "We will be sharing first hand our wonderful success stories of lives that have been transformed."
All proceeds will go towards supporting the services provided by the Guardian Angel Crisis Center. The event will begin at 6:30 pm. For more information about the Benefit or to purchase tickets go to the organization’s website -
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