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Family violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation may sound like problems that plague communities far from Jackson Hole. But the truth is, they happen here every day. Photo: Rod Long

JACKSON, Wyo. — Family violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation may sound like problems that plague communities far from Jackson Hole. But the truth is, they happen here every day.

“These have always been crises that local families faced,” said Sarah Cavallaro, Executive Director of Teton Youth & Family Services (TYFS). But the pandemic has exacerbated them. COVID-19 caused economic devastation, disconnected countless families from community resources and support systems, and created significant uncertainty.”

“These conditions can stimulate violence in families where it didn’t exist before, and worsen situations in homes where violence or neglect were existing problems.”

Andy Cavallaro, Executive Director of Community Safety Network (CSN), agrees that the trend over the past year has been troubling.

“In 2020 alone, we served 268 individuals in the community, 35 of which were children. CSN provided a total of 6,275 nights of shelter during the year,” Cavallaro said.

Combined, CSN and TYFS have a basic operating cost of $4 million, 85% of which goes directly to client services. As the need for these critical lifelines is on the rise, state and federal funding for the programs has steadily decreased. By the end of 2022, CSN projects that their funding losses since 2019 will reach approximately $200,000. TYFS lost over $500,000 in the last three years and expects to lose up to 30% more over the coming two years.

When families in Jackson Hole experience a crisis like intimate partner violence, child abuse or neglect, or exploitation, it’s an emergency — one that is potentially life-threatening. In that immediate moment, explain CSN and TYFS, all community members need and deserve safety.

“No matter what time of day or night these emergencies occur, Teton Youth & Family Services and Community Safety Network are here to offer advocacy, resources, and a safe haven,” said Andy Cavallaro. “Whether that’s a welcome to the CSN Shelter, to the Van Vleck Group Home, or the Crisis Shelter, there’s a place for the families who need one.”

Growing Stronger Together, the organizations’ innovative collaborative fundraiser, will support their ongoing ability to provide around-the-clock safety and help to local families navigating the aftermath of crises.

The organizations’ shared goal for Growing Stronger Together is $500,000 by June 15, 2021 — a goal that is within reach thanks to the generosity of sponsors. Growing Stronger Together’s title sponsor — with a generous contribution of $100,000 — is the Hughes Charitable Foundation. Additionally, the campaign has received 100% participation in support from the Community Safety Network Board of Directors, Teton Youth & Family Services Board of Directors, Margot Snowdon and Yves Desgouttes, the Newton Foundation, Bank of Jackson Hole, and Singleton Financial.

Growing Stronger Together is off to a robust and inspiring start. An exciting opportunity accompanies the launch of the Growing Stronger Together fundraiser — local philanthropists Ted and Noa Staryk have pledged a contribution match of $50,000 for every new donor giving to the organizations.

“We firmly believe that our ultimate goal of $500,000 by June 15 is achievable,” says Sarah Cavallaro. “But it depends entirely on our community stepping up and making contributions.”

“There’s no doubt that our organizational services are absolutely critical for families who are in unsafe situations. Our allies in law enforcement do a wonderful job of responding in the heat of the moment, but when their job is ending, ours is just beginning,” adds Andy Cavallaro.

To make a contribution to the Growing Stronger Together fundraiser — or to learn more about the services and collaborative work of Community Safety Network and Teton Youth & Family Services — please visit StrongerJH.org.