JACKSON, Wyo. — In 2020, Teton County Dispatch received 75 calls for incidents of domestic violence or verbal disputes. That’s nearly two per week.
And those are only the incidents that law enforcement heard about. How many more unfolded behind closed doors?
Preliminary research has indicated that the stressors inflicted by the pandemic have increased incidents of intimate partner violence and child abuse by upwards of 30%. This trend has been apparent here in Jackson Hole, as well.
“Over the past year, we saw an uptick in the number of families and children who needed our services and support,” says Sarah Cavallaro, Executive Director of Teton Youth & Family Services. “There’s no question that the pandemic stressors exacerbated many challenges that families were already facing. Financial strain, job loss, unpredictable school schedules, loss of access to social support systems — it has been a difficult year, and we’re seeing that reflected in the community need for our services.”
Both Teton Youth & Family Services and Community Safety Network have offered priceless lifelines to families and children navigating the crises that have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“No matter what time of day or night, what day of the week or year, we’re always here to provide safety, support, and healing to survivors of violence and abuse,” says Andy Cavallaro, Executive Director of Community Safety Network.
While these organizations offer tangible, visible resources — emergency housing and food, access to highly-trained advocates and therapists, help to navigate the legal system, and even offer financial support — these services are all a part of a more abstract promise: hope.
The ability to offer families hope in the aftermath of crisis is priceless. And it depends on the financial support of the Jackson Hole community.
“When we first connect with families who are in crisis, it can feel like the darkest of days for them. But slowly, guided by compassion and insight, we help them realize that there’s hope for a bright, opportunity-rich future ahead,” Andy adds.
Sarah agrees: “Helping families and children regain a sense of stability, strengthen their internal resilience, and develop healthy strategies for moving forward is at the heart of our work. Collaborating with Community Safety Network allows us to offer families multiple layers of support and assistance. It’s truly life-changing.”
Over the past five weeks, the two organizations have come together in an innovative fundraising effort — Growing Stronger Together — in an effort to offset the drastic amounts of funding that have been cut from state funding streams. The community has responded with enthusiastic generosity, and the ultimate goal of $500,000 by June 15th is within reach.
“We’re so grateful and thrilled that the community has stepped up like this. From our sponsors and challenge grant donors to every single individual who has contributed, they’ve all made an investment in providing hope for Jackson Hole families,” reflects Andy.
“In these last days, we’re hopeful and confident that the community will help us reach our goal,” adds Sarah. “We are extremely close. If you haven’t made a contribution yet, it isn’t too late. And with the ongoing challenge grants, the finish line is absolutely within reach.”
With roughly a week left to go in the Growing Stronger Together campaign, the organizations are still seeking to raise just over $100,000.
Two exciting $50,000 challenge grants — generously offered by local philanthropists Ted and Noa Staryk and Carrie Kirkpatrick — are still in effect for new donors to the organizations. If new donors step up in the next week and have their contributions doubled, the fundraising goal is attainable.
To make a gift 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.
Follow Community Safety Network and Teton Youth & Family Services on social media to learn more about these important issues, and to spread the word about this groundbreaking fundraiser.