Coronado SAFE has served many of us in the Coronado community over the past 22 years. And while the world keeps rapidly changing, Coronado SAFE’s heart for serving and empowering families has stayed the same. As a small nonprofit, they work hard to make sure everyone has the tools they need through counseling and youth and parenting empowerment programs, all on a sliding fee scale. This is a place where no one is turned away.
Today, families in Coronado are overwhelmed with the challenges distance learning, social isolation, financial hardship, and navigating the digital-age-- to name a few. To meet the needs of our community, Coronado SAFE has stayed open, as an essential business, by providing relevant parenting workshops and programs, socially-distant small groups, and telehealth counseling.
In our fast-paced and challenging world, many members of our community have found refuge in Coronado SAFE. Though many of the most impactful stories remain untold for privacy purposes, one local family (whose name will remain confidential) described SAFE as something of a lifeline.
“It filled a gap for us,” the mother said. She described a series of changes the family had gone through which had a significant impact on the emotional life of the teenage daughter: a divorce, a geographic move, and a remarriage. “At first, we didn’t know anyone, she had left all of her friends and her home behind … and social media was definitely a part of it.” Eventually, the mother said that her daughter got to a place where she was having difficulty sometimes getting to her classes. “She had been talking to a private counselor as part of my divorce – that’s something usually done after divorce,” the mother said. “And it was great, but it was a very medical environment and also very limited. And it was focused on family and divorce. Not her other challenges … school and social challenges are different.”
Luckily for the family, one school counselor recommended SAFE as an option for the youth. SAFE currently has two counselors on staff and provides services to individual youth and their families along with group sessions. In fact, over the course of the last year, SAFE impacted 181 community members with its counseling services which it provides to help youth and families that are struggling with anxiety, depression, divorce, drug misuse, difficult behaviors, and more.
The mother said, “SAFE was really helpful where school support ended – it helped us fill a gap.” Some of the value came from seeing a counselor in a less clinical environment than the youth had earlier. And, SAFE provided a comfortable atmosphere that, according to the family, “really had no stigma and no labels attached to it.” The experience was also comforting because, “she [the student] really connected with her assigned counselor … what was supposed to be eight weeks of sessions turned into eight months … her counselor went above and beyond. She succeeded in keeping quiet on stuff that was between her and our daughter but still managed to keep us informed … and when there was urgency, there was always time available.”
This is important, the family emphasizes, because counseling that comes from the community, “where the counselor understands where the teenager comes from,” is quite different from that which is accessed through insurance (or “over the bridge”). This makes sense because SAFE’s programs and services are crafted around the needs of Coronado families and youth, with designated resources to focus specifically on relevant community issues.
One upcoming way SAFE is meeting the needs of the community is through a Panel Discussion on the film The Social Dilemma on Nov. 15 at 11:30 a.m. In partnership with The Coronado Island Film Festival, SAFE hopes to spark thoughtful conversation about our social media usage.
Whether you are going through a tough season or looking for proactive parenting workshops, SAFE has resources to meet you wherever you are in your journey.
Taking a deep breath, the mother closed the conversation by saying, “The entire experience...” She paused, “...it helped us to a better place.”
Coronado SAFE is here to help. Go to CorondoSAFE.org to schedule a quick wellness check, low-cost counseling, learn about programs, and to register for The Social Dilemma Moderated Panel Discussion.