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Sparks Of Hope 120615

Dec 1, 2015|

AN INTERVIEW WITH LEE ANN MEAD, FOUNDER & PROGRAMS DIRECTOR AT SPARKS OF HOPE, A NON-PROFIT GIVING HOPE TO ABUSED CHILDREN.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is microscope and Entercom radio Portland public affairs program and Gary blocks of in the same on the show we're going to be talking about a non profit organization called sparks of hope. Whose mission is to empower children who are survivors of abuse to thrive. Liane need is the founder and program director at sparks of hope and welcome to the show Leann. 100 Gloria I'm very well hurry you and a great thanks for potential sparks of hope tell spoke that would spark of hope. Sparks of hope is an organization. That is geared toward child survivors of abuse we come alongside the child. In their healing journey and Duff for programs to help them become drivers as adults. And how did you start sparks of hope. Well. As a child IA have a past history of abuse. I was abused by my stepfather from the age of four until I was sixteen years old. And eat it wasn't until I was sixteen that my dark secret is told by my best friend. Being an abuse survivor. After my father was taken from the home sixteen years old. I didn't have the support I needed everybody thought oh the abuser the problem is out of the house and she should be fine. That actually wasn't the case meaning you know I felt broke in I found damage to. There's so much shame involved with that and saying you know I didn't tank my life so I didn't turned destructive behavior I'm pretty much. An anomaly to an extent because many survivors have a really referendum healing and you know they do things. That aren't so healthy to heal her actually to cope. So. My entire life I really wanted to help. Kids and I didn't know in what fashion. Until about five years ago. Because of that desire that I had to create your organization actually two help abused kids he'll. And what I needed to heal as a child is why created those programs. So interceding in these kids likes now. When they're younger is so important so they don't become broken ankles her continue the cycle of abuse. That's that's a long road for you to right absolutely down. This is is this part of your healing process do you think how absolutely in fact make camp we have volunteers that are also survivors that I pull in. To help there healing journey and I just think it's awesome my college dual healing so not only is the child dealing with the adult is healing as well it's beautiful. The adults in meaning that made it apparent that isn't the abuser or. Correct answer is the volunteers that help in our organization. Wanna get back somehow because of their past history and they become Blake and whenever programs have healing camp and they become big bodies to the child. I can't so that's great silicon mentoring produced yes that's fantastic. But also so tell Lisa about the programs they offer. We had our big thing. Is the healing camps and those we offered twice a year it's a separate boys and girls camp. That helps expedite healing journey when you just simply. Focus on boy is focusing on boys girls focusing on girls healing. I can't say enough about it probably be here all day telling you how amazing it is but attack. These kids. Being able to. No it is that they need to heal meaning it's like aids. It's like a conference for child survivors. Where they get to choose what it is to heal further weaken the weekend. Whatever it is whether it's learning how to cook. Or. If it's needing to fish or archery or perhaps may be some type type of art therapy what we call guided art. Certain things to help these kids. Process what happened to them but also. Give them healthy coping skills meaning giving them. Some sort of an outlet a creative outlet to help them heal and maybe ignite something in them that would pass her. Maybe. Some type of maybe they wanna be a shaft may be they want to be cinematographer. Maybe you know they want to. Be an artist and musician whenever it is. But. It's kind of amazing to see these kids and their choices and what they need time to heal. But imagine some of these kids who maybe all of them don't have the skills to survive right now. In fact in camp really. Is about. Also having fun. They. Have therapy. They have counseling and being camp in a safe and supportive environment for them is so important and being able to teach them that there are loving compassionate. People that are just pouring eleven hoping to them and these kids they're bankrupt and hope. Yeah they probably think in the future they don't they feel like we know why bother everybody thinks I'm a piece of crap anyway. You know there. Foster system is riddled with her latent with. Kids that. Our trauma survivors obviously and they're gonna continue the process I mean my husband's a detective and he sees the revolving door all the time and it's tough you know these kids need. Compassion they need love they need support in support is what we give. And that love and hope we're to most of your children come from. We get referrals. From a lot of therapists. Counselors. DHS especially we have a lot of kids on the caseload DHS and orient. Schools will refer them other assessments Connors was just all over the Korean. Do you have any estimates of how many abused children there in the states. Actually I don't have that. I now but I do know that. One in four kids are one in four girls and one in six boys. Will be abused before their eighteenth birthday. Sexually abused it for their eighteenth birthday and that is just the reported number so that is an epidemic that people don't wanna talk about. In and I think about it I can imagine a lot of it is is a report that at all no one in ten report so do you think about that statistic it's ugly. To the room the reporting process is I would imagine a very difficult process and it is it's a long road and these kids many of them have to testify against their abuser alone in court. As little as you know we've had some and that are in our program that are nine years old. And that's why is part as part of our other program we have our healing canine program Sparky the healing canine and he. Is. Sitting alongside the child is they testify. So that they have somebody there that they can cuddle and make sure is comforting them and well they're staring down the abuser of the child feels a little more powerful and empowered to testify. But the confusing time it is awful it's really I didn't I can't even imagine I didn't get my day in court but you know any of these kids actually have. The courage and bravery to testify like fat is amazing because a lot of these abusers use the court. As their last. You know. Ditch effort to intimidate the child and make them feel like crap so. Gators here in court in front of somebody that tomb may be think you love. I also has inflicted a lot of pain and you absolutely that's going to be just terrible it's term attic it's terror it's her affect. So one of the age group with the kids who served. We serve. Kids that are from the age of eight to seventeen. And we do that on purpose because these kids are coming in feeling so alone. And when you have a child that is looking at a teenagers that they know has similar experiences. They look up to that teenager like wow I'm going to be OK and then vice Versa. Teenagers looking down at the child like wow that was me once and they somehow become an instant mentor. And so it just it works it's just incredible I don't really. I don't really know her can articulate how it works it just us now. Kids tend to want to help other kids and I think especially once they have been traumatized in this way they just they have such a heart for this in fact I think. That many. Trauma survivors or abuse survivors that's something that they really. Seek to do is become a counselor or psychologist wanna help kids it's just something that is ingrained in them because they know the pain you know the hurt. So these kids when they become eighteen. Get to be a mentor themselves they get to be a big body and camp and be part of our program that way so it continues. Long into adulthood which I love. Do a lot of kids that come many junior program we are starting just actually this coming year we're having some seventeen year old turning eighteen murals and we're really excited. We have a lot of little mideast meaning some eight. To ten to twelve years of the twelve year old so we have quite a few years. To start really cycling through you know to adulthood kids to become volunteers that. That's great yeah I'm excited do a couple of success stories you conservatives. My cash only few tentative quite good but the we actually. There's. I young boy a who we absolutely adore her he came to our camp. Winds he's got. What we call. High functioning autism. And he came off the bus and was covering his ears didn't like loud noises didn't wanna be taxed. Was there the apprehensive about the whole thing. Trying to figure out whether where you were world whether we were gonna be safer not for him. So within probably a couple hours. He realized that we were the real deal. And two we were her actually creating cabin science and he. It was really freaked out of the noise and we were in like some cement building or whenever. And so his cabin group these boys that were about 8910 years old. Call eight of them moved to the table outside knowing that he was having such an issue and that changed for him these kids made that choice. And it changed for him and from that point nine. This child who. Didn't want to be taxed or didn't want to seeing didn't want to do a lot of things at camp is now. Driving to the point where he asked for hugs he asks everybody for hugs and he sees that he absolutely adores most everybody that he sees. He also. Got app last summer in front of everyone and saying to our cappella songs we were like Stein into the hole. I think the whole crowd never volunteer was in tears and he got a standing ovation twice a that's agree it is pretty great that. You know we have stories countless stories of kids just being able to. Come out of their shell because they feel so safe that nobody's judging them I think that judging pieces huge at camp and this one little girl whose eleven stood up in front of everyone. Telling them her story. Which you know tends to usually don't tell the story that she sent that'd been tough and it was hard and she lost everything in a year. But that she's gonna be okay and that they're going to be okay because that she has sparks of hope and I was just like. Completely blown away I was you know it was such a heart. Yeah I was just tired. It was a hard thing was just amazing sparks of hope sounds like a very appropriate name it is it's freely. Not only igniting. Sparks of companies kids' lives and hearts but. We consider the volunteers. As these sparks of hope because without our our volunteers we wouldn't have an organization that and the volunteers are what. Makes the organization go. You're completely volunteer run absolutely we're 100% volunteer we have not paid staff. By congratulations that's that's an undertaking it is an undertaking and it has hired a but I I'm so passionate about what I'm doing and I don't care that you know these kids need us now. How does somebody volunteer for you. I took me there reach out to me by team now they go on our website. And click the volunteer. Lincoln. I connect them where their best suited. Puts a what's that it's. WW dot sparks of hope dot org sparks of hope dot org has volunteer I was a volunteer conspirator depth at the military. So how who brings kids to you if it hit the fifth if it's an adult that brings kids CU who is that adult. It's generally. DHS we had a bunch of GD actually we have a bunch of DHS workers that are volunteers to. Time we have detectives who do we have volunteers that come from all over or any different walks of life that actually help. These kids in another way. But. You know we have the non offending parents reaching out to us. But they come through the website as well. We have a huge FaceBook following and we get a lot of people requesting from actually all over the world for our program to come yourself. It's really tough when we can't you know provide that service everywhere that right now we're focusing on orient. In due teams have ever find you on their own absolutely you think you've helped absolutely. It's amazing now I love that. If somebody does need help. There and abusive situation or or no and abusive situation that's going on around them how low can they reach out to you. Pool would first of all. If it's something you know that they need help with as far as. Disclosing they need to. Contact a safe person and have. That you know and if if they're not believed they need to keep telling until somebody believes them. And then secondly they need to reach out to their local law enforcement. And then that starts pretty much the ball rolling. And then they can reach out to us and we try not to take kids to have active cases as far as I am. Their cases have been adjudicated. Because we don't want for some reason the defense. To use. Our camp in our programs that actually help these kids against them. You know whether it's something that we gift them or whatever so we don't wanna you know be part of that. Peace where you know the abuser is using and as leverage or the defense counsel is using it as leverage against the child so. There's so many layers to this Scalia. Well how do you do it. Again I just think you know because of my past history. It's healing that child. Self and me that was abused and hurt. And seeing these kids in. And watching them heal I mean literally watching them heal with my own eyes and seeing people around me. Other survivors Gil is just. Pat I can't explain the joy I get so that's my redemption. Is seeing the healing happen. It's like this happen to me. But look at what I'm doing with it. And I got such passion. That. If even if one child one child is healed I'm OK with fat. But I know that's not the case and how many more will be healed through this. Program through these programs. We're talking today with Leann need founder and programs stricter for sparks of hope so what is the cost for kids to participate. It's absolutely free. These children come in a lot of them went. Blowing come Foster parents and don't have any extra money we don't want there healing to be precluded by money. So that's why it. We. We really need. People tan you know help us fund these programs it's really difficult honestly tech. Keep doing what we're doing it's a very expensive training camp and Holler programs but you know we keep doing it as much as we can that we need you know community support. Corporate support things like that. How are you funded. And through the generosity of our corporate contributors. We haven't tying Gallo once a year. You know just the general public. Donations. We've got directed by one of our corporate pot partners that supports a lot of what we do. We've got many corporations that help. And there's that donate button on your website to correct sparks of hope dot org kept pace the right there. Donate donate them and if so tell us about the Christmas tree in fund raiser early and went on to. Well this year. After the holidays we are selling Christmas trees. Four fundraisers and it's going to be act directed by of Portland's. Parking lot. Today our. Helping ourselves these trees and it's been. A complete blessing to have them do that forests. It starts. This coming weekend. And we're gonna have it open every weekend until Christmas. And I believe every tree is going to be thirty dollars and we have trees as small as five feet up to eight feet. And they're beautiful trees. That's a great price for Christmas tree it is and that's what we're trying to raise money for these kids so are serious about selling them. So you and all that money goes directly to spark of hope. Absolutely again there's no paid staff so goes directly not only test but to the kids in the programs and no overhead console that's a good thing. Where is the address to to get across the street. The address is it. And 10795. Southwest cascade avenue. And that's in tighter. And again it's a direct by a Portland's. Facility area facility to. The show showroom. If that's pretty great that's that's an exciting that's it that's what Christmas is all about. It is you know it's not only. Coming in getting your Christmas tree for the holidays but it's also giving back so by. Buying Christmas tree they're giving to these two are kids. So with the Christmas trees we're also offering ornaments of hope we call them and that's where I missed that have been created not only by most of our kid knows from. Our program by a couple of volunteers as well that are survivors so those are really special. In where selling those ornaments at the tree lot for. Pretty much any donation and again for every dollar that's donated. Higher percent. Mean again a 100% goes to our kids. And our programs. Also told Sawyer gala when it's not. Our annual gala is gonna be on May 21 this coming year and it's going to be at the sentinel hotel. And I am super excited at we have so much going on. For our guests and Tino it's obviously our biggest fundraisers. So we have Patrick glam it's going to be performing. And a bunch of other people that are going to be and seen things we. I'm still kind of keeping it under pat rain now coach talk time high now wrongly broadcasting to all of America. You know as far as who are special people are settled becoming a much money you raised during the gala. Between 75200. We wanna. Crest that marker go past that mark and you know double that this year were hoping. That's that's pretty great. It is pretty great that when you think about I mean is awesome many money is awesome we just you know we struggle every single year. To make. What we do. To help these kids and our programs at camp again like I said is really expensive so you know we barely cover the costs of any of that so it's just tough. The wind is the summer camps certain mixture to those sixty. I believe. It is in July. Compared week in July. We're skeptical X. This year it's going to take place I believe it can be growth who can. Madrid also there'll be tons of information on camp on your website tests so really hard and we have a winter camp as well next year so every year we have a summer. Camp for boys and then a summer can separate summer camp for girls and then. As well in the wintertime like this coming week or weekend we're having a boy's camp and then following weekend we have girls can't settle for pretty busy. It sounds like a busy doing great work yeah fantastic Leann needs founder and programs directorate sparks hope it to me until then thank you so much at me. Microscopes and Entercom communications and public affairs program my name's Gary and if you have a nonprofit or public affairs organization that you'd like let others know about. You can email me at microscope @entercom.com. Remember intercom starts with a need for you can go directly to the station's website click on the community link and submit your information there. 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