Abbot House Benefits from United Way of the Black Hills COVID Relief Fund

United Way of the Black Hills awards $36,500 to
six grant recipients this week through UNITED
We Stand COVID-19 Relief Fund


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Audrea Amstutz
Email: audrea@unitedwayblackhills.org
Cell phone: (605) 858-8276


(RAPID CITY, SD) – United Way of the Black Hills (UWBH) announced six more grant awards to nonprofit organizations in the amount of $36,500; for a total of $115,944 awarded to 14 organizations. To date, the UNITED We Stand COVID-19 Relief Fund has raised a total of $418,506.52 and has received 28 applications for funding.

The recent nonprofit organization recipients are as follows:


Black Hills Special Services Cooperative – $12,000

The need: A need for computers and technology for households to continue
online education.
How these funds will assist the need: To purchase computers for
households to continue online education for children and adult learning. In
addition, BHSSC provides economic assistance to students via the recently
created Student Support Fund. Funds are used for emergencies only; suchneeds as rent assistance, utilities, fuel, bus passes, employment uniform/attire, employment tools, education/training materials and supplies (including technology and devices, which was recently added due to new needs in response to Coronavirus).

Volunteers of America – $10,000
The need: A lack of sufficient shelter for the homeless population due to the
increase in CDC guidelines.
How these funds will assist the need: To provide shelter at a hotel/motel to
upwards of 20 individuals.


WAVI (Women Working Against Violence) – $5,000
The need: An increase for food, essential non-food supplies, and activities for residents in the shelter.
How these funds will assist the need: To provide food and the necessary
non-essential supplies to continue operations.


Spearfish Nutrition Site – $4,000*
The need: An increased need for meals to serve to local senior citizens.
How these funds will assist the need: To provide assistance to purchase
meals.
*This amount will be matched by Black Hills Area Community Foundation


Abbott House – $3,000
The need: A lack in supplies: Food, toilet paper, paper towels and creative
supplies for mental wellness activities for residents.
How these funds will assist the need: To purchase the necessary supplies
to continue day to day operations.


New Dawn Enterprises – $2,500
The need: A lack in toilet paper, paper towels and creative supplies for mental wellness activities for residents
How these funds will assist the need: To purchase the necessary supplies
to continue day to day operations.


UWBH is in close contact with community representatives throughout the
Black Hills to stay abreast of local issues and needs.
“One of the top take-aways from these meetings is these needs will not
decrease in one week, or even a month or two. However, local non-profit
organizations are feeling the impact in their operations, which may become a critical need in the coming months. Therefore, we must be prepared to
continue to distribute funds as needs evolve and grow,” says Jamie Toennies, Executive Director of United Way of the Black Hills.


UWBH will continue accepting applications until all funds from the UNITED We Stand COVID-19 Relief Fund have been distributed.

Nonprofit organizations that have experienced an increased demand for
services or resources due to the pandemic are encouraged to apply for the
grant (https://www.unitedwayblackhills.org/coronavirus-information)


100% of donations to the UNITED We Stand COVID-19 Relief fund will benefit nonprofit organizations that apply for a grant. If you would like to make a donation to the fund, you may do so by visiting our website:https://www.unitedwayblackhills.org/donate.


For more information on the UNITED We Stand COVID-19 Relief Fund, please visit: https://www.unitedwayblackhills.org/coronavirus-information.

###

Sincerely,


Audrea Amstutz,
Marketing Manager
United Way of the Black Hills
audrea@unitedwayblackhills.org


Abbott House Responds to Coronavirus Need with Give $5 Save Kids Lives – Joining #GivingTuesdayNow in Global Day of Giving and Unity

Mitchell/Rapid City –  Abbott House is meeting the immediate food and supply needs of children in our care by kicking off the Give $5 to Save Kids Lives campaign on May 5, #GivingTuesdayNow.     

As part of the Give $5 to Save Kids Lives Campaign, donors who make a gift to Abbott House on Tuesday, May 5th, #GivingTuesdayNow, will double their support with a matching gift up to $10,000.  

#GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity in response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  The day is designed to drive support for communities and nonprofits around the world.

“At this time, most of us cannot volunteer time, donate food or supplies, or share a cup of coffee, but we CAN give back,” Eric Klooz, Abbott House executive director, said.  “When we experience crisis like  the pandemic, generosity is what brings people of all races, faiths, and political views together.  Generosity gives each of us the power to make a positive change in the lives of others.  It is a fundamental value any of us can act on.”

Additional expenses at the Abbott House caused by the coronavirus have well exceeded $30,000.  “Our foster homes are at or above capacity, meaning three meals a day for 8 to 10 people per home,” Klooz said.  “In addition, most of our young adults are not working for safety reasons, so Abbott House provides additional food and support to each of them.”

During May 5, #GivingTuesdayNow, Abbott House has chosen to pay tribute to foster parents, alumni, staff and donors who give our children hope and make our program successful.  During the day, Abbott House will share stories through social media and online on the YouTube Channel: Abbott House SD

Abbott House is asking everyone to Give $5 to Save Kids Lives.  “It doesn’t matter if it is $5, $55 or $500,” Klooz said.  “Every cent gives a child food and supplies needed to keep them safe and give them hope.  It’s a day for everyone to stand together and give back; regardless of who or where you are you can give back to Abbott House children or to one of your other favorite causes.  Generosity is not about size, it is about hope.  Call an elderly neighbor to check in on them; leave signs at our local food pantry or hospital, every act of kindness is a sign of hope in this crisis. We all have something to give, and every act of kindness matters.”

People can show their generosity in a variety of ways during #GivingTuesdayNow, whether it’s helping a neighbor, advocating for an issue, sharing a skill, or giving to causes, every act of generosity counts. The global movement emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection even while practicing physical distancing.

Those interested in joining Abbott House’s #GivingTuesdayNow efforts can visit https://abbotthouse.org/give5/ or call Abbott House at 605-996-2486.

Abbott House is a private charity that provides residential treatment services to youth between the ages of 7 and 23. The agency provides intensive residential treatment, therapeutic foster care and an independent living program.  The Abbott House is truly dedicated to providing services to children and families that promote personal development and foster responsible behaviors with others.


You Have the Power to Change Children’s Lives

April 2020

April is child abuse awareness month, but April 2020 is definitely different from other years.  Usually there would be events bringing awareness to this issue and encouraging people to watch for signs of abuse or neglect and to reach out to families in stressful situations.

This year we are all faced with anxiety, fear and uncertainty.  Our routines have been upended.  Many of us are working from home while helping our children with school work.  Others have lost our jobs or had our employment hours cut.  Either way, our daily environments are more stressful than normal for all us – adults and children alike. 

Ironically, at Abbott House we are helping children who have lived with this feeling of uncertainty for much of their lives.  Our children aren’t just experiencing concern about a virus, they have lived in extremely stressful environments for most of their lives.  You see, children who have lived through abuse, neglect and other negative events understand this feeling of vulnerability better than most of us.

In South Dakota 1,339 children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2017, an increase of 36.1% from 2013 according to the Child Welfare League of America.  Of these children, 89.8% were neglected, 11.8% were physically abused, and 4.4% were sexually abused.  The report goes on to say that of the 1,339 abused children, 664 were boys, 673 were girls and 2 were of unknown sex.  As I read and re-read information like this what turns my stomach most are these numbers – 1,045 of the 1339 children were “first-time” victims, meaning no previous abuse had been reported.  How could we have prevented this?  How could we have protected 294 children from being abused a second, third or fourth time?

This information is alarming, especially during times like these when we have even more stress on families.  Many kids typically rely on going to school to socialize and find trusted adults with whom they can share their struggles.  Right now they don’t have access to anyone outside their home.  But we can help each other during these challenging times.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.  Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from adults around them.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children, teens, older people with chronic diseases, and people who have mental health conditions often respond more strongly to stress during crisis conditions.  When we deal with stress, like the Coronavirus, calmly and with accurate information, it reassures our children.

According to the CDC, not all children and teens respond to stress the same way.  Common changes in behavior to watch for include:

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability or “acting out” behaviors in teens
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain.

If you see these behaviors in your child(ren), make sure you:

  • Talk with them about the coronavirus outbreak
  • Answer questions and share facts in a way your child or teen can understand
  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe.  Let them know it is ok if they feel upset.  Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from what you do
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines.  Create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities
  • Be a role model to your children.  Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise and eat well, reach out to friends and family.
  • Reach out to others you think may be struggling and talk with them – it will help you and it will help them.

Today we have the opportunity to spend more time with our children than ever.  I encourage you to use this time to make great memories with your children and help others do the same.  Together we can stop abuse and give our children valuable skills they will use to face future challenges and crisis situations.


A Message From Our Executive Director

April 10, 2020

Today we are faced with anxiety and uncertainty. We have questions about our future and the new reality each one of us will face. We feel like we are experiencing on ongoing earthquake that never stops shaking and changing things.

Ironically at Abbott House we are helping children who have lived with this feeling of vulnerability for much of their lives. Not a feeling of vulnerability about a virus, but a feeling of uncertainty about their lives. You see, children who have lived through abuse, neglect and other negative events understand the feeling of life being out of control.

In our programs we see the fallout from these life events. Even in this time of uncertainty, we continue to work hard to provide safety and stability for our young people and our staff. We know that during times of sickness and dramatic change, our own children need us more than ever. It is the same for the young people in our care. Our commitment to South Dakota children has never been stronger thanks to the dedicated Abbott House employees who are working tirelessly to maintain a sense of normalcy for our youth.

Our residential treatment program is operating as usual with girls attending school and living in our treatment facility like they always do. They miss seeing the many volunteers who come to tutor, entertain or educate them, but they understand limiting visitors will keep them safe. In our Bridges therapeutic foster homes in Rapid City and Mitchell, we are above capacity. There are so many children who need a family and a safe home right now. Our foster parents are truly amazing. Every one of our homes is operating like a “home school,” with scheduled class times and study times for each home so our young people can adequately access computers and other technology to complete classroom assignments. They are having virtual visits with social workers and coordinating telehealth with counselors.

Perhaps the students who are struggling the most are those who are no longer employed. Some of our foster children and our young adults in the independent living program lost their jobs due to the situation. Because of these hardships, we have waived rent for all of our independent living occupants and are helping to pay for their basic needs such as food, medicine, clothing, transportation, and other basic needs while also offering encouragement during this difficult time.

Yet, despite all of these challenges, our amazing and dedicated staff continues to encourage and support each other, while serving our youth and families with understanding and compassion. We know there are still challenging weeks ahead.

We cannot do this alone. The financial burden being felt by so many is also persistent at Abbott House. If you would like to help the youth and our staff with necessary masks, groceries, transportation and other medical needs, please use the following link to give online.

Donate

Thank you for helping during this challenging time. We will get through this TOGETHER and we will be stronger in the end.

Stay safe and healthy,

Eric Klooz
Executive Director


Abbott House Spring 2020 Newsletter

To view our recent newsletter, please click the link below.

Spring 2020


Abbott House Prepared for COVID-19

With several presumptive positive cases of Coronavirus-19 and one death across South Dakota, tensions continue to rise as we prepare ourselves against the spread of the virus.  At Abbott House we have taken steps to help shield our staff and the young people in our care from being exposed to this highly contagious virus. 

We have suspended all off grounds activities, the use of volunteers coming to our residential treatment facility and our foster homes, and visits from anyone other than immediate family.   Visitors to the Abbott House Residential Treatment Center, including families of Abbott House young people, are being asked to be mindful of their health.  We are making Skype and Zoom available to all parents and guardians so they can stay in close contact with their children. 

At this point, anyone who currently has a cough, fever or cold-like symptoms, is being asked not to visit the Abbott House Residential Treatment Center or Bridges by Abbott House Foster Homes.  Staff members have met with young people in the residential treatment center and Bridges foster homes to discuss the Coronavirus insuring that young people have relevant information without creating panic among the youth and staff.

In an email to Abbott House staff, Executive Director Eric Klooz stated, “If staff or young people contract the virus, we have a plan in place to help keep others safe.  The best prevention is handwashing and using disinfectant to wash surfaces.”    If our staff and Abbott House visitors use the common-sense guidelines offered by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), we will get through this.  As the situation develops we will continue to make adjustments as necessary.


Abbott House Kicks Off Community Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                            February 4, 2020

                                                                                                CONTACT:

                                                                                                 Virginia Wishard Lambert

                                                                                                 (605) 996-2486, ext. 120

Abbott House Kicks Off Community Campaign

to Complete Foster Homes Construction

Rapid City, S.D. –  Abbott House is looking for individuals, businesses and corporations who want to help provide a home and a family for foster children in Rapid City.  Today Abbott House kicked off the community portion of its $3 million capital campaign with a gift from the employees of Hart Ranch’s Spring Creek Grille.  The goal of the community campaign is to raise the remaining $300,000 needed to complete the construction of the second foster home and independent living apartments.  Gifts of all sizes are being accepted.

            “The employees have a tip jar and collect tips throughout the year. At the end of the year, employees determine which nonprofit to give it to. This year it was split between Abbott House and Club for Boys,” said Tim Schnabel, Resort Manager. The total of the gift was $1,738.50.

The $3 million capital campaign, which began in May 2019, will support the construction of two Bridges by Abbott House therapeutic foster homes.  Each home will have six bedrooms with one designated to serve boys ages 10 to 17 and another designated for girls ages 10 to 17. These homes will provide expanded “close to home” foster care to children and to their families in the Black Hills region. In addition, each home will include independent living apartments for supported living environments for those young adults 18 years and older. Two double occupancy apartments will be made available to females; two 2-bedroom apartments will be for young men.

            “Foundations, corporations and individuals have come forward to help us with construction costs for the first home, but we still need $300,000 to finance our construction costs,” Eric Klooz, Abbott House Executive Director, said.  “People in the Rapid City community have been so supportive of our services.  They recognize the need for foster care and they have responded.  Now we need everyone to consider how they can help us finish this project.”  One time gifts of any amounts and pledges of three to five years are also an option. 

Abbott House will honor all of its donors for this campaign and other 2019 projects during its annual donor event in Rapid City on April 28.  To get tickets for this event or make a gift to the Bridges by Abbott House therapeutic foster home project, please go to www.abbotthouse.org or contact the Abbott House at 605.996.2486.

 Abbott House provides residential treatment services for girls ages seven to seventeen who have suffered trauma and abuse.  Children come to Abbott House with physical and emotional scars and the tragic burden of being disregarded. Without help, many of these young children perpetuate the cycle of violence and punish themselves indefinitely for the tragedy that was placed on their shoulders. In 2002 Abbott House began providing therapeutic foster care for children ages 10 to 17. The Bridges therapeutic foster care program was expanded in Mitchell in 2013-2014.  Then in 2016-2017, two therapeutic foster homes were opened in the Black Hills region and serve approximately 45 foster youth annually.  For more information about Abbott House, please contact Eric Klooz or Virginia Wishard Lambert at (605) 996-2486.

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Abbott House is a private charity that provides residential treatment services to youth between the age of 7 and 23 years old. The agency provides intensive treatment, foster care and independent living services in Mitchell and Rapid City, South Dakota.  The Abbott House is truly dedicated to providing premier services for youth and families.

 Abbott House / 909 Court Merrill / Mitchell, S.D. / 57301-0700 / (605) 996-2486 / www.abbotthouse.org


Elizabeth Smart joins Abbott House 80th Anniversary Celebration

Elizabeth Smart will share her story of hope and healing during the Abbott House 80th Anniversary Celebration in Rapid City on September 20 and in Mitchell on September 21.  Smart will inspire others during her presentation at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City on Friday, September 20th, and in Mitchell at the Performing Arts Center Saturday, September 21st. General admission tickets are $35.00, $40 at the door.  VIP tickets in Rapid City are $100 and VIP tickets in Mitchell are $75. All VIP tickets include a signed copy of one of Smart’s books, front row seats, appetizers and an opportunity to meet Elizabeth.  There are a limited number of VIP tickets.

6:00 pm                   VIP reception

6:00 pm                Doors open to the public

7:00 pm              80th Anniversary Celebration

VIP tickets can be purchased online at abbotthouse.org, at the Abbott House and from Abbott House board members.  

All proceeds benefit the Abbott House children.

For tickets, CLICK HERE


Black Hills FCU Makes Donation to Abbott House

RAPID CITY, S.D., June 10, 2019 – Black Hills Federal Credit Union is pleased to announce they recently presented a $25,000 donation to Abbott House in support of their Building Bridges Capital Campaign. The campaign seeks to expand foster family services in Rapid City through the building of two additional foster homes.

“Abbott House serves an important role as a safe, caring place where displaced children in our community can receive the support and encouragement they need,” said Roger Heacock, president and CEO of Black Hills Federal Credit Union. “We’re grateful for the crucial work this organization does every day to improve the lives of youth in our community.”

BHFCU’s gift to the campaign will aid in the construction of two new foster homes, which will provide much-needed care and assistance to Black Hills-area children and families. Upon completion, each home will have six bedrooms for youth ages 10 to 17 and two independent living apartments for those 18 years and older, who have recently aged out of the foster care program.

The organization plans to break ground on the new foster family homes, which will be located near the Elk Vale area in East Rapid City, this summer.

A private charity, Abbott House provides a variety of residential treatment services to youth and families in the Rapid City area, including intensive treatment, foster care and independent living services. The organization currently operates two other therapeutic foster homes in the Black Hills.

About Black Hills Federal Credit Union

Established in Rapid City in 1941, Black Hills Federal Credit Union is a member-owned, not-for-profit, financial cooperative serving more than 72,000 members. The community-chartered credit union has locations in Rapid City, Custer, Eagle Butte, Hot Springs, Pierre, Sioux Falls, Spearfish, Sturgis, and Wall, South Dakota. For more information, visit bhfcu.com.


Abbott House Launching Campaign for Foster Homes in Rapid City

Rapid City, S.D. –  Abbott House is expanding therapeutic foster homes in Rapid City and fundraising for the two homes has begun. A total of $3 million is needed to build the homes that will include transitional supported apartments for young adults ages 18-23 who are aging out of foster care.

            Eric Klooz, Executive Director of Abbott House, said the community has been very supportive.   “We began talking to people in Rapid City a little more than a year ago, and everyone recognizes there is a major need for foster care in the area,” Klooz said. “The city and state are both putting matching dollars towards this project because they believe in our youth and our program.”

James Scull and Hani Shafai will host a reception on Wednesday, May 15 to announce the official start of the multi-million dollar campaign. The event will include announcement of matching gifts and a check presentation from the South Dakota Community Foundation.      

“I am excited to be a part of this campaign and work,” Scull said. “Our children need to know they are valued and supported in this community.”

Abbott House will build two additional therapeutic foster family homes in Rapid City. Each home will have six bedrooms with one designated to serve boys ages 10 to 17 and another designated for girls ages 10 to 17. These homes will provide expanded “close to home” foster care to children and to their families in the Black Hills region. In addition, each home will include independent living apartments for supported living environments for those youth 18 years and older. Two 2-bedroom apartments will be made available to females; two 2-bedroom apartments will be for males.

Abbott House is celebrating their 80th anniversary this year. Abbott House provides residential treatment services for girls ages seven to seventeen who have suffered trauma and abuse.  Children come to Abbott House with physical and emotional scars and the tragic burden of being disregarded. Without help, many of these young children perpetuate the cycle of violence and punish themselves indefinitely for the tragedy that was placed on their shoulders. In 2002 Abbott House began providing therapeutic foster care for children ages 10 to 17. The Bridges therapeutic foster care program was expanded in Mitchell in 2013-2014.  Then in 2016-2017, two therapeutic foster homes were opened in the Black Hills region and serve approximately 45 foster youth annually.

The event is by invite only and reservations are required.  Please call 996-2486 and ask for Jamie to make a reservation.  For more information about Abbott House, please contact Eric Klooz or Virginia Wishard Lambert at (605) 996-2486.

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Abbott House is a private charity that provides residential treatment services to youth between the age of 7 and 23 years old. The agency provides intensive treatment, foster care and independent living services in Mitchell and Rapid City, South Dakota.  The Abbott House is truly dedicated to providing premier services for youth and families.

 Abbott House / 909 Court Merrill / Mitchell, S.D. / 57301-0700 / (605) 996-2486 / abbotthouse.org