Six nonprofit agencies serving Sarasota or Manatee County received $500 grants for their winning stories at the Nonprofit Resource Center's annual "You're the Story" celebration on December 7, 2010. The Sarasota Y, Jazz Juvenocracy, Bethesda House, Police Athletic League of Manatee County, Family Partnership Center and Young Life of Manatee County were recognized in front of a crowd of over 200. The grants were awarded by the Manatee Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The celebration event was filmed and can be viewed on METV.
Story judge Kivi Leroux Miller, author of the Nonprofit Marketing Guide said: “This story is an unvarnished, honest account from start to finish. Too many times nonprofits try to sanitize unflattering details, but this story tells the truth while preserving the dignity of the family.”
Manatee County Winning Entry in the Program Category: Family Partnership Center
When Rosalba Soperanes first called the Family Partnership Center, it was more out of desperation than out of hope. Her marriage was shaky, and she could barely stand being with her four children: Maria (8), Jose (7), Brian (5) and Katie (1). Screaming and fighting had become their way of life. The house’s atmosphere was hostile and unsettling. Her husband worked long hours to avoid the constant crying and turmoil, and Rosalba felt trapped, isolated, and suicidal. Rosalba also felt like a horrible person. How could she not know how to parent her own children? Where was her maternal instinct? She had grown up without a strong parent model, and she did not have anyone to ask questions about child rearing. Rosalba felt confused, yet committed herself to seek help. With a Parenting Educator at her side, Rosalba felt heard and not just criticized or judged. She began to see the importance of setting rules and limits, of having routines and of logical consequences. She began to look forward to spending time with her kids. No longer feeling alone, she relaxed enough to enjoy being a mom and truly nurture her children. The troubled household slowly began to change. Today, hardly any arguing takes place. Rosalba and Jose are finally enjoying their family and each other. They spend time together with their children: laughing instead of fighting, and talking instead of screaming. When there are rough days, they are the exception, not the rule. Recently, simple words spoken by their oldest, Maria, gave testament to this family’s life-altering and successful transformation: “Mommy, I thought you were a mean mommy because you yelled at me so much. But your teacher has helped you become a good mommy and I wouldn’t trade you for all the toys in this world!”