I Don’t Know What To Say: How To Show Empathy For Others After A Traumatic Experience

I Don’t Know What To Say: How To Show Empathy For Others After A Traumatic Experience

When something bad happens to a friend or family member, it’s often a challenge to find something to say. It can be awkward, but that’s okay too. We want to fall back on common phrases we’ve learned over the years that rarely help anyone to feel better.

“Time heals all wounds.”
“She’s in a better place now.”
“This too shall pass.”

When we use these phrases, it doesn’t help us connect with how the person is actually feeling. It’s not that we do this on purpose, it’s just because it’s what we know and have heard others say to us. When we can use true empathy, we connect to what the other person is feeling. We connect with their pain and are trying to understand how they are feeling.

A better approach is about action rather than words. Listening is a great place to start. People in pain want validation that what they are experiencing is a challenge. Acknowledge their pain and how they are feeling.

“That sounds tough.”
“Wow, that’s terrible.”
“I’m sorry you’re dealing with this.”
“Of course that’s painful.”

You don’t have to totally get it, but whatever you do, don’t diminish their feelings or their experience of what happened. Share your own feelings and don’t afraid to say that you don’t know what to say.

“I can’t begin to imagine what you’re going through right now.”
“I wish I could take away your pain.”
“It makes me sad to know this is what you’re dealing with.”

Let them know that you are grateful they chose you to open up to because it shows they trust you. It’s an honor that they did and don’t be afraid to acknowledge that it may have been hard for them to do so. You are establishing yourself as a safe harbor where they can safely be vulnerable.

“Thank you for trusting me enough to share your experience.”
“I’m honored that you shared this with me.”
“Thank you for opening up to me.”

When you show interest, it’s opening the door for connection. Everyone wants that and especially those who are going through challenging times. This is the time to listen to them and let them share with you.

“How are you feeling about everything?”
“What I heard you say is _____. Is that right?”
“What has this been like for you?”

Take time to encourage your friend or family member. Everyone needs encouragement and that’s especially true when going through a rough patch. Don’t try to fix their problems or try to make them look on the bright side. This is a great time to share what you admire about them and remind them that they are loved.

“You are a true warrior.”
“I’m on your side.”
“I’m proud of you.”

Show you care: give hugs, send flowers or handwritten cards, offer to help around the house. These are actions that helps them to feel loved and supported.

“What can I do to help?”
“What do you need?”
“I’m here when you need me.”

It can be difficult to support our loved ones going through hard times, but it can make all the difference to them when we make the effort. The worst of times often lead to isolation, despair, and loneliness. Take time to show your support and that you care. The empathetic approach is much stronger than empty words. We hope this will give you the words and actions you need to help a loved one.

Rebuilding Their Lives: What’s New With The Paradise Rotary Club?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been an entire year since the Paradise Fire forever changed our community. To some it feels like a lifetime ago, for others as if it was yesterday. It’s difficult to fathom the pain of such destruction and how it has impacted the lives of so many. It’s a ripple effect, with the strongest impact at the center.

We’ve only just begun to recover, knowing that this is an event we will forever carry in our hearts. For some it will remain on shoulders for just as long. The economic impact for some is greater than for others, but regardless, it will leave a scar with us all. We have all felt some level of despair, but there is great hope that shines through. We are a strong community that has rallied together in an effort to move forward and support each through these challenging times.

There are organizations out there with fund for many who apply. PG&E has a Wildfire Assistance Program and is accepting applications until November 15.

PG&E Wildfire Assistance Program Accepting Applications for Aid

The Paradise Rotary Foundation also has grants available to help: https://paradiserotaryfoundation.org/

For the latest recovery news, here are a couple of very helpful websites:

http://www.paradisechamber.com/

Paradise Recovers

If you want to help out, here’s one of the many ways:

How You Can Help
Rotary Club of Paradise’s Camp Fire Relief Efforts
Donate (by credit card) to the Paradise Rotary Foundation through our GoFundMe campaign. (Note: GoFundMe keeps 3% of your donation.)
Donate (write a check) to:
Paradise Rotary Foundation
45 Jan Court., Suite 170
Chico, CA 95928
The EIN for your tax records is: 26-2754805.
More Information and Forms at ParadiseRotaryFoundation.org.

The Paradise Rotary Club has stepped up from the very beginning in helping this community remain strong. We are “People of Action” and we won’t stop. Our love of Paradise and the people who make it such an amazing place to live fuels our efforts. Here’s to another strong year of recovery!

Sunshine Buttercup Farms

Gardens, horses, people oh my! What a great combination to instill hope. Giving a hand up and not a hand out helps everyone to connect and grow and find purpose where it may have been lost. Nestled in the foothills of Mt. Diablo in Clayton, CA, Sunshine Buttercup Farms offers people an opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment all the while creating a sustainable future. 

The garden at Sunshine Buttercup Farms produces delicious fruits and vegetables based on environmentally sound and healthy practices. It’s a one-acre farm that produces wonderful food as well as healthy, positive change in the people who are attracted to come and participate. 

What started off as a word-of-mouth organization, quickly shifted to something much more. Sunshine Buttercup Farms continues to build partnerships with other nonprofits that focus on creating positive change in people as well as around the globe. They aren’t like most other nonprofits in that all of the workforce are volunteers. That’s how they can guarantee that your donations go strictly to the people who will benefit the most instead of getting caught at the administrative level. 

Sunshine Buttercup Farms was founded in 1986 and is a California based 501(c)(3) whose mission it is to “help others help themselves.” Their original goal was to provide housing, purposeful activity, and mutual care. They now have locations in South American, Europe, Asia, and Africa and thrive through the generosity of donors and volunteers. Learn more about them and what wonderful contributions they are making to our local and global communities at https://www.buttercupfarms.org/. Feel free to give them a call at (925) 672-1474 or (925) 673-0785 or email us at: jorie@buttercupfarms.org.

 

Top Reasons Why Having A Reliable Car Makes Life Easier

As Americans, not only do we love and cherish our vehicles, but we often take them for granted. We are shocked when we walk out our front door one morning and find that our battery died or we somehow got a flat tire during the night. Most of us don’t even like to travel without the convenience of a rental car on the other end. To most of us, a car means freedom.

From the moment we held that precious driver’s licence in our hot little hands, we felt FREE! Freedom from our parents and freedom to roam. We tend to think of driving as a right instead of the privilege that it truly represents. Ultimately, however, driving is how we are able to earn a living and so much more.

How having a reliable car makes life easier:

We can make it to work on time every day.
We can get our kids to school on time every day.
We don’t have to worry about how we can come up with the money to fix our vehicles every day.
We can easily get to the bank, the grocery store, the park, play dates every day.
We don’t have to be on high alert wondering if we are going to make it to where we need to be every day.

The stress, alone, of having to constantly worry about the expense of an unreliable vehicle along with wondering if we will make it home today is enough to bring a person down. When we have a car that we don’t have to worry about, we sleep better at night and are less likely to snap at our children for the small things. Think about a time in your life when you needed your car and in some way or another, it wasn’t there for you. That didn’t feel good, did it?

Everyone needs reliable transportation. It’s a part of life in our world today. Without it, it is difficult to do some of the most basic of daily-living needs. When you consider how difficult life is without a reliable vehicle, you’ll begin to understand what life has been like for many of the Paradise Fires victims as well as many other families in need.

Here’s a brief story about the cars pictured above and how they are making the difference for one local family:

“The Kinsey family acquired its second Cars2ndChance vehicle on April 5, 2019, a 1999 Mustang V6 Coupe. The Kinsey’s first Cars2ndChance vehicle was a 1995 Honda Accord, purchased in 2017 which serves as Emily Kinsey’s daily driver. The Mustang got a spirited shake-down cruise through Marsh Creek Canyon on Saturday April 13th accompanied by the Accord.

Cars2ndChance offers vehicles in good condition for further rehabilitation, restoration, and ultimately use and enjoyment. The Kinseys are looking forward to the fun with their new project Mustang.”

The next time you take your car for granted, think again! Consider donating your used vehicle to help make a positive difference in the lives of a family who needs to be able to get to work, drop their children at school, and do all the things we need to do to survive. Spread the good word!

Partner Spotlight — California Vocations

Clayton Valley Concord Sunrise Rotary Charitable Fund administers Cars2ndChance and Clunkers 4 Charity. We are vehicle/car donation programs helping those in need get back on their feet with the renewed ability to get to and from work and other destinations that most of us take for granted. We are a strictly volunteer-based nonprofit and that means that we can make sure that all donations go directly to the recipients in need. We partner with many other nonprofits in the area to be able to provide as much assistance to those in need as possible. Today, we’d love to share about one of those wonderful partners that is doing such great work to also help the survivors of the Paradise Wildfires, California Vocations (http://www.calvoc.org/).

“California Vocations Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing residential and vocational support to developmentally disabled adults. CVI is located in Paradise, CA. Our organization consists of three distinct components: Licensed Residential Care (Arthur Schawlow Center & Dean Manor), Supported Living Services and Day Programs (COVE and SOAR).”

The Supported Living Services Program is designed to help participants live on their own as opposed to a group living situation. Independence is a wonderful thing for all who desire that lifestyle. This program helps with that goal by assisting with:

  • Health and medication management
  • Personal wellness plan
  • Home maintenance
  • Meal preparation assistance
  • Transportation
  • Daily living skills

Their SOAR Day Program focuses on Social, Occupational, Academic, and Recreational activities. They specialize in working with participants struggling with the most difficult behaviors. This is a small group that works helps adults with developmental disabilities become active participants in their own lives. SOAR empowers participants to make good choices and experience more of what life has to offer. They focus on encouraging: 

  • Choice
  • Independence
  • Social success
  • Vocational skills

They also offer employment and business services. They work with clients to give them the skills they need to be successful in the community. Transportation to and from work, job placement, and job skills development are the key components of this program. California Vocations is committed to assisting those with special needs to be the best they can be all the while being contributing members of our local communities, but they can’t do it without your help and the Paradise Wildfires took a huge toll on their resources as well.

California Vocations is still working to help clients and employees who were affected by the Paradise Wildfires. They have only reached $55,000 of $250,000 of funds needed to replace staff, offices, vehicles, and equipment. Please consider assisting them as they work to recover and move forward. They do phenomenal work in our community and are very worthy of all contributions. We are proud to call them one of our partners! 

Preparing For Disaster: 5 Things You Need to Know

A disaster can strike at any time, are you prepared for one? You might think that you will have time to pack a bag and stuff the trunk if a disaster were to occur, but in reality, panic will set in and you won’t have the time you thought. Whether you have a car full of kids or it’s just you, you should always be prepared for any situation.

You’ll want to make a plan that includes shelter, first aid, food and water, and sanitation. Those are the basics of survival. The first thing to do when preparing for a disaster it’s best to start with deciding on an emergency contact. Make sure everyone knows who it is and how to contact them, this could be a family friend or relative. Your emergency contact should live in a different area so they can provide a safe shelter.

After you’ve picked your emergency contact then the second thing you’ll want to do is create a disaster kit. Your disaster kit should include a first aid kit, a blanket or two, a case of water, flashlight, and food that will last a few days. By preparing this kit you can go through it once a year and replace perishable foods.

Thirdly, for insurance and the records, you should go through your house and document your belongings. This doesn’t mean counting how many pairs of socks you own, the list should contain valuables like your couch or an old antique lamp. It’s best to take photos of the items and write down the serial numbers so you can easily identify what was lost. Go around your yard and driveway too, take pictures of your car, lawn mower, camper, or any other outdoor vehicle. When you are finished you should upload them to a flash drive and store it in your disaster kit.

The fourth thing to do is to map an escape route. It’s best to have a central meeting place like your emergency contacts residence or a delegated spot. Discuss with each other how to get to that place in case some don’t have access to a vehicle or public transportation. Learn how to read a map and map out how to get to safety. It’s best to practice this route with your family at least once a year.

Lastly, do research about where you live and the risks that might happen. If you live in an area that is more prone to flooding or wildfires you can tailor your disaster kit towards that. The more you know the better you can prepare.

Hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires can happen at any moment without a moment’s notice. To prevent you and your family from being injured and unprepared, sit down and make a plan together. Have emergency preparations ready so you can get out of a disaster and into safety as quick and easy as possible.

Oakland’s White Elephant

We are proud to partner with Oakland’s White Elephant. White Elephant is part of Oakland Museum fundraising arm and takes in vehicle donations regardless if it running, no longer runs, and even if you’re a non-Oakland resident. They accept the vehicles through the Clunkers4Charity.org who has been serving Oakland residents for the past 9 years. Clunkers4Charity created a donation facility for vehicles as well as services to pick up a vehicle from your street or drive away and take it away for free. They take the vehicles and turn them into money so that they can give back to the community through local charities.

The Oakland Museum has over 1.9 million objects inside and is known for creating space and context in order for a greater connection, trust, and understanding between human beings. There are many interesting exhibits, educational programs, and cultural events. White Elephant is focused on helping the community. Every year they the biggest and best rummage sale, The White Elephant Sale, making it a new tradition in the Bay Area. This sale will be one of your memorial sale you’ve attended because it offers a wide variety of treasures for collectors, lovers of the arts and music, and a few other ones of kind pieces you can’t find anywhere else. You can also find things like furniture, sporting goods, fine jewelry, clothing, and anything else you can think of. With this sale, they raise over 2 million dollars which then goes back to support the Oakland Museum which includes the Oakland Museum Women’s Board, Oakland Museum programming and exhibits.

Our partnership with Oakland’s White Elephant is one of a kind and truly unique because it is a non-profit supporting another non-profit by sharing technology. This shared technology is the small website that you can find at Clunkers4Charity.org. We help the community by helping the community and give all that we can. We consist of many awesome volunteers which help reduce our administrative overhead. You can receive a tax-deductible when you donate. If you would like to volunteer then please reach out to us, we would love to have you on our team.

We are grateful to have another non-profit in the community to partner with and help further the community members. Thanks, Oakland White Elephant for all that you do. We are happy to be in this partnership and look forward to all the good work that will come out of this.

Paradise Survivors: A 6-Month Update

The California wildfires were devastating and affected the lives of thousands. It’s been six months since the fires started in Plumas National Forest and spread across 20,000 acres of land. Residents had to evacuate and were in a state of emergency. Besides all the emotional pain each resident had to go to they also lost their homes, more than 6,700 homes were burned and destroyed. This fire set the record for California’s most destructive fire. How are the survivors doing? It’s still a huge struggle.

Thousands of residents were displaced, homes burned down, and left with nothing. Many survivors remain in rentals until they figure out their next steps and options. Others are still in emergency housing and government trailers. Residents are waiting for insurance money, trying to rebuild, or looking for a new place to live. These things take lots of time, money and energy. There are also many residents living in homeless camps in the southern city limits of Santa Rosa.

The only option is to start over completely. Furniture, vehicles, precious memories are gone forever. Some homes can’t even be rebuilt because the damage is so bad. Living in a rental is not the same as home. Trying to buy a new home is expensive, paperwork and applications take time, and there is no guarantee they will get the home they want. Only a handful of residents have been able to rise from the ashes and start a new life moving forward.

There have been less than 100 building permits issued since the fires when thousands of buildings were burned down. They are struggling to find time, money, and workers to rebuild what was lost. More than 40% of the homes that burned were not insured either. Those who lived paycheck to paycheck had to move somewhere else that had cheap rent so they could get by. The average local-area rent price has gone up 30% since the fires making it less affordable to more people. Those who couldn’t find a new place or family to stay with ended up in temporary housing from FEMA. The biggest colony of survivors is in the Sonoma County Fairgrounds RV park where 100 new trailers were brought in and filled up completely. These trailers are part of the disaster recovery effort and provided 400 residents with housing up to 18 months.

There has been a resilient permit center opened separately for the fire survivors who are trying to rebuild their homes. Officials have lowered fees for this center with promises to issue building permits a week after application so survivors can start building a new life. In the fire-prone areas, it’s now required to have fire sprinklers installed.

It’s going to take time to rebuild what was lost and the mourning over the lives lost will forever continue. A majority of survivors are still fighting the battle and trying to figure out how to start over. If you can help in any way, please do. Survivors continue to need our support.

How Do Charitable Acts Help Your Taxes? Giving Matters to You, Too!

It feels good to give!

Taxes and giving: what do these two things have to do with one another? Well, indeed there are many ways taxes and giving relate to one another, especially when it comes down to the individual. There are many reasons people give to charitable organizations, and though it shouldn’t be the main reason, receiving tax incentives is a wonderful benefit for the individual taxpayer.

In 2016, 36.95 million tax returns claimed charitable contributions. What does this mean for those taxpayers? Well, it means that throughout the year, when folks have planned or spontaneous desires to give cash or non-cash items, they receive a receipt. The importance of that receipt is, as with anything with our taxes, to be able to provide proof of the gift and its value.

Breaking it down:

Noncash donations —

  • Donations up to $250 in value, all that’s needed is the receipt for the charitable donation deduction.
  • Contributions over $250 but no more than $500 requires a detailed, written acknowledgment from the organization; it must include: name and address, the date and location of contribution, description of the donation, and an estimate of the item’s value,
  • Donations over $500 but no more than $5,000 require the above information ($250-$500) as well as the records of how you acquired the noncash item, such as how much you paid for it.

Car donations —

Some steps need to be considered when donating a car because it depends on the vehicles selling price from the organization, or if it’s not sold, by the fair market value:

  • Step 1: Determine how much the car was sold for by the charity, but if it’s sold significantly below market value, you can use the fair market value.
  • Step 2: Determine the car’s fair market value, and it’s important to use a reputable used-car price guide so you can calculate if you need to use the fair market value.
  • Step 3: Claim the deduction on line 17 of Schedule A.
  • Step 4: additional forms that are needed include:

Form 8283 Section A for car donations $501 to $5,000

Form 8283 Section B for car donations over $5,000 and this section requires a written appraisal as documentation.

How do these cash and noncash donations help charitable organizations? Nonprofits have three primary funding sources: fees charged, government grants, and charitable giving. So, the giving, especially of unrestricted cash donations, is extraordinarily important, thus fulfilling for the giver.

How exactly do these deductions help you, the taxpayer? The IRS allows the deduction for taxpayers that are filing their return with an itemized deduction schedule, and a deduction lowers the amount of taxable income before taking into account your tax liability.

Some websites and organizations exist to help you responsibly learn about, make, and track your charitable donation deductions throughout the year:

Charity Navigator: A charity navigator that provides information to guide responsible giving with details on the Financial Health, Accountability, and Transparency of over 9,000 charities, as well as basic information on the other 1.8 million U.S. nonprofits. Charity Navigator is itself a 501 C 3.

Better Business Bureau Give.Org: An organization that evaluates charities based on governance and oversight, measuring effectiveness, finances, and solicitations and informational materials. This also helps to provide reports so donors can make informed decisions with the donations.

IRS and Charitable Contributions: The IRS has information surrounding utilizing charitable deductions, from the most basic to more detailed information.

When taking into account your decision to make charitable donations, don’t forget to check the boxes to make sure that your charitable donation deductions will be able to be utilized. Always do your research, and feel good knowing where your gifts are going and how they can also benefit you!

If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from the Paradise fire or another valued non-profit, reach out to cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a car that runs and clunkers4charity@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites https://cars2ndchance.org/ and https://clunkers4chari.wpengine.com/. The organization has received 30 cars for the Paradise survivors, but they need more, as you can well imagine.

Great News! Car Donations Rising in 2019

We all like hearing good news, right? Well, here’s some good news for you… 2019 is seeing an increase in car donations. But why is this happening?

  • Is it because donating a car to a good cause feels good?
  • Is it because it’s a terrific tax write-off?
  • Is it because the economy is doing well and people are feeling more generous?
  • Maybe it’s because they know so many Paradise Camp Fire victims are in need?

Maybe it is a combination of all of these. Here is what one donor said about donating her vehicle:

“I’m gratified to learn that my donation actually resulted in a significant benefit to the nonprofit.”  -Anonymous Donor

According to Careasy.org, a non-profit that focuses on charitable car donations, the first quarter of 2019 is seeing more car donations than normal. We are hoping the influx of donations continues through Tax Season. Many families affected by the Paradise Camp Fire in California are still in need of donated cars.

If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from the Paradise fire or another valued non-profit, reach out to cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a car that runs and clunkers4charity@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites https://cars2ndchance.org/ and https://clunkers4chari.wpengine.com/. The organization has received 30 cars for the Paradise survivors, but they need more, as you can well imagine.