Violence Intervention Program Opens New Clinic
Los Angeles County celebrated the grand opening Thursday of the home for the Violence Intervention Program, which treats victims of violence and abuse on the campus of the L.A. County/USC Medical Center.
The program provides medical, forensic, mental health and social services to victims of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse.
The newly renovated building brings together all of the services in one location and has more exam rooms and waiting room space. There are medical exam rooms, as well as offices for law enforcement personnel and staff from the Department of Children and Family Services.
There is also a day care center, which Violence Intervention Program director Astrid Heger said she would like to use to keep youths for up to 23 hours while social workers find them help.
The building, which displays paintings from local artists, is much different than the small office at the hospital where the program started, Heger said. She said her goal was to have a place where patients, many of them children, could feel comfortable and respected while they get the treatment they need.
"They deserve to have a place where they feel safe," she said.
S. Mark Taper Foundation Renews Support for VIP
The VIP Community Mental Health Center (VIP CMHC) has been awarded a $100,000 grant by the S. Mark Taper Foundation to help strengthen our infrastructure and operations as we expand our mental health services to victims of child abuse and sexual assault in East Los Angeles.
Throughout 2012, VIP CMHC will be using the funds to make improvements to the aptly named S. Mark Taper Foundation Family Advocacy Center. This building was named for the S. Mark Taper Foundation in 2003 when the Foundation made a gift to support the capital renovation of the historic structure into the primary administrative and mental health services offices of the VIP CMHC. The organization will be adding new offices and renovating common areas to keep up with the growth VIP CMHC has seen in the last year.
“The S. Mark Taper Foundation Family Advocacy Center has become the cornerstone of a revolution that is gradually taking over Los Angeles County,” shares Dr. Astrid Heger, Executive Director of the VIP CMHC and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at USC Keck School of Medicine and LAC+USC Medical Center. “Housed in this wonderful Center we have the resources to insist that children who are at risk for being removed from their families or who are already in out of home placements deserve the best medical and mental health care available, not just what is left over.”
The S. Mark Taper Foundation’s gift in 2002-2003 helped establish the nonprofit VIP CMHC and create a space to provide much needed mental health, educational enrichment, and case management services to thousands of extremely low income, high risk child victims. With this new gift the agency will be able to enhance the space to better suit the needs of clients, their families, and staff as it keeps pace with growing demand for its services. Last year, the VIP CMHC saw approximately 4,500 children for a variety of mental health related services including: crisis intervention, individual and group therapy, school-site therapy, psychological testing, and other specialized interventions for children under 5 and those living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
VIP CMHC is extremely grateful to the S. Mark Taper Foundation for not only its support of the agency but for its commitment to helping the most vulnerable populations in Los Angeles, the children of abuse and violence who have no voice other than the one we strive to give them.
Record Setting Toy Drive Means a Very Happy Holiday Season
Everyone at VIP is feeling truly blessed this holiday season all because of the overwhelming response to our holiday gift drive. Because of your generosity and your courage in championing VIP to your friends and corporate colleagues, we were able to put a new toy or gift in the hands of close to 1,000 children who might otherwise have had a sad and uncertain holiday.
This is a new record for VIP, and we are so grateful. It meant that even our patients siblings were able to receive a new gift for Christmas. Thank you to our amazing benefactors who kept the magic of the season alive, and brought renewed hope to everyone at VIP:
10th Street Preschool
Equity Office Properties
Hell’s Belles Car Club
Hendricks & Partners
Los Angeles Kings Care Foundation
Mattel Toys, Inc.
Occidental College Baseball & Softball Teams
Reach Out and Read Los Angeles
The Rubin Family
Charon and David Sandoval
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton
Our holiday campaign concluded on Wednesday, December 21 with a wonderful party for our child clients and their families. Santa Claus made a special trip down from the North Pole to take pictures and listen to a few last minute requests. And once again world-renowned musician Abraham Laboriel and his amazing band were on hand to play everyone's favorite Christmas songs in their toe-tapping Latin/Caribbean jazz style. For the second year, international singing star Tata Vega sat in with the band to serenade our young audience and bring smiles to hundreds of faces.
Join the VIP Holiday Gift Drive!
The winter holiday season is a time of happiness and joy for most children. It is a time to believe in magic and wonder, to have faith in things you cannot see, and to have hope that wishes do come true.
But for children who have been abused, neglected, abandoned or placed in protective custody there is little to be happy about. They have had the magic and wonder ripped from their lives, and they lose their hope and faith in everyone and everything. The holidays are just another source of uncertainty and disappointment.
You can give them back all that they have lost.
The VIP Holiday Drive is about more than just giving a child a new toy. It is about giving a child a chance to believe in magic and generosity again. It is about supporting a mother as she tries to rebuild her family. It is about giving children and adults who have been hurt in the worst possible ways a little faith in humanity again.
Each year VIP asks all of our friends to join in this effort. Last year, thanks to you we collected enough new gifts and toys for over 700 children. This year our services have expanded and so have the number of children we serve. So we need your help again.
Here is what is on our Wish List this year:
- New, unwrapped, nonviolent toys, games, books, arts & crafts kits, jackets, scarves, gloves, hats, sweatshirts, toiletries and sports equipment under $20
- Gift wrapping supplies
- Gift cards to Target, gas stations, Ralphs/Food4Less, and Smart & Final in $20 denominations that we can use to help families in need
- The financial resources to keep all of our programs serving the most children possible all year long
Please visit our Wish List at Walmart to buy gifts and have them shipped to us. Organize a drive with friends, family, co-workers, etc. to collect new, unwrapped gifts. Talk to any companies you know that may be willing to donate their products to our efforts and become a VIP sponsor. Or donate online to make a financial contribution before the end of the year.
All donated items are distributed to the children and their siblings who receive services at VIP. We invite mothers and other caregivers who cannot afford gifts to pick out presents, wrap them up, and give them to their children as a gift from them.
Donations should be delivered to the Violence Intervention Program, 1721 Griffin Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90031 (Monday-Friday 8 am to 5 pm). For more information, please contact Erica Blodgett at (323) 221-4134, ext 219. All donations will be acknowledged with a letter and proof of non-profit status for tax purposes.