GENEVA — They don’t have a physical location — yet — but the long-sought Geneva Resiliency Center has become a reality.
Family Counseling Services of the Finger Lakes said that thanks to a private grant, it has launched the center, saying it “will impact social, economic and physical conditions in the areas of the community that people live, work, play, learn, worship and grow by using a model of trauma-informed care principles impacting a wide range of health, functioning and quality-of-life outcomes.”
According to the University of Buffalo, trauma-informed care is “an approach in the human service field that assumes that an individual is more likely than not to have a history of trauma.”
GRC Director Chelsea Snyder said the center is still in the formative stages, but one of the goals is to assess the human-service agencies serving city residents and whether those residents — in particular underserved minority populations — are accessing them, and if not, why.
Barriers to accessing these agencies — anything from the Boys and Girls Club to the Salvation Army to job training — could include language or lack of transportation, she explained.
Additionally, she said, the GRC hopes to identify what additional services are needed.
An advisory group is being created to assist in the formation. The goal is to get average citizens — not agency heads — involved to ensure a diverse population and to help identify community needs.
Snyder said another goal is to break down the silos between agencies to more effectively serve the community. She likened it to an orchestra.
“There are all these different instruments in Geneva, and they just need a conductor,” she said.
The ultimate goal, said the GRC, is “to change the landscape of opportunities for individuals, children, families and communities.”
Funding for the GRC was first proposed by Family Counseling Services two years ago during the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative process.
“The GRC proposal gained significant community support and was the only proposal that focused on the social determinants of health that significantly impact many people in this community,” said the GRC in a press release. “Though it was one of the proposals submitted to the governor’s office, it was not awarded funding, much to the community’s dismay.”
However, the city and Family Counseling Services continued to support an effort to find funding.
Family Counseling said it was recently awarded a $30,000 grant from the Finger Lakes Performing Provider System Transformation Fund to make the GRC a reality. The Finger Lakes Performing Provider System is a partnership comprising 19 hospitals, 6,700 healthcare providers and more than 600 healthcare and community-based organizations in a 13-county region (Allegany, Cayuga, Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties).
“The GRC will be a community-based, community-voiced and community-driven initiative that integrates private and not-for-profit sector partners working together through a trauma-informed lens to bring awareness, support services, advocacy, training and jobs in a collaborative way,” the release stated.
City Manager Sage Gerling, a member of the Family Counseling Services board, said the city will work in tandem with the GRC on a number of initiatives.
“We are thrilled of the recent grant awards allowing Family Counseling of the Finger Lakes to launch the Geneva Resiliency Center (GRC),” she said Friday. “The city’s Office of Neighborhood Initiatives team is actively exploring the collaborative alignment of multiple efforts with the GRC and Geneva 2020.”
Gerling said it’s important to understand that the GRC thrust is family centered, not individual, and the goal is to reach families with resources and not necessarily the other way around.
The GRC outlined some key components it will look to build on:
• Trauma-informed care training for all service providers aligned with the GRC;
• Implementation of a food pantry using local farmers and resources;
• Creating other community giving opportunities through donations;
• A community job and housing board to identify employment and housing needs in the community;
• Collaboration with the Geneva city school district’s student body and giving our youth a voice;
• Volunteering opportunities, including a variety of tasks to help change the community for the better;
• A website that includes a community calendar and local news;
• Networking opportunities for organizations and citizens of Geneva.