A Different Kind of Gift…


On the heels of a season of giving thanks for so many good things in life, I feel challenged to hit the pause button and reflect on the children and families who are struggling right now. Our Annual Appeal letter this year highlighted some of the practical needs we often see with the families we serve – all requiring funds to be met. I believe that we can be the answer to meeting some of these needs.

  • Locks needing to be changed for a family that is no longer safe in their home.
  • A security deposit for a family of six to move from their apartment that is infested with cockroaches.
  • Coloring books and crayons for small children in the back of a funeral home struggling with the sudden loss of their murdered mother.
  • A bus pass for a victim of crime to attend a court hearing.

Might this be the year to consider giving a different kind of gift this holiday season? Perhaps a donation in the name of a loved one or friend – someone who seems to haveIn Memory everything they need but would be honored to have such a tangible need met in their name? Or perhaps you’ve lost a loved one this year who cared very much for others. Consider making a special donation in their name. For any gift of this nature, we will gladly provide a note indicating your donation and the name of the person whom you are honoring.

Thank you for helping us fulfill our mission to heal the past and nurture the future. We wish you all a beautiful holiday season.


Lisa Butt, SPCC CEO & Executive Director

To give a special gift, please visit us here: https://spcc.cloverdonations.com/in-a-loved-ones-name/


Another Bright Light



TAPSS participant Naomi on her 1st day at MINO

Allow us to introduce you to another bright light here in Rochester:  A ministry called MINO – Mothers in Need of Others, that has proven invaluable to many of the young families we provide services to. Below you will find a message from MINO’s founder, Maria Wehrle, describing what MINO provides, as well as sharing some ongoing needs they have that YOU may be able to help meet!  We also want to mention and highlight how appreciative we are to this ministry for not only partnering to provide much needed household and baby items for families, but also for providing short-term work experiences for young moms in our teen parent program (TAPSS). Below is a picture of a young woman in our program who experienced her first day “on the job” at MINO this week, and was described by Maria as “a lovely person and a very hard worker”. Thank you Maria and staff for providing these much needed opportunities for young moms in Rochester!

Hello SPCC Friends!

For those of you whom I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting, permit me to introduce myself! My name is Maria Wehrle and I manage a thrift store out of Wedge Market of The Pillar Church at 46 Mount Hope Avenue where I also operate two outreach programs. The first of these is Mothers In Need of Others (MINO-pronounced: “minnow”). MINO was started in 2004 to meet the needs of single parents in the Rochester area. Through MINO we work with case managers and church outreach workers to assist them in providing FREE maternity, baby items, feminine and personal hygiene products, and household items to moms and their families. For a family to receive needed items, their case worker or church contact just needs to email mothersinnneedofothers@gmail.com or call me at (585) 348-8596. If we have the item(s) needed, we can schedule an appointment for the caseworker or church contact to pick it up for the family! It’s really that simple! No extra paperwork and a family’s privacy is completely protected!

The second ministry is Furnished 4 Life. For families who have some income to purchase items, we operate the Furnished 4 Life Thrift Store. The store is open to the public, offering an array of new and “like new” items at drastically reduced prices. Our store hours are Mondays & Wednesdays from 10am-5pm, Fridays from 10am-2pm, and Saturdays from 1pm-5pm. We do have some furniture pieces and small appliances for sale in the store currently and are looking to expand our inventory in the near future, as we secure  transportation and individuals to help us transport the items. Proceeds from our thrift store support job development efforts in the city!

We absolutely love the family atmosphere and close relationships we have developed with many of our client representatives. We would like to continue helping meet the needs in the community, but we need your help! We are in great need of the following items:

  • Baby and toddler clothes (Boys & Girls; size preemie-5T)
  • Baby Gear (cribs, car seats, strollers, high chairs, baby seats, etc.) – All are inspected, cleaned and recall checked!
  • Household items (dishes, drinking glasses, silverware, cooking utensils, pots & pans
  • Linens (sheets, blankets, towels, rugs, curtains)
  • Small appliances (microwaves, crock pots, coffee pots, electric skillets, fans, heaters, etc.)

Please help us spread the word to your friends, family, and neighbors who might be moving, downsizing, or looking to donate items after their garage sales!

Looking forward to meeting you!

Maria Wehrle

Furnished 4 Life/MINO ministries
(585) 348-8596

Romaine Calm. Farmers Market Season is Here!

Kendra Walling, SPCC WIC Nutritionist                                                                                    As an SPCC WIC Nutritionist, Kendra is able to share her expertise and love for healthy     eating with families throughout Ontario, Wayne, Yates, Seneca and Eastern Monroe           counties.


It’s Farmers Market season…Yeah Yeah Yeah!!! Why am I excited for the farmers markets this year? There are so many reasons why I cannot wait to go to the local markets! Let me tell you a few…

A couple years ago I worked with a program that allowed me to frequent farmers markets and promote nutrition education. It really doesn’t get better than having part of your work day be outside in the warm summer sun sharing information that you love with people in your community (sometimes even dressed up as a carrot or a tomato, ha!).

Traveling around to the different markets allowed me to see that each market is run a little bit differently and each location has unique community characteristics that all contribute to the ultimate farmers market experiences. Each market has different vendors too, the products ranged from fruits and vegetables (of course!) to local honey, handmade products, and some direct sale businesses depending on what the market allowed. Each year the vendors change and the markets grow with more options and events that are fun for a variety of ages!

Another reason why I love farmers markets is because they allow for very different experiences than shopping at grocery stores. I love being outside, especially on the bright days filled with warmth and sunshine. Seeing the vivid colored produce available and the smiling faces of everyone enjoying the weather that we don’t always have in Upstate NY makes a trip to the market more rewarding! Even the rainy days have their own sense of enjoyment with the comradery of braving the weather and the laughter that comes with all of the puddles to jump in!  The effort that goes into putting a market together for the season and even setting up for just the afternoon shows the pride and commitment that the market managers and vendors have for the products and experience that they are providing to communities.  Usually the prices are so much better too, and you can’t beat that bonus!

I could just go to the grocery store and pick up some berries as early summer comes along, but there is something different about the taste and satisfaction that comes with berries that aren’t under florescent lights in plastic containers. Farmers markets bring a sense of closeness to the earth and community, a sense of peace that comes from a leisure stroll through a park in the heat of summertime. And that is something that can’t be replicated inside of a bustling supermarket.

This year I am especially excited for farmers market season to start because my husband and I have adopted a new way of eating. We have adopted a whole foods plant-based diet and it has definitely changed our lives. I am learning to cook new recipes and we have more energy than we ever had before (another reason to spend more time outside!).  Our dietary changes have focused on whole foods and plant-based nutrition so the farmers markets will be able to supply the majority of what we purchase to eat on a regular basis and we will be able to find unique options that aren’t always available at the grocery store. I can’t wait to see what we will be able to find at the farmers markets this year!

As farmers market season begins this year, it will be different for my family though because I am not able to go to the farmers markets as often as a part of my day at work. Instead it will become a planned decision to make sure that we are able to attend the market on the day of the week and time that they are open. A lot of markets have machines that let you use SNAP (Food Stamps), there are a variety of markets and vendors that accept WIC/Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks, and sometimes they even accept debit so having cash on hand isn’t as crucial.  The Cornell Cooperative Extension offices in many counties have schedules of the farmers markets in the area and sometimes they even have info on what forms of payment are accepted.  Social media is another great way to stay connected on the events and schedules of your favorite markets. I follow a couple local farmers markets through Facebook so I’ll be ready the week that they open and I cannot wait!

I hope that you will find the same joy in perusing the markets on a relaxing sunny day while hunting for the next mouthwatering treat that has come into season in our great state of NY. Let the Farmers Market Season begin!


The Journey


The Journey

Shared with us by: Clarice Lazary, LMSW (Outreach Coordinator for SPCC’s WIC Program)

March is National Nutrition Month. So, naturally, a WIC Nutritionist would be the logical choice to write the blog.  A Nutritionist knows how to “eat right” and “be healthy”.   We have all heard it before…eat less, exercise more, and make it a life style.  But, eating and “being healthy” is harder than it sounds.  In today’s complicated, busy, hectic world it can be so overwhelming that we tend to decide “I just can’t do it”, “I don’t have time”.  But, I have a feeling, like so many other challenges we face, “being healthy” is a multi-layered, life long process.  So, at the risk of offending our professional, well educated, very experienced SPCC WIC staff, I am going to share with you my views.

Living healthy is a commitment, an activity, a life style, a group activity, a personal goal.  It can be about eating right, cooking right, exercising, just moving, clearing our minds, taking a slow and mindful breath, breaking bread together, eating our guilty pleasures and ENJOYING them occasionally but more often than not, getting back on the “good food” wagon, again.

All my life have I struggled with weight…but WAIT – that is a WRONG statement!! I used to be skinny!  So skinny, that my family called me “beansy” (I think that means tiny).  And then, puberty and all the emotions and doubts that come with it, enraged itself upon me.  I had an average body in adolescence but thought I was fat (when I look back at my high school year book I think “What was I thinking?!”).  But my family controlled my food.  Where I ate, what I ate, what kind of foods I ate, how much I ate, what I was “allowed to eat “ (no soda except on Sunday with Pasta, only homemade cookies and only 2 a day, and no candy).  All good choices, mind you, but not the environment that could be sustained for a life time.

Then I went away to college and started eating on my own.  Oh boy…I was NOT prepared!  So much “bad” food to indulge in!  I remember a lot of pizza, fried foods, cookies and candy!  I attempted to eat healthy and ate a lot of salad, but with tons of dressing which tends to defeat the purpose. Ever since then, I have been on a twisted and turning journey of weight gain and loss.  Each time for a different reason.  But, each time I learn a new coping mechanism or new trick that I like or a way to avoid an old habit, or introduce a new one.

Being healthy, for ME, is a journey.

There are many people I know, where “healthy” is a life style.  Call it genetics, self-control, smartness, but I have had to take the long road.  I am still on the trip.  I probably won’t get there for another many years to come.  I have hated a lot of it, but I really love some parts a VERY lot!

I know that I am not alone in this journey.  Our lives are filled with challenges and choices that we all make.  Some come easier to others.  I have chosen to nourish my life with loving friends and co-workers and a giving husband and healthy happy children.  I have learned to accept what comes my way.  The good and the bad.  I have learned to enjoy “good” foods and figured out ways to share them with others and break the cycle of “over eating” at holidays and at social gatherings.  I appreciate that moving and exercising with people that you like, makes the torture of working out a better thing.

But back to this complicated hectic world and National Nutrition month. We will feel better if we nourish ourselves, nutritionally, physically and spiritually.  We have to prioritize health over the other chaos in our lives.  Baby steps.  I am at the toddler stage in my life, and I only have about another 30 years left!  I better start running soon!

Domestic Violence: Beyond the Headlines

Domestic Violence: Beyond the Headlines

As Domestic Violence Awareness month comes to a close, SPCC therapist Crystal Foster, M.S. reflects on her work with children and families impacted by Intimate Partner Violence, reminding us that there is a “rest of the story” beyond the headlines … Continue reading

Life Beyond the Violence


October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and as such, we are compelled to take this opportunity to share one of the MANY incredible stories that SPCC staff have had the privilege to bear witness to. In our work with children and their parents who have survived abusive relationships, we continue to be humbled by the strength and resolve demonstrated by so many.

Mary was a victim of domestic violence, and her story is a tale of survival. Mary’s controlling and abusive partner attacked her in front of her young daughters, forcing them to care for their battered mother for a period of time while she was incapacitated. Her partner manipulated and threatened the family into secrecy, and was only arrested and convicted after Mary’s multiple trips to the hospital with serious injuries made medical staff suspicious of the family’s cover-up story. Though Mary and her children were in a compromised physical and emotional state when they began working with SPCC’s Family Trauma Intervention Program, their counselor was able to see and identify their inner strengths. Through a great deal of intensive counseling work, Mary and her daughters are now on the road to recovery. Mary is now intimately connected to that inner strength that her counselor once identified in her, and she feels capable of protecting her young daughters in ways that the family never dreamed imaginable. Mary’s new revelation is that she wants to share her story with others so that people may learn from her healing journey.
*If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please contact our local domestic violence hotline at: (585) 232-7353. Trained counselors are available 24/7 to provide support and direction for getting the help needed.



Contributed by: Jessica Brumbaugh, LMSW, SPCC Evaluation & Program Director

With recent headline news involving domestic violence, SPCC thought we might add some of our thoughts, as a group of professionals who work with women* and children facing similar and horrifying life circumstances. For many people, the question “Why doesn’t she leave?” immediately pops up in our minds, similar to “why wouldn’t someone swerve to the side when they see an oncoming car?” Unfortunately, relationships riddled with domestic violence are not as simple to navigate, and usually do not begin violent. They often begin in all too common ways…two people, attracted to each other’s best sides, expressing their love, care and commitment to each other. And then, things change. For some the change happens overnight. For others the change is slow – an almost imperceptible shift from health to abuse. And what used to be a positive, life-giving relationship begins to appear differently. Tone of voice changes. Behaviors change. Rules and expectations begin to surface. And suddenly, one person is in control. One person sets the tone. And one person delivers the consequences.

To complicate matters, we know that domestic violence in the home increases the risk of child maltreatment and that children are also more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – placing them at great risk for injury or even death. (NCADV.org)

So Why Doesn’t She Leave?

Some facts to consider:

  • Only 20% of intimate partner violence (IPV) victims who seek orders of protection in court actually obtain them.
  • Of those who do obtain protection orders, 50% report that the perpetrator has violated the order.
  • 1/3 of female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner.
  • A victim of IPV is at the greatest risk of being killed at the time they leave and during the two weeks that follow. (Studies show that the victim is 77 times more likely to be killed during this time frame.)

Sources: National Center Against Domestic Violence (ncadv.org), Safe Horizon (safehorizon.org)

Common Barriers & Thoughts for women considering leaving:

  • Lack of resources
    I have no money or job
        I have no friends or contacts (isolation)
  • Family Responsibilities & Values
    I don’t want to lose my children
       My children need a father
       Leaving goes against my faith
  • Feelings & Beliefs
    I’m sure he will change. He’s good inside.
        He loves me. No one else will love me. (low self-esteem)
  • Fears about leaving
    He said he’ll kill me
        He said he will take the children
        I have nowhere to go
        He threatens to kill himself
        The police & court will never believe me

We hope that by reading through some of these tough realities for women and their children who are experiencing domestic violence, you will be equipped with facts and a deeper level of understanding. And that in doing so, you will also be able to stand up in any way possible for the silent victims of domestic violence that are often unheard, unseen and yet exist in every community in this country and beyond.

For more information, and to learn how you can help support victims of domestic violence, please visit the following sites:


*85% of domestic violence victims are women. (NCADV.org)

Our Social Workers


Contributed By: Jessica Brumbaugh, LMSW, Evaluation & Program Director at SPCC

Over the years, I have talked with co-workers and friends who also work in the field of social work or a similar helping profession about how their friends and family feel about their work.  Similar to first responders, much of what social workers witness and experience on a daily basis goes unseen by the majority of the world. Which puts us in an interesting position. After years of being asked casually, “So what do you do?”, referring to my job or employment, I have learned to choose my words carefully. My husband often jokes that when I first started working in this field, I would routinely bring a conversation “down” within seconds when explaining my job. The truth is, much of what social workers experience every day can be very intense and often leave us with a heavy heart. Other days, we might witness an amazing breakthrough for a person or family – sometimes small but something that seemed impossible just the day before. Baby steps is what we like to call it. And those are the moments that help us to endure the next, and to keep pressing forward toward the next breakthrough.

The social workers here at SPCC (and I include in this term the counselors, the therapists, the case workers, the supervisors) are inspiring. They take on incredible challenges with such passion and determination, despite the fact that the work is not easy or simple. It is complex. And when presented with a new family to help, no matter how heavy the circumstances, they dive right in and give it their all. And they believe in people and their ability to not only survive in life, but to thrive. I read a quote recently:

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.” – Benjamin Disraeli

The professionals here at SPCC do not pretend to be the answer. Instead, they set out to help families find those “riches” that reside within and to learn to tap their strengths in ways that allow them to heal and to grow in life.

Below are a few words of thanks and appreciation from those who have been touched by our staff over the years. I wanted to share them as a way to say THANK YOU to the social work staff here at SPCC as we celebrate Social Workers Month.

“I am really able to talk with my social worker to problem solve issues that may arise and having her support has been great.”

“I cannot express enough how pleased I am with my children’s counselor. She has always made my children and me feel comfortable and safe.”
“I can’t believe I have only known you [her social worker] for about a year. So much has happened, and you have been there through it all.”

A past client, now in her 30’s, referred her teenage daughter’s friend who is 16, and just learned that she is pregnant. This past client stated, “She doesn’t trust anyone, but I know she can get the help she needs from your program.”

A past client recently shared with us: “I am working on a Bachelors in Social Work and I work full-time as a Family Advocate for a local Head Start program. I enjoy working with families and a lot of how I work with my families stems from social workers that I had at SPCC. They taught me a lot and I definitely credit them for where I am today!”