TAMPA - A program to help the youngest victims of domestic violence is losing some of its county funding. The Incredible Kids program at The Spring is in danger, and you can help keep it working despite cuts.
The little fingers are learning so much more than just coloring in the classrooms near The Spring's emergency domestic violence shelter. They are learning to trust again in a safe environment.
"When you leave your house, you are leaving with nothing." Nothing but your life.
For Sara, before she could flee a violent relationship, she needed to know she could keep her four kids with her.
The Spring's Incredible Kids program allowed her to do that.
"They've helped me out with day care. They've helped me out with baby sitting. When I needed diapers, formula and wipes, everything that I needed, they have been so gracious to help me out. It has been a blessing for me."
Experts also helped Sara discover her son has autism. "My case manager, when I was in the shelter, she saw the signs and recognized the behaviors he had. She made phone calls, and that got me in contact with The Fiddlers' program. We were able to get the proper diagnosis and put him in the proper classes."
Fifty percent of the population in the shelter on any given day is children, with 75 percent of them eight years old and under.
But Roseanne Cupoli, who works with The Spring, says, "Unfortunately our largest funder for the Incredible Kids program cut our funding quite drastically. However, while we've had to make a few cuts to the program, we really don't feel like it's an option to provide this program. It's absolutely integral to what we are doing. So we're finding our way to do the best we can to ensure there's funding."
Cash donations are always welcome, but so are other items the shelter runs through daily, such as diapers and wipes. They also need clothing for kids and children's furniture.