b'Keeping Families TogetherA FORCE FOR GOODTroy is now two years old and thriving. Heteam works together with the family to helpBy Wayne Lavengoodgraduated from occupational therapy and isstabilize the situation. currently receiving speech therapy. Carla is moving forward with adoption. Kim is a trained mentor with the Mentor MomsIn 2006 my wife and I attended aand comfort babies in distress. Two and Dads program that provides assistance topresentation from ACTION about thesocial workers, graduate students at Working with her was a such a greatPathways to Safety, particularly when a parentsuccess of Girls Inc. Many girls fromCalifornia State University, Monterey experience and she was more than happy to dohas lost custody of a child. As a mentor mom,the program shared their stories, butBay, decided to try this therapy for a the work necessary to assure the best future forshe offers emotional support, advice, andone stood out to me. A youngbaby in their care and when no her grandson, said Henry. guidance as the legal process unfolds.woman from Salinas talked aboutoctopuses could be found, they how close she had come to beingtasked a local crocheter to make In addition to the partnership between the familyMore than a decade ago, Kim was ghting aninitiated into one of the many gangsone. The therapy worked and kept resource specialist and the social worker, otheraddiction to drugs and alcohol that ultimatelythat haunt the area. She explainedworking. Thats how the Tiny community members provide valuable supportended in a prison sentence and losing herthat Girls Inc. was a critical lifelineTentacles Project started. to the family, including mentors and peers. Thischildren. She left prison resolved to be a newthat pulled her to safety. Through the person and to get her kids back, aprogram she found her voice andAs Tiny Tentacles scal sponsor, journey that took years.purpose, and she became a leader.ACTION makes it possible for the She was inspired to dream biggergroup to receive tax-deductible Kim is inspired to use her experienceand got the support she needed todonations while staying focused on with the system to help families recover.reach her goals. Here she was now,organizing crocheters across the With her rst-hand knowledge of thea college graduate who had returnednation to help meet the increasing process, she can help them stay diligentto her community to support otherdemand. It is always our hope that on the path to reunication. girls on their journey.projects like these will eventually become successful independent One of the roles I nd most rewardingnonprots, but until then, ACTION willAs a social is evaluating new projects fornurture this organization just as they ACTION. Im so inspired by the ideasare doing for hundreds of babies.worker for more that come from our community andthan 40 years, I excited to see them grow with ourMonterey County has manyam always To be able to do this is a gift. I am passionate aboutexpert guidance and resources. Wechallenges to face, but it also has can take things that normally wouldunlimited potential for change. Thethinking about Pathways, not because of my history but because wenot be able to be done and make ityoung woman from Salinas, the Tinyhow I can help can prevent history from repeating itself,happen. Tentacles Project, and our hundredspeople helpKim, trained mentor of partners across the county only Last year we learned about a groupscratch the surface of what isthemselves so of volunteers who were crochetingpossible.they can become octopuses for babies in the hospital.their potential. The idea came from Denmark whereAnd that makes ACTION more medical professionals discovered thatthan an organizationits an gripping the tentacles helped to calmimperative.'