Bitterroot groups take part in #GivingTuesday

MICHELLE MCCONNAHA - Ravalli Republic

With all the shopping during Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday comes a reminder to be generous in an online giving, social media fundraising effort for nonprofits call #GivingTuesday on Nov. 27.

Emma’s House has registered with the program and is hoping for donations that may be doubled.

Joni Lubke, development director, said the online giving starts 8 a.m., Eastern time on Tuesday.

“It is an international movement designed to nudge people to give to nonprofits across the globe,” Lubke said. “Its early start time is a challenge for because that means 6 a.m., in Montana. People would have to start giving early.”

The event is social media driven and this year donations are given through Facebook or PayPal who will match the donated amount — as long as the funds hold out — up to $7 million.

“Last year Facebook did a big match of, I think it was $5 million, and it was gone in the first 15 minutes because so many people donated at 8 a.m., Eastern time,” Lubke said. “Think of doubling your impact, it can add up quickly.”

Donations to Emma’s House can be made through Facebook or through their website emmashousecac.org. Click on “Donate!” at the top of the home page.

“It is also nearing year end and December is a great time to look at your finances and see if you have any extra to give,” Lubke said. “There are so many incredible nonprofits in this valley. We all do a variety of things and strong nonprofits make a strong community.”

Emma’s House is a Children's Advocacy Center that provides services for kids under 18 who have been abused or neglected.

“Past generations of abuse suffered in silence, they didn’t have anyone to talk to about it, no way to cope with it and no way to move past it,” Lubke said. “Our goal is to help children who have suffered abuse. Through our trauma focused mental health care we can help them thrive, be kids again and work past it to be functioning adults.”

Since Emma’s House was founded in 2006 it has provided services to over 1,000 children in Ravalli County.

Lubke credits generous community donations that have allowed Emma’s House to be in their new location and add support staff to the program.

“We now have a family advocate, Pete Clarkston, who is retired from the sheriff’s department,” Lubke said. “He is a huge asset to families and is a liaison between families, prosecution and law enforcement. He helps them with what is coming next, what is going on and why it is taking so long.”

Emma’s House has been able to add on to their mental health counseling to offer parenting classes for the first time and will be adding parent children interactive therapy (PCIT) to meet the needs of children and their families.

“All the years of donations have helped us to get here and will keep us sustainable for years to come,” Lubke said. “We were able to get new recording equipment when we got it to the building. Now, when we record a child’s statement of what happened to them we have crystal clear video recording and that is used in court.”

Emma’s House is a safe place that feels like a warm and inviting home with toys, space for medical exams, therapy, therapy dog Twyla, case management, victim advocacy and other needed services.

Online donations are the focus of #GivingTuesday but in-person donations of other supplies are welcome at Emma’s House.

“We always need snacks for children, paper products from copy paper to toilet paper and art supplies for therapy to allow them to express what they are going through,” Lubke said. “We appreciate markers, crayons, paint, construction paper, glue and those kinds of things.”

Donations can also be made by sending a check to P.O. Box 2034, Hamilton, MT 59840 or by calling 406-363-7216.

Emma’s House is having a holiday open house 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 310 N. 4th St., in Hamilton.

“Swing in after work,” Lubke said. “It’s a thank you to our supporters that have contributed to us over the years and to kick off the holiday season.”

Bitterroot Arts for Autism and the Heartism Community Center is participating in #GivingTuesday for the first time. It is a nonprofit organization run by local families, serving children on the autism spectrum in the Bitterroot Valley and a project of Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development Area, Inc.

Jessica Fitzpatrick, founder, said she is hopeful that #GivingTuesday will bring much needed donations.

The Bitterroot Arts for Autism mission is to “provide education and socialization through the exploration of arts, including music, dance, creative movement, yoga and a variety of art classes for local children with special needs, further, to provide support and education to the parents and families in order to maximize the success of the program for all involved.”

The Heartism Community Center in Corvallis provides space for kids to be kids and parents to connect and support each other.

Increased rent has the BAA and HCC reaching out for partners.

“The space we have now is an open therapeutic environment that we’re hoping some professional or therapist will want to rent during the day,” Fitspatrick said. “We mostly meet in the evenings or on weekends so the space is ready to roll. It is a great space that just sits down there and we are in need of help.”

Donate online on the Heartism Community Center, Bitterroot Arts for Autism Facebook page or in person at 1120 Main St., Corvallis, MT 59828 or by calling 406-210-2937.

These are just two of the nonprofits participating in the #GivingTuesday day of donation. Look for your favorite nonprofit and take action.

Joni Lubke