The resiliency of our community is heavily dependent on the work of our nonprofits. When COVID-19 hit Bainbridge Island, and nonprofits had to shut down their regularly scheduled programs, many quickly switched gears and found new ways to ensure adults and families had the support they needed. Some nonprofits created online activities and connections to help support overwhelmed parents or combat loneliness, and others increased their workload to keep up with a new level of demand. Regardless of the uncertainty ahead, we kept moving forward.
It only takes a conversation with parents today to understand the amplified level of stress associated with school closures, financial uncertainty, and lack of childcare due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even prior to the pandemic, according to the 2019 Kitsap Interagency Coordinating Council (KICC) report, 55% of adult respondents to a survey reported they had a concerning level of stress, depression, or problems with emotions on some days. Local nonprofits such as Helpline House provide comprehensive social services for everyone who needs them—from providing food to families to free case management and counseling for anyone who requests help. Other nonprofits, such as Raising Resilience or Dispute Resolution Center of Kitsap County, are helping parents and families navigate complicated relationships and manage conflict in a healthy way.
A Bainbridge Island parent recently expressed her concern over what seems like an endless list of worries about her teenage child, from stories of substance abuse and bullying to social media threats and sexual assault. She described the work of one of our local nonprofits as essential to maintaining her ability to overcome these stressors. “I don’t think there is anything in the world as important or as difficult as raising a child, especially in today’s world… [One of our local nonprofits] Raising Resilience helps parents navigate these scary seas by providing practical information, tips and resources, as well as invaluable community support.”
Our more vulnerable populations, who may need additional types of support, also benefit greatly from our local nonprofit programs. According to the KICC report, the proportion of special education enrollment in our public schools has increased over the past decade. Around 12% of students enrolled in Bainbridge Island School District require special education. Nonprofits such as Bainbridge Island Special Needs Foundation and Vitalize Kitsap offer activities and specialized job training for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Other vulnerable groups, such as low-income families, can also find affordable services. While the overall poverty rate in Kitsap County is around 8%, women and children have disproportionately higher rates of poverty as opposed to adult men. The estimated poverty rate for women is closer to 11% and females account for 55% of all county residents living in poverty. Additionally, over 30% of public school students in Kitsap County are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. Housing Resources Bainbridge helps families keep their homes through financial stress, and Sound Works Job Center provides free access to job training and support to those looking for work. Other nonprofits offer reduced prices for childcare, free access to legal support, and other services to help families in need so that no person is left behind.
The parent speaking about Raising Resilience above finished her thought in a way that might be applied to the broader Bainbridge community. She said, “no one can—or should—try to go it alone. We Bainbridge Islanders are lucky that we don’t have to.”
Bainbridge Community Foundation supports our local nonprofits by providing analyses of community needs, awarding grants to meet those needs, connecting donors to nonprofits, and encouraging collaboration. BCF also awards grants through its Community Response Fund to support our nonprofits during a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. You can learn more by signing up for Bainbridge Community Foundation’s newsletter by emailing [email protected], visiting our website at www.BainbridgeCF.org, or following us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, or #BainbridgeTogether).
To learn more about the #BainbridgeTogether campaign, click here.
Click on the links below to read about our nonprofits highlighted every week:
To learn more about our local nonprofits that help adults and families, click on the links below. If you would like to donate, you can give directly on their website or go through the One Call for All directory.
Supporting Our Adults and Families
Arms Around Bainbridge: Arms Around Bainbridge (AAB) provides financial and emotional support to Bainbridge Island residents facing financial crisis as a result of serious illness. Their mission is to provide a bridge for recipients as they undergo treatment and/or work toward sustainable financial stability. AAB’s support focuses on providing essential needs such as food, housing and medical expenses not covered by insurance.
Bainbridge Prepares: A collaborative blend of individuals, organizations, and local government, Bainbridge Prepares is actively making our island community more resilient to natural and other disasters through mutual aid among residents.
Dispute Resolution Center of Kitsap County: The Dispute Resolution Center provides mediation, facilitation and training services to help individuals, families and organizations resolve conflict. The DRC services offer people in conflict powerful strategies to open communication and find lasting solutions.
Empact Northwest: Empact Northwest’s mission is to train responders, prepare communities, and respond to disasters. They place a high priority on assisting underserved populations and areas that are socioeconomically depressed. They have played a critical role in responding to essential needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the past have also helped with emergency preparedness training (i.e. an earthquake in the Bainbridge Island area).
Helpline House: Helpline House offers an umbrella of social services and invites the community to become part of a circle of giving and receiving help. The Kid’s Pantry Program aims to prepare enough food bags to meet the weekly needs of children during school breaks and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Housing Resources Bainbridge: Escalating rents and real estate prices threaten the social and cultural diversity of Bainbridge Island. Some are young with families, some are retired, some are disabled, and many do vital work here that keeps the community going. HRB’s mission is to preserve the diversity and vitality of Bainbridge Island by providing and maintaining affordable housing opportunities in the community.
Kathleen Sutton Fund: The Kathleen Sutton Fund has a single mission, to assist women, living in Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, or Mason counties, who are undergoing treatment for all cancers with their travel expenses.
Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center: KIAC is committed to the wellbeing of immigrants and the development of a rich multicultural community. They work to empower, educate and integrate immigrants through advocacy and social justice.
Kitsap Legal Services: The mission of Kitsap Legal Services is to provide civil legal aid and information to low-income residents of Kitsap County through the use of volunteer attorneys and community members.
PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap: PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap advocates, educates, and provides direct services to nurture the bond of companionship between pets and their people, for the health and well-being of both. Programs include providing access to affordable spay/neuter surgeries, health checks, and vaccinations for low-income populations.
Peninsula Community Health Services: The PCHS mission is to provide accessible, affordable, quality health and wellness services for our communities. Patients come from all walks of life, and PCHS services are available to them without regard for ability to pay.
Scarlet Road: Through holistic care Scarlet Road offers the hope of freedom to those who have been sexually exploited. They work to intervene and educate in order to prevent victimization, they provide solutions and resources to exit the industry safely, and they journey alongside survivors to find full healing from exploitation.
Sound Works Job Center: Sound Works Job Center provides all the resources required for low-income, homeless individuals and returning Veterans to prepare for and find meaningful employment. Services include one-on-one employment counseling, professionally written resumes and cover letters, free criminal background checks, and much more.
Educating and Enriching the Lives of Adults and Families
Assistance Dogs Northwest: Assistance Dogs Northwest provides children and adults with disabilities professionally trained dogs that will increase their independence and enhance the quality of their lives. Assistance Dogs are placed throughout the Pacific Northwest and lifetime follow-up support are provided free of charge.
Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN): BARN’s mission is to build and support an open, intergenerational community of artisans and makers who are dedicated to learning, teaching, sharing, and inspiring one another with creativity, craftsmanship and community service. Their goal is to create a true community center, using craft as a magnet to bring together people who would not normally know one another or have opportunities to collaborate.
Bainbridge Island Special Needs Foundation (Stephens House): At Stephens House, they believe that adults with disabilities thrive through participation in community based recreational and social activities. Bainbridge Island Special Needs Foundation creates these life-enhancing opportunities by providing engaging and supportive programming on Bainbridge Island and throughout Kitsap County.
The Bainbridge Public Library: BPL represents one of our island’s finest community achievements. Our library building and grounds were originally constructed and continue to be maintained and operated solely through the generosity of donors and the hard work of volunteers. Tax dollars from our public partner, Kitsap Regional Library, pay for staff, services, and materials.
Boys & Girls Club of Bainbridge Island: Bainbridge Island Boys & Girls Club’s (BI-BGC) mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BI-BGC has expanded operating hours to provide full-day programming to families in need of childcare, and they will continue to do so for as long as schools remain closed.
Graduate Strong: Graduate Strong’s goal is to address root causes of poverty and to focus on the alleviation of ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences), a set of childhood traumas that have been shown to negatively affect the health, emotional welfare, and life success of children—and the adults they later become. Graduate Strong is focused on supporting educators and school districts to gain knowledge about how trauma impacts our brain development and life-long health, and what techniques and strategies we can use to help students build resilience.
Kitsap Regional Library Foundation: The Kitsap Regional Library Foundation (KRLF) proudly supports our community by facilitating charitable gifts that advance the Library’s mission. Public library systems like Kitsap Regional Library (KRL) play an essential role in providing safe, accessible, and 100% free educational resources and are supported by your tax dollars. KRL works in partnership with Bainbridge Public Library (BPL), a nonprofit that owns, operates, and maintains our library building and grounds solely through the direct support of its generous donors. KRL provides the staff, books, and library resources.
Martha & Mary: Martha & Mary provides quality, compassionate care and intergenerational experiences for children, adults and seniors regardless of faith, ethnicity or economic status. They offer those served caring rehabilitation, a safe place to grow and learn, and an opportunity to live with dignity, honor and individuality.
Peacock Family Services: Peacock’s vision is that the children of North Kitsap County will reach their full potential, nurtured by families and caregivers who feel supported, informed and connected. Peacock Family Services’ mission is to promote the healthy social and emotional development of children by providing nurturing and enriching care and family support.
Raising Resilience: Raising Resilience, Bainbridge Island’s parent support organization, supports the Bainbridge Island community with parenting education, resources, and connections to help families thrive. Raising Resilience brings parents together, online and in person, at acclaimed speaker and documentary events; small-group classes; and panels or workshops where they can learn both from experts and each other.
Vitalize Kitsap (formerly Island Time Activities): Vitalize Kitsap’s mission is to empower people with intellectual disabilities to lead lives of meaning and self-determination. They believe everyone deserves dignity, respect, and community inclusion. People with disabilities are fully equal human beings with a full range of emotions, a full human spirit, and hopes and dreams of their own.
 NOTE: We have separated our nonprofits serving our adults and families into two categories for the purpose of the Bainbridge Together campaign. Those underneath Educating and Enriching Our Adults and Families are nonprofits providing healthy activities for our community (i.e. art classes, childcare, training programs, education assistance, etc.) and those underneath Supporting Our Adults and Families generally provide some form of material or technical support (food drives, financial support, legal services, counseling, etc.). These are not necessarily mutually exclusive categories—some nonprofits do both!
On social media, Educating and Enriching Our Adults and Families will be highlighted the week of September 21 – 25 and Supporting Our Adults and Families will be highlighted the week of September 28 – October 2. Follow us on Facebook here and Instagram here!