Life Lines masthead

October 2013

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month


October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month providing an opportunity to hold an open dialogue about violence, to advocate for legislation and services that protect victims, to educate community leaders, and to encourage public awareness and action against abuse. The Seattle Human Services Department's Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention unit focuses on these priorities year round, but we are grateful to be joined by the larger community in the month of October.

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the DVSAP team recently screened (for HSD staff) a searing documentary film called "The 16 Year Old Killer: Cyntoia's Story." The film explores a history of abuse, violence, drugs and prostitution back through three generations. To view the film yourself, please visit this Web page.

No More "No More" is a national public service campaign to promote domestic violence and sexual assault awareness. You can view the PSA by following this link. A limited number of "No More" posters are available from HSD staff. If interested please e-mail Dusty Olson at

You may also wish to participate in these Domestic Violence Awareness Month events in the community:
We are also pleased to announce the receipt of two federal renewal grants totaling just over $1 million from the federal Office on Violence Against Women to continue support for innovative interventions for victims of domestic violence. One grant is for transitional housing services and the second is from the Grants to Encourage Arrest Program to support three regional initiatives: the Peace in the Home Helpline, a multilingual access line; co-located community based victim advocates within the Seattle Police Department and City Attorney's Office; and a co-located felony prosecutor from the King County Prosecutor's Office within 11 municipal prosecutor's offices throughout King County. All of these projects have all been previously funded, and it speaks highly of their success that they have been chosen to receive continued support.

Catherine Lester
Interim Director, Seattle Human Services Department
City Council reviews City, HSD budget

Now that Mayor McGinn has submitted his 2014 Proposed Budget to the City Council, the Council's budget review process begins in earnest. What does that mean for HSD and other City departments? First of all, we will be answering a lot of questions Councilmembers have about the proposed additions to our budget and about the department's budget in general. (See this link for some of the highlights of the Mayor's budget as they relate to HSD.)


Also, HSD, along with most other City departments, will be making presentations to the City Council's Budget Committee this month. HSD's budget presentation will be on Thursday, Oct. 10th at 9:45 a.m. The Council will hold two public hearings on the budget. One already occurred on Oct. 3rd. The next one is on Oct. 24th at Garfield High School at 6 p.m. The Council will vote on and approve the final 2014 City Budget by the end of November. For more information about the Council's budget process, see this Web page.

Barista program marks 10 years of helpling young people
Courtesy YouthCare, © Tim Matsui/
Most of us know what a good cup of coffee can do for you on a weekday morning but who knew it has the power to transform lives? The Barista Training and Education Program has been doing just that for the past 10 years. A partnership between YouthCare and FareStart, the eight-week program offers at-risk and homeless young people age 16-24 job training and placement, and employment counseling for the espresso business. 

The Seattle Human Services Department has been supporting the program - at about $60,000 a year - since 2007. Other funders include The Boeing Company and in-kind support from Starbucks Coffee Company, Peet's Coffee, and Caffe Vita.

The program includes classroom instruction at YouthCare's James W. Ray Orion Center. After two weeks, the training shifts to the FareStart café in southeast Seattle where students apply their skills in a working coffee shop. They also learn job readiness skills such as resume writing and job interview skills.

The story of "Kym" (not her real name) demonstrates that the barista program is more than typical job training. When Kym began the program earlier this year, she had recently fled from abusive parents and was painfully shy - so much so that she was afraid to speak up in class. Over the course of eight weeks, she learned barista skills but also warmed up to her peers and instructors, and made friends. As her confidence grew, Kym began to speak up more and she became less reliant on the instructors and more independent. By the end of the program she found a job at Starbucks and was eventually able to care for two younger siblings, extracting them from the abusive home.

The barista program offers young people a safe place to be and learn not only barista skills but life skills. "We want to help them figure out how to figure it out," said YouthCare Executive Director Melinda Giovengo at a recent celebration of the barista program's 10-year anniversary. "They learn how to become self-sufficient and make it work." Giovengo called the collaboration with the Human Services Department, a "tremendous partnership." "The City of Seattle stepped up when the program was struggling," Giovengo recalled. "We really appreciate that."
Falls are all too common, but many are preventable

How many times have you heard someone say, "I didn't fall, I just slipped"? Unfortunately, falls by senior adults are all too common and the impacts can be far-reaching.  

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 

  • One-third of Americans aged 65+ fall each year.
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
  • Sixty percent of fatal falls occur in the home.
  • In Washington state, falls result in more than 12,000 hospitalizations each year (compared to 2,600 hospitalizations due to motor vehicle accidents).
  • The financial toll for older U.S. resident falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $54.9 billion by 2020.

Falls with or without injury can severely quality of life. There can be serious social and psychological consequences for older adults, such as fear, loss of confidence, and self-limited mobility - leading to decreased strength and balance - which in turn increases the chance of falling again. Falls often lead to further physical decline, depression, social isolation, and feelings of helplessness.

Read more about falls and how to prevent them in this newsletter article.   

Preparing for the 'big one': practice makes perfect
Knowing what to do if an earthquake strikes our area better prepares our community to survive and recover quickly from a real seismic event. The Seattle Human Services Department is a supporter of the 2013 Great Washington Shake Out, which is the largest earthquake drill in the United States. This multi-state earthquake drill, which can be conducted in as little as 60 seconds, is an opportunity to practice how to stay safe during and after a seismic event. This will be the second year that this drill will be formally conducted in the Washington area. We strongly encourage you, your school, business or organization to participate by taking part in the drop, cover and hold on exercise on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m. More information is available online on how to plan your drill at this Web site. If you plan to participate please register so you can be counted.  
Award-winning documentary on 9/11
The award-winning documentary "102 Minutes that Changed America" uses raw video and audio from a multitude of people to provide a unique and powerful film about 9/11. The film not only presents a deeper understanding of the impact of the event on the community, but is also powerful in revealing how people experience and process disasters. 

There will be two showings of the film on Friday, October 11 and Monday, October 21, at Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Ave., Room 2450, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The film is 102 minutes long followed by an 18-minute short where some of the contributors share their stories. Samples of the film can be found at this Web site.
HSD's Mary Flowers wins 'Legacy Award'

 Mary Flowers, a staff member of the Seattle Human Services Department, is one of two 2013 recipients of the Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award presented annually by El Centro de la Raza. Mary and Michael Woo will receive their awards at a ceremony on October 5, 2013.


Mary is a Sr. Grants and Contracts manager for HSD and, in her community work, a Core Trainer and Organizer with the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. She devotes much of her time to advocating for communities of color with the Black Prisoners Caucus and the NAACP. 

October Coffee Hour speaker to discuss tunnel project
The October Senior Coffee Hour offered by the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens, features Dave Sowers, Washington State Department of Transportation, who will speak about the SR99 tunnel project.

The event is on Thursday, Oct. 17th, 10-11 a.m., in the Central Building, 810 3rd Avenue, 1st Floor Conference Room, in downtown Seattle.

Utility Summit on Oct. 24th 

Service providers, caregivers, and case managers: Receive up-to-date information about electric and water rate discounts and emergency utility payment assistance programs at the City of Seattle's Energy, Resource and Utility Summit on Oct. 24th, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry St., Seattle 98122. RSVP by Oct. 10th. Questions? Contact Cynthia Ellison at or 206-733-9035 or Brenda Sevilla-Miranda at or 206-733-9055. 

FREE financial advice on Oct. 12th

Finance Financial Planning Day is coming on October 12 from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry St., featuring:

  • FREE, one-on-one personalized financial advice from Certified Financial Planners;
  • Credit, debt, and housing counselors and benefits specialists will also offer free, one-on-one advice; and
  • Workshops on budgeting, credit reports and scores, dealing with debt collectors, and health care reform.

To register, visit this Web site or call 1-877-861-7826. 

Like us on Facebook!

Yes, even the human services world has entered the realm of social media. 

TwitterFacebookMany service providers are on Facebook and Twitter, and so is the Seattle Human Services Department. It is another way to stay connected and hear about the latest news and information about funding opportunities and other need-to-know information. Please visit us on Facebook and "like" our page. Follow us on Twitter @SeattleHSD.  


HSD logo

Life Lines is published monthly by the City of Seattle's Human Service Department. Our mission is to connect people with resources and solutions during times of need so we can all live, learn, work and take part in strong, healthy communities. For more timely or breaking news, visit our blog, Human Interests, or visit our Web site. If you have questions, please e-mail David Takami or call 206-684-0253.

Join Our Mailing List