Providing FULL-CIRCLE Cancer Support – Circle Of Hope, Inc. Expands Its Services In 2017
Following a year of pivotal changes, 2017 is looking brighter than ever for beloved local non-profit Circle of Hope, Inc. Not only has the organization shuffled its leadership positions and worked into a position of financial security, but Board President Pam Ripling is leading the charge to refocus on the non-profit’s true mission, starting with education and after care.
“We made a lot changes in 2016 in particular,” Pam said. “When Ray (Tippet) left, it sort of forced us to take a real close look at what we were doing. While Ray did an amazing job, he did almost everything himself. This organization needs a community of support to keep it going for the long haul.”
The first thing board members did was sit down and discuss how to best grow the organization. The board realized much of the past focus had been on providing financial support, which is huge for patients’ treatment and quality of life; however, the non-profit’s mission statement includes the goal to provide emotional, financial and educational support to those diagnosed with cancer in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“We want to maintain and grow the level of financial support we are offering, while also expanding emotional and educational support services,” Pam said. “We keep our mission statement in front of us all the time.”
Next they streamlined the organization’s operations and maximized the budget. Circle of Hope moved its offices from a much-too-large building into a smaller space that shares a receptionist, conference room and more; all details were considered, including a streamlined phone system that ensures the organization never misses a client’s call. Next, the board looked to its educational support.
“We weren’t being very proactive in this area,” Pam said. “One of our goals for 2017 is to relaunch a former program called Team Pink.”
A youth education tool, Team Pink was first launched as a pilot program in 2010 and produced successful results. According to the framework laid out in past years, Team Pink is a student club led by a faculty adviser on each campus. Each month, the non-profit provides the campus clubs with thematic materials, including ideas for activities or ways to promote awareness. Students who join are usually concerned about healthy living, philanthropically minded, or have been affected by cancer in some way.
“We know it works,” Pam said, “so once we get the program off the ground on school campuses, it’s been proposed to augment the program for senior citizens.”
In addition to proactive educational support, the board also strives to create new opportunities for educational outreach, especially when it comes to connecting with potential clients.
“We’re still not getting all the applicants we need,” Pam said. “We now support patients afflicted by six additional cancers, but we have yet to serve a patient with prostate cancer.”
So the focus falls on looking in the right places. In the works is a plan to provide Circle of Hope brochures to patients when they’re diagnosed. The team is currently working on compiling a list of clinics, labs and doctors’ offices that diagnose the organization’s targeted cancers, so they can connect these patients with brochures from the moment of diagnosis.
However, the need for care is just beginning at the stage of diagnosis, and more and more, patients are expressing the need for after care, or services after the battle against cancer is won. To meet the need for emotional support, Circle of Hope strives to expand after care services in 2017.
“Many patients are still struggling with the emotional effects: Why did this happen to me, and will it happen again?” Pam explained.
To accommodate these needs, Circle of Hope plans to work with We Spark, a cancer support organization in Sherman Oaks with a facility in Valencia. Together, the organizations could provide a wide array of classes, from yoga and essential oils to art therapy or nutrition.
“It’s a safe, positive environment because they know they have shared experiences with the people around them,” Pam said. “We’ve got a lot ahead of us, but we’re keeping that mission statement in front of us every step of the way.”
For more information about Circle of Hope, Inc., please contact 661-254-5218 or visit www.circleofhopeinc.com.
Photo by Arnold Bryant