Until recently, the walls of the waiting room of the Community Family Guidance Center’s (CFGC) office near the Cerritos Auto Square looked sterile.
For an organization that deals with hundreds of children each year who have a wide variety of emotional and mental problems ranging from learning issues to broken families, the waiting room was not a place that looked very welcoming.
“All the walls were white and it looked professional,” said Ray Lovell, who is a board member of the CFGC’s foundation.
He, along with his wife Kathy, co-president of Soroptimist International of Artesia-Cerritos, pushed to make the waiting room more kid-friendly and warm to the families that CFGC services. Thanks to the efforts of many Soroptimist volunteers earlier this month, the waiting room now has a splash of color.
“This area is the first point of contact when [clients] come to the agency and we wanted to make it more welcoming for them,” said Laura Gale, the director of program administration for the CFGC. “It’s always hard for kids to come to counseling, but with a friendly atmosphere at the door, it could help them talk to counselors. It helps that the overall environment [at CFGC] be friendly and welcoming.”
With palm trees on islands surrounded by the tranquil blue ocean, the tropical themed mural in the CFGC waiting room is the Soroptimists’ first hands-on project of 2011. The women’s organization is one of CFGC’s largest donors, with most of the . The donations helped pay for the paint and equipment to make the mural a reality.
Kathy Lovell said that the partnership between the Soroptimists and the CFGC has lasted since the early 1990s when former member Patricia Kent worked for the CFGC and introduced the agency's goals to the Soroptimists' members.
Despite the organization providing helpful services for children with mental illness and their families, with limited funding from local and state governments, the CFGC can only help people based on certain criteria such as income.
That’s where organizations like the Soroptimists step in to donate money in order to ensure all families' access to services like psychotherapy and child abuse prevention.
“That’s what unrestricted donations from organizations like Soroptimists that help give the executive director to help all families,” Kathy Lovell said about private donations to the CFGC.
Among other things, Gale said that the Soroptimists have been really supportive of programs such as the Teen Parent Program at that teaches courses in parenting skills and prenatal health.
She said that with this latest Soroptimist project, the bond between them and the CFGC is “really strong.”
“We really love having [the Soroptimists] involved [in our organization] because they have been a big support,” she said.