Giving Compass’ Take:
• Megan Cattel describes the supportive role of convivencias — or community gatherings — for areas experiencing the harmful effects of wildfires.
• How can you support innovative methods for carrying out community gatherings remotely during COVID-19? What are you doing to support marginalized communities during California’s wildfires?
Anabel Garcia felt on edge every time an ambulance siren blared outside her home in Santa Rosa, California. Sirens reminded her of evacuating during the state’s second-deadliest wildfire, which killed 22 and destroyed 5,000 homes. Flames reached as close as 5 miles from her family’s house.
To cope, she attended a convivencia, or community gathering, hosted by Humanidad Therapy and Education Services. Wildfire survivors gathered in a local park to discuss their experiences with a bilingual therapist over hot chocolate, coffee, and bread. The therapist walked through deep-breathing exercises, stretches, and relaxation techniques in Spanish. After attending these free group sessions for several weeks, Garcia felt better. She realized she wasn’t alone.
By putting the focus on socializing and sharing personal stories, said Ana Maria Martinez, programs manager at Humanidad, the cultural stigma of mental-health treatment can gradually fade.
After major disasters, states can tap federal funding to offer free crisis counseling for survivors. But Christy Lubin, executive director of the Graton Day Labor Center, said Sonoma County’s undocumented residents find it difficult to access government aid of any kind.
The common thread of convivencias can vary. Some have focused on domestic violence, some on decreasing stigma of mental-health care. A recent meeting was for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, a program that allows people brought to the country without documentation as children to attend school and work.
Garcia said she decided not to leave Santa Rosa after attending convivencias. She said they helped her see wildfires as another aspect of life to contend with, something to prepare for.
Read the full article about convivencias, or community gatherings, by Megan Cattel at YES! Magazine.
Since you are interested in Mental Health, have you read these selections from Giving Compass related to impact giving and Mental Health?
Looking for a way to get involved?
Climate is a fascinating topic, and others found these events, galas, conferences and volunteering opportunities aggregated by Giving Compass to be relevant for individuals with a passion for Climate.
Are you ready to give?
If you are ready to take action and invest in causes for Climate, check out these Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects related to Climate.