Too many children in our community struggle each day to cope with trauma, child abuse, neglect and bullying. Local non-profit “Harmony At Home” (HAH) works tirelessly to assist these children so that they can overcome their challenges and thrive.
The mission of HAH is “To end the cycles of violence and abuse by empowering children and young adults with knowledge, skills and confidence to lead healthy and productive lives.”
HAH was started 15 years ago by family and child therapist Julianne Leavy. It is a small, entirely local, charity and most of its work is done in Salinas and South County. Noland Hamerly attorney Leslie Finnegan serves as President on HAH’s Board of Directors.
HAH offers the following programs:
Sticks and Stones – HAH provides 1-3 days per week of professional one-on-one and group counseling in schools, specifically for children who have been traumatized by neglect, abuse or gang violence. These children are identified by their teachers and referred to HAH. Sticks and Stones is currently in 42 schools, mostly in Salinas and South County but recently moving into Peninsula schools as well. Research has shown that children who have experienced trauma are often unable to focus and learn in school, and they suffer from family problems, anxiety, depression, self-harming, drug/alcohol abuse, eating disorders and other forms of “acting out.” The free counseling provided by Sticks and Stones has helped over 9000 children to heal and develop healthy coping skills. The schools pay for part of the program and the rest is financed by HAH.
Bullying Prevention – HAH sponsors the “Olveas” bullying prevention program in schools throughout Monterey County. This program is well-known in the US and other countries, and requires involvement by the entire school community (students, teachers, administrators and parents).
Teen Success, Inc. – This is a program for teen moms, which involves group counseling, parenting classes and educational support, with a focus on avoiding a second early pregnancy, finishing high school and going on to college.
Teen Therapeutic Camps – Every year HAH counselors take groups of traumatized teens on week-long therapeutic wilderness camps (boys and girls).
Children First – This is a parenting education/support program for couples going through high-conflict divorces and is offered through the Monterey County Superior Court. Parents complete two classes that focus exclusively on how to minimize the negative impact of divorce on their children. Sometimes they go voluntarily and sometimes they are referred by Family Court Services.
HAH impacts thousands of disadvantaged children every year. When HAH started, it was the only organization that provided free counseling. HAH now works alongside other great organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs, and it is also a training organization for new therapists and MSW candidates. Noland Hamerly supports HAH by collecting attorney and staff donations for its “Casual Fridays.” It sponsors the organization’s annual fundraiser luncheon and makes additional donations throughout the year.
For more information on Harmony At Home’s programs, contact Leslie E. Finnegan (831) 373-3622.
This article is intended to address topics of general interest and should not be construed as legal advice.
© 2018 Noland, Hamerly, Etienne & Hoss