President Bush recognized the Eli Home for abused children this week as the latest star in the Points of Light program.
Founded in 1982, the Eli Home offers emergency shelter, counseling and therapy to children who have suffered physical or sexual abuse and to their mothers, who in many cases have been the abusers. Executive Director Lorri Galloway said that last year the shelter helped about 900 people, 75% of them children.
The organization is run by 35 volunteers, including psychologists and business people, without money from state or federal governments.
At the shelter, children and their mothers spend 45 days in therapy and counseling, much of which focuses on teaching the mother parenting skills that do not rely on physical punishment.
“It’s basically a child abuse prevention program,” Galloway said. “If you’re going to do anything to change a recurring social problem, you have to deal with it in terms of prevention. We are very confident that when you change the parenting skills of the parent, it breaks the self-perpetuating cycle,” she said.
“Our budget per year is about $150,000, and that’s nothing because we don’t really pay salaries.”
The letter of recognition, signed by President Bush, lauded the program for its volunteer work in “helping break the cycle of child abuse.”
Galloway said the much-needed recognition would help the program expand.
The Points of Light program recognizes groups and individuals that are performing outstanding community service and addressing a social problem with direct and consequential action. The award marks the second time that a county organization has been recognized by Points of Light, said program coordinator Tracey Taylor. Last year, a Santa Ana-based group called Rescue Mission was recognized for its work with the homeless.