We Know it is Time to Grow!
Sikh Family Center focuses on holistic health and wellness for all. With the Guru’s grace, we first came together a little over a decade ago, in 2009, to evaluate community needs and create a space to offer sangat support and resources especially on issues that are generally considered taboo.
We have been the only organization focused on addressing gender-based violence in the Sikh American community in the United States.
We began with tabling at the gurdwaras and medical camps and clinics and information sessions. We then started a national and confidential Helpline, for folks to call and confidentially access crisis counseling & a network-based referral system to existing resources.
The very first call, the day we launched the Helpline, was a case of sexual assault. We worked with the family for close to a year: our trained volunteers’ work included assisting with advocacy with the local police department; interfacing with the district attorney; providing translation services with medical clinic personnel; crisis counseling by a male SFC volunteer for the father; crisis counseling for the victim-survivor; therapy consults for the victim-survivor; as well as providing immigration information; legal referrals; and ongoing social support amidst feels of alienation.
That first case so many years ago solidified our resolve: we need trained & experienced advocates providing essential, free, confidential, culturally-appropriate services to those harmed within our community across the U.S and we need expanded education to prevent such harm in the first place.
We have grown by learning from the community. We have continued surveys, focus groups, and other needs assessments.
But our work does not stop with one case or simply with an awareness of the problems.
We provide responses with a survivor-centered approach. That is, we take our lead and direction from survivors and those overcoming challenges—mental health; domestic violence; physical disabilities; sexual harassment; etc.
Up until 2017, SFC was entirely volunteer-run. We believe in the power of community organizing and we do not wish to ‘professionalize’ services to the detriment of our grassroots base. At the same time, we recognized that in order to sustain the quality of the hard work that SFC demands, we must provide fair remuneration for kiratt. We hired one of our long-term volunteers as a part-time staff Community Advocate. Now in 2020, she is a core part of SFC, providing leadership as the Director of Community Engagement.
Then, while responding to the growing needs presented by the COVID crisis, we hired our second part-time staff person, a Community Outreach & Education Advocate.
For both hires, we received encouraging and generous support from the DVN family. Now, we come to you with this exciting update!
In the face of the unprecedented and interconnected needs of the community in 2020, we are convinced we need to invest further and build our capacity to provide necessary services. We wish to build dedicated leadership to grow our organization in response to the various challenges Sikhs face inside and outside their homes and families. We request your support to hire an Executive Director. We will seek a credible leader who can set an agenda for the next decade. Someone not only with the requisite training and collaborative commitment to our community, but also with the requisite tenacity and resilience in the face of individual and institutional pressures, political demands, scrutiny and the resistance we know comes with change work.
ED Responsibilities will include:
• Furthering the organizational mission by providing strategic direction to SFC staff and broad network of volunteers.
• Building coalitions with gender justice organizations & movements across the U.S.
• Building on the strengths within our community including through regular outreach to gurdwaras.
• Training and developing the expertise of peer counselors for SFC Helpline
• Ensuring non-Sikh media and organizations know who they can turn to with questions, before beginning to speak for our community.
• Producing reliable resources for the Sikh community.
• Speaking regularly on otherwise stigmatized issues
• Building the organizational profile and reputation as a trusted resource
• Writing and publishing ethically on the Sikh community’s unique needs, perspectives, abilities, contributions.
• Strategic planning & organizational growth, including through our national network of volunteer “SFC Ambassadors”