BENEFITING: EAST BAY SANCTUARY COVENANT
EVENT DATE: Jan 31, 2015
The Rainbow Community Support Project's mission is to respond to the mental health needs of Latin American LGBT immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. due to homophobic/transphobic violence and discrimination in their countries of origin.
Every year, the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant helps approximately 500 adults in the process of attaining legal asylum in the U.S. Roughly 60% of these adults are LGBT individuals fleeing from persecution in their countries of origin. Most are from Mexico and Central America (primarily El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras), although some are from South America.
All of these individuals have faced violence and discrimination first-hand. Many do not have family or community support. Although there is a need and desire for mental health services among LGBT immigrants/asylees, a relatively small percentage are actually able to access these services.
The Rainbow Community Support Project arose to fill an important need, both providing group retreats oriented towards mental health and well-being and also providing local referrals for ongoing counseling. Retreats are facilitated by credentialed, bilingual mental health and complementary health care professionals.
What we do
Rainbow Community Support Project provides small weekend retreats of up to 12 participants for LGBT refugees from Latin America, most of whom have applied for asylum through the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant. The retreats are oriented towards improving the mental health and overall well-being of our clients. Activities include group therapy, stress reduction and relaxation skills, community building, connecting with nature and increasing self-esteem. Participants will be referred and assisted in obtaining further mental health treatment in their local areas if they so desire. Please see our website: www.rainbowcommunitysupportproject.org for more information.
What You Can Do
Our target population is of limited financial means. We offer our services at a cost of only $25 per retreatant for the entire weekend of services plus ongoing community and mental health referrals. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to our program. Our operating budget is $9124 per year. This includes three seasonal retreats as well as ongoing support and referral services.
A donation of $25 pays for meals for one retreatant for the weekend!
With a donation of $50, you can pay for one participant's lodging for the entire weekend retreat!
Finally, with a donation of $245, you can sponsor one person to attend an entire retreat. This pays for 1) 8 hours per day of group sessions and activities faciliated by 2 qualified, credentialed facilitators 2) food and lodging 3) All administrative costs associated with recruiting and registering participants.
This being said, all donations are gratefully accepted and will be put to good use!
Here is what some of our participants said after our pilot retreat in September, 2014:
"This was the best thing I've ever done."
"Thank you. I hope this was the first of many more retreats."
"An excellent project."
"Everything was perfect and very positive."
About the Facilitators
Diana Shapiro, Marriage Family Therapist (MFC41975)
Diana is a licensed psychotherapist with several years of experience working with immigrants from Latin America. She began this work as an independent contractor with the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, providing psychological evaluations to individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. due to persecution in their countries of origin. She continues to work with EBSC, as well as private attorneys, to evaluate immigrants for legal asylum. Diana decided to found Rainbow Community Support Project as a response both to the extent of the abuse and mistreatment of sexual minorities in Mexico and Central America and also to their openness to, and eagerness for, mental health treatment.
Maristela is a Holistic Therapist (Reiki Master, EFT Practitioner, Sandplay therapy), Shamanic Practitioner and Clinical Hypnotherapist. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Law and a cross-disciplinary graduate degree in Human Values.
In her native Brazil, Maristela volunteered as a facilitator of self- knowledge, transformation and spiritual growth groups for more than 15 years. Here in the U.S., she is a member of a support group for Brazilian women immigrants.
Currently, Maristela sees clients at Kensho Counseling Center in Berkeley, CA. She speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish.