By SHERIDAN ROY
Living In Safe Alternatives (LISA), Inc., a nonprofit organization in Southington that provides safe, supportive and empowering programs for struggling teens in the custody of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) recently received a $10,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain (CFGNB) to conduct a feasibility study.
LISA, Inc.’s annual budget from the state is about $2 million.
“We do a lot with that $2 million. We often run a deficit, and make that up with fundraising,” said executive director Kim Selvaggi. “In this economy, it’s pretty tough, and we’ve found that in our effort to continually do more with less, we’re fighting an uphill battle.”
The $10,000 grant will provide LISA, Inc. funds to work with a consultant who can help the organization find partners with other nonprofit agencies.
“Hopefully, by working together, we can continue to do more with less,” said Selvaggi. “We have some Memorandum of Understandings with other small nonprofits where we share some services, and this study will look at what other ways we can work together with other nonprofits to maximize what we do.”
LISA, Inc. has found a consultant, and will begin work in November. The consultant will work with LISA, Inc. initially and figure out the organization’s strengths and needs, then begin looking for external partners. The hope is that by fall of 2019, the partnerships will be up and running.
“We know the money is going to continue to shrink, and we’re not willing to give up on our mission,” she said. “If that means we have to look at creative ways to partner, then that’s what we’ll do. We don’t have to look at an end game, but rather, let’s bridge with partners and see how we can continue our mission going forward.”
LISA, Inc. provides an important service for youth involved with DCF. There are several programs with focuses on community based life skills, substance abuse, anti-trafficking and more. LISA, Inc. also has housing programs with staff on site 24/7 that allow the young adults to practice what it’s like to live on their own. They have their own rooms, own belongings, and share a common space.
“Many of these youth don’t necessarily have a family to go home to. We are bridging the gap for them between adolescence and being independent as adults,” said Selvaggi. “Imagine you’re 19 years old and you don’t have a home-base. How do you get all the support you need to go to college or into the workforce? We try to be that support.”
To learn more about LISA, Inc., visit their website at www.lisainc.org.