La Casa de las Madres is a great place to work. In my time at La Casa I have been continuously supported by the Executive Director as well as the management team. In fact, the entire staff works collaboratively and effectively to ensure success of this program. I continue to see my own growth as well as the growth of other employees with all the training and development opportunities we are given. I know my continued work at La Casa is not only appreciated and acknowledged by managers and directors, but also the community served.
La Casa has a wonderful history in the community of helping domestic violence survivor women and children. The employees are passionate about the work they do.
There is an excessive amount of turnover for a reason, and it is easy to understand why there are lawsuits against this organization.
The value of any given employee's expertise and skills is of no relevance or interest to management. Over-bearing micromanagement does not make space for employees to serve the clients the mission sets out to assist. Experts in their field, the passionate employees of La Casa are not trusted to perform their job functions by the ED, who walks through the office each day muttering put downs and setting the office tone of tension and fear. The Associate Director reorganizes the development associates desk while they are trying to perform their job functions, and criticizes what and how most phone calls are handled, so that 4 people have held the position within year's time. The most recently 'promoted' Program Manager has insufficient experience to perform the work the position requires. She makes inappropriate comments about crashing employees weddings, complains most days of being tired and leaves early, though she doesn't appear to work most of the day, and rather than scheduling content related to the La Casa mission for staff meetings, has a food pantry coming for 6 hour and half sessions to make food since she like to eat.
Volunteers are considered warm bodies to patch the holes left with so much employee turnover, and there is utterly no appreciation for their dedication and time .
A solution to the ongoing crisis at the agency with the oldest domestic violence shelter in California would be to clean house, starting from the top. The governing board really needs to consider seriously the employment turnover and examine carefully what is happening inside the organization domestic violence survivors think of when they need help, and further, consider how these clients' needs are being met when the staff and volunteers are disregarded so frivolously. This 40 year old organization will quickly crumble if new leadership and organizational restructuring is not implemented soon.
Review from Guidestar
We were evicted from our home in July and I am in desperate need of help to find a place for my family and i
I came to La Casa de las Madres in 2006 without any experience in the field, but a passion to help empower women and children to live a life free from violence. I'm very dishearten by some of the comments below about upper management and Kathy Black. When I came to this agency without any experience Kathy give me the opportunity to learn and grow within the agency. It's extremely disheartening that individuals who claim to value and love the work La Casa does have launched a full on character assassination via cyber bullying to further their own agenda. I believe in change, it's good for growth in every aspect of life. I do not agree with the changes that are being vocalized here. I am one of the many non-management employees of La Casa who's views and opinions are not represented in the so called anonymous survey. I'm sadden by the agenda behind the survey. The survey results do not accurately reflect all of La Casa's current or former staff. As a current employee I was never asked to participate in an anonymous survey. I want to make this very clear I was not approached by Kathy or upper management to write this, so please do not take my comments with a grain of salt or try to devaluated my experience.
Unfortunately, I had to leave La Casa about a year ago now. Although, I really valued the work I was doing, I was disgusted by the work culture and the way management treats staff. In my 3 years with the organization, I have heard the executive director call her employees “sissy,” state that they are “replaceable,” and talk poorly about staff members behind their back, often times breaching staff confidentiality. I have witnessed really competent employees getting fired for speaking up to management. Working at the Drop-in Center was like walking on eggshells. The irony of working at a domestic violence agency when your ED has the biggest power trips and verbally abuses her employees.
I remember when my coworkers and I addressed our concerns during a staff meeting because we were understaffed which not only put a lot of stress on the advocates fulfilling multiple roles, but also affected the services that are being delivered because clients are waiting or be told to call back because there is not enough staff to be attending to the crisis line, seeing clients, and covering the reception at the same time. My concerns were never addressed and I was told that I couldn’t speak at the meetings anymore. Wow, so much for having an open door policy.
La Casa has so much potential and the staff do such important work that it’s a shame the way their employees are being treated. As a former employee, I was also active in trying to reach out to the board of directors to schedule a meeting, but unfortunately we got no active response, which causes me to question the relationship between the ED and the board. Something needs to change because La Casa has one of the highest turnover rates for a non-profit. It’s funny how understaffed and how slow they are to replace employees, but the ED is making over $140,000. Something’s wrong with this picture.
As a weekly volunteer at La Casa’s shelter for the past fifteen months, my experience with every person in the organization, including Kathy Black, has been outstanding and truly an honor. Each staff person I’ve come to know genuinely cares about our clients and makes every attempt to serve in the most caring, sensitive and personal way. Dedicating some of my free time each week to La Casa is my small way to serve women and children who have experienced domestic violence—these women and families deserve to be treated with respect, kindness, and dignity—the La Casa way is a culture of caring and support.
As the owner of a Mission district business for over 20 years, I know how challenging it can be when one or a few disaffected, divisive former employees are unwilling to move on in a positive way. At a place like La Casa, that kind of negativity will not interrupt or diminish the exalted work being done at this incredible organization…it energizes us and engenders a steely resolve to protect the positive good that comes daily from every caring interaction.
I am an individual that has been working in the not-for-profit field for over 16 consecutive years. Of those 16 years, I have worked for La Casa for 10 years. I first began my relationship with La Casa while I worked for workforce development agency. I was referring a victim to their agency and the first encounter that I had was with the front desk staff and Kathy Black, who was the Executive Director. Kathy was right there at the front-line ready to answer all of my questions as a referring case manager. She encouraged any and all inquiries, which made me feel very comfortable. I later began working for La Casa as an advocate in the emergency shelter, and within a year I moved into a coordinator position where I was given the opportunity to expand my skills and career. After a year as a coordinator, I left the agency due to personal reasons but continued to work within the agency as an on-call staff. Because of my past experience with La Casa, I have recently returned and now work full-time with this agency.
But I would like to express my experience not only with La Casa as an agency but also personally with Kathy Black. I don’t have a resume filled with credentials and higher education, I do however have an extensive work history. Kathy gave me an opportunity to be a part of this organization and through my continued hard work, I was given an opportunity to move up, learn, and expand. There has not been any point within my years of working at La Casa that have I ever experienced feeling that I could not talk with Kathy or any of my immediate supervisors. When I was experiencing personal issues, I knew that Kathy had an open door policy, and I was able to talk with my immediate supervisor at the time and Kathy. They were very understanding and willing to work with me to make adjustments. I have personally felt that I could approach Kathy with any questions or my thoughts and opinions and never felt there would be any type of retaliation as a result. I am only one staff person within this agency but I feel strongly that I’d like to express my experience and really appreciate the opportunity, on Great Non Profits, to do so. Thanks so much.
I have worked for La Casa for over five years, about half in direct service to clients and the other half in manager and director level positions. In that time I have gone through two pregnancies, raised a family, and commuted over an hour each way on a daily basis. When people ask me why I have continued to work full time amidst those challenges, my answer is always the same: I love my job and I love this organization.
When I talk to people who are considering coming to work here or who have just started, I often share my story, because I think it's a great example of the opportunity this organization provides. I originally applied for a part time job as an advocate at La Casa. I was actually looking for full-time work, but I had heard of La Casa's positive reputation and that was what was available. I was lucky in that they were able to provide me with a full-time position as an advocate splitting time between two programs. I immediately loved working here; I had a passion for the work I was doing and I also had a wonderful and supportive supervisor. She was always there when I needed her and always treated me respectfully whether providing positive feedback or constructive criticism. I always felt like I received the training and feedback I needed to grow both on a one-on-one basis and in a group setting in staff meetings and other trainings that we were provided.
About a year later, a case management position opened. The executive director, Kathy Black, let staff know that the position was open and encouraged me to apply. Although I was more than qualified for the position, without her encouragement it hadn't occurred to me to apply. I had a similarly positive experience with my supervisor in that role and continued to feel supported in my growth as a professional and within the organization. Another year later, a position in management opened up. Again, I wouldn't have applied for this position without the support and encouragement other management staff and particularly Kathy Black. I knew that I was qualified, but knowing that they believed in me made gave me the confidence I needed to take the initiative to pursue it.
Since that time, for almost the past three years, Kathy Black has been my direct supervisor. Like my other supervisors at this organization, Kathy has always been respectful towards me whether giving me positive feedback or counseling me in areas where I can improve. She has supported me in developing myself in a leadership role, often at times when I was uncertain of myself. Seeing her passion for this work continues to be an inspiration to me both personally and professionally.
I think the most important part of my story is that it's not at all unique. There are so many people in this organization who have been involved in a variety of ways, from volunteering to relief staff who move on to administrative and advocate roles, then on to case management and beyond. To me it speaks volumes about the organization that people are so invested in staying here and similarly speaks volumes about the leadership that they are willing to invest in their employees.
In the 3 years that I have worked with La Casa I have been able to see countless lives be changed in both immediate and long-lasting ways. Time and again when people find out that I work for La Casa, they share an experience of having learned valuable information from a presentation done by our Teen Program or Outreach and Education program; they share of having received support on the crisis line or having referred a friend to our Drop In Center; other service providers share of their positive experiences working with our advocates to get mutual clients into shelter or support in working towards a restraining order. Over the years here I have provided clinical counseling, run support groups, done presentations, answered the crisis line and now manage the Community Programs. I know from both first hand client feedback and second hand feedback from other advocates and members of the community that La Casa provides crucial services in a caring and respectful manner.
As a community member with ties to La Casa staff, have been appalled and astonished by La Casa’s wholesale lack of responsiveness to widely shared concerns about its Executive Director’s behavior. It seems the Board of Directors has done little to curb the ED’s persistent harassment of and retaliation against staff who voice concerns or suggestions for improvement.
Any organization aimed at empowering its members to overcome structural violence/abuse should seek to model this change in its leadership. Unfortunately, La Casa's ED and Board of Directors have not recognized or assumed this responsibility. And while the La Casa staff has done exceptional work in the community, it is in spite of, not because of, the leadership.
I encourage anyone reading the comments below in defense of the ED to take their contents with a grain of salt – HR and upper management, with their distinct motives and interests, cannot be relied upon to depict the working environment with transparency when abusive dynamics are at play.
This organization has tremendous potential, and I sincerely hope the leadership chooses to take the necessary action to realize it.
I am a current employee at La Casa de Las Madres, and I have been with the agency for almost nine years. I love the work we do at La Casa and the community we serve. Together my coworkers and I support families who are struggling to gain strength and independence. With that being said, I could never work for an agency and/or employer who disrespected, mistreated or bullied me. I am a strong independent thinker. And at this time I would like to thank La Casa for helping me find my own strength, independence, and leadership skills. I would also like to state that my views are far different than from those of the user staff.lacasa. The user staff.lacasa does not represent me, nor speak my voice.
I am a family advocate at La Casa’s confidential shelter. I LOVE IT! For the past nine years I have been direct shelter service, and I couldn’t even describe the list of my job duties. We all work hard to provide the best we can for our clients, and the work I do for La Casa does not go unnoticed. I can’t count the times our executive director Kathy Black, has expressed her gratitude and appreciation for the work I do. I have been offered advancement within the agency on numerous occasions, but I love where I am, and the position I hold. I have witnessed, however; many co-workers thrive in this agency. I have seen co-workers leave La Casa for whatever their Endeavour (with the full support from Kathy Black) only to return some years later, as they found this agency to be supportive and accepting of their creative talents.
I would also like to mention that I have had multiple closed doors meetings with upper management. I have sat in Kathy Black’s office to discuss sensitive work related issues. I spoke freely, and I was heard.
So again, the user staff.lacasa and I do NOT share the same views. My experience working for this agency is very positive. I feel respected and supported by upper management, and I hope to continue on with this agency for many more years to come.
Since 1999 I have been employed by La Casa de las Madres, first as a counselor, then as Program Director and I am currently the Clinical Supervisor, a position I have enjoyed since 2001. I work side by side and train the therapists at La Casa who provide psychotherapy to residents at the shelter and to women, teens and children at La Casa's Drop In Center.
I am disturbed by the comments below, alluding to Kathy Black as a liability to La Casa. Kathy was my direct supervisor when I was the Program Director and my experience of being an employee was worlds apart than that described. It has been my experience that working at La Casa offers opportunities for growth and learning if a person is interested and capable of that. I have seen staff begin their employment as a receptionist and go on to work as an advocate and then shelter manager. I have seen staff begin as relief staff and become case manager at the new Housing Authority site. I have had the opportunity to grow and flourish at La Casa.I have known staff that left La Casa for other jobs and returned to La Casa because they believe in the work and feel supported by staff. It is an easy and cheap shot to point the finger at your boss. Especially anonymously.
In my work as a psychotherapist and as a supervisor, I remind myself and those I work with to look within when troubled by others as projection can be a dangerous and destructive defense.
Since I have worked at La Casa I have witnessed the conception of and implementation of many new programs; The Teen Program, the DVRT Program, the case management at The Mary Elizabeth Inn and Verona Hotel. None of these existed prior to Kathy's time as Executive Director. She has expanded services at a time where unfortunately many non-profits have had to close. We have affiliations in the community that have been nurtured by Kathy.
I have felt supported and cared for by Kathy and the staff at La Casa. I have had difficult conversations with Kathy as an employee and contractor and found her door always open and her to be fair and open minded while considering my needs or requests. It has been my honor and privilege to be part of this vital, strong agency for 16 years.
In 2013 I began volunteering at La Casa as part of an undergrad requirement. I was pleasantly surprised at the great support and treatment staff, including management staff, gave volunteers. As a domestic violence survivor myself, it gave me great pride to be a part of an organization that does so much for awareness of domestic violence. When a position opened up, I jumped at the opportunity. Over the almost year that I have been a staff member at La Casa, I have experienced the same support and treatment that I initially received as a volunteer. In particular, I have received much support from Lindsay, the Program Director, who’s always open and accessible to any questions or concerns I may have as well as the Kathy, the Executive Director, who has played a major role in my own professional development, which I am ever so grateful for. It’s great to work alongside such passionate individuals who give their all on a daily basis in support to La Casa’s clients and the growth of the organization.
In regards to the negative review that user: staff.lacasa wrote I would like to point out that I was never approached by anyone to give my input on the “staff-run survey” that staff.lacasa provided a link to. This survey is a misrepresentation of La Casa staff and the organization’s workplace environment, as it only presents the opinion of 13 anonymous employees out of almost 40 current employees. It saddens me that an individual that clearly has a personal gripe against one person at the organization would go through such lengths to overshadow the great work that is being done at La Casa and the immense support that us “paid staff” receive from management including Kathy Black.
As La Casa’s associate director and a long-time member of La Casa de las Madres’ staff, I am disheartened by the comments included in the post below. They do not reflect my experiences, over nearly 14 years, of a passion-filled, supportive, hard-working, and visionary community of staff and volunteers. It’s sad and frustrating to hear – particularly in this anonymous and public communication purporting to seek “positive change” – that employees feel voiceless and see no other recourse.
I know that we offer many opportunities for input and feedback, both from clients and staff. And I can attest to the organization’s care and proactivity in service of our community, which includes staff, volunteers, survivors, partners, and contributors. While La Casa does have a management structure which includes a hierarchy of power and supervision, it’s designed and implemented to facilitate staff support and improve client service offerings and delivery. It’s also an open environment. Supervisors’ doors are open, scheduled supervisory and support convenings – both for individual members and program teams – are frequent, and policies and procedures are articulated and accessible in central locations to guide staff through the philosophical, legal, and practical underpinnings of La Casa’s approach to and work with and for survivors. Bimonthly all-staff gatherings open space for agency wide communication, sharing challenges, and presenting ideas, progress, and plans. For direct service staff each bimonthly session includes an additional skill-building or training component, which includes self-care among many other resources and topics. I see managers’ doors open and know program directors invite staff to share their experiences and bring ideas to the table.
There are always things that can be done to improve a workplace, and sometimes the experience of supervision can be harder than we as supervised employees like to admit – our accountability and responsibility balanced against the organization’s.
La Casa is a vibrant and critical resource that I am proud to call home. It navigates the difficult terrain of nonprofit service with a deep integrity: by championing service of its mission and community while holding itself accountable to that community and by balancing the practical realities of managing a business with the heart, soul, and challenges of trauma-based work that also unearths longstanding imbalances in real and perceived power. La Casa’s integrity – its internal and external philosophical resonance – and Kathy Black’s leadership are why I have stayed. I am extremely lucky to be not just a part of La Casa’s and the broader anti-violence community, but one who earns my living through this work. I am proud, and I am grateful.
La Casa de las Madres’ Executive Director is a huge liability to the functioning of the organization and she has been a primary and direct cause for La Casa having an ongoing inability to maintain a full staff. The following link shows independent staff-run survey results reflecting these issues with upper management:
For further details on the situation at La Casa de las Madres, please note the following:
1) Most reviews written at greatnonprofits.org for La Casa are from volunteers. The work of La Casa's volunteers is much appreciated; volunteers are generally treated with respect at La Casa—as they should be. Unfortunately, paid staff do not experience the same treatment and many fear posting about their personal experiences on this and other websites in fear of retaliation from the upper management.
2) Policy and procedures at La Casa and the way they are actually carried out by the upper management often only prioritize meeting funding goals while restricting staff’s ability to respond to client needs as voiced by the clients themselves and the direct service staff who work with them on a daily basis. It is important that La Casa can deliver services that meet the needs of the community and respond in a flexible way that evolves at the same rate as the needs of our clients do. It is important that we ask clients what their needs are and how we can further create and deliver services in a way that specifically addresses their needs. Quarterly reports to funders are not sufficient in reflecting these needs as they are specifically structured to reflect whether funding requirements have been met and not whether actual client needs are being met or their actual outcomes are successful. At La Casa, “getting our numbers up” takes priority over providing quality services.
3) La Casa de las Madres has a serious problem retaining staff due to the negative work environment created by the upper management., This problem is hidden from funders. On several occasions, direct service staff (advocates, case managers) have overheard upper management lie directly to funders about staff turnover during their meetings at our drop-in center saying that staff leave to pursue higher education or for personal reasons. In the past two years La Casa has had over 20 staff leave, and this number is excessive considering the small overall size of our organization (full capacity varies, but generally 25-35 people). Unfortunately, this turnover rate has been due to the way upper management—specifically the Executive Director of La Casa—mistreats staff. We encourage funders to speak directly to several non-managerial staff from each program. Ask upper management to let you speak with direct service staff who have been at La Casa for longer than a year, maybe two years if possible (although there are very few people who have been there that long). See for yourselves how efficiently your money is being spent. Is your money constantly used to ensure the safety of women and children fleeing domestic violence? Or is it being spent on constantly posting ads on Craigslist and interviewing/training new staff? Paying overtime because facilities are understaffed? Paying for legal advising because the ED is in constant fear of litigation from the many staff members she has mistreated?
4) In October 2014, current and former La Casa staff organized to address some of the issues that staff were facing at the organization. We asked that the Board to actively participate in ensuring that staff have a safe space to voice their opinions about concerns specifically associated with the upper management’s mistreatment of staff at La Casa. The letter read as follows:
October 24, 2014
Dear La Casa de las Madres’ Board of Directors:
This letter is written on behalf of La Casa de las Madres’ current and former staff. In light of La Casa's vision that all individuals attain safety and respect in their lives, La Casa's current and former staff feel it necessary to reach out to our Board of Directors for assistance. La Casa is widely recognized for being at the forefront of the anti-domestic violence movement in the Bay Area and beyond. For this reason, La Casa has always attracted a team of staff who are passionate and devoted to upholding the mission of the organization. We wish to go above and beyond expectation to provide our clients with the excellent advocacy they deserve. As a domestic violence agency committed to countering power and control over women, it is crucial that the upper management model the professionalism, trust and respect that we embody for our clients.
After attending a self-care staff retreat with other Bay Area domestic violence organizations such as The Riley Center, CORA, and Woman Inc., we were encouraged as a team to recognize our needs as service providers to survivors of trauma. We were impressed by the culture of nonhierarchical team collaboration, transparent decision making and authentic self-care at the participating agencies. We feel that the small efforts at La Casa to improve have not been effective in stemming the overwhelming rate of staff turnover and the negative atmosphere in our organization. The upper management’s attitudes and policies towards subordinate employees are the primary source of ongoing complaint.
We would like to request that La Casa's Board of Directors issue an anonymous survey of current and former staff member's experiences, feelings and satisfaction with working at La Casa. Given the current atmosphere at our organization, the remarkably high rate of staff turnover and the ongoing number of unfilled positions, it is pressing that we are offered an anonymous means of sharing our experiences. Recent attempts by staff members to address these issues directly with their supervisors have been ignored or dealt with inadequately. Therefore it does not feel safe or productive to communicate directly with upper management for a response to our concerns. For this reason, we are reaching out to the Board of Directors for assistance.
If the Board agrees to this proposal, we would like to collaboratively work to elicit honest feedback from current and former staff. We look forward to your response and hope to work together to express our needs in order to promote the growth and success of La Casa de las Madres and the individuals and families we serve. Thank you for your time and attention in this critical matter.
12 non-managerial La Casa staff members and 23 former employees
The Board’s response was:
Board of Directors
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of La Casa de las Madres in response to your two recent anonymous emails. The Board and La Casa’s management team welcome input from La Casa employees concerning its policies and procedures. We encourage you or any employees who would like to provide feedback on La Casa’s policies and procedures to contact La Casa’s Executive Director, Kathy Black at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are not satisfied with the response Kathy offers or you are not comfortable contacting Kathy, you may contact me at email@example.com.
While we welcome constructive dialogue with management and staff on concerns relating to La Casa’s policies and procedures, we do not believe that an anonymous survey conducted by an unidentified third party would be an effective method to assess La Casa’s policies and practices. We will instead be communicating directly with current staff concerning these issues. If you are a member of staff, we look forward to hearing more about your views.
[the names disclosed in these emails are public]
No staff member was willing to non anonymously speak directly to the Board out of fear so we drafted a second letter and formulated our own survey that reflected the immediate concerns of staff. The letter read as follows:
December 30, 2014
Dear Maria Bee and Members of LCDM’s Board of Directors:
On October 24, 2014 we, a group of current and former La Casa de las Madres employees, submitted a letter to you that brought your attention to a pervasive dissatisfaction with the upper management’s treatment of employees at La Casa. Because so many current and former staff feared retaliation if they addressed these concerns directly to their supervisors or to upper management, we decided as a group to request that the Board of Directors issue an anonymous staff survey to stimulate a review of La Casa’s leadership. We hoped that if we were allowed a safe method to share our true feelings and experiences working at La Casa, the Board of Directors would be extremely concerned and take action.
On November 23, 2014, Board President, Maria Bee sent a reply to our letter. The reply fell short of our expectations in several ways. First, the reply implies that we are contesting LCDM’s Policy and Procedures. However, our letter makes it clear that our complaint lies with upper management’s behavior and treatment of staff, including, but not limited to, their use of policy to run the organization in a way that is unsatisfactory. To be clear, our primary complaint is that Kathy Black’s behavior towards staff and abuse of her power as Executive Director is unacceptable and contradictory to our mission as an anti-domestic violence organization. Secondly, the reply to our letter asks staff to provide feedback directly to their supervisors or to Kathy Black. As we clearly stated in our letter, the specific purpose of reaching out to the Board of Directors for support rather than La Casa management is due to the need for an anonymous venue for feedback. We also stated that previous attempts to address our concerns have been unsuccessful in creating lasting positive change. Again, no current or former staff member felt safe or comfortable coming forward directly for fear of retaliation from Kathy Black due to her reputation for such behavior. Unfortunately, we do not feel assured of our confidentiality in contacting you through an email address within the lacasa.org domain. Finally, your reply to our letter solicits feedback from current La Casa staff only. It is essential that former staff members be included in this process in order to highlight Kathy Black’s pattern of mistreatment of La Casa staff over the years. Because of the high turnover rate, the majority of current staff have worked at La Casa for less than a year, and many for less than six months. Unfortunately, many former staff left La Casa have experienced or witnessed unacceptably negative behavior on the part of Kathy Black, and a serious attempt to review her behavior cannot overlook their experiences. Your response email to current La Casa staff undermines our letter by suggesting that it was written by an individual or a third party. We reiterate that this letter was read and approved by 35 current and former staff, and it was sent through an anonymous email address because no individual felt safe coming forward, even as a messenger.
Over two months ago, we sent the Board of Directors a letter requesting your attention and support regarding our serious dissatisfaction with upper management’s treatment of La Casa staff. During the past two months, no proactive effort has been taken on the part of the Board of Directors or La Casa management to directly address the complaints we raised. It is disheartening that the Board fails to take seriously the voices of the team of people who have sincerely dedicated themselves to La Casa’s mission. Because La Casa’s Board hesitated to facilitate an anonymous survey of our experiences and feelings, we have done so on our own. You may review the results of this survey at the following link:
We hope the responses to this survey shed light on the unacceptable treatment of staff by Kathy Black and her direct hand in causing so many talented and passionate employees to leave the organization. A group of current staff have volunteered to come forward despite their fears of retaliation. We would like to schedule a meeting with the President of the Board to further this conversation. If the Board continues to minimize or ignore these concerns, we will have no choice but to seek outside support.
Domestic violence is never a private matter. As domestic violence advocates, we refuse to tolerate unacceptable behavior, violence and abuse any longer at our organization. We encourage you to support us in breaking the silence about our treatment in our workplace. By staying true to our values and mission, La Casa de las Madres can remain at the forefront of the anti-domestic violence movement in our community. It is in good faith that we again reach out to you, the Board of Directors, in hopes of creating positive change at La Casa de las Madres.
Current and Former La Casa Staff
Since this letter was written, four months ago, there has been no further action on the part of the Board or the upper management to address this situation. In the past four months nine staff members have quit or have been fired, and still no proactive measure has been taken to address the cause of this extremely high turnover and the toll it takes on remaining staff and the clients they serve.
La Casa could be a great nonprofit, but there are serious issues at the organization that boil down to a deep contradiction between our mission to end violence and abuse against women, and the verbal and emotional abuse and inordinate use of power and control happening on a daily basis towards La Casa’s own staff members.
I've been volunteering at La Casa for over a year now and they are one of the most well-run organizations I've ever volunteered for. Not only do they do great work in providing shelter for victims of abuse, but they really go above and beyond in providing support as well. Whether it's counseling, help with forms for filing a TRO or housing, the staff is always ready to help. It is amazing to see how much some of the clients grow self-confidence after just a few weeks at shelter, in major part due to the support of staff there. Moreover, La Casa is very active in the community--we've educated police officers, tabled events at local highschool and middle schools, and joined in local domestic violence or community events as well to spread the word about how La Casa can help. It is so rewarding to work with an organization where you actually get to see the results of your helping someone!
La Casa has helped so many individuals overcome different obstacles when they have been abused by the people closest to them. It's something that happens so often yet we hear so little about. The dedicated staff and their ongoing efforts to helping individuals overcome these harsh situations are important to our community.
La Casa de las Madres is a great non profit organization for a cause that is very important to be addressed in this society and around the world! They are doing great work in bringing awareness to the issue, as well as direct support of the survivors and their volunteers. We need more organizations like La Casa! This is an issue that nobody should be turning a blind eye to, as its consequences are spreading way beyond the person directly impacted. Please support and enable La Casa to do an even better work with more resources. Thank you!
La Casa de las Madres is an incredible organization with an inspiring mission and dedicated staff that help fulfill that vision. Domestic violence support and advocacy is difficult to do well but La Casa makes both the people it serves and its volunteers feel valued and appreciated.
Whenever I go to La Casa to volunteer, I feel like they are working for me instead of me working for them. Everybody always welcomes me with a smile and the volunteer coordinator, Jamie, is a great professional and the nicest human being. She is innovative and works hard to assess volunteer skills, train them and get the most out of them to create better programs for La Casa clients. All the other volunteers I know share this thoughts with me.
I am so happy to be able to invest my time in such an organization like La Casa.
La Casa de las Madres has a very special place in my heart. Not only does La Casa offer a wealth of comprehensive services through their shelter program, they also tailor services to the individual. The "no judgements" culture significantly improves the quality of services presented by their advocates. I went through their shelter training program as a volunteer several years ago, and what I learned about myself in the 40 hrs of class was life-altering. It taught me that no matter what you see on the outside on an individual, inside we are all fighting the daily battle of survival so we need to help each other out despite our preconceived notions about how people should handle difficult situations. The most valuable lesson: listen... then, listen some more.
Very thorough 40 hour training to help out at shelter. The main idea behind this group is empowerment and lack of judgement for their clients.
I have been volunteering at La Casa De Las Madres since March of 2013. I thoroughly enjoyed their 40 hour training program. It was incredibly informative and they made participation fun. It is my first experience volunteering anywhere and I appreciate every experience whether on the crisis line, taking care of children, or just lending a hand to clean. La Casa provides important services to support women and children as they transition to healthier, happier lives. And, I am glad to be of some assistance.
I have volunteered over many years at various non-profits and have particularly enjoyed my volunteer experience with La Casa. The staff and fellow volunteers are really amazing and the work they are doing is so important!! Great job everyone.
I've been volunteering at La Casa for the past 5 months and ever since I started I've always felt happy and excited to go and volunteer. I'm so happy that this association exists and helps so many adults and kids looking for a safe environment. Not only that, they provide additional activities to improve their way of leaving, like computer classes, financial and personal development classes, arts, etc. Giving hope to a lot of individuals and families to have a new beginning. I just feel so proud to be a member of this organization.
I have been with La Casa de las Madres for 6 months now and I couldn't be happier. The work this organization does is incredible, and so vital to the well being of our community. Domestic violence is a public health issue that needs to be addressed and stopped, La Casa is such an important and strong voice in the fight to end abuse. I am honored to be a part of an organization so completely dedicated to this movement.
I completed the training for La Casa last September and I have been a volunteer ever since. The training for La Casa was life changing. I learned so much information that I will never forget. I believe the training would be useful for anyone to take, even those not planning on volunteering or working for a domestic violence shelter. Volunteering for La Casa has also been an amazing experience. I hope to always have a relationship with this organization so I can continue to support the community.
Since the very first day I started volunteering at La Casa the staff have been very warm and welcoming. La Casa truly stands for what they believe in. They believe in the importance of their clients, staff, and volunteers. La Casa is definitely a safe place to learn and grow. This has been the best non-profit organization I have volunteered at. I enjoyed the 40 hour DV training and have learned so much from this organization. I hope to stay active with La Casa for a very long time.
I just completed a 40 hour DV training at La Casa and it was informational, empowering and I cannot wait to begin my work as a volunteer for the organization! I am proud to soon be a part of an organization that advocates for survivors of abuse in such a humble and effective manner. I was inspired by many of the speakers, their strength and passion for this work is apparent and it was truly motivational. Looking forward to volunteering for La Casa, I am sure that it will be a wonderful experience.
After recently completing the 40 hour training course at La Casa, I am astounded at this program's capability. The training was incredibly intense, which is nothing less than the survivors of domestic violence, who seek resources from La Casa, deserve. I can't say enough about the people involved in facilitating this training. They were warm, friendly and both emotionally and intellectually nurturing. I never felt at any point that my contributions were any less valid than those of the teachers. In addition to being thorough, ideologically sound, and professional, the program expressed both the capacity for an effective learning environment and a vulnerability that implied desire for growth in keeping current and relevant to survivor's needs in consistently changing social justice movement. I will miss the women I was in the training with, we were a pretty bonded group at the end of the course. I would especially like to recognize Jaime Cox, a pretty spectacular activist and woman.
I have recently finished the 40 hour training to become a volunteer at La Casa. I am blown away by how extensive, and ultimately rewarding, the experience was. I learned so much about all of the different resources that are available surrounding DV, as well as a broad overview of the subejcy itself. I never expected to receive training/presentations from such a wide array of organizations. My interactions with La Casa staff thus far have been extremely friendly and inviting. I am touched by just how much La Casa does for the community. It is truly invested in the welfare of its clients.
La Casa de las Madres, is a leader in domestic violence services; free, confidential, and open to all. La Casa serves women, teens, and their children to provide safety, resources, and hope. There are a number of ways to support this organization, including volunteering, donating goods and services, and spreading the word. Join the movement to end domestic violence in our homes and communities.
Check out their website: www.lacasa.org
This is one of the best volunteering experiences I have had. I strongly believe I have made a change to someone life. I will continue to help out in any way possible.
I was fortunate this summer to be an administrative volunteer at La Casa. All of the staff are very knowledgable, warm, and welcoming. I enjoyed all of the outreach events I participated in as a La Casa volunteer, including Sunday Streets events. I'm inspired by the work they do and will hopefully work for them again in the future!
La Casa is the leading voice in San Francisco against violence towards women and children. By donating to their services, I know that somewhere a survivor is getting the free services they deserve to end the cycle of violence.
I have been fortunate to be touched by the work of La Casa through my volunteer work with the organization. My office banded together to adopt a couple of families from La Casa for the holiday gift drive-- and that experience of helping to provide gifts for the La Casa families brought so much cohesion and spirit to our own holiday season. We have already committed to adopting even more families for next season. La Casa gives so much to the women and children that they serve, and they also provide many wonderful opportunities to the greater San Francisco community to engage in meaningful ways to the important issue of domestic violence.
I have seen first hand how La Casa de Las Madres is a top notch organization. I recently attended the 40 hour volunteer training and am impressed by its structure, organization and professionalism. They brought in highly knowledgable presenters to lead topics in all areas of domestic violence providing very valuable and helpful training. I've now volunteered at the office as well as the shelter and couldn't be happier about my decision to join La Casa.