Monthly Archives November 2023

From the Outside Looking In: Top 3 Reasons Mosaic Georgia is on My Giving Tuesday Shortlist

Mandy Headshot

By Amanda Makrogianis Mickelsen
Marketing Project Manager Consultant

Some causes are loud.

And some work is done quietly and selflessly behind the scenes, firmly but compassionately making a difference to those in a vulnerable place.

People (understandably) don’t like to acknowledge, let alone talk about, the disturbing topic of sexual violence. But it happens all around us. And in a world fraught with injustice, it is comforting to know there are helpers—people who care, working to minimize the suffering in seemingly small ways that make the biggest of differences.

I have worked for Mosaic Georgia’s Sexual Assault and Children’s Advocacy Center as a project management and marketing consultant for over two years, after feeling compelled to move from the corporate space to causes that contribute to a more just and humane world.

I become a donor each year on Giving Tuesday. I’d like to share with you why.

Burdens Lifted

Mosaic Georgia helps to alleviate the tremendous strain that envelops the lives of survivors and their families.

I have learned in my time here that sexual assault is not an isolated occurrence for the victim. There is a cascading ripple effect that can disrupt and sometimes debilitate the victim’s inner circle.

I imagine a mother who has just discovered the unthinkable who, amid the tragedy, is faced with the towering responsibility of single-handedly finding a safe living space for her children and providing for them while navigating the array of complicated social issues now encircling her. Mosaic is a place where she can find resources and referrals for rental assistance or transitional housing…a place where she can then access the legal services necessary to obtain a protective order or a divorce…a place where her little one receives a comfort kit with items that help them feel a little more safe and comforted as they realize they cannot return to the place they call home.

I imagine the tremendous burdens lifted at a time of immense stress, pain, shock, and confusion.

A Staff of Everyday Heroes

Mosaic allows their clients to feel seen, heard, safe, protected and as comfortable as they can be in those critical moments during a trying time no human being should ever have to face.

Whether a medical clinician or the first voice on the other end of the phone, everyone on the staff is caring and dedicated in a way I have never personally seen at an organization. From the moment someone walks through the crisis center door to the moment they leave their first trauma-informed yoga class, the team rallies around them, providing professional and compassionate care.

Every. Single. Time.

I consistently see messages of praise come through from parents who are grateful for the kind and caring way their loved one was treated at our center. And messages congratulating and affirming each other for coming together during a most trying case to provide the team support required to bring exceptional care to someone in crisis.

Some are there because of a personal connection to the mission and some are there to simply serve others in a time of need. They are a bonded group, collectively offering their clients dignity and warmth after a traumatic experience.

I am not a survivor so I cannot personally relate to how it feels to be in this situation. I do know that as I’ve gone through some of life’s more challenging times, the caring support people who were there with a lifeline in the moment I needed it, made all the difference in the world. The situation felt a little more manageable, and the weight of the ordeal was lifted just enough to get through with ‘one foot in front of the other’.

In those moments when we are most vulnerable, those with the lifeboats are all we have.

And it is critical that those providing the lifeboats have the resources and support they need to keep doing what they do.

Healing is Not Just an Afterthought

At a visit with a local women’s group I heard Executive Director Marina Sampanes Peed speak to the grim reality that the majority of those who come through their center will unfortunately not find legal justice, and instead will likely have to find a way to come to peace internally with the trauma that is now a part of their being. This is a tall order. Flawed societal ideals result in inequities within our systems. Hence many survivors are faced with the undeserved and unfair reality that a sense of peace that often accompanies accountability for their abuser will not be a part of their story.

To address the need for internal emotional reconciliation, last year Mosaic unveiled a Resilience Center that focuses solely on the healing aspect of a survivor’s journey. From yoga to art to meditation, the Wholeness Collective program offers trauma informed healing programs, counseling sessions, and support groups for those ready to rebuild and reclaim their lives, including child-centered healing activities. It’s a beautiful thing to see those wounded by trauma come together to talk, share, laugh, cry, dance, drum, paint, sing – to heal in many shapes and forms. This important holistic component is not merely an afterthought but a solid pillar of Mosaic’s integrative programs and services.

Covering all the reasons a donation to Mosaic Georgia is worthwhile would make this much too long a read! I have shared just the top of my list.

This Giving Tuesday I encourage you to join me in letting the staff at Mosaic Georgia know their work is valued, and showing survivors that they are supported. A tremendous amount of financial resources are required to provide such comprehensive services to those affected by sexualized violence. Please donate today!

Mosaic Georgia is a Sexual Assault and Children’s Advocacy Center that provides crisis intervention and support services for victims of sexual abuse, assault and trafficking. Services include forensic medical exams, advocacy, forensic interviews, legal aid, counseling, education & training, and healing-oriented wellness programs. In Gwinnett County, clients come to the safe and private setting of Mosaic Georgia instead of the emergency room.

Our mission is to take action and guide change for the safety, health & justice of children and adults impacted by sexual violence.

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Someone’s Gotta Say It…

Nurturing Gratitude: A Lighthouse in Stormy Waters

By Marina Sampanes Peed
Executive Director of Mosaic Georgia

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

Finding peace of mind in a world filled with interpersonal violence is not easy. With the constant barrage of multi-media journalism, pretend-news and social media, it’s a challenge to stay informed about current events without overdosing on images of man-made tragedies.

People often ask, “How do you and your team deal with all the horrible things done to people who come to you for help? I don’t think I could handle it.” To say it’s a calling minimizes the effects on the helpers. Without an intentional counterbalance, the natural response can be to become numb and jaded about people, systems, and life. And truth be told, I wrestle with frustration about our collective refusal to invest in measures known to prevent violence.

For all of us, the cultivation of gratitude is a powerful tool and a psychological anchor holding steadfast in the turbulent seas of human suffering. The practice of gratitude builds mental resilience, and it has sustained my actual life and all the goodness in it for decades.

More Grateful than Thankful

Gratitude is nuanced, existing on a plane deeper than mere thankfulness. Consider thankfulness the immediate reaction to positive outcomes or narrow escapes — the meeting concluding early or the unlikely absence of traffic on I-85. Gratitude, however, is richer and more conscious — an appreciation that lingers and proliferates. It’s the recognition of ongoing goodness and the contributions of others, generating warmth and solidarity that extend far beyond the self.

For example, I am grateful for all the people who donate blood and platelets; they kept me alive for over a year. That gratitude arises each time I see a blood donation event in the community.

Gratitude, like love, is a practice as well as an emotion. It requires a conscious effort to see beyond the immediate, the loudest distractions. Observing and appreciating the positive facets of life develops mental resilience, even when overwhelmed with fear or pain. I called upon it in my darkest moments (sometimes teasing it out with some macabre humor).

The Science Behind Gratitude

Research within positive psychology corroborates the benefits of a grateful mindset. Studies indicate that practicing gratitude consistently contributes to mental well-being, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. By acknowledging the good, individuals combat the natural negativity bias, which, while evolutionarily protective, can be debilitating.

This shift is not about wearing rose-colored glasses but about recalibrating the mind to appreciate moments of kindness, success, and love that do exist amidst the chaos.

Exercise that Gratitude Muscle 

For personalities with higher levels of pessimism, the practice of gratitude may feel unsettling at first. Start simple: First: over a meal with another person or group, share one lowlight of the day and then three highlights. Invite others to do the same. When you spend more time and thoughts on the positive elements of the day, the meal will be tastier and you will leave the table more satisfied. Second: when you are in bed with the lights out, before you go to sleep, speak three things you are grateful for from the day. Let your mind rest for the night with those thoughts.

Gratitude allows those confronting or experiencing human suffering to maintain their humanity, find contentment, and continue their indispensable work. It is a choice to seek light and create an inner sanctuary of peace, from which we draw our strength.

Think of gratitude as more than a personal practice; it is a gift we share, through our continued hope and our belief in a better tomorrow. You’re welcome!

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