BY: LAUREN ANTISTA | PUBLISHED: February 1, 2018 on https://news.fsu.edu/news/education-society/2018/02/01/fsu-college-social-work-hires-director-lead-newly-established-center/
The Florida State University College of Social Work has chosen an accomplished expert in nonprofit leadership to direct its new Center for the Study and Promotion of Communities, Families and Children.
Ellen Piekalkiewicz begins her role as director of the center this month. The center was established in the fall of 2017 through the support of The Stoops Family Foundation Inc. and FSU alumni Jeff and Aggie Stoops. The center’s director will guide the mission to generate and sustain transformational knowledge that furthers effective policy, services and research for the betterment of communities, families and children.
Piekalkiewicz comes to FSU with more than 30 years of experience in public policy, legislative and governmental affairs, disability rights and grant writing. In her most recent position, she served as the executive director for the United Partners for Human Services, a membership organization serving human service nonprofits in the Big Bend area of North Florida.
“I welcome this opportunity to work with the College of Social Work, advancing the study of best practices that strengthen communities and establish more holistic support for children and their families,” Piekalkiewicz said. “My hope is to ensure that the efforts of the centers and institutes affiliated with the college synthesize their efforts and opportunities to create collective impacts that benefit communities, families and children.”
Piekalkiewicz also previously worked as an advisory council member for Florida’s governor and Legislature and as a consultant for numerous statewide organizations, local nonprofits and federal agencies. A Florida resident since 2001, she held leadership positions with the Florida Substance Abuse and Mental Health Corporation as executive director and Disability Rights Florida as director of operations.
“The Center is an innovative and ambitious approach to building sustainable infrastructures for research, service and education,” said Jim Clark, dean of the College of Social Work. “The director must be a leader who can bring people from all backgrounds to the table to develop exciting and effective partnerships. Ellen is uniquely qualified to do this work, and I am very grateful she has agreed to take this on.”
Piekalkiewicz holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Grinnell College.
To learn more about the Center for the Study and Promotion of Communities, Families and Children, visit http://csw.fsu.edu/thecenter.
January 8, 2018 - by Ellen Piekalkiewicz
Inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18. BBBS develops positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people and the Big Bend community.
For the children and youth served by BBBS in Leon County, school success is an important outcome measure. For example, 82 percent of the mentees have improved/maintained their belief that they would not only graduate high school, but go on to college and graduate.
Additionally, because of BBBS mentor involvement, partner schools are also positively affected. In those partner schools, more volunteers attended and/or volunteered at school-sponsored functions.
Risk factors of youth served
52% - Youth have had or currently have incarcerated parent
89% - Low-moderate income (less than $35K /year)
78% - Youth raised in homes without two parents
Big meets Little
Big Brothers Big Sisters targets the children who need us most, including those living in single-parent homes, growing up in poverty and coping with parental incarceration. BBBS staff work to find a great match between a Big and a Little.
Throughout the match relationship, Bigs and Littles are supported by a BBBS Match Support Specialist to ensure that both adult and child are thriving. In 2017, BBBS met their goal of making 480 matches! In 2018, they have set the goal of making 500 matches, meaning 500 kids will get a Big. Even with this increased goal, BBBS estimates there will still be 500 children on a waiting list in 2018 because there are not enough mentors who sign up to mentor a child.
Make a BIG Impact
Being a Big Brother or Big Sister is one of the most enjoyable things you’ll ever do. Not to mention one of the most fulfilling. You have the opportunity to help shape a child’s future for the better by empowering him or her to achieve. And the best part is, it’s actually a lot of fun. You and your Little can share the kinds of activities you already like to do. Individuals can make an impact by becoming a Big, making an annual contribution, or dropping off used goods at one of our Big Purple Bins, which are placed around town.
Tallahassee Chamber Business After Hours
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend will be hosting the Tallahassee Chamber Business After Hours on Jan. 18 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at their newly renovated office, 565 E. Tennessee St.
Originally published in the Tallahassee Democrat
November 27, 2017 - by Ellen Piekalkiewicz
Local nonprofits are participating in a global day of giving that encourages individuals, communities and organizations to support philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 28.
In the Big Bend Region, a coalition of over 300 nonprofit organizations has joined forces to promote volunteerism and philanthropy locally. The campaign, #BigBendGivesBack, springs from #GivingTuesday, to harness the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity.
#GivingTuesday is starting to be seen as a kick off to the whole “giving season,” when people who are looking for last-minute tax deductions by Dec. 31 ramp up their charitable donations. Local nonprofits report that about 30 percent of their total annual donations are received in December.
Millions of people raised $177 million online during last year's Giving Tuesday, the fifth edition of the event. Much more was given in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness.
Not only does it feel great to give, but by volunteering or donating to a local charity on Nov. 28, you can literally help make this community a better place.
The Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact created the idea of #GivingTuesday and specifically chose it to follow Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of the biggest shopping days of the year to could create a day to focus on giving.
The Tallahassee Democrat is sponsoring a community-wide #Unselfie contest to create social media buzz about #BigBendGivesBack. An #Unselfie is a selfless image that focuses on a charity or cause, not the individual. To enter the contest, people should take a photo holding a sign featuring #UnselfieBigBend and the name of a local nonprofit.
Posting the photo on Instagram and Tallahassee.com and generating the most votes for the image will help the nonprofit win a $500 grant from the Community Foundation of North Florida and a direct mail package from Target Print and Mail; and will be featured in the Tallahassee Democrat. #UNselfies must be uploaded by 11:59 p.m. Nov. 27. Plese visit the contest page for more information on how to participate: www.tallahassee.com/unselfie
The #BigBendGivesBack organizing committee includes representatives from the Big Bend Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Community Foundation of North Florida, the Council on Culture and Arts, the Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence, United Partners for Human Services and the United Way of the Big Bend.
Visit www.BigBendGivesBack.org to see the entire list of registered 501(c) 3 nonprofits participating in the coalition and learn about the various ways you can give back on #GivingTuesday on Nov. 28. On Facebook, visit BigBendGivesBack and on Twitter, follow @GivingTues. On the #BigBendGivesBack website links to all 300 nonprofit organizations are listed serving as a one-stop shop for anyone who would like to donate to one of these organizations.
The website is up and running and links are live so donations can be made anytime! You don’t have to wait until Nov. 28.
Originally appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat
April 24, 2017 - by Ellen Piekalkiewicz
On May 10, United Partners for Human Services is holding its 18th Annual Conference at Tallahassee Community College. UPHS presents this conference each year as a way to provide a high-quality professional development experience for the human service professionals, however, this year the conference features two workshops that have a broader community appeal and impact.
The closing conference plenary at 3 p.m. will feature a presentation by Ray Kuniansky, Columbia Residential, LLC where attendees will participate in an interactive session that will serve as an introduction to the current plans by the Tallahassee Housing Authority to revitalize public housing in South City and how Columbia Residential will proceed with a community engagement model used in Atlanta, New Orleans, among other cities. This year, Columbia Residential, LLC celebrates 25 years of strengthening communities through providing quality housing and partnering with essential service providers.
Neighborhood revitalization is the way of the future. For families to succeed, sometimes the dynamics of their neighborhood have to change. The Neighborhood Revitalization that will be proceeding in South City will be a holistic approach that expands upon existing partnerships with residents, neighborhood associations, community leaders, government and school leaders; volunteers; and the private sector for increased impact.
This transformation has taken place thanks to the hard work of engaged citizens, partnerships with civic and business groups, and a renewed community spirit. We invite the Tallahassee community to attend this important plenary session. For additional information and to register (fee $20) please go to the UPHS website: www.uphsfl.org
The second session of broad community application, and which also is very timely for the community at large, is a workshop on disaster and emergency planning offered at 1:30 p.m. featuring: Jerome Gaines, Tallahassee Fire Chief; Jeri Bush, Director Volunteer Leon, Leon County; Matt Cavell, Assistant to the County Administrator for Community Relations and Resilience, Leon County; Kevin Peters, Emergency Management Director for Leon County; Chris Smith, Commercial Risk Manager, Rogers, Gunter, Vaughn Insurance; Joy Watkins, President and CEO, Community Foundation of North Florida.
The workshop will provide practical steps that organizations, both for-profit and non-profit, need to take to prepare. Yes, Hurricane Hermine is fresh on everyone’s mind; however, ‘Disaster’ goes well beyond fire, flood, and storms. Manmade disasters like theft, data breaches, system failures, and loss of crucial company data are often more tangible threats. If you were to go into your business tomorrow and everything was gone, what would you do? What would you need to focus on first to get back to serving clients? The answer to this question provides the blueprint for how organizations should prepare for disaster recovery.
This workshop features experts in disaster preparedness and those who have firsthand experience dealing with catastrophes. Learn the critical steps you can take to ensure that your organization survives the next small or large emergency situation, and gain the tools to be resilient, resourceful, and able to overcome. For additional information and to register (fee $20) please go to the UPHS website: www.uphsfl.org
UPHS extends special thanks to all the sponsors, partners, presenters and volunteers who are making our 2017 conference possible. We particularly want to recognize our Conference Nonprofit Hero, James Moore & Company whose commitment to the nonprofit network is unparalleled.
Other sponsors include: Prime Meridian Bank, Columbia Residential, LLC, Flying Bear, Moore Communications Groups, Inspired Technologies, Rogers, Gunter, Vaughn Insurance, Naumann Group; Sanders, Holloway & Ryan; Krizner Group, Strategic Benefits Group; CareerSource, For the Table Hospitality, Tallahassee Community College, Leon County and the City of Tallahassee. Their sustained support for the human service nonprofit sector helps us to reshape tomorrow.
Originally appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat