These stories explain one of the reasons that the COSY Board of Directors formed the COSY Trust. Prior to the Trust providing ancillary funding support, the team had to “get creative” when it came to removing barriers to services needed by our clients.
COSY worked with a 9 year old Middle School student who lived with his mother and two special needs siblings. The COSY Team recognized that the primary source of his behavior problems were stemming from the fact that there was no male role-model in the home and “not enough Mom to go around.” With two special needs children, this single mother had very little time to devote to her son. Mom mentioned in the COSY Staffing that her son was fascinated by the martial arts and she would love to find a way to sign him up for classes but she simply couldn’t afford it.
COSY contacted a local Karate Club and told the owner about their dilemma. The owner agreed to provide the boy with the equipment and supplies he would need and to waive all fees except for $30/month. COSY identified two donors in the community who would each be willing to contribute $15/month to cover these costs. Since they didn’t want to get a reputation, but wanted to remain anonymous, COSY went to the Karate Club owner and asked him for two bank deposit slips for their bank account. Copies were made of the slips and provided to the donors. Once a month each donor would deposit $15 in cash into the Karate Club bank account and the student was allowed to enroll.
The classes not only provided the boy with a sense of belonging, male guidance and discipline but provided his mother with a respite so that she could take care of herself as well. The difference in the boy’s behavior (and the family’s success) was incredible!
COSY works to remove the barriers in our systems that prevent children and families from receiving needed services. For example, we worked with a 7 year old little girl who lost both of her parents and had no living relatives. In order to find a safe place to live, she was going to lose her home, school, neighborhood and friends on top of losing her parents!
Everyone who worked with this little girl agreed that the one thing that has been helping her cope with her loss has been her dance classes. But since dance is not considered a therapeutic service—no agency was able to fund the classes. COSY’s unique position in the community allowed us to pay for those dance classes and help one child become a little more resilient, a little more capable of growing into a productive member of our community. This kind of creative problem solving has become the hallmark of the COSY collaborative process.