Bachelor of Science in Human Services, 2005
When Denise Ransom lost her job as a social worker with Child Protective Services (CPS), she was less concerned about finding another job and more concerned about the parents she used to help. How were they going to visit their children if there was less staff to provide visitation opportunities? Statistics show that families reunify at a greater rate when they can see each other on a regular basis.
Reflecting on why she became a social worker in the first place—to advocate for people who can’t advocate and take care of themselves— Denise explored the idea of starting a community-based family visitation center. With her last paycheck and money from her savings account, she started From My Heart To Your Heart. The California-based non-profit organization provides a spectrum of unique programs designed to model appropriate, safe and healthy parent-child interaction for family visitations. The visitation setting is less stressful and provides an inviting and fun environment in which parents can connect with their children.
The cornerstone of the center’s success is the collaborative effort that came together to make it happen. Denise pitched the idea of operating the organization out of her community church to her pastor, who was so inspired he gave her the keys to the church to use the facility when she needed it. She recruits local college students to volunteer and gain experience working with disenfranchised populations. Denise also works closely with CPS who refers families to the center and in turn meets the families’ visitation needs creating a win-win situation for all.
“It’s about the people that can’t represent themselves and we can be the voice for them. So it’s not about us. It’s connecting with those people that can’t speak for themselves and letting them know that they are worthy, loveable, cherished and valuable, and empowering them, so they can become empowered and empower somebody else,” shares Denise.