Last November, Keith and Susan Ortiz, owners of Tri-Valley Bodyworks, called CALICO to schedule a tour. Little did we know then that they would become two of CALICO’s strongest advocates. Keith and Susan have shown themselves to be true leaders in our community—encouraging open, honest discussions about child abuse and the need for healing.
Launched in 1993, TriValley Bodyworks has helped hundreds of clients find relief from pain through bodywork and neuromuscular therapy. Keith and Susan decided to use the success of their business to contribute to a cause they were passionate about: helping children recover from the physical and emotional pain of abuse.
Their connection to the issue was personal. Keith told us that he had been troubled for years by memories of abuse that he had suffered as a child. For a long time he didn’t tell anyone, keeping his pain bottled up until the day he heard hockey player Sheldon Kennedy on the radio discussing how his coach had sexually abused him. At that moment, Keith resolved to tell someone and begin his own healing process.
Thanks to a friend, Keith and Susan discovered CALICO, which provides services that were not available when Keith was a child. From our initial meeting, Keith and Susan dedicated all their resources to educating the community about CALICO’s work and have given generously of their time and services. For example, at CALICO’s Partner Appreciation Lunch in April they gave attendees free massages, working late into the afternoon. They also became active on our Facebook page—sharing posts about CALICO’s successes, updates on child abuse issues, and prevention tips.
Most recently, Keith and Susan used the occasion of Tri-Valley Bodyworks’ 20th anniversary to raise awareness about and funds for CALICO. Held on July 20th, the event has raised an impressive $18,000 in donations, and counting!
While attending to a myriad of event details, Keith and Susan continued to spread the word about CALICO’s work. Checks began to arrive, as well as in-kind donations of goods and services. So did messages of support and encourageme
nt. One donor posted, “My sincere thanks to Keith and Susan for using their anniversary celebration as an opportunity to speak out, for drawing us into the circle of change and giving us the privilege of changing families and of taking back the darkness.”
Keith took a moment to share the following:
With every opportunity that I have had to tell someone about what CALICO does for the children of our community and why it means so much to me, I become more and more comfortable in my own skin and the scars that once held me become less and less restrictive. I cannot even express what this has meant to me and how it has helped to continue the healing process.
The day of the event, dozens of individuals volunteered their time, including members of the 66th M.O.B. (Making Oakland Better) Charities. Attendees bid generously on over thirty auction items, and many people made direct donations. By all counts the event was a tremendous success, and CALICO continues to receive emails and phone calls from individuals and businesses interested in volunteering, holding their own fundraisers on our behalf, and offering services at CALICO events. The response has been a joyful affirmation of the generosity of our community, inspired by passionate volunteers like Keith and Susan Ortiz.