Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Solid Foundation for Survivors

By: Emily Ostrowski

 Often at people’s darkest hours is when YWCA provides the help they seek. When those people come into our office, we want them to feel at ease and empowered. One of the first and most fundamental ways to do this is to create an environment that feels comfortable and have available up-to-date resources to assist them and their families.

Earlier this year, YWCA completed a facilities upgrade for a Survivors of Violence project thanks to a generous grant from United Way, an organization with a long history of commitment to healthy families and communities.

The grant of $13,120 focused on two important facilities upgrades. First, the grant allowed us to replace 15-year-old carpet in the wing of the building which houses the SafeChoice Domestic Violence Program and Sexual Assault Program. Nancy Prager, Office and Facilities Manager, worked side-by-side with volunteers to help remove and replace the carpet in January. She was excited to learn that some of the volunteers were from United Way; the same individuals who approved the grant in the first place. They were able to see firsthand just how much their contribution improved our facilities.

 The second part of the upgrade provided new equipment to the adult resource room, the teen resource room, and the interview room used by advocates during their sessions. Among these items were two new, high-speed computers, new printers, a flat screen television, and a new DVD player. 

The benefits of these upgrades go far beyond just improving our facilities' aesthetic. It’s about making people feel empowered. The new computers make it easier for people to access resources, look for jobs or housing, stay in contact with loved ones, or just unwind and browse the internet. Children can watch a movie, or play with some of the new toys purchased for SafeChoice while their parents work with an advocate. It’s about making people feel empowered.

 When talking about the impact these upgrades have on the people we serve, Nancy puts it simply, “Without the facility you can’t provide advocacy and services.” Thanks to the generosity and wonderful support YWCA received from United Way we now have a facility which is vastly better equipped to advocate for and empower survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, and help build healthier, safer lives for themselves and their families.

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