A letter from the Senior Director of YWCA’s Domestic Violence Intervention & Prevention Program:
As the snow pulled the curtain across October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month and our Power of the Purse Campaign, the DVIPP team finally have a moment to pause and look back on what a momentous month it has been for us.
I am in a state of joyful shock seeing that more than $100,000 has been raised for our program through Power of the Purse. These dollars have been earned through the collective hard work, passion, and dedication of our supporters and staff, and the generosity of a community at large. This incredible figure demonstrates to me what I always knew was true, but never had an ability to quantify: this community deeply cares about survivors. It is committed to creating safe, stable, nurturing environments that rejects violence and abuse. I see this commitment every day through the donations of essential items for shelter that show up at our door, the volunteers that so kindly give us their gift of time, the crowds of people who come to our events such as Claybowl and Holiday Bingo, and the partnerships we have with other agencies to support survivors.
Raising more than $100,000 dollars in one month is more than just a symbol of our support though. This money is going to have a real, tangible impact on what we can provide. Survivors of domestic and sexual violence need more than just our shelter. They need access to therapy to heal, they need furniture and homeware to set up new homes, they need to purchase ID and workwear to secure jobs, they need quality childcare for their children, they need advocates to stand with them in court when seeking justice and protection, they need bus tickets out of town to escape violence. Money to overcome the often systemic barriers that prevent them from moving forward. Our tirelessly dedicated staff need a living wage and workplace benefits to give them the stable base from which to carry the vicarious trauma of our work. Your donations do all this and more.
Your donations are also an investment into our longevity. Just this year four domestic violence shelters in Indiana had to close their doors either permanently or temporarily due to financial strain, and the long delays in receiving reimbursements of grant funding. At any one point we still are often owed $100,000 or more by our funders for the salaries and services we have already expended. Despite this, we continue to strive to expand our services, driven by the need of those we serve. Our program developments this year include adding our first on-staff therapist in our 40 year history who is doing the in-depth psychological work needed for survivors to heal. We have also established a Financial Empowerment program that combats the effects of financial abuse and provides match-savings dollars to survivors. In 2020 we plan to expand our Financial Empowerment program to include a workwear boutique and job training opportunities. We also are in the process of increasing our sexual violence service capacity and gaining recognition as an official Rape Crisis Center. None of this work would be possible without our community’s support.
If you’ve been inspired by what we’ve achieved so far, there are still ways you can support us. We need:
- crisis line volunteers to answer our phones
- local organizations to undertake large-scale clothing drives in order for us to access vital Goodwill vouchers
- gift cards to give us quick access to money to provide for survivors needs
- laundry detergent and other shelter items that you can purchase from local stores or online retailers like Amazon
More than anything, we need you to be our champions and to continue our mission in your day to day lives through promoting, embodying and demanding healthy, equitable, nurturing relationships between us all.
Thank you all for standing with us through October and the year to come,
YWCA Domestic Violence Intervention & Prevention Program (DVIPP)