The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

February 6, 2013

There are many ways to help the YWCA

CLINTON — Imagine someone you love being beaten, battered, or sexually assaulted.  

It’s a horrifying thought that no one should have to face. 

But, the fact is, over 800 people each year in Clinton and Jackson counties reach out to the YWCA for crisis services, so that they can take that brave first step towards healing.

Crisis services in our local community are going to look much different over the next few years, due to regionalization because of federal and state funding cuts. 

With your help, we know we can make this transition a positive one for our community.  Here’s more information and, more importantly, what you can do to help. 

Since 1978, the Clinton YWCA has served both Clinton and Jackson counties with domestic violence/sexual assault services.  Every year, victims in these two counties receive court advocacy, medical advocacy, counseling, and/or shelter.  This past July, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller proposed regionalization for victim services.  Locally, the YWCA of Clinton plans to partner with Family Resources Inc. in Davenport, Iowa and Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) in Iowa City, Iowa to keep victim services local.

The YWCA Board of Directors’ first priority is the welfare of victims who need services.  The projected loss of state funding for Clinton and Jackson counties is estimated at $256,000.   As talks continue with region partners, the YWCA will work hard to make sure services in our counties are not interrupted, lacking, or non-existent.  It is critical for our communities to sustain much needed shelter services, court advocates, sexual assault advocates, advocate response to hospitals and law enforcement centers, prevention programs in our schools, Domestic Abuse Response Teams, and Sexual Abuse Response Teams.   Not doing so will place undue burdens on local law enforcement, court systems, hospitals, and mental health/substance abuse providers in our communities.  

The YWCA has begun a grassroots effort to raise $100,000 for fiscal year 2014 to help keep local services accessible to victims.  It is only $100,000 and not the total loss of $256,000 because of other grants the YWCA has received and a re-organization of job responsibilities for Crisis Services staff.  In order for this to succeed, we are now reaching out to our local government, individuals, and churches within Clinton and Jackson counties to ask for help.   

What can you do?

• Call or write a letter to your local city or county board expressing your support of funding these vital services

• Ask your church to give a donation

• Call or write a letter to your federal legislators asking them to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act,  increase the cap on Victims of Crime Act funding, and support victim services

• Donate food, household cleaning supplies, gift cards, or toiletries to the shelter

• Volunteer

• Make a donation and challenge others to match it

• Write a letter of support to the YWCA of Clinton supporting the partnership with Family Resources and RVAP to keep services local

We are all humbled by the outcry of support you have already shown.  There is much more to do.  We are confident our community will rise up and face this challenge together.

For more information on how you can help, please contact YWCA Executive Director Lori Freudenberg at 242-2110 or YWCA Crisis Service Director Ronelle Clark at 242-2118.

YWCA Board of Directors,

Lori Freudenberg, Jennifer Graf, Heather Farwell, Claudia Clarkson, Christine Grant, Tracy Reynolds,  Jenny Boysen, Patti Robinson, Andrea Barnett, Gaile Brinkman, Cathy Crosser, Diane Dethmann, Beth Freehill, Zandra Hayes, Kelly Jergenson, Kelly Larkey, Meg Schebler, Liz Srp, Mary Swanson, Wanda Wyatt

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