By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
As Domestic Violence Awareness Month gets under way, A Friend’s House is celebrating the receipt of two grants that will help to fund local programming.
This fall, the Mary Kay Foundation awarded $3 million in grants to 150 domestic violence shelters across the United States. A Friend’s House received a $20,000 grant to maintain critical services and programs for individuals who are survivors of domestic abuse.
A Friend’s House is Madison County’s intimate partner and family violence prevention program. The organization provides temporary emergency shelter to victims and their children, along with other services. The number of victims seeking services from A Friend’s House tripled in the first half of 2013.
The Mary Kay grant will allow A Friend’s House to implement new programming and strengthen current programs, including “Silent No More,” an adult educational and motivational group, “Healthy Relationships Start Here, “ a set of youth groups, and “Helping Parents Break the Cycle,” parenting classes.
“Our staff, volunteers and clients are so thankful for this grant,” said Niki Glispie, executive director for A Friend’s House. “We’ve provided a safe haven for women who have fled abusive relationships for the past 19 years, and this grant will go a long way in helping us to serve the growing needs of Madison County.”
A Friend’s House also recently received a $5,000 grant from Verizon. The money will be used to provide upgraded programming for youth groups. Marilyn Chaffin, court and community advocate, played an integral part in securing the grant.
In the last two months, Chaffin and Glispie have sent out 25 applications for various grants. The Mary Kay and Verizon grants are the first to be approved. While they are hoping for more, A Friend’s House supporters also have been busy organizing fundraisers, including a spaghetti dinner that took place Sept. 30 and a Zumbathon on Oct. 5.
The annual Cocktails with Friends will take place in November at Rothwell’s Neighborhood Restaurant in London. Inmates at London Correctional Institution held a “Yard Day” fundraiser in August, raising $1,443.90 for A Friend’s House.
“(A Friend’s House) is a good organization that serves a huge need in the county,” said Madison County Commissioner David Dhume who, with fellow commissioners Mark Forrest and Paul Gross, signed a proclamation on Sept. 30 declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Madison County.
A Friend’s House will hold its annual candlelight vigil to honor victims of domestic violence at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at the gazebo in Cowling Park.
To learn more about A Friend’s House, visit their Facebook page or call (740) 852-7761 or 1-800-341-1447.
Education meetings and programs
A Friend’s House offers educational and motivational group meetings and programs for survivors and children affected by family violence.
• Survivor Group. For survivors, this group meets on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Topics include but are not limited to definitions of domestic violence, types of abuse, dynamics of power and control, safety plans, healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, self care, coping skills, how to process past abuse, and embracing the future. Call Eric at (740) 852-7761.
• Youth Groups. For youths exposed to family violence, these groups meet on Mondays and Thursdays. Groups will be provided with age appropriate information and will focus on identifying health vs. unhealthy relationships. Age groups are: 2-5 years old, 6-12, and 13-17. For more information, contact Bre at (740) 852-7761.
• Parenting Classes. Survivors will learn how to communicate with their children, express their feelings in a healthy way about their abuse, practice new problem-solving skills, learn how intimate partner and family violence affects children, and more. Bi-weekly group and individual appointments are available at the convenience of participants. Call Niki at (740) 852-7761.
Domestic Violence Statistics
• In 2008, nearly 103,000 primary victims in Ohio received services from the domestic violence programs, and 4,192 women and 3,697 children were provided with emergency safe housing.
• Batterers of women are highly likely to abuse their children: 49 percent of batterers abuse their children compared to 7 percent of non-abusive partners.
• In Ohio in 2011, there were 37 domestic violence victim related fatalities and 18 offender related domestic violence fatalities.
• One in three Americans have witnessed an incident of domestic violence.