Sublette County SAFV Task Force
Here's a story from the Task Force, which received a $3,000 grant from the Sublette Community Foundation last year:
Sublette County’s SAFV Task Force “provides protection, assistance, and support to the victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.” The mission is a tough, delicate, and essential one. Our clients gain back the control for their lives again & have hope for the future, striving to be a survivor rather than a victim.
We helped a young, single mom get to Pinedale from out of state to flee from her abusive partner & father of her baby in a safe manner. She came to live with her mother. She came here with no job, no money, and a deep fear that her partner would find her. She was able to get a Protection Order and find a job.
She now is financially independent and has been promoted several times within her job. She is even partially (a lot) supporting her mother. She was fairly recently able to get full custody of her daughter. She now lives free & independent from her abuser. She goes to work each day no longer living in constant fear. She knows now that she deserves to be happy.
Family Crisis Center
The Family Crisis Center in Buffalo has a mission to provide safety, emergency shelter, education, and other support for victims of crime in Johnson County. In response to the repercussions of the economic downturn, they have also begun helping residents who are in danger of being evicted or having their power cut off by offering funding. Director Mary Kay Stafford tells us about such a situation.
“A young family with three children were in crisis,” Stafford says. “The mother has cancer. Doctors had already removed the cancer from another area, but now it was back. The husband has been her primary support. As a result of taking her to her appointments, missing time from work for her surgeries, and the state of our economy, his hours have been reduced. The medical costs have been huge. The family gradually became behind in all their living expenses.”
And when volunteer stipends were distributed at a recent meeting, every single volunteer decided not to accept the money, saying “No, please let us donate these funds back so that we can help meet the family’s needs.” Stafford acknowledges that “sometimes these problems can feel so overwhelming,” but through staff generosity and a little help from other agencies in the area, the family is “no longer facing eviction,” and that “their emotional strength is renewed.” Not only is the Wyoming Community Foundation honored to include the Family Crisis Center in its funded programs, but proud to see more Wyoming citizens go the extra mile.
Children's Advocacy Project
Think of a soft voice, a friendly place where there is no need to be afraid anymore, and a kind and listening adult who doesn’t demand that a child tell, retell, and tell yet again the story of how someone hurt them. The Child Advocacy Project (CAP) in Casper, which received a $50,000 grant through the Casper Area Community Foundation’s Schneider Fund and the LEK Endowment Fund in 2011, has undertaken the capacious mission to “break the cycle of abuse” and instigate “real system change” in the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse in Wyoming.
It’s hard to imagine that until about ten years ago it was common practice, through a failure to coordinate agencies, for a child who was abused to pass from a police department to a medical examiner to a prosecutor and repeat the same painful details over and over again. CAP was created to minimize the repetition of trauma by bringing together the constituent medical and legal investigators into one place so that a child only has to say what happened once and to only one person.
“We are in the business of trying to work ourselves out of a job.” So says Heather Ross, the directory of the Children’s Advocacy Project in Casper, showing a little humor. That hasn’t quite been the case so far, since she and her staff find themselves travelling throughout the state training others in proper investigative techniques and performing interviews themselves. This is necessary, because in Wyoming, only three cities—Jackson, Cheyenne, and Casper—have Children Advocacy Centers. In 2009, out of the 197 interviews performed by CAP, 99 were performed outside of Casper’s home county of Natrona.
Creating a space that minimizes multiple traumas to children means more than having an efficient plan. Part of the accreditation requirements at the Children’s Advocacy Project in Casper is making their place child-friendly. Director Heather Ross says the National Children’s Alliance “really believe that a facility that is not institutionalized is going to make a child feel comfortable and able to tell their story. When you walk in, you see a family room, a beautiful mural, toys, story books.”
“One of the proudest moments,” says Ross, “is when kids and their families come in after they have begun the healing process and we can really see the results of our mental health care work.” The Children’s Advocacy Project is a longtime grantee of the Wyoming Community Foundation.
Trooper's Drum & Bugle Corps
Finally, a wonderful letter from a participant in a well-known grantee of the Wyoming Community Foundation, which has received $30,000 in the last few years -- the Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps:
My name is Johnny Dickerson. I have lived in Douglas since I was in first grade and graduated from Douglas High School in 2008 where I played euphonium and trombone in the band. I’m now a sophomore student currently attending the University of Wyoming for my second year as a music major (Euphonium Performance). I receive lessons in euphonium and trombone from professors at the university, and am enrolled in eight ensembles, including the Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony, and Jazz 1.
During the summer I put down my concert instruments, pick up a marching baritone, and head off for three months with the Troopers. I’ve participated with the Troopers for two years, the 2008 and 2009 seasons. In 2008, I was awarded the “Brass Rookie of the Year” award, and for the upcoming 2010 season I am the baritone section leader, overseeing 22 of my peers. I am one of the few Troopers members who are from Wyoming, and the only one from in the hornline for the last three years.
In my daily life, I try to live out the Trooper tradition of HLD. I think marching for the last two years has done more for my work ethic and sense of duty than anything else I had previously done, especially with the ways it has helped me in college. Many people I meet in the school environment have no idea what it is like to have honor, loyalty, and dedication to their peers, and I try to bring this to the people around me. I can only hope that by the time I have graduated from UW that I have instilled at least a little of the feeling that only HLD can have to my peers, and of course in the Troopers.