Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Coming to Shelter

Coming to shelter can be one of the most intimidating steps a survivor takes on her road to escape abuse. Leaving behind all that she knows and all that she has can be scary.

The first couple of days in shelter will be spent adjusting to the new routines and getting oriented. Kids will need to be enrolled in school, if the decision is made to change schools. If she decides to keep the kids in their home school, that school is contacted to arrange transportation for the child.

Our goal is to make the shelter environment as home-like as possible. We want to make sure she and her children have stability, and feel safe and secure. We provide everything that they need: toilet paper, paper towels, tooth paste, shampoo and other personal care items, clothing, and meals. Residents don’t have to worry about spending money on these things because we are able to get most of the items donated by our caring community.

Each woman in shelter is assigned an Advocate. The advocates work with her to identify her strengths, areas of need, her goals, and obstacles to accomplishing her goals. To help her on that path, we offer individual and group counseling (for both women and children), parenting support and substance abuse counseling.

We do not have a set length of stay for shelter. We feel strongly that everyone’s needs are different. It’s difficult to say that in 60 days a woman will have her needs addressed and now it’s time for her to leave shelter.

We do not tell women what to do or what to think, but help them to determine what they want for themselves as they begin their journey toward a life free of abuse.

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