Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Early Childhood Program

Hope House is committed to providing services to both children and their mothers. Often the services we offer to children also benefit mom. Our Early Childhood Program is an example of such a service.

The Early Childhood program offers licensed daycare for those children who reside in our shelter. It offers mom an opportunity to go to work or school without having to worry about the care her children are receiving, and it’s safe and fun for the kids.

A main goal of ours is for the kids to have the opportunity to be kids; to play and not have the worries that have plagued their family prior to coming into shelter. Our daycare offers this opportunity.

The rooms all meet licensing requirements and are stocked with age-appropriate toys that help the kids in their development. Kids spend time learning their colors, their ABCs and their numbers, and have an opportunity to work on their gross and fine motor skills.

It is wonderful to tour the daycare and hear the kids laughing and sharing with each other, or to go at naptime and see all of them nestled on their cots with their favorite toy or blanket to keep them company.

We are able to offer our staff a limited number of slots for childcare; it’s a benefit for staff, as well as another source of earned income for Hope House. An added benefit is that the shelter children are given the opportunity to play with other children who have not been traumatized. It has been an unexpected blessing for us as we are able to support our staff and clients at the same time.

To know that we are playing a part in helping kids recover from trauma and helping them reclaim their childhood is such an important part of our work. We are very proud of our program and the quality of services that we offer the children.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Does a Victim Ever Feel Safe?

I am often asked if a victim of domestic violence ever feels safe. From my perspective the answer isn’t a simple one - just like everything else with domestic violence. The hard truth is that many survivors of domestic violence do not ever fully feel safe. They take steps to protect themselves and to free themselves from their abuser, but are constantly looking over their shoulders and always on alert.

If children are involved there can be a level of fear the entire time the parents have to have interaction regarding the children. Children can be used as a means of control and if custody orders require visits then interaction can be frequent and the level of fear more constant.

Women have fled their home states and moved across the country only to be found and the torment to start again. The feeling of safety ebbs away even more each time a phone number has to be changed or relocation is necessary. Even work can be a place of fear if the abuser knows the location and waits in the parking lot for his current or former partner to walk to her car at lunch or after work.

Women have told me that they only felt safe while their abuser was in prison or after their abuser passed away. Only then did the feeling of safety truly come to them.

Yes, some survivors of domestic violence are able to feel safe and go about their lives without the feeling of constant fear. I am happy for them and thankful for whatever part Hope House or other services might have played in helping that become a reality.

The sad fact is that the level of fear can depend on the abuser and his willingness to stop the abuse. Is he willing to stop tormenting her and let her live her life in peace? The responsibility lies with the abuser, not the victim. His actions, and the level at which he is held accountable for those actions, make all the difference.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Donations and Urgent Needs

Can you imagine the amount of supplies it takes to meet the needs of 104 women and children every day? Well, I can tell you it takes a lot!

We do not charge our clients for our services or for the supplies they receive. It is important that they use their resources for things like school, rent, and gas to get work, etc. They do not need to be worrying about buying things like deodorant, toothpaste and shampoo.

Thankfully, neither do we. We do not have to budget for toilet paper, paper towels, diapers and other household needs. If we did, we know we would have to cut some of our services to accommodate the increase in the expenses.

Our supply of household items comes to us in a variety of ways. Individuals and groups will hold drives to bring in needed items; others have hosted parties with admission being a package of toilet paper or bottle of shampoo. Others learn of our needs through our Urgent Needs List, an email list of people who have asked to be alerted when we have an urgent need. We send out the need and instantly people respond. If you'd like to be added to our Urgent Needs List, please email us at

We have several easy ways for you to help us get the supplies we need:

1) Go to our wishlist on and have the items shipped to us. Seach for Hope House under Wish List, then look for our familiar logo. 

2) Go to our website and click on the Donate Now button. We will purchase the items ourselves with your donation.

3) Send/bring us gift cards for WalMart, Target or any place that sells the items we need.

Here are some items that are currently urgent needs. This list is also found on our website and is updated as needs change.

Paper Towels
Toilet paper
Adult cold medicine (all kinds)
Wash cloths
Size 4 diapers
Ethnic hair care products

We are extremely grateful to the members of our communities who give so generously to help us meet these needs. Without all of you, we would have to turn our resources to these daily needs, rather than focusing on the services which help people deal with the pressing issues in their lives.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Point In Time Survey

The National Network Against Domestic Violence (NNEDV) has released the results from their 5th annual Point In Time Study. This study is done once a year, to calculate the number of people across the country who are receiving domestic violence services on a given day (September 15, 2010).

This study gives us the opportunity to talk about the need in our country, and to highlight the services that are offered. It also allows us to see the unmet need and what work still needs to be done. This gives us information to discuss with our elected officials in order to address the needs of a very vulnerable population.

The national numbers are astounding to comprehend:

• 70,648 victims across the country received safe shelter.
• 33,129 received non-residential services.
• 23,522 hotline calls were answered
• 9,541 requests for services were unmet.

In Missouri on that day:

• 2,114 victims found safety in emergency shelters or transitional housing.
• 740 adults and children received non-residential services including groups and individual counseling.
• 286 people across the state were turned away due to lack of capacity.

Reports from the other programs were consistent with what we are seeing at Hope House: the economy has definitely impacted the number of people seeking services and resources in the community are down. The need continues to be overwhelming across our country.

The NNEDV website ( ) reports: Across the nation on September 15, 2010, three women were murdered by their intimate partners. 36 babies were born to mothers living in domestic violence shelters. 391 survivors started new jobs. Three men committed suicide – one after murdering his wife, another after a failed attempt to kill his girlfriend, and the third after holding his partner hostage and a standoff with the police.

So we continue to be challenged by the ever increasing need, and we will continue to rise above the challenge and meet the needs of those we serve.