Friday, July 20, 2012

Volunteer Dentists are Saving Smiles

Two years ago, we were starting a huge construction project at our campus in Independence. Part of the upgrade included a Medical/Dental room. We wanted our clients to have access to these basic services without having to leave the safety of our campus.

The dental portion of that room is now open, thanks to the assistance of Dr. Morrison and Dr. Ryder, our volunteer dentists.

What an educational process this has been! None of us on the Hope House side is a dentist, and that was evident as Dr. Morrison and Dr. Ryder discussed with us all of the needs of a dental room. I had no idea what was involved!

Dr. Ryder has been volunteering his services in the room and has seen 55 clients to date. It has been amazing the work that he has completed, and the transformations in client’s health that have taken place.

He’s performed cleanings, extractions, fillings, and taken x-rays. His services so far are valued at over $16,000; money our clients do not have. Without his volunteer efforts, they most likely would have continued to go without treatment.

In domestic violence situations, it’s very common for victims to push their own health needs to the back burner, and dental needs are even further behind. Untreated dental conditions can cause serious health concerns, so having this resource available to our clients has been invaluable.

Having the dental room on site allows the clients easier access to services and eliminates the need for childcare, which could be a real obstacle if clients had to access services off site. Unfortunately, there are times that going off site is necessary, due to emergency needs and the complexity of services.

We are grateful to Dr. Morrison who has been offering emergency dental services to our clients for over 20 years. He has opened his office doors to anyone in crisis with no other resources available to them. He has made a huge difference in so many lives.

If you are a dentist or hygienist and are interested in volunteering your time and talents to our clients, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Gretchen Schmitz, at or 816-257-9342. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

National Advocacy Day

I had the privilege of traveling to Washington DC in June to attend National Advocacy Day, sponsored by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). Advocacy Day brings together domestic violence advocates from across the country to discuss the latest news, trends and legislation that impacts the services we provide.

Advocates from across the state of Missouri were there. We had a very productive day meeting with all of the Congressmen/women and Senators from Missouri. The topic of conversation throughout the day was the controversy that has arisen surrounding the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

This is the first time the reauthorization has become controversial. The House and Senate each passed very different versions of the bill. We spent the day discussing the “hot button” issues, and strategies for the two sides to come together. 

As always, the Missouri delegation welcomed us and listened to our concerns. Everyone continues to be supportive of VAWA overall, but no one was really sure how to bridge the differences. Discussion continues and everyone voiced hope that a resolution could be reached.

If you would like more information about the reauthorization of VAWA, the NNEDV website has accurate and up to date information regarding the process and the “hot button” issues. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Celebrating Independence

Our country celebrated Independence Day yesterday. Normally when we think of Independence Day we think of fireworks, cook outs and celebrating our freedom and independence as a country.

But I also think about the thousands of people we work with who are creating new lives and celebrating their own newly found independence living a life free of violence.

I love thinking of those who have not only survived DV, but are now thriving and have reclaimed their freedom. They wake up every day knowing they are free to make their own decisions about their lives, and free to enjoy their children and their families without the fear of someone being harmed.

I am thankful for the freedoms we have in this country; thankful for those who continue to fight for our freedoms, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their life for their country.

I am also thankful for all who support Hope House and who assist us in helping those who don’t have their independence; those who are not yet free of the violence. For those people, we will continue to be here providing services and we will help how ever we are able.

We look forward to the day that everyone is celebrating their freedom from a life of violence. Until then, we will continue to work to break the cycle of violence once and for all.