I have always been full of grand ideas, wanting to be involved, organize, be the leader or director and it really kicked in for me in the sixth grade, at Jefferson Elementary School on 19th Avenue in San Francisco.
I had the most wonderful teacher, Mr. Ferrari, I thought the world of him, and I believe he saw a spark in me that he helped nurture., and has led me to a profession of leadership.
With his encouragement and help, the support of my mother, and the approval of the school administration, I organized a trip to the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital also on 19th Avenue to sing Christmas carols.
Today, I continue to lead, organize and yes, have grand ideas and one way I volunteer is by being involved with the Kiwanis Club of Perryville.
This week our guest speaker was Emily Macdonald, Executive Director of Regional Family Crisis Center here in Perryville.
I thought I would be prepared for some of the information she would share in her presentation, but I was not even close. I want to share part of Macdonald with you. Perhaps it will spark a willingness to volunteer with them or to help someone in need.
The Regional Family Crisis Center provides services to men, women and children, but only houses women and children.
Domestic Violence or as Emily referred to it “DV” is a topic no one wants to talk about but is probably more prevalent than anyone realizes.
One out of four women have or will experience DV in their life. The most uncomfortable moment of the whole presentation was when she said to look at the three closest women to you, and one out of the four of you have or will experience DV. There was a poignant silence following that revelation.
DV does not discriminate against race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other demographic.
In 2019, 36,000 people in Missouri had some sort of DV resource they had to use, with 3,000 in the Southeast region.
Sixty percent of the adults who use the services offered are between the ages of 25 to 45, and 80 percent of the children who are served are younger than 13.
One in 15 children are exposed to DV every year and 90 percent of these exposures are first hand experiences or eyewitness to violence.
Female children who are exposed to their parents domestic violence are at a higher rate of experiencing domestic violence themselves as compared to those daughters who had parents who did not have DV issues.
Services provided to those staying there are a family advocate, a child advocate, a drug and alcohol counselor, and a court advocate.
Other provisions provided, are food, toys, clothes, school supplies, bedding, anything they need. Everything they are given is theirs, when they leave it goes with them.
Many times when a family comes to the center, they only have what is on their backs or in their vehicle, if they even have one.
I was impressed that the first couple of days at the center they are given time and space to acclimate to the new environment before plans of action are discussed. Emily said this gives them a chance to decompress and feel safe.
I can support the crisis center several ways, support their thrift shop, make donations, volunteer and most importantly, acknowledge the existence of Domestic Violence and not make it a taboo subject but one to address and let everyone know there is help and resources available.
If you or someone you know needs help the Regional Family Crisis Center Hotline number is 877-527-4747.
Beth Durreman is the publisher of the Republic-Monitor. She may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-547-4567.