Helping the Women’s and Children’s Alliance Help Others
by Pamela Kleibrink Thompson, photos by Tiffany Howard
My dream is that one day, we would not be necessary,” shares Susan Kelley, Development Director of the Women and Children’s Alliance of Boise. WCA’s mission is to provide safety, healing, and freedom from domestic abuse and sexual assault.
Despite Kelley’s wish, WCA continues to be vitally necessary. WCA gives women and children impacted by domestic violence a safe place to recover and start anew. WCA’s licensed professional clinicians provide individual counseling sessions.
“According to the United States Center for Disease Control’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, one in four women and one in seven men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner,” notes Chris Campbell- Davis, WCA Communications Manager.
Women and children find safe shelter at a 15-room safe house called Serena’s House, named after board member Serena McIlvain. Having successfully completed a capital campaign, there will soon be a new shelter located at the same site which will provide additional housing options.
All the services of the WCA are free. Half of WCA’s funding comes from grants, the rest from private donations and earned income. Kelley would like to decrease reliance on grant funding since grants are not always guaranteed.
Several Boise companies help with fundraising efforts. P.F. Chang’s in Bodo has sponsored an all-day Christmas extravaganza three years in a row, ensuring that families had plenty of holiday joy. Employees Joshua Foulk and Brad Philips wrote and performed original Christmas songs to promote the fundraisers for the Women’s and Children’s Alliance. The music videos were directed and edited by Travis Bloedel, another talented P.F. Chang’s staff member. The videos can be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/B9XxOVNwpUA and https:// youtu.be/8mgEeAVlsk4. “P.F. Chang’s Boise is always looking for an opportunity to give back. The WCA is a worthy cause,” stated Lissa Hamilton, former Operating Partner.
Art Zone 208 is hosting a juried show and fundraising benefit called Palette for Hope for the WCA. The opening reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres—on Thursday, September 15 from 6 pm to 9 pm—features music by the Divas of Boise, live and silent auctions, and a raffle to benefit the WCA. The area fine artists exhibiting at Art Zone 208 from September 15-October 1 are donating 30% of all sales to the WCA.
The WCA’s signature fundraiser, their annual Healing Begins with Hope Breakfast, will take place in September. During this one-hour program, guests hear testimonies of how the WCA provides safety, healing, and freedom to families and learn about the extent of domestic violence. This fundraiser benefits the WCA’s safe shelters and supportive programs for those escaping domestic abuse and sexual violence.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, designed to spotlight the complex issues surrounding domestic violence and how the community can help promote healthy relationships.
Keep an eye out for hundreds of T-shirts painted by survivors of domestic abuse and their children portraying their experiences as an exercise in art therapy. WCA’s clients share a wide range of experiences on the shirts—pain and fear, but also hope and healing. Displayed in more than 50 businesses around the Treasure Valley in October, the clotheslines of T-shirts are designed to raise awareness of the lasting impact of domestic abuse. You’ll find the T-shirts at the downtown Library, Big City Coffee, Boise Bicycle Project, D.L. Evans, Flying M, Washington Trust Bank, and other locations.
The WCA also joins the BSU Women’s Center for an on-campus Clothesline Project during the month, with a 30-shirt display, WCA outreach table at the SUB patio, and an opportunity to make shirts in the Women’s Center lounge.
The seventh annual SueB 5K Run/Walk hosted by the WCA will be held on October 2 at 1 pm at Julia Davis Park in Boise to promote healthy relationships and to help raise awareness about domestic abuse. The 5K is held in memory of “SueB,” a woman who died in 2008 from a suspicious accident while horseback riding with her husband in the Eagle, Idaho foothills. After her death, family and friends began to realize that Sue was very likely involved in an abusive marriage. Sue’s close friends and family wanted to honor her memory and help others who might be in similar situations. Through the annual SueB Memorial 5K Walk/Run, more than $75,000 has been raised for the WCA Endowment Fund and they hope to raise an additional $25,000 in 2016.
The WCA is partnering with the Employee Association of the Ada County Paramedics to raise funds to support survivor services at the WCA and to raise awareness of the daily occurrence of domestic and sexual abuse in our community.
“Don’t wait until your sister, daughter, or mother is a victim of domestic abuse or sexual assault; step forward now and make an investment in the WCA to raise awareness about domestic violence,” said Marjory Sente, Sue’s sister.
Kendall Ford in Meridian is donating $20 to the WCA for each test drive on October 13 from 9 am-8 pm. There will be WCA staff members on site as well as music and food.
WCA Board member Debbie Cleverley points out, “Abuse is not always physical. It can be emotional too.” Kelley notes, “It’s an issue of control.” We can hope that someday Kelley’s dream will be a reality and the WCA will no longer be necessary.
The support from community businesses and organizations provides individuals a variety of ways to contribute to the WCA’s efforts. We can all be part of the effort to end domestic violence.