For most families in Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette counties, Thanksgiving is a time of celebration and togetherness.
Thanksgiving has extra meaning for families at Family Advocates, Inc. Although these families have all faced enormous challenges, this Thursday is an opportunity to be thankful for the support they have received from the community and to relish in hope of new beginnings.
“Thanksgiving at a shelter is bittersweet,” said Darlene Masters, executive director. “The victims and children we serve would certainly rather be safely living and celebrating the holiday in their own homes. But they are also appreciative of the assistance and support they have received here and for opportunity to share a special meal with fellow survivors.”
Masters hopes this Thanksgiving will be a positive one for the clients of Family Advocates, Inc.
“Our clients have overcome so much just to be here,” said Masters. “We want Thanksgiving to be a peaceful day for those who are especially yearning for peace and stability in their lives. The meal that will be shared at the shelter will be a celebration of survivors’ individual strength and the community-wide generosity that makes hope for a better future possible.”
Family Advocates, Inc. offers counseling, legal advocacy and other assistance to families who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and/or elder abuse. Family Advocates, Inc. says their intervention and prevention efforts have a positive impact beyond the individual families who seek services. The agency says their services also increase the health, safety and productivity of the entire community.
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin (formerly the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence), which is the statewide voice for victims of domestic violence, released a report earlier in the year that attributes millions of dollars of savings related to health care costs to Family Advocates, Inc. and other agencies like it across Wisconsin. The report also links victim services to the prevention of almost 100,000 missed days of work in Wisconsin.
“We have much to remember this Thanksgiving,” said Patti Seger, executive director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “We are thankful for the many brave and courageous survivors of domestic violence who have made better lives for themselves and their children. In doing so, they have made our communities and our state stronger. We should also be thankful for the over 70 domestic abuse victim service providers, including Family Advocates, Inc., that work every day to protect victims and make Wisconsin a safer place.”
Family Advocates, Inc. notes that community donations of money, time and household items sustain its lifesaving work. “A number of our supporters donate or give time around the holidays,” said Masters. ”We are so thankful for their generosity; it truly makes a world of difference in the lives of victims and their children.”