Someplace Safe celebrates 35 years of helping those in need
For 35 years, Someplace Safe has provided three keys to a better future to those who need it most: safety, options, and above all, hope.
To mark that milestone, friends of Someplace Safe from near and far will come together to share stories, raise funds, and enjoy an evening of fun on May 9 at Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria. The celebration and fundraiser will feature special guests and success stories, the presentation of Someplace Safe's Community Awards, a three-course meal, a silent auction and a performance by Midwest Dueling Pianos.
Someplace Safeï¿½s Community Award winners include survivors, volunteers and allies. Survivor award winners are Jenna Kettner and Jacki Maethner Jorud. Volunteer award winners are Michael Blumer, VendlaVJBlock, Glenwood Potpourri Club members, Susan Gooch, Diann Guenther, Greg and Lisa Harris, Lesley Hoplin, and Ruth Plaster. Someplace Safe Allies Heather Brandborg, assistant Otter Tail County attorney; Jason Reed, Morris Police Department; and Judge Charles Glasrud, 8th Judicial District Court judge, will be honored as well.
Tickets to the special event are $50 and include the meal and Midwest Dueling Pianos performance. Visit www.someplacesafe.info/35years
to purchase tickets or call 218-739-2853 with questions.
Someplace Safe: then and now
In 1979, the Region IV Council on Domestic Violence opened its doors in Fergus Falls as an emergency shelter for victims of domestic abuse. After providing a safe haven for victims of domestic violence for 11 years, the organization expanded to other communities in the region, including Glenwood. Advocacy offices are currently located in Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, Wadena and Wilkin counties.
With the expansion into more communities spanning those nine counties came an opportunity to also expand the services and programming offered. Multiple parenting time centers opened in 1993 and several thrift stores were started over the years to provide some financial support and needed items for clients. Even the name has changed. In 2003, the Region IV Council on Domestic Violence officially became Someplace Safe, a name that better represented the organization's expanded services.
"The organization is ever changing and growing," said Beth Peltier, Glenwood Someplace Safe crime victim advocate. But the mission at its core remains the same: to eliminate violence and oppression.
Peltier started with Someplace Safe of Glenwood in 2009. "I wanted to start doing something with meaningï¿½something to give back to the community," she said.
Looking at the numbers, the community need is definitely there. In 2013 alone, Someplace Safe served at least 4,564 individuals and their families across the nine-county region. "Our numbers grow every year; I'd like to think itï¿½s because they're finding us and weï¿½re more accessible," said Peltier.
In addition to the growing numbers of clients served, Peltier said sheï¿½s seen the types of needs change as well. Right now, she said sheï¿½s seeing a lot more harassment in teenagers, and an escalation in the level of violence of that harassment. The advance of technology and social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat has changed the face of harassment, said Peltier, sometimes making it easier to perpetrate and harder to track.
On the flip side, Diane Kittelson, Someplace Safe director of education and training, said they're also seeing more volunteerism. More than 604 volunteers gave at least 10,960 hours of service to Someplace Safe in fiscal year 2013. Those volunteer hour contributions equaled an economic impact worth nearly $245,000.
Peltier and Kittelson said they wanted to thank the many volunteers from the community who help them throughout the year, including members of the Glenwood Potpourri Club, the StarWaska Women, SADD students, and area churches.
As Someplace Safe enters its next 35 years, Kittelson emphasized that education for all age groups is the key to prevention. Peltier said Somplace Safe staff and volunteers are always available for presentations to groups, from elementary age to senior citizens.
To learn more about Someplace Safe and its advocacy, education and services to assist victims, survivors, families and the community, visit www.someplacesafe.info or call 634-3483.