It was my great privilege to work with the staff at Shelter Home of Caldwell County N.C. for the past few years. This domestic violence and sexual assault agency runs the oldest domestic violence shelter in the state of North Carolina. It was a challenge and a great learning experience to work with Lisa Clontz on the development of a pilot program to address the multiple needs of undocumented immigrant survivors, older victims and those with complex disabilities. These populations often fall through the cracks and are either rejected by or exited quickly from shelters without receiving the intense medical, legal, and/or psychological services they deserve and require to heal & be successful and safe.
As difficult as the work was, I would not take anything for the experience and for how it grew me as an advocate. I really appreciate this thoughtful plaque they recently gave me after I retired from full-time work to move into consulting, training and expert witness work and spend more time with my husband and family. Agencies like this that constantly strive for more and better services for victims, not settling to do just the basics, have my deepest respect. It is incredibly demanding work and requires a staff that is willing and eager to go way above and beyond the usual tasks involved in already exceedingly difficult work. I have learned that the difference occurs when an Executive Director and staff see their work as a mission - not just a job - and embrace victims and survivors with radical compassion, an empowerment-based philosophy and truly comprehensive, individualized services.