(BASTROP) For many, a home is their haven of peace and escape from the world’s extraneous noise, but for some, their home becomes a battleground for domestic violence.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and here in Bastrop, the Family Crisis Center has designated Thursday, Oct. 18 as “Wear Purple Day” and is debuting the Inspire, Empower, and Thrive: Our Stories luncheon at the Bastrop Convention Center that day from 11:30-1:30.
“Family Crisis Center is excited to debut this new event that brings local women together and celebrates the many important roles we play in our community,” Sherry Murphy, Bastrop Family Crisis Center Executive Director, said. “The Center was founded by a very grassroots driven group of women. As such, we want to foster the strength of women in our community and pay tribute to the great accomplishments that we, as a community of women, have made over the years.”
Keynote speaker for the occasion is Gloria Terry the CEO of Texas Council on Family Violence and National Domestic Violence Hotline. Moderators Becki Womble, Bastrop Chamber of Commerce CEO, and Linda Humble-Gilley, Bastrop City Manager, will facilitate a discussion by the panelists on navigating personal and professional trials and successes and ways to maintain, or regain, commitment to growth and betterment.
Members of the panel include the following: Dr. Kristi Lee, BISD Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations; Sheila Lowe, Executive Director of Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team; Jill McNabb, Greater Texas Federal Credit Union Manager; Robbie Rabe, Seton Smithville Regional Hospital CAO; and Pricilla Ruiz, Ascension Catholic Church Youth Leader.
Tickets for the event should be reserved by Friday, Oct. 12 by visiting https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inspire-empower-and-thrive-our-stories-tickets-49348193776 or by stopping by the Family Crisis Center at 431 Old Austin Hwy., Bastrop.
The Family Crisis Center was established in 1981 by a coalition of rural Texas women who shared a vision of offering hope, support, and assistance to women victimized by domestic violence. Since becoming an incorporated nonprofit in 1983, the center is a community leader in Central Texas serving those families in Bastrop, Colorado, Fayette and Lee Counties.
For the areas served, The Family Crisis Center offers information and referral services, prevention education, violence intervention programs, and support services during and after an immediate crisis of domestic or sexual violence including hospital, legal, and medical accompaniment and advocacy.
In 2000 the Center expanded its 15-person max capacity shelter to include the current 30-person capacity shelter along with a 21-unit transitional housing apartment complex.
In 2017 alone, approximately 328 adults and children spent nights at the Family Crisis Center emergency shelter and another 67 people received supportive housing services. The Center reached 161 people through counseling services and approximately 7,450 children who attended one of the 321 prevention programs presented that year.
All of this comes with a price for The Crisis Center, so the organization depends upon its fundraising efforts and all of their volunteers.
The Center’s main revenue generator Bits and Pieces Thrift Shop located at 4107 Hwy. 71 E. helps offset the decrease in state and federal funding for such centers. The thrift shop established in May 2006 was a spinoff of garage sales beginning in 1992 that helped fund The Family Crisis Center services. With a ribbon cutting at the end of September, the reorganized thrift center offers all in the community an affordable shopping experience Monday through Saturday for furniture, home goods, sporting equipment, children’s items, clothing, and books & games. The thrift store also honors vouchers provided to those in need with 428 issued in 2017 benefitting 795 individuals for a total of $20,943.
Bits and Pieces depends upon donors and its volunteers for operation. Murphy said that volunteers are very vital to the agency and are utilized in various aspects. Currently, the Center has a pool of 18 trained volunteers that answer the Center’s 24-hour hotline during non-office hours by signing up for 4-10 hour shifts. In 2017, the hotline volunteers answered approximately 3,530 calls. Other volunteer opportunities include administrative, grounds, and special events with 7,310 hours clocked last year by 88 volunteers.
Ninety-five percent of domestic violence victims are women with the largest victim group consisting of 18-34-year-old females. Violence can be both physical and emotional with signs varying amongst relationships but including issues such as power struggles, possessiveness, and jealousy.
Those in crisis can seek intervention and advocacy 24/7 by calling 888-311-7755 or 512-303-7755 or by visiting the Family Crisis Center, located at 431 Old Austin Highway, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Anyone interested in learning more about volunteering with The Family Crisis Center can call 512-321-7760.