As the Elmore County Domestic Violence Council prepares to celebrate the Grand Opening of Evans Harmony House, Elmore County’s first safehouse for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what has been done in this community over the past year.
Last year the ECDVC announced its intentions to open this much needed resource for our community. After finding a building that would work for them they began preparing for the remodeling, furnishing and equipping of a safe place for victims to get their feet back under them. Not a small feat, as the non-profit began working with the resources they had to make their dream a reality.
And then our community did what it does best and showed up, again and again and again. I’ve lost count of the number of times a ECDVC Facebook post would pop up on my newsfeed and have me teary eyed. There have been so many people, so many businesses and so many organizations that have come forward to lend a hand. But, what has continued to get to me is what our youth has done for the organization. Kids from all walks of life have done amazing things to help get this safehouse ready for successfully turning victims into survivors. How many children have we highlighted in this newspaper over the past year for what they have stepped up to do? I wish I had kept a better count.
Our youth have organized supply drives, have donated time painting and built bunk beds. Others have asked for guests at their birthday parties to forgo presents in exchange for supplies for residents of the shelter. The kids in this community are truly amazing, giving individuals who have such bright lives ahead of them.
I have followed all of the happenings with the council this past year very closely, not just because it is so vitally important to our county, but it touches me on a very personal level, as well. Sixteen years ago I lost a childhood friend at the hands of her abuser. Our community lost not only her, but her unborn child. It was devastating for so many people and I know we all miss her so much. It is often said when someone passes that “their smiles or laughs filled people with joy” or that “they lit up every room they entered.” With her, it truly was that way.
Her beautiful soul caused many people in this community to dedicate themselves to the ECDVC, I can honestly say and I truly believe she was a guiding force in this shelter being built. Her mom has worked tirelessly to help victims, guided by the need to make sure no one else ends up like her daughter or the grandchild she was never given the opportunity to hold. Her memory has never faded from the minds of her friends and family. Many of them have worked with, donated to and supported the council in any and every way possible and has helped turn it into what it is today. My own family does everything we can to support the cause and let her family know how much she means to us. I know others have done the same. Just last year after the announcement that a safehouse was in the works an anonymous donor gave the council $5,000 in her memory.
Her loss is still something that is hard to even think about, I’m having a hard time not crying while writing this, but I take solace in the fact that she is somewhere looking down on the community she grew up in with her huge infectious smile, proud to see what her hometown has accomplished to battle domestic violence. Her family and friends all take comfort in that fact, but we still miss her like crazy every day.
We recently had a special issue dedicated to Domestic Violence Awareness with a full page spread on facts and signs of abuse. Please, take the time to look over the signs and be there to help someone in need. Sometimes the signs are obvious and sometimes it is much more discreet.
If you or someone you know is suffering at the hands of an abuser, there are many resources available to help.
www.ncadv.org is the national site, www.icdv.idaho.gov is the state site and www.ecdvc.org will take you to the Elmore County site.
The national crisis hotline number is 1(800) 799-7233
The local organization can be reached at the following numbers:
Office Phone: (208) 590-0379
Crisis Hotline: (208) 587-3300