In September of 1978, a new organization came into existence with $21,000 of "Title 1" money, whose purpose was to provide educational services to the community on the issues of Domestic Violence, and also to provide information to victims of Domestic Violence, with the hope that they would break out of the cycle of violence and become non-victims, . During the same year, a core of volunteers were identified and trained, safe homes were located to shelter victims, and support groups for victims of Domestic Violence began.
Because of the successful first year, "Title 1" refunded the second year with an added focus on - RAPE. Numerous victims of Sexual Assault called The Support Center, as it was the only place in the county where victims were able to receive the services they needed. The third year found The Support Center with no funding for staff positions, but the Department o f Social and Health Services reimbusedment dollars for services paid for leasing a shelter. The shelter shared office space with The Displacement Homemakers Program and The Rural Women Employment and Training Program.
In May 1980, The Support Center received funding through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for a 3-year period and DSHS reimbursement dollars increased to about $600 per month. In 1983, The Support Center incorporated and applied for its non-profit 501(c)(3) Status with the Internal Revenue Service. A shelter was purchased during the same year and was renovated from top to bottom with grants from the Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development. The shelter was named after a long time volunteer who had passed away, Elinor Buob. Throughout the years of seemingly uncertain soft money, a strong conviction remained in the hearts of TSCs staff members and volunteers, that the services which they provided in Okanogan County, were here to stay, and no cry for help would ever go unheard or unanswered again.
The Support Center has been serving victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault for almost 40 years now, and is the only accredited and qualified Sexual Assault Program in Okanogan County. The Support Center works exclusively with primary and secondary victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and/or Abuse. The Support Center Foundation owns and operates the shelter for victims who have been abused or are in danger.
Currently, we have approximately 13 people on staff. The Crisis Line is staffed by community volunteers and staff members who volunteer their time after work, weekends, and on holidays. Their shifts may last anywhere from 10 – 24 hours. The Support Center provides training for staff and volunteers and is certified to do so by the Washington State Coalition for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Programs. The Support Center also provides training for most law enforcement agencies in the county.
The Support Center also has bilingual advocates on staff; they are fluent in Spanish and English. All advocates are trained to help victims apply for Domestic Violence Protection Orders, Restraining and Anti-harassment Orders. Additionally, the legal Advocate is able to assist clients with Dissolutions and Parenting Plans and all the respective paperwork.
The Support Center is managed by a 10-member Board of Directors committee, comprised from various backgrounds and walks of life, thus representing the diverse community being served.
Over the years, outreach workers have been added to the staff. These workers provide services to the outlying areas of the county, including the Colville Indian Reservation, and all schools in the county. Services to child victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault began in 1990. These services are provided in our office and/or in the schools on a weekly basis. The Support Center has qualified trainers for the “Second Steps” and “Talking about Touching” curriculum on staff. Presentations and training can be arranged for schools, community organizations, and agencies; they are completely free of charge.
In the spring of 2006, we received a grant through the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy, OCVA, to provide services to victims of “General Crimes”. We expanded our office space to accommodate this new service. We are located in The Crowder Building at 619 & 621 S 2nd Ave, as well as 613 S First Street, in Okanogan.
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