It is no stretch to say that the Eastside Domestic Violence Program changed Stacy Caves’ life.
“They saved the life of me and my children,” Caves said.
With the help of EDVP, Caves was able to end a seven-year abusive relationship. And, with the fundraising efforts of some local Issaquah women, EDVP will be able to help even more victims of abuse.
The Rising Stars Guild was started back in 2002 by a group of Issaquah women who wanted a way to give back to the community after their kids were getting older, Guild President Sharon Anderson said.
From wine tasting to garage sales, the group has put on a variety of money-makers in the past. This year, however they are organizing Woman Against Violence Everywhere, or WAVE, a bike ride from Issaquah to Bellevue and back.
“It’s a merger of my two passions,” Anderson said.
The group is still working on getting permits for the Issaquah leg of the ride, but they have already secured the permits for the Bellevue portion.
The ride will be limited to 300 women.
“We’re capping it to make it a really safe, good experience,” Anderson said. Rising Stars hopes to raise $20,000 for EDVP through raffles and sponsorships. Entries are $50 per person, which includes a T-shirt.
Rising Stars recently broke the $100,000 mark for money raise for EDVP through the years.
The funds raised by Rising Stars will go a long way for the EDVP, which has an annual budget of about $2.5 million. About $1 million of that is from private donations, and some comes in from local, state and government agencies, such as the city of Issaquah, which gives about $10,000 each year.
The EDVP’s annual fundraiser is coming up as well: The “Lighting a Brighter Future” dinner and auction will take place on May 31 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue. The black tie event will feature two auctions, a four-course meal, wine tasting, entertainment and dancing. Individual tickets are $125 and a 10 seat table is $1,250. EDVP is hoping to bring in about $325,000 from the dinner and auction.
“Lots of wine is going to flow,” EDVP Executive Director Barbara Hope said.
The money goes toward funding EDVP’s numerous programs, some of which are quite unique.
The first avenue of help EDVP offers is a crisis hotline, which is available 24 hours per day. Each year, 8,000-10,000 calls are answered. The hotline provides not only counseling and a connection for women in need, but is also a gateway to other services provided by EDVP.
Those services include My Sister’s Home and My Friend’s Place.
My Sister’s Home consists of emergency housing, hotel and motel vouchers, and serves about 225 women a year. It’s intended primarily for short-term stays, up to 90 days and is for women in the most lethal situations, Hope said.
“Women are most likely to be killed after they leave than the whole time they are there” living with the abuser, Hope said.
EDVP offers everything the women need free of charge including counseling, a nurse, food and clothing and support groups.
My Friend’s Place is transitional housing. It was through this program that Caves was eventually able to leave her abuser.
“I kept going back,” Caves said. “And the cycle continued.”
Caves sought help several times from different domestic violence aid groups.
“They never turned their back on me — even after all the times it took — until it finally clicked that it wasn’t going to change,” Caves said.
The transitional housing at EDVP is unique in that it also offers substance abuse counseling. Many shelters turn women away who aren’t clean.
Caves admits that alcohol contributed to her returning to her husband. She stayed at the transitional housing for the length of the program, nine months.
“They choose between homelessness and abuse,” EDVP Resource Development Assistant Director Deanna Hobbs said. “The greatest gift is letting them know they have choices.”
EDVP also has a permanent housing program that can house up to 10 families, who can stay for up to five years.
Counseling is also an important part of EDVP. Many different sessions are available for victims, both women and kids.
One of them, Kid’s Club, is for moms with small children.
“A lot of times, this is the first time (the kids) disclose (they) know what’s going on,” EDVP Executive Director Barbara Hope said.
Voices is a group counseling group geared for teens. Two of the teens from this group will speak at the Lighting a Brighter Future dinner, and will tell their story for the first time.
For the most part EDVP is run with volunteers.
“Our volunteers are our backbone,” Hobbs said. “The staff and the 400 volunteers really keep us the well-oiled machine.”
All volunteers go through a background check and go through extensive training. Some are college-age, while others are moms with grown kids.
One of the main things volunteers do is raise community awareness.
“Violence is learned behavior, so it can be unlearned,” Hope said. “We talk with kids. They can be taught non-violence.”
EVDP volunteers also help answer the crisis lines.
However even with the hundreds of volunteers EDVP can not help everyone that comes their way, there is simply too many.
The permanent housing program is currently the only program at EDVP that isn’t full. For every woman EDVP is able to help, 13 are turned away.
“Everybody knows a victim of domestic violence,” Hope said. “Even if they don’t know it. We literally save people’s life. We can help them rebuild their lives.”
For more information:
24-Hour Crisis Hotline (425) 746-1940
For more information on the Lighting a Brighter Future dinner, call (425) 562-8840, ext. 239.
To register for the Star Guild’s Woman Against Violence Everywhere bike ride, visit www.cyclethewave.com or E-mail Sharon Anderson at email@example.com.
Anyone who would like to contribute to EDVP can call (425) 562-8840 for information about how to volunteer or make a donation.
By the numbers:
In Issaquah last year Eastside Domestic Violence Program answered 480 Crisis Line calls, sheltered 15 woman and children, provided 1,795 nights of shelter and served 533 women and children.
In Sammamish last year EDVP answered 98 Crisis Line Calls and served a total of 114 women and children.
Each year there are an estimated 90,750 domestic violence incidents in King County.
From January 1997 to June 2006, 359 people were killed by domestic violence abusers in Washington State.
Nationally, one in four woman will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
One in five teenagers experience domestic violence.
Domestic violence costs $5.8 billion per year in heathcare expenses, lost productivity and lifetime earnings.