A safe place to heal | SummitDaily.com

A safe place to heal

Summit County's Advocates for Victims of Assault operates an emergency shelter for women and children. The shelter, at a secret location, is typically occupied year-round.

SUMMIT COUNTY – It is a house with many stories, many sad, and many triumphant. Tears are shed here. But it is also a home where children learn to laugh again.

Summit County’s Advocates for Victims of Assault provides numerous services to individuals and families in crisis. It accompanies the families of victims of violent crime to courthouse hearings. It consoles and seeks help for the victims of crime. It operates a 24-hour hotline for people in emergencies.

And, since 1996, at a secret location in the county, the Advocates have operated a shelter for women and children who decide it’s time to escape dangerous domestic circumstances.

“It’s rare that it’s empty,” said Sarah Vaine, an Advocates coordinator. “There’s usually always at least one person here. Recently, we had a woman and her six children.”

Vaine said her organization hopes to use this month – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – to let women know that the shelter is a resource available to them. Anyone might need it someday, she said.

“Domestic violence occurs in every race and class – it’s pervasive in our culture and others,” Vaine said. “And here, we can help women figure out what their next move is.”

The shelter is stocked with food, clothes and other supplies women and family often leave behind thanks to donations from groups such as the Rotary Club or stores like City Market. For information on how to help, contact the Advocates at (970) 668-3906.

Training for advocate volunteers begins Oct. 22. Training runs from 6-9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday nights for five weeks.

Advocates will also hold a memorial dedication for Sharon Garrison at noon on Oct. 18. A plaque will be placed under a tree at the County Commons in Frisco to honor Garrison, who was killed by her husband three years ago.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or rwilliams@summitdaily.com.

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