Summer/Fall Newsletter 2014

Letter from a Healthy Transitions Resident

Being here at The Friendship Center has been a lifesaver for me. I have learned a lot through the classes they offer to us. The support group and Changing Patterns class has opened my eyes and now I see myself very differently. With the help of the staff and others here I now know that I am worth something. That no one deserves being hurt or degraded for any reason. I have learned how to identify some of the red flags that tell me when a relationship is unhealthy, and not just with men, but with everyone I encounter. But for me it’s not just the classes and support the staff offers, it’s also the connections I have made with other ladies here. It has made it a lot easier to work through my problems and feelings because I’m not alone. Every one of us is here for similar reasons and we help each other just by being friends and encouraging each other. To reach for what we always thought was impossible. Now with the help of the wonderful staff and the other residents I know I can achieve my goals. Thank you all very much.

From January to June 2014, The Friendship Center has served:

  • 85 Victims of Sexual Assault
  • 184 Victims of Domestic Violence & Dating Violence
  • 31 Victims of Stalking
  • 7 Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

We have also provided Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing for 96 survivors, including 51 children, so far in 2014.

Thank you for your continued support of victims of Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault in our community!

Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Arnold – Crisis Line Advocate

That is the message that Mary Arnold says she most wants to convey to the victims she helps as a Crisis Line Advocate. Inspired and impassioned by the memory of her best friend who was raped and murdered in 1979, Mary says that she feels a personal connection to the victims on the other end of the line. She is committed to listening to victims and providing support to those who are in crisis because of violence and abuse.

Mary has worked as a weekend crisis line volunteer for The Friendship Center for the past 13 years. She says she wants to give victims the opportunity to be heard as she strives to meet them where they are and provide them with accessible resources.

“I listen to the victim and try and help them come up with ideas they can implement, wherever they are calling from,” says Mary.

Employed by the State of Montana for the past 29 years, she typically doesn’t say yes to something unless she plans on becoming involved for the long haul. She was recruited for the crisis line training in 2001 by former Executive Director Holly Kaleczyc. As a former member of the community advisory committee that was responsible for assisting our board and staff with input about shelter design, Mary says she feels lucky to have been a part of the recent growth, development and transformation of The Friendship Center. She also added that having the opportunity to get to know our various staff and community partners is another big bonus to volunteering.

“You get so much more back than you give,” she says.

Mary is no stranger to the many perks of volunteerism and The Friendship Center is not the first organization to benefit from her passion for working with victims. Her past volunteer projects

include answering calls for a rape crisis line in Milwaukee and crisis response for state-wide disaster emergency services. Mary has also served on the Helena Open Lands Advisory Committee for the past 6 years and is the president of Helena’s Adult Soccer Association.

Mary remains one of our most reliable and steadfast volunteers at The Friendship Center. She continues to listen and offer accessible help to those in crisis. She remains motivated to serve victims because of the continued need for help. And, she continues to be the voice on the other end of the line for victims in this community.

The Friendship Center thanks you, Mary, for all you have done for victims in this community and for all you continue to give.

The Friendship Center’s 2014 NEEDS AND WISH LIST

  1. Gift cards for food and gas
  2. New bed pillows
  3. New(er) twin/full size sheets, blankets and comforters
  4. Diapers (sizes n-4)
  5. Trash cans & cleaning supplies including bleach, dish soap & dishwasher detergent
  6. Laundry supplies including baskets, dryer sheets and detergent
  7. Kleenex
  8. Wash cloths and dish towels
  9. Deodorant, pads, tampons and other women’s toiletries
  10. First aid supplies
  11. Pots & pans, mixing bowls, toasters, microwaves & crock pots
  12. Coffee
  13. Movie passes, fast food and pizza gift certificates
  14. Toilet paper and paper towels
  15. New women’s underwear, bras and socks
  16. Hair brushes
  17. Bath towels
  18. Garbage bags (13 & 33 gallon)
  19. Reusable shopping bags

Celebrating Dad 2014 Was A SUCCESS!

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 11.44.41 AMThank you to all of the children who submitted artwork telling us why their dads are awesome! We would also like to thank The Holter Museum of Art for providing gallery space to display all of our adorable and endearing entries. The Friendship Center is excited to continue celebrating positive male role models in this community!

From the Executive Director, Melinda Reed

Dear Friendship Center Supporters – thank you all for your continued support! This has been a busy year for us, and we are thankful we have such a generous community to help us out with everything from donations of clothing and furniture to financial support to volunteers who help with our 24 hour crisis line. Special thanks to all of you who came out for Empty Bowls, including our volunteers, soup servers, Wilbur Rehmann Quintet, contributing restaurants and bakeries, and amazing artists. It was another great year, and it’s always fun to see the Exhibit Hall at the Fairgrounds transformed overnight into such a lively and colorful place. Your attendance and support for the event is a powerful message to survivors that people care about them and are taking a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault. We have lots more events coming up, and we hope to see you all soon.