Provided by Dr. Ralph Lindsey, Executive Director/Wings of Hope Family Crisis Service (Stillwater Domestic Violence Services)
Domestic Violence Agency Dedicates Donald W. Reynolds Family Crisis Center
After more than seven years of planning, preparing, fundraising, and building, the Wings of Hope Family Crisis Services (Stillwater Domestic Violence Services) board and staff celebrated and shared their profound gratitude at the dedication of the new Donald W. Reynolds Family Crisis Center on December 1.
The festivities began with a reception and facility tours for representatives from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and other major donors to the Wings of Hope campaign. Many additional donors, volunteers, and supporters attended the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony that followed.
“We felt so honored that leaders from a large, national foundation like the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation would come to Stillwater to be part of our building dedication,” said Toni Stone, board president of Wings of Hope Family Crisis Services. “We were equally humbled and amazed at the number of individuals, foundations, corporations, and organizations from throughout the state that attended our historic event.”
Emotions ran high as the agency’s executive director, Ralph Lindsey, described the challenging journey that led to this momentous occasion. “It has been heartbreaking in recent years to have to turn away as many as 50 women and their children each year due to lack of shelter space,” said Lindsey. Because of space limitations at the agency’s former administrative building, clients needing counseling and other non-crisis services had to be put on waiting lists. Also, because of lack of space for new staff and programs, the agency had to pass up numerous funding opportunities to expand and strengthen programs. “Victim safety has always been our top priority,” said Lindsey. In the past, the primary means of security was an attempt to keep the location of the shelter as confidential as possible, which is difficult, especially in a small community. The new facility features secure parking and grounds as well as state-of-the-art access control, security cameras, and sophisticated intrusion protection. “We will never be able to adequately thank the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and our many other donors for this incredible new facility that will save lives and change lives for decades to come,” said Lindsey.
In fiscal year 2010, the agency served over 1,300 individuals through its various programs. Of that number, 844 were children. “Children are the ‘silent victims’ in homes where there is violence. Without intervention these children frequently grow up to become the next generation of victims and perpetrators of interpersonal violence. It is critical that we do all we can to provide safety, hope and empowerment to victims and children alike,” continued Lindsey. The Donald W. Reynolds Family Crisis Center features 10 family units, with private baths, designed to accommodate families of all sizes. “We are especially excited about all the areas of the new facility that are designed to help meet the needs of children. We have special areas for children of all ages; and for the first time, we will be able serve families with adolescent boys. Our new facility will allow us to break the cycle of violence that plagues so many local families,” said Toni Stone. “This is an incredible day in the history of our agency. It’s hard to describe how blessed and thankful we feel.”
Two special areas of the shelter are named after generous donors—the Eller Family Center for Young Children (named in honor of Barry and Linda Eller) and the Linda H. Anthony Family Living Room. “Calvin and I gave because we strongly believe in the Wings of Hope mission. We have seen and heard victims’ heart-wrenching stories, and we know our community desperately needs this new family crisis center,” said Linda Anthony, past president, Wings of Hope Family Crisis Services. “I am so proud to be a part of a community that refuses to let those in need fall through the cracks. We are not only thankful for the generous monetary donations, we are extremely grateful for the time and efforts of staff, board members, and volunteers. I am continually amazed at the kindness and generosity of our community.”
The 17,680 sq. ft. facility features a public area in which the agency proudly displays a bust of their major benefactor, Donald W. Reynolds. This will be the point of first contact for most clients. They may come here for information or to receive assistance in filing a protective order. This area features meeting rooms and the Eller Family Center for Young Children, where respite childcare services are provided. Counseling and related activities will take place in a restricted-access counseling center. The counseling staff and counseling interns are elated that at last they have adequate space to meet clients’ needs. Previously, staff frequently had to vacate their offices so that others could use the space for working with clients. “We celebrate this day with joyful tears and grateful hearts,” said Brenda Gill, senior counselor at Wings of Hope Family Crisis Services. “Thank you for supporting some of the most vulnerable citizens in our communities—victims of interpersonal violence and their children. We will be able to help thousands of victims and families by giving them a safe refuge to begin rebuilding their lives while offering them counseling, compassion, encouragement, and respect.”
Along with providing a generous $4.85 million dollar gift for the new facility, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation recently provided a $100,000 grant to provide artwork for the new facility. An inspirational bronze sculpture titled “Joyful Empowerment” has been erected outside the front entrance of the Donald W. Reynolds Family Crisis Center. Other artwork is featured throughout the facility. “It is an unfortunate reality of our time that facilities like the Donald W. Reynolds Family Crisis Center are needed in our communities today,” stated Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Chairman Fred W. Smith. “The Foundation is pleased to be able to join the local community supporters in providing this beautiful facility where women can begin rebuilding their families with the dignity and safety they deserve.”
In addition to the new facility, the agency has adopted a new name. “Wings of Hope Family Crisis Services” is the new business name for Stillwater Domestic Violence Services. “This new name better captures the mission and scope of our work,” said Lindsey.
As the agency settles into its beautiful new facility, another new initiative is underway. On Thursday, March 29, 2012, Wings of Hope Family Crisis Services will host the inaugural “Women with Wings: A Monarch Event” to provide information about the new facility and to raise funds to serve additional clients from Stillwater and the agency’s five-county service area. This dinner event will begin at 6 p.m. in the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center and will feature a wide array of live auction items. The keynote speaker will be Mary Clemons, a domestic violence survivor whose inspiring story was featured in the March 2011 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. The mistress of ceremonies is Cathy Jameson, founder of Jameson Management. The event is dedicated to the memory of OSU Cowgirl Basketball head coach, Kurt Budke, who was a strong supporter of the agency. Kurt’s wife, Shelley, is a member of the agency’s Board and will serve as the Women with Wings honorary event chair.
Event sponsorships and individual tickets are on sale now. The Golden Butterfly sponsorship level includes a beautiful 4’x4’ fiberglass butterfly decorated by local Stillwater artists. The agency hopes to see these decorated butterflies throughout Stillwater to build awareness of domestic violence and the help available. For tickets or more information about “Women with Wings: A Monarch Event,” contact the agency at 405-377-2344 or at email@example.com.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it has committed over $23 million though its Women’s Shelter initiative.
The Wings of Hope Family Crisis Services (Stillwater Domestic Violence Services, Inc.) has been dedicated to breaking the cycle of violence by providing safety, hope and empowerment in Payne, Pawnee, Noble, Lincoln, and Logan counties for 31 years. For more information about the programs and activities of the Wings of Hope Family Crisis Services, call 405-377-2344, visit www.sdvs.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is sponsored by BancFirst