2017 Brings Recollections of the Past While Anticipating the Future
By: Connie Moore, Executive Director
Thank you for making 2016 yet another remarkable year for Alexandra House! As we embark on the 40th anniversary of Alexandra House, we are taking the time to reflect on our past, celebrate our present, and focus on our future.
Reflecting on our past reminds us of the courage, concern, and effort a small group of citizens must have exhibited in order to form the Anoka County Task Force for Battered Women. Recalling the enthusiasm generated to rally the community to join together to end violence against women – and to provide a network of support to community women who were experiencing abuse. Within its first year, the Task Force had established a 24-hour crisis line and the rest is our history in the making.
It is important to honor the present and celebrate the dedicated staff and volunteers, who have done incredible life-changing advocacy, expanded services, grew outreach efforts, and strengthened programs. These efforts are momentous and cause for celebration as Alexandra House often experiences a demand for services that exceeds our ability to meet those needs – either by physical space or by financial capacity. Even knowing of these constraints, we set and shared our big goals for 2016 with our community and supporters. As 2016 has come to an end, we are excited to celebrate the achievements that will help us meet some of that ever-growing need:
- 2016 Goal: To expand our Aging Services (Abuse in Later Life) and create a community-wide network of support
- We expanded our newest program (as of 2013) Aging Services by adding an additional advocate and started offering two support groups.
- 2016 Goal: To expand our Youth Services
- We added an additional Youth Services Advocate; bringing us to four Youth Advocates. This allows us to offer more youth support groups and presentations focusing on prevention and intervention within the six school districts in Anoka County.
- 2016 Goal: To expand Follow Up Services (support and advocacy services and housing assistance)
- Selected as the 2016 TCP Rose beneficiary which grants $150,000 to our Follow Up services.
- Awarded a federal grant to provide transitional housing assistance to clients.
- In 2016, we were finally able to revive a Child and Youth Advocate position within our Emergency Shelter. In the mid-2000s, Alexandra House experienced significant state funding cuts, which ultimately led to the loss of three family advocates specifically dedicated to working with the children living in our shelter. We are thrilled to be able to offer this critical service once again.
Focusing on our Future always brings us back to fulfilling the core mission of Alexandra House; to empower victims of domestic and sexual violence, and inspire social change, through education, support, and advocacy. With our mission in mind, we entered 2017 filled with excitement and trepidation. Excitement because of all the possibilities our recent growth will bring; trepidation because of the turbulent political environment. Both are easy to understand by reading an Alexandra House newsletter or the recent news coverage on the proposed reductions of federal spending. This could include cutting funding for the Office of Violence Against Women and the 25 grant programs it oversees; which includes the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grant. These grants provide funds for domestic violence shelters, law enforcement, courts, rape crisis centers, children’s services, prevention, community outreach, and other state and local programs that provide services for victims and families.
While no legislation has been introduced as of yet; the possibility of cuts is understandably causing some level of anxiety about our overall ability to serve our communities should this become a reality. While the roller coaster of emotions is ever-present; victims/survivors and their families and the communities we serve are relying on us to be strong and stable. Regardless of the political climate, Alexandra House will continue to provide innovative, trauma-informed, and compassionate support and services to those who turn to us seeking safety, advocacy, and support.
Much of our success over the past 39 years is the direct result of your unwavering commitment to the work we do. Your support—time, talent, and treasure—is integral to ensuring Alexandra House is here for victim/survivors for as long as we are needed. Whether you volunteer, serve as an ambassador, make a gift—you are contributing to the success of Alexandra House. Thank you for your past and future participation and generosity. Together, we will keep Alexandra House strong and stable; ever focused on creating a community and world free from violence.
Thank you for wholeheartedly being a part of Alexandra House.