Want to know what the most exciting thing about opening a business is?
The chance to use the business to give back and serve my local community.
I really love the TOMS shoes model of "buy one, give one", so I want to try to emulate that on a local level...and with glasses instead of shoes.
For every 25 pairs of glasses sold, Twenty Twenty Family Vision Center will donate an eye exam and a pair of glasses to a woman or child in need in the Racine Community. We will partner with the Women's Resource Center of Racine to identify those in need of this service.
The Women's Resource Center of Racine is a non-profit organization that provides information, education, counseling, referral, support, and shelter to battered women and their children.
"The mission of the Women’s Resource Center is to provide crisis intervention, advocacy, education and prevention services for a diverse population of victims or individuals at risk of domestic abuse and/or sexual assault, by promoting positive changes for individuals served and the broader community in Racine County."
The WRCR has two shelter locations, one in downtown Racine and one in Dover, which serves the western part of Racine County. The downtown location offers 32 beds, while the Dover location houses 16 beds. A typical stay at the shelter is 45 days.
Along with providing shelter for victims of domestic violence, the WRCR offers other important services. These include legal advocacy, community awareness for domestic violence, and a healing services program which includes counseling, art therapy, and even pet therapy.
I spoke with Lynn Hegeman, WRCR's financial assistant, to get a better picture of how WRCR helps victims of domestic violence in Racine. [This was a live interview, edited for length and clarity]
How long has WRCR been active in Racine?
In 2017 we are celebrating our 40th anniversary.
How many women/children are served annually by the WRCR?
For the calendar year of 2015, we served 357 clients. For 2016 YTD we have already served 388 clients, so we have had an increase this year.
Can you share a little bit about what day-to-day life at the shelter is like?
Everyone is assigned a chore, there is a chore list. So clients all take turns with the house responsibilities. Everybody is responsible for their own breakfast and lunch, and then dinners are made all together. There are group meetings, run by Jana, who is the adult healing director, and Sister Barb comes in once a week for art therapy. The clients are required to participate in a certain number of meetings and activities during their time here. This is a big part of the healing process. We also have a number of other resources for the clients, including legal action advocates.
What is something you would like people to know about WRCR?
That we are not exclusive to women, we do help men too. We are here to support victims of domestic violence, regardless of gender.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work with WRCR?
It's a blessing to be able to watch each and every step the clients make toward their recovery, toward their healing, toward being out on their own, safe and able to start a new life. Every once in a while I have been lucky enough to see women telling their children that they got a place to live, and see that excitement.
What is the best way for people to help support the WRCR?
Certainly monetary donations, no matter how small or big, are wonderful. But we also could not do as much as we do without our volunteers, or the community backing us, or if we didn't have the in-kind donations. We take in donations which may help put clothes on peoples' backs, or when people leave here they will have something to start with at their new place. A housewarming gift for their new lives. Silverware, pots and pans, furniture; they walk away from all of that when they come here.
How YOU can Help
I am so excited to see how this new venture unfolds! Stay tuned :)