Archive for the Get Help Category

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Every year, approximately 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner. It is also known that 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence. In light of these alarming facts, every year during the month of February advocates join efforts to raise awareness about dating violence, highlight promising practices, and encourage communities to get involved.  Learn more about how you can help at http://www.nrcdv.org/dvam/tdvam.

 

Free Financial Workshop Series Starts Jan 31st

Free Financial Workshop Series Starts Jan 31st

MONEY POWER SUCCESS: Tools to get YOU there!

Details:
Financial workshop series for families with REAL practical information around budgeting, savings, credit, and financial institutions.

FREE Dinner & Childcare provided for all families who register. Workshop series offered in English & Spanish each day.

Dates: Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21
Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm
Location: Holy Trinity Church 300 E. Rosemary St. Chapel Hill, NC 27514
To register: For English or Spanish, please call Compass Center, 919-968-4610, ask to speak with Gayle Cruz . Space is limited so early registration is required. For more information, please visit: www.compassctr.org.

Compass Center Partnering With Wheels4Hope

Compass Center Partnering With Wheels4Hope

Compass Center is thrilled to partner this year with Wheels4Hope, a Raleigh-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals purchase affordable vehicles and reach their self-sufficiency goals. Wheels4Hope accepts vehicle donations year-round, and many of these vehicles become program cars – valued in the $2,000-$4,000 range- which a limited number of eligible individuals referred by Compass Center and other partner agencies can purchase for $500 plus tax/tag/title fees. To learn more about eligibility, please call our office at 919-968-4610 or email Bridget McEnaney at bmcenaney@compassctr.org. To learn more about Wheels4Hope’s mission, as well as information on how to donate a vehicle, please visit their website at http://wheels4hope.org/.”

Urgent Needs for our Domestic Violence Clients

Urgent Needs for our Domestic Violence Clients

Domestic violence affects women, men and children in our country, state and local communities. While the most important way to support domestic violence is to educate yourself and others on the realities of this issue, there are tangible items needed to help victims of domestic violence in crisis. Below are some of Compass Center’s supply needs. Please donate to our cause today.

One $20 gas card donation:
– helps a client get to court in Hillsborough to file their domestic violence protective order.
– enables a client to attend their court hearings related to their domestic violence protective order.
– enables a client to travel to Hillsborough to attend court to follow through on criminal charges against their abuser.
– provides transportation for a victim to get to and from a medical provider or the emergency room following an incident of abuse in which there was physical trauma.

One $20 grocery card donation:
– pays for dinner and breakfast for a victim and child who have just entered emergency shelter placement.
– allows a victim to buy diapers and formula for her infant when she is going into shelter and does not have access to money due to financial abuse.
– pays for children’s snacks as they wait on their parent who is receiving domestic violence services.
– enables a victim to have food to eat the day they are fleeing their abusive partner, seeking shelter and working with the court system.

One used cell phone donation:
– can be traded in for career, legal and financial program funding for victims in transition

Court Advocacy: Through an Intern’s Eyes, Molly Kirkpatrick

Court Advocacy: Through an Intern’s Eyes, Molly Kirkpatrick

Over the past couple of months, I have had the opportunity to go to domestic violence court in Hillsborough and serve as a court advocate on behalf of Compass Center. This role involves supporting victims of domestic violence through the court process by providing emotional support through what can sometimes be a re-traumatizing experience. Often times, victims may have to see their abusers in the courtroom, sometimes re-live their experiences by having to tell their story in a hearing, or be asked to provide sufficient proof to a judge and a room full of strangers to indicate that they are fearful and deserving of protection. Most of the time this whole process is stretched out over the course of a long, dragged out day, and most likely subsequent long days. The whole process can be a stressful and overwhelming experience for our clients, to say the very least.

In addition to the emotional stress the legal process can produce, we assist our clients through the numerous other barriers they may face in their court processes. One of the most significant of these barriers for victims is the very limited availability of low-cost or pro-bono legal counsel in the Orange County area. One might think, given the large population of law students and lawyers in the area, that it would be easy to find legal representation; however, this is not the case. Legal Aid of North Carolina is the only low-cost resource available to clients who are unable to afford a private attorney, however, due to the overwhelming need for Legal Aid’s services their office is burdened with many more cases than they are able to take. The court process is complicated and nuanced and best handled with the guidance of an experienced attorney. Given the difficulty our clients face in finding representation at a manageable cost, many of our clients have to proceed with no legal support through their court process, putting them at a possible disadvantage.

Another barrier that many of our clients face in their court process is transportation to and from the Hillsborough courthouse. Compass Center does all that it can to assist clients through this complication that often arises, which can sometimes require innovative and creative problem solving. Some of the ways that Compass Center has been able to support clients through this barrier include helping with bus passes or providing bus schedules, working with clients to find rides with family members or friends, or sometimes even coordinating cab services to and from court.

The combination of all of these barriers for our clients indicate how stressful, re-traumatizing, and alienating the experience can be for victims and highlights the need and importance of Compass Center’s Court Advocacy Program in providing support. Although the Court Advocacy Program cannot provide legal advice for clients or assist with the gap in legal services they face, it can help clients in feeling more supported on many levels. In addition to supporting clients through their court processes, Compass Center Court Advocacy Program works to connect clients at court to additional Compass Center services including support groups, safety planning and connecting clients with resources in the community. The Court Advocacy Program is also continuing to do its part in advocating for more resources for low-cost legal services in the area. I am grateful to have had an insider’s perspective on the happenings of domestic violence court proceedings and now feel even more passionate about advocating for victim services and supporting victims in any way I can.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Compass Center for Women and Families is once again offering FREE income tax assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. This year our VITA program will be held at the Chapel Hill Public Library, located at 100 Library Drive. Click here for eligibility and appointment information, or call our office at 919-968-4610. Please do not call the library.

The VITA program is staffed by IRS trained and certified volunteers to help low to moderate income individuals and families avoid preparation fees and maximize their tax credits. For more information on this year’s VITA program, click here.

Click here for information from the North Carolina Department of Revenue on the filing status of same-sex partners.

For the 2013 VITA assistance period Compass Center helped nearly 300 taxpayers with tax preparation and filing. Clients came from 14 different states and 16 different countries.  With this service Compass Center staff and VITA volunteers helped return approximately $350K back to the Orange County community.

 

Winter Support Group Offerings

Winter Support Group Offerings

Art of Healing Workshop for Survivors of Domestic Violence This Group is offered on the third Saturday of most months. Survivors of intimate partner abuse are invited to participate in these afternoons of art-making, processing, and community. Participants will be gently led through easy art and writing activities with a focus on expression, hope, healing, and strengths. No previous art-making or writing experience is required. Childcare can be offered upon request.

Domestic Violence Support Group: This 8-week group is open to women who have experienced or are currently experiencing abuse including emotional, verbal, economic, sexual, or physical abuse. Topics discussed include dynamics of domestic violence, the relationship between thoughts and feelings, boundaries, managing emotions, self-esteem, and self-care. The group is free. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Child care can be offered as needed. The next group will begin in January 2015.

Divorce and Separation Support Group: This 8-week group is open to women who have experienced or are contemplating separation and/or divorce. The group will address common issues that women face during this process such as grief, loss, anger, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, legal and financial concerns, parenting/co-parenting issues, and managing change. The focus of the group will be to provide support, encouragement, and information in a safe, nurturing, and confidential environment. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. There is a $40 fee associated with this group, but can be waived as needed. Child care is offered upon request. The next group will begin in February 2015.

Spanish Language Domestic Violence Support Group: This 6-week group is open to Spanish-speaking women who have experienced or are currently experience abuse including emotional, verbal, economic, sexual, or physical abuse. Topics discussed include dynamics of domestic violence, the relationship between thoughts and feelings, boundaries, managing emotions, self-esteem, and self-care. The group is free. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Child care can be offered as needed. The next group will begin in February 2015. Please contact Claire, our Director of Latino Services, for more information: 919-929-7122 or latinoadvocate@compassctr.org. This group is being offered jointly with the Orange County Rape Crisis Center.

Self-Esteem Support Group: This 8-week group is open to women who want to work on building their own self-esteem and encouraging others in doing the same through discussion, writing, and expressive arts. The focus of the group will be to provide support, encouragement, and information in a safe, nurturing, non-judgmental, and confidential environment. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Screenings for this group are on-going. The next group will begin in March 2015.

Survivor-Led Writing Support Group: This 8-week group facilitated by survivors for survivors of domestic violence is being offered through a grant from the Orange County Arts Commission. The group will strive to create a safe place for writing, sharing and exploring different ways of using writing in the service of healing. A screening interview may be required to join the group. The group will begin in late Spring 2015.

If you are interested in any of the groups above, please contact the Support Group Coordinator at 919-929-7122 or groups@compassctr.org

Fall Support Groups

Fall Support Groups

Art of Healing Workshop for Survivors of Domestic Violence: This Group is offered on the third Saturday of most months. Survivors of intimate partner abuse are invited to participate in these afternoons of art-making, processing, and community. Participants will be gently led through easy art and writing activities with a focus on expression, hope, healing, and strengths. No previous art-making or writing experience is required. Childcare can be offered upon request. Registration is required for each session. The next group will be Saturday July 19th, 2-4PM. Please RSVP.

Domestic Violence Support Group: This 8 week group is open to women who have experienced or are currently experiencing abuse in an intimate partner relationship including emotional, verbal, economic, sexual, or physical abuse. Topics discussed include dynamics of domestic violence, the relationship between thoughts and feelings, boundaries, managing emotions, self-esteem, and self-care. The group is free. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Child care can be offered as needed. The next group will begin in mid-August 2014.

Survivor Led Writing Support Group: This 8-week group facilitated by survivors for survivors of domestic violence is being offered through a grant from the Orange County Arts Commission. The group will strive to create a safe place for writing, sharing and exploring different ways of using writing in the service of healing. A screening interview may be required to join the group. The group will begin in September 2014.

Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse: This 8-week group will be offered as a joint group between Compass Center for Women and Families and UNC Horizons. The group is open to women who have experienced are currently experiencing an abusive relationship and substance abuse. The group will be facilitated by a licensed therapist at Horizons and a trained domestic violence advocate from Compass Center. The group will begin in September 2014. If you are currently or have been a Horizons client, please contact Lauren Quick-Graham, MSW, LCSWA, Outpatient Therapist at 919.966.9803. All other prospective group members can contact Connie Carringer at 919-929-7122 or groups@compassctr.org.

Divorce and Separation Support Group: This 8 week group is open to women who have experienced or are contemplating separation and/or divorce. The group will address common issues that women face during this process such as grief, loss, anger, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, legal and financial concerns, parenting/co-parenting issues, and managing change. The focus of the group will be to provide support, encouragement, and information in a safe, nurturing, and confidential environment. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. There is a $40 fee associated with this group, but can be waived as needed. Child care is offered upon request. The next group will begin in October 2014.

Self-Esteem Support Group: This 8-week group is open to women who want to work on building their own self-esteem and encouraging others in doing the same through discussion, writing, and expressive arts. The focus of the group will be to provide support, encouragement, and information in a safe, nurturing, non-judgmental, and confidential environment. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Screenings for this group are on-going. The next group will begin in October 2014.

Start Transforming Your Resume Right Now

Start Transforming Your Resume Right Now
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Photo Credit: Flazingo LLC

Stand out among other applicants by adding the following 3 items to your resume. Your resume should be tailored to each employer, as what you have to offer may differ for each job — sometimes slightly, sometimes greatly.

Executive SummaryWho are you? How much experience do you have? What are the top skills you can bring to an employer? Your executive summary (also known as “Summary of Qualifications”) speaks directly to the employer. If an employer were only to look at the top one-third of your resume, does s/he know everything you want him/her to?
SkillsWhat do you know how to do that is relevant to the job you’re applying for? Look at the job description for each job as a starting point. List your skills as it applies individually to each position. Whether it be hard/soft skills, the employer wants to know that you can do what they’re asking for. Don’t be subtle — tell them why you’re perfect!
Significant Work ExperiencesWhat did you achieve at each of your former jobs? What will you be required to do in this position you’re applying for? If the job you held 10-15 years ago holds significant value, feel free to include it on your resume if you haven’t had a similar experience more recently.

Want to go a step further in your career exploration process? Call Compass Center to set up a one-on-one career advising appointment at 919-968-4610. Also, be on the lookout for upcoming career workshops.

The Violence Against Women Act: 1994 – 2014

The Violence Against Women Act: 1994 – 2014

We are all familiar with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), at the very least because of its prominence in the news over the past year.  The controversy surrounding its renewal provides insight into larger cultural trends, specifically with regards to the work we do at Compass Center.  As such, this is a good opportunity to review the history of the act and its importance nationally and on the state level.

In 1994, Joe Biden introduced VAWA as a senator.  The act was a result of community efforts throughout the 80s and 90s, and as such, placed great importance on community-level anti-violence campaigns.  In addition to providing rape shield laws (prevents a victim’s sexual history to be brought up during cross-examinations) on a federal level, VAWA also provides support for a range of community violence prevention programs like those found at the Compass Center.  VAWA also ensures that victims of sexual assault do not have to pay for their own medical examinations.  Additionally, VAWA provides funding that goes towards training more than 500,000 law enforcement professionals to deal with domestic violence cases.  In these ways, VAWA directly affects our clients.

VAWA was up for renewal in 2012, and its opposition demonstrates the attitudes of social conservatives in the United States.  Though the Senate voted to reauthorize VAWA with some extended protections, the House rejected the reauthorization and instead provided its own version; the House’s proposed act limited crucial protections for Native women living on reservations, couples experiencing violence in same-sex relationships, and undocumented victims of domestic violence.  The legislative battle continued into 2013, until late February when the inclusive version of the bill finally passed the Senate. President Obama reauthorized the Act on March 7, 2013.

The House’s attempts to limit the efficacy of VAWA target the most vulnerable populations.  Victims of domestic violence who are in same-sex relationships are already less likely to reach out for help due to wide-spread stigma; legally prohibiting them from receiving protection would only further institutionalize this stigma.

Additionally, Native women are more likely to experience domestic violence than either their White or Black counterparts.  Not only that, they are more likely to be survivors of interracial assault, which results in limited ability to prosecute White offenders who perpetrate violence on reservations.  For these reasons, VAWA’s protection of Native communities is crucial.  North Carolinian practitioners especially should take note: North Carolina has the 6th largest Native population in the United States, with more than 110,000 Native Americans living in the state as of 2004.

Fortunately, the version of VAWA that was reauthorized is an inclusive version consistent with the vision and mission of the Compass Center.  The fight for an expanded reauthorized version demonstrates that sometimes, working for under-served populations means facing widespread institutional resistance.  However, the reauthorization is a chance for us to see our values reflected by our government, despite a long fight.

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