August 2016 Editorial Winner

The value in providing hope
Kim Benedict, The Ardmoreite

While it’s a sad state of affairs that in this day and age we’re raising funds for a larger facility for victims of domestic abuse, the reality is that there continues to be need.
And as tragic as it is that we continue to have men, women and children that are victims of physical, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse, we’re blessed to have individuals that make their life’s work alleviating some of the pain.
The Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma recently announced a capital campaign that will kick off in a few weeks with a goal of $2 million to upgrade and renovate the former Western Hills Nursing Center, in Ardmore, that was recently purchased. The need for housing and services has outgrown the current facility.
Plans for the new facility not only include additional bed space for in-shelter clients, but will also include enhanced space for service to the community through a wide variety of programs.
Tracie Owen, FSSO executive director, said, “What we hope to offer most through this new facility is a space to breathe, to pause, to find support, and to be surrounded by reminders – whether it’s in the decor, the services offered, or through the smiling face of a staff member – that they (victims) are valuable and that they matter.
And when it comes down to it, isn’t that what we all want? For most of us, that’s reinforced daily by the people around us – friends, family, coworkers, clients, etc. But for those people without a consistent support system, and that are battered frequently by fists, harsh words and threats, this type of facility is an oasis of peace and an island of hope – not only for them individually, but for their children, and family members that have despaired of ever seeing them happy and whole again.
The community of Ardmore and Southern Oklahoma has stepped up time and time again to provide funding for a variety of organizations and causes. We’re an area of giving and supportive people. And the staff at the Family Shelter is confident in the ability of area citizens to once again step up and provide for those that need a safe place and a fresh start.
Owen may have said it best, “The ultimate financial goal will be to raise around $2 million. That sounds like a lot of money, but we have a very generous and servant-hearted community and I have no doubt that we will meet the financial goals to make this facility the needed refuge for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.”
If you’d like to donate or conduct a fundraiser, contact Owen or Jeannie Harper, FSSO office administrator, at (580) 226-3750.
If we all help carry the load, the weight is less per person and we’ve provided an opportunity for individuals and families to break the cycle of abuse.
What is the cost of hope? If you’re the recipient, it’s probably priceless.

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