Tri-Valley Haven Is Critical Community Resource

The Tri-Valley Haven has been working to create "a more peaceful society one person, one family, one community at a time" for the past 35 years. Located in Livermore, the nonprofit provides a critical safety net for an extremely vulnerable constituency that ranges from the abused to the homeless. It operates a crisis hotline for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; provides shelter and transitional support for clients; and runs a small yet very busy food pantry for those in need.

"We are the only local agency providing fully confidential services for survivors of domestic violence, the only rape crisis center in the Tri-Valley, and the only family homeless shelter that takes intact families and boys over age 10," notes Executive Director Ann King.

All these services can make a big difference in an individual's life. For example, research has shown that the first person to come into contact with a rape victim will have a tremendous influence on healing. "It can be the first step in restoring faith in human kindness if the person is kind, but if the experience re-traumatizes the victim, the chance of healing is stalled," King says. Advocates such as police and hospital workers have quite a bit of power just in the way they respond, she explains. It is very important for the woman to be able to make her own choices. Even a small question like "Do you want to wait here, or there?" is quite meaningful.

The Haven is in the midst of a $125,000 Safety Net Campaign, which runs to June 30, 2013, the end of its fiscal year. The last four years of government funding have been like "death by one thousand cuts," King reports. "We've had a 10 percent cut one year, 20 percent the next, and the next thing we know, our funding is down by almost half."

Fortunately, an anonymous local donor stepped forward with the offer to match gifts, "so a $500 check now counts as $1,000. This will help protect and sustain our core services, what we are all about."

The Haven is also partnering with the Las Positas College drama department.on another fundraiser, two benefit performances of "The Vagina Monologues," on March 1 and 2, at the Mertes Center for the Arts. "Eve Ensler lets us use her material for free, so we are taking advantage of the opportunity to present this popular work to the community. With all the troubles we encounter in this field, it's really important to do something for fun," King comments.

Critical to the Haven mission is a dedicated corps of volunteers, who must first undergo 65 hours of training before they can provide crisis response. "This is not like taking an art class. Our volunteers learn about family violence and sexual assault. It is quite intense," King remarks. The next training session, the first of only two offered every year, starts in January.

For details about the training program, call Stacy Connors at the Tri-Valley Haven at (925) 449-5845. More information about the nonprofit and its fundraisers can be found online at . The 24/7 counseling lines are (925) 449-5842 and (800) 884-8119.

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