Tri-Valley Haven Unique Community Resource

For more than 40 years, Tri-Valley Haven has been a unique community resource. The nonprofit is the only rape crisis center in the Tri-Valley region. Its homeless shelter serves single women, women with children, men with children, and intact families consisting of a mom, dad and children. Tri-Valley Haven's domestic violence shelter and its homeless shelter both take boys up to the age of 18 years old as part of families, while most shelters do not.

Tri-Valley Haven offers many other services as well. They include a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling, and a legal clinic to assist victims in applying for restraining orders. The Haven also runs a food pantry that serves thousands of Tri-Valley families in need. The nonprofit operates nine mobile pantries every month throughout the Tri-Valley to serve residents who cannot get to its Livermore pantry location.

The Haven's mission is to create homes safe from abuse and contribute to a more peaceful society one person, one family, and one community at a time. As part of that mission, Tri-Valley Haven is dedicated to breaking the cycle of abuse and poverty through education such as Teen Dating Violence Prevention classes taught by its staff at local middle and high schools. The nonprofit's Healthy Relationship and Consent classes help keep children and youth free from physical and emotional harm, according to Christine Dillman, Director of Development. She notes that nearly 10% of high school students reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt in a dating relationship in the past 12 months, according to statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control. Moreover, 25% of girls and 16% of boys in the United States will be sexually assaulted before they turn 18 years of age, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

"This is unacceptable," says Dillman. "The Haven delivers prevention and bystander education to reduce physical and emotional violence in our community. Our programs teach students to develop healthy boundaries in their friendships and dating relationships, recognize warning signs of unhealthy relationships, and to utilize safe methods to intervene in potentially unhealthy situations. We discuss sexual consent with students in an age-appropriate manner, which helps prevent sexual assault. We empower students to create healthy relationships with their peers based on respect. We focus on awareness and changing behaviors, providing teenagers with realistic tools they can employ to keep themselves and their friends safe from abuse."

Tri-Valley Haven has opened an office on Black Avenue in Pleasanton in order to make counseling services and drop-in restraining order assistance more accessible to Pleasanton residents. The Haven's Pleasanton office is near downtown Pleasanton and is easily reachable via public transportation. Since opening this location, Tri-Valley Haven has seen an increase in survivors from Pleasanton seeking support.

Volunteers who wish to answer the Haven's 24-hour crisis-line or to provide crisis counseling to survivors go through a 70-hour Tri-Valley Haven training certified by California's Office of Emergency Services. "Tri-Valley Haven could not do all of its amazing work without volunteers," says Dillman. "The Haven has volunteers who work at our food pantry, thrift store, and at our community building."

The nonprofit also relies heavily on donors to support its services. California's recent shelter-in-place order has created additional challenges for Tri-Valley Haven in continuing to provide food and shelter resources to those in need. The Haven's thrift store, which provides revenue for the pantry and the homeless shelter, has had to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak. "Providing resources during COVID-19 is a challenge for us and other food pantries," according to the organization. "We definitely need help meeting the needs which continue to grow."

For more information about Tri-Valley Haven, please visit www.trivalleyhaven.org .

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