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Coast Hills

Bringing Much Needed Domestic Violence Solutions

by Joshua D. Scroggin
January 25, 2018
Representatives from CoastHills Credit Union join those from DVS to present a $1,000 donation.
From left to right, CoastHills Credit Union Community Relations Officer Amanda Hollingworth and Member Service Officer Yvonna Kabrel present a $1,000 donation to Domestic Violence Solutions Development Director Laurie Barene and Client Advocate Veronica Cuvillo. — Joshua D. Scroggin

Too many domestic violence victims are either afraid to come forward or don't know who to turn to. Some may not even realize they're in an abusive relationship.

Abuse comes in many forms — not just physical violence. And those who grew up witnessing abuse have a greater risk of falling into the cycle.

That's why Domestic Violence Solutions for Santa Barbara County (DVSSBC) believes community outreach is so crucial and has a dedicated Outreach & Program Development Coordinator focused on getting the message out. The coordinator teaches high school students and community members about healthy relationships, red flags to watch out for, and where they can turn for help if they need it.

“A victim is a victim no matter who they are, and all victims need help,” said Laurie Barene, the DVSSBC Development Director.

That philosophy has guided the organization for more than 40 years. The nonprofit provides education and resources to anyone- regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, or citizenship status — with the goal of ending the cycle of abuse.

Last year, DVSSBC received more than 4,900 calls to their Crisis and Information hotlines. With one in three women and one in four men experiencing domestic violence, this community safety-net is essential.

Yvonna Kabrel, a member service officer at CoastHills in Lompoc, understands how prevalent and devastating abuse can be to the community.

Yvonna participates in the Credit Union's employee giving program, "I'm All In" — which provided $20,000 to local charities in 2017 and is funded fully through voluntary employee donations. Every three months, five names of participants are randomly chosen to direct a $1,000 community donation. After Yvonna heard her name called, she looked to DVSSBC and realized how impactful the donation would be for helping members of her community get through dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations.

In addition to manning the 24-hour hotlines, DVSSBC works closely with local law enforcement and hospitals. The group operates three emergency shelters and two transitional housing facilities where Client Advocates and Case Managers assist their clients with creating a plan to heal and move on from the shelter. They provide counseling and therapy and help clients find a path towards learning skills, seeking employment and finding a new home. Because 60% of the shelter’s occupants are children, they also provide childcare and help get the kids into a safe school or daycare.

Donations like Yvonna’s are always welcome and play a big role in continuing the programs and keeping victims safe. Because many of the shelter occupants arrive with very little — often just the clothes on their backs — DVSSBC seeks community donations such as clothing items, strollers, blankets, and more through their Facebook and Instagram accounts. The organization also has a room for anyone interested in volunteering their time, whether it be for assisting at community outreach programs, fundraising activities or lending a hand with administrative duties.

If you're interested in making a difference, contact the Outreach and Program Development Coordinator for more information.

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