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Dr. Natalie Phillips of Connecting a Better World talks with Kari Clark on providing safety for victims.

Listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher.

 

Executive Director Kari Clark is Special Guest on "Call Your Advocate" Podcast

May 6, 2020

The Avalon Center Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program in Tennessee invited ATV's Kari Clark to share a message of unity and hope during this scary time for victims. Listen to their ideas and stories on the Call Your Advocate Podcast - We Are Here For You available on the following links:


Podcast available on Anchor App:
https://anchor.fm/callyouradvocatepodcast

Podcast available on Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/show/5n99jQjJhR2YMAICPeDEUh

Podcast available on Google Podcasts:
https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8xYzQwYzVkOC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==

Full of fear and hope: Fort Collins family escapes domestic violence during coronavirus

Jeara, a mother of four and a survivor of domestic violence, sits for a portrait in Fort Collins. Jeara and her children left her husband on March 5, 2020, the same day that Colorado saw its first reported case of the coronavirus. Now she and her children live in a domestic violence shelter in the middle of a global pandemic. (Photo: Bethany Baker / The Coloradoan )

 

Fort Collins Coloradoan, May 1, 2020  By Sady Swanson

When the new coronavirus initially hit Colorado in early March, many flocked to grocery stores and cleared shelves, preparing for the potential of hunkering down in their homes.

But for Jeara and her four young children, those first days of the virus looked a little different.

They were settling into their new normal at a domestic violence shelter in Northern Colorado. 

Jeara said she and her children — ages 11, 10, 8 and 4 — ended up at the shelter March 12 after an incident involving her husband days earlier.

In order to protect their safety, the Coloradoan is not using her full name or her children's names or identifying the shelter in this story. 

In court documents requesting a civil restraining order, Jeara said on March 5, her husband ripped a necklace off her neck, shoved her, ripped her glasses off her face and blocked her exit while being verbally abusive to their son.

Jeara packed a bag with a gaming system and a few other things for her children and persuaded her husband to stop blocking the door, saying she had to get them off to school. In reality, their school didn’t start for two more hours. 

“Twelve and a half years and it’s just unbelievable,” Jeara said. “Haven’t looked back.”

For most other Coloradans, the news of the day on March 5 was the first confirmed coronavirus cases in the state. By the time Jeara and her children moved into the domestic violence shelter seven days later, the state had 49 confirmed cases, events were being canceled and Denver schools were already planning to transition to remote learning. 

Jeara was able to go back to get more of her kids' clothes, though she said she had to throw most of her clothes away because they didn’t fit in her car. 

“But I got the kids' clothes and, you know, the stuff that was important to them,” she said. “And my kids. I got my kids.”

A pandemic in a domestic violence shelter

 Jeara, a mother of four and a survivor of domestic violence, sits with three of her children for a portrait in Fort Collins. Jeara and her children left her husband on March 5, 2020, the same day that Colorado saw its first reported case of the coronavirus. Now, she and her children live in a domestic violence shelter in the midst of a global pandemic. (Photo: Bethany Baker / The Coloradoan )

At the shelter, Jeara and her four children share one room and have access to a community living area and kitchen. Before this, the family would stay in hotels, so they’re used to being packed together to some degree.

“We’re kind of used to being on top of each other, but we’re used to having the freedom to go out, burn the energy off, play at the park and playgrounds,” she said. “Without that, it’s been a struggle.”

The coronavirus wasn’t really a problem when they first arrived, but Jeara said the situation started to get noticeably worse within the first week. 

“I kind of watched my school system shut down, and then the extra precautions were put in place at the shelter,” Jeara said. 

Shelter staff started asking residents to not go out unless it was necessary and to limit exposure to other people. In late April, Jeara said they were under a curfew to return back to the shelter by 9 p.m. every day. 

The staff at the shelter are wearing masks, staying home when they feel sick and sanitizing high-touch areas like handles, doorknobs and counters multiple times per day, Jeara said. 

“I couldn’t imagine if I got sick and ended up in the hospital where my kids would go, or if my kids got sick and ended up in the hospital what I would do,” Jeara said. 

In-person staff has also been limited, per state public health orders to make sure social distancing guidelines can be followed. Enough fabric masks were donated to the facility to give each resident two to wear when out in public. 

“They try not to limit our freedom too much, but to make sure everybody’s safe, they’ve had to put some limitations,” Jeara said. “... Which is good, I need to feel like I have some control.”

Not everyone is 'safer at home'

The coronavirus outbreak has not stopped the domestic violence shelters and resource centers operating in Northern Colorado from offering help. 

Crossroads Safehouse has seen calls to their 24/7 crisis line double in the past two weeks, executive director Lisa Poppaw said. They've also seen their lethality cases — cases where there was an attempt on a victim's life or their life is in jeopardy — jump from five or six annually to 18 in the past five weeks.

"My biggest concern is access to services and the inability to access services," Poppaw said. "It's quite obvious this is having a huge impact on victims and their families." 

Alternatives to Violence director Kari Clark said they’ve seen the opposite — calls to their crisis line dipped by 20% in March. The number of calls in April was about the same as March, but down 40% from the number of crisis line calls in April 2019 — from 119 calls in April 2019 down to 71 calls in April 2020.

Clark suspects the decrease comes from victims being trapped with their abusers and not having the ability to safely reach out for help, or they don’t feel comfortable going out in public to ask for help because of the virus. 

“For many people, they are not safer at home. It is more dangerous of a situation,” Clark said.

Clark said Alternatives to Violence has had two lethality cases, and they were able to shelter those people at hotels because their shelter is currently full. 

On average, Alternatives to Violence receives about 90 to 100 calls to their crisis line per month and their shelter can house about 22 people in eight rooms at one time. Poppaw said Crossroads has 26 rooms and on average receives 200 to 250 calls to their crisis line per month.

An open records request filed April 22 for the number of arrests on domestic violence charges in Larimer County had not been fulfilled as of April 30. 

Being asked to shelter in place can put extra pressure on already volatile situations, Poppaw said. Add potential unemployment, financial pressures and stress of being around people constantly, and it can become an increasingly dangerous situation for many.

Isolation is often used by abusers to maintain power and control, and abusers may be manipulating public health policies like isolation and physical distancing to prevent survivors from seeking help, according to the Colorado Department of Human Services Domestic Violence Program. Financial dependence is another tool often manipulated by abusers, making some especially vulnerable during this uncertain economic time.

“This is the prime condition for abusers right now,” Clark said. 

Poppaw and Clark both said they are preparing for a surge in calls and a need for their resources when the coronavirus pandemic settles and more people are able to safely reach out for help. Clark said anticipated increases in requests for shelter are concerning because Colorado already has a high turn-away rate.

In the meantime, Clark said to be mindful of your friends and family who might be living in an unsafe situation. Try to make contact through video calls or by dropping groceries off and safely seeing each other through the door. 

“Let them know you’re there no matter what,” Clark said. 

Poppaw said people who are able to reach out safely can and should do so, and resources remain available for survivors during this pandemic response. 

“Do what you need to to stay safe, and when the opportunity arises, please reach out to us," Poppaw said. "We’re here 24/7 every single day, and we’re here to help you."

Remote learning: lessons in self-love

When Jeara and her family arrived at their shelter, the children were on their regularly scheduled spring break. Not long after, the school district announced that the school year would finish remotely. 

Home-schooling her four children from the shelter has been fun, challenging and rewarding, Jeara said. One of her sons understands and can pretty easily complete his work; he just hates doing it. Her youngest daughter is still in preschool, so just giving her a workbook and letting her trace out letters has been doable.

Her other daughter — who excels in math and loves it so much Jeara said she sometimes spends time writing out her own math problems to solve — struggles in most other subject areas and utilizes additional resources at her school. The school gave them extra work packets to help guide Jeara in assisting with the extra work. The family was also given access to laptops.

At the beginning, the only internet the kids had was the hotspot on Jeara’s phone — the shelter didn't have Wi-Fi for the residents. The phone company would let her increase her plan only once per billing cycle, and she quickly ran out of data.

When that happened, Jeara said she bought notebooks and was writing out math problems for her older kids and dotted letters for her youngest daughter to trace. When she really needed internet access, she’d park outside a Starbucks or another place with Wi-Fi and connect.

Now the shelter has set up Wi-Fi for the residents who need it for school or work, and Jeara has unlimited data on her cellphone plan.

On Tuesdays, Jeara’s youngest daughter uses Jeara’s phone to video chat with her speech therapist. The rest of the kids have video calls with their teacher and classmates to talk about their schoolwork and goals.

“They want to be in school … they love it so much,” Jeara said. 

Beyond schoolwork, Jeara found ways to educate and entertain her kids in the shelter. One day, she traced each child's silhouette on large pieces of paper and had them each write the things they loved about themselves. Then Jeara asked each child to say what they loved about each other so they could be added to their drawings. 

“(We did that) to build that self-love in them so they can see the good aspects of themselves,” she said. 

Her sons especially struggle with self-esteem because of how their father treated them, Jeara said. While staying at the shelter, one of her sons woke up in the middle of the night to ask her if he was a mistake “because Daddy told me I was a mistake,” Jeara recalled.

Now that they are away from their father, Jeara said she can really see the effects of the abuse on her children. 

“My girls, they’ll cry because ‘I love my daddy, I miss my daddy, but I’m scared of my daddy.’ That’s what both of them say,” Jeara said.

All of her kids loved going to school because it took their minds and attention off the issues at home. It’s been hard for them to focus while doing their schoolwork at their new temporary home because “their minds can go anywhere,” Jeara said. 

'I'm not a victim; I'm a survivor'

Now that she and her children are out of the situation, Jeara said she’s had more time to process her own anxiety and post-traumatic stress.

“I used to be this independent, self-sufficient, scared-of-nothing, go-out-there-and-get-'em person,”Jeara said. 

Being in a place where she knows she and the kids are safe has helped calm her anxiety, she said.

In early April, Jeara filed for a protection order against her husband after he left her a threatening voice message telling her that if she didn’t stop making him look like a bad dad, he would “come get me,” she said. 

A permanent protection order was granted April 16. Her husband did not show up for the hearing, she said. Because the threats were made against her only and not the children, the judge granted the protection order only for Jeara, though she currently has custody of the children.

The protection order was granted in civil court proceedings and requires Jeara's husband to stay away from her. He has not been charged with a crime in connection with the March incident, and as such the Coloradoan is not naming him in this story. 

“I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor and so are my kids,” she said. “And surviving everything we did shows how strong all of us are.”

Now Jeara is working on what's next. At the shelter, she has a three-person advocacy team that she said has helped her find any resources she needs.

Jeara has also been approved for legal assistance and given counseling referrals, which she and all her children will need, she said. 

“At the end of it all, I think I’m going to be better prepared to go out and find a job and go back to work,” Jeara said. “It’s like I’ve been put in a timeout, but it’s a good timeout.”

Beginning May 26, Jeara plans to start taking online classes through a community college for criminal justice and work toward becoming a probation officer. 

“I think I could be a good probation officer, and I think I’ve been through enough in life that not quite so many people could come in and pull the wool over my eyes,” Jeara said. 

Next month she plans to file for divorce and push to make sure her husband can’t be involved in their kids’ lives. He currently has no visitation rights, Jeara said, and he has to wait a year before he can try to get custody because he moved out of state.

“I’m ready to move forward, I’m ready to be divorced and have my name back,” Jeara said.

Looking ahead to the eventual end of the pandemic and life going back to normal, moving out of the shelter is still a big concern. She has set up a GoFundMe page to help them get back on their feet after they leave the shelter: www.gofundme.com/f/regaining-our-lives.

“I’m scared to be in a place that’s not as secure as this. I think that’s my biggest fear,” Jeara said. 

But in their short time there, Jeara said she’s seen her kids be kids again and she’s excited to continue to watch them grow.

“I’ve seen the light starting to come back in their eyes again,” Jeara said. “I’ve started seeing them playing and not being scared to play because they’re being too loud or whatever the case may be … I absolutely love it.” 

Domestic violence warning signs

Domestic violence is a pattern of abuse that can include physical, sexual, emotional, verbal and financial elements where the abuser's conscious or unconscious goal is to gain or maintain control. There are not always physical signs of abuse.

Girls and young women ages 16-24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence.

Early warning signs of an abusive partner include: 

  • Controlling behavior
  • Guilt trips
  • Threats
  • Intimidation
  • Isolation 
  • Jealousy
  • Name-calling
  • Manipulation
  • Explosive temper
  • Mood swings
  • Checking your cellphone or email without permission

Help for people in crisis

If you or someone you care about is in a domestic violence situation, call Crossroads Safehouse's 24/7 helplines, which are staffed by trained advocates: 970-482-3502 or 888-541-7233 (toll free). You can also call Alternatives to Violence at 970-880-1000.

Other available resources for people in crisis include:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or call 911.
  • SummitStone Crisis Stabilization Unit, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: summitstonehealth.org/services/
  • Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies crisis centers: uchealth.org/services/behavioral-health/

Alternatives to Violence releases video sharing safety tips for victims of domestic violence

Loveland Reporter Herald, April 25, 2020 By Carina Julig

Many Coloradans are currently spending long periods of time in their homes to try to  stay safe from the coronavirus. But for victims of domestic violence, home is not a safe place.

Alternatives to Violence, Loveland’s domestic violence shelter, has seen a 20% drop in calls in the past several weeks. Executive director Kari Clark said she believes the drop is in part because victims are confined in the same space as their abusers, and don’t have the privacy to try and put together an exit strategy.

“They can’t make that ‘I need help’ phone call because they’re being watched constantly,” Clark said in an earlier interview with the Reporter-Herald.

With people limited in how often they can leave the home, the shelter has been ramping up its online outreach, and put together a video urging people to reach out to Alternatives to Violence if they need help and providing safety tips to those quarantined with an abuser.

The tips include having children memorize important phone numbers and where to go in the event of a crisis, identifying the safest and most discreet escape from the residence, creating a code word with a trusted friend to let them know if you are in trouble and documenting any physical abuse.

Alternatives to Violence can be reached 24/7 by calling its crisis hotline at 970-880-1000.

The video can be viewed at https://www.dropbox.com/s/fl4zb242ij25b5z/ATV%20STAY%20SAFE%20AT%20HOME.mp4?dl=0&fbclid=IwAR3MgqUF2CLEhZRxuUArEH8VSQVUQS9uwW06gEpSU7VieSnYUBDKpaIp3ww.

If You Feel Unsafe at Home, Here is What to do (Video)

For this week's episode of "Tuned In to NoCo," I spoke with local non-profit Alternatives to Violence about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting victims of domestic violence.

Kari Clark, the organization's executive director, explained how we can all help these victims, even while self-isolating.

Now, the non-profit has released a video guide detailing what to do if you are experiencing violence in your own home.



Read More: If You Feel Unsafe at Home, Here is What to Do [VIDEO] | https://999thepoint.com/if-you-feel-unsafe-at-home-here-is-what-to-do-video/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral

Townsquare Media blogs, April 24, 2020  By Emily Mashak

For this week's episode of "Tuned into to NoCo," I spoke with local non-profit, Alternatives to Violence about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting victims of domestic violence.

Kari Clark, the organization's executive director, explained how we can all help these victims, even while self-isolating.

Now, the non-profit has released a video guide detailing what to do if you are experiencing violence in your own home.

Some of their tips include physically distancing yourself from your abuser if you can, planning an escape route, and staying in touch with friends and family as much as possible.

And, remember that Alternatives to Violence is reachable 24/7 via (970) 880-1000, their crisis hotline.

To see the original post and watch the video, visit here.

Aside from a few lucky introverts, I'm sure most of us are tired of the social isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But while isolation is simply annoying for us, it can be dangerous for others, including domestic violence victims.

"Isolation is already a regular tactic that abusers use and it's something that can be easily manipulated during what's going on right now to further control and isolate victims," said Kari Clark, Executive Director of Alternatives to Violence, in our "Tuned In to NoCo" interview.



Read More: How Isolating COVID-19 Culture Affects Domestic Violence Victims | https://999thepoint.com/how-the-isolating-covid-19-culture-affects-domestic-violence-victims/?utm_source=tsmclip&utm_medium=referral

Townsquare Media blogs

Aside from a few lucky introverts, I'm sure most of us are tired of the social isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But while isolation is simply annoying for us, it can be dangerous for others, including domestic violence victims.

"Isolation is already a regular tactic that abusers use and it's something that can be easily manipulated during what's going on right now to further control and isolate victims," said kari Clark, Executive Director of Alternatives to Violence, in our "Tuned in to NoCo" interview.

Alternatives to Violence is a non-profit organization in Northern Colorado that provide advocacy, shelter, education, resources, and more to those affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. 

Clark wants victims to know that even though precautionary measures against the virus have changed the way the organization is operating, their dedication to supporting victims is still unwavering.

Alternatives to Violence is accessible via their website, their office phone at (970) 669-5150, and their after-hours crisis hotline at (970) 880-1000.

The general public can also do its part to help victims, even while in isolation at home.

"Keep in touch with your loved ones and your friends, talk to them," said Clark. "People who might be in an abusive situation...try to talk to them and set up a code word when they're not around their abuser. Reach out to them as much as you possibly can."

Vigilance and connection are key, even as the stay-at-home order shifts to the safer-at-home order on Monday (April 27).

To learn more about Alternatives to Violence and how you can help domestic violence victims amidst the pandemic, listen to the full "Tuned in to NoCo" interview with Kari Clark here.

Alternatives to Violence works to help domestic abuse victims amid COVID-19

The shelter has seen a 20% decrease in calls since the beginning of the pandemic

Loveland Reporter Herald, April 17, 2020 By Carina Julig

Wearing masks, Jillian Kolman, left, and Emily Rosa, both case workers for Alternatives to Violence, chat Tuesday, April 15, 2020, while working in Loveland.

The coronavirus has thrown a curveball into the operations of Loveland’s domestic violence shelter, Alternatives to Violence, but the shelter is working to adapt to the new situation and help victims of abuse during an uncertain time.

The shelter has seen a 20% decrease in calls in the past several weeks, said executive director Kari Clark. With people being quarantined inside, it’s possible that victims of abuse aren’t able to reach out to the shelter because they don’t have any privacy from their abusers.

“They can’t make that ‘I need help’ phone call because they’re being watched constantly,” Clark said.

Financial stress is also a factor, Clark believes. Since many people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, they may not have the financial resources right now to leave an abusive partner.

Though calls are down now, the shelter expects to see an increase later, Clark said. During other crises, research has shown that call volume initially drops and then “explodes” two or three months later, she said.

Clark said that she is concerned by the increase in gun sales in Colorado, which have surged during the pandemic.

According to research by Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, a leading expert on domestic abuse, the presence of a gun in a household increases the risk that a woman will be killed by her abusive partner by 500%.

“We know that people are scared, but that makes the risk way higher for somebody who is living with an abusive partner,” Clark said.

The shelter has limited the number of staff it has working in its office, and has transitioned many of its employees to remote work. Caseworkers are using a confidential videoconferencing app to speak with clients instead of doing in-person visits, and the shelter is looking into using a confidential texting app as well.

The safehouse is full to the capacity that is safe, Clark said. Previously people could double up in rooms if necessary, but in the effort to keep people socially distanced that is no longer a possibility.

Because of the virus, the shelter has waived the time limit for people staying in the safehouse. People usually are allowed to live in the safehouse for up to eight weeks, but are now allowed to stay indefinitely until Colorado’s stay-at-home order is lifted.

Finding places for people to stay has been challenging, and Clark said the shelter has seen an increase in calls from people who left an abuser and can’t find anywhere to go. Homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters are full across Northern Colorado. The shelter has some funding to put people in hotel rooms, and has been paying for two-week hotel stays.

With so many parts of ordinary life disrupted, the shelter is trying to find new ways to reach people. Since grocery stores are one of the main places people go now, it’s been attempting to work with local stores to put up posters with information about how to get help for domestic violence.

Like many other businesses and nonprofits, the pandemic has caused Alternatives to Violence to suffer financially.

The shelter was supposed to hold its annual Purple Ribbon Breakfast the first week of April, with a keynote speech from Mildred Muhammad, the ex-wife of the D.C. sniper. The breakfast is the shelter’s largest fundraiser of the year.

“We depend a great deal on the donations that we receive during the breakfast,” Clark said.

She hopes to be able to reschedule the breakfast for sometime in the next six months, and is also hoping that the fundraisers planned for September will be able to go forward as planned.

The shelter has flexible grant funding it receives from the state and local government, but a lot of its funding comes from donations from foundations and individuals, both of which have taken a hit from the pandemic. Regardless of how badly the shelter ends up being affected, it plans to continue to do as much as it can, Clark said.

“We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure we can be there for people who are suffering from violence,” she said.

Alternatives to Violence released a list of suggestions for people who have loved ones living with abusive partners:

  • Call or FaceTime when reaching out, as people may be more likely to disclose concerns in a verbal conversation rather than by text.
  • Drop off necessities, such as cleaning supplies. Abusers frequently withhold things in order to maintain power and control.
  • Create a code word your friend can use if they are in trouble.

The shelter also asked for donations to help support its work. Donations can be made at coloradogives.org/alternativestoviolence/overview.

Alternatives to Violence’s crisis hotline can be reached 24/7 at 970-880-1000.

Alternatives to Violence Asks Community to Join Them in Helping Victims of Domestic Violence During Stay-at-home Order

North Forty News, April 12, 2020

Alternatives to Violence Crisis Hotline (970) 880-1000

Home is not a safe place for everyone–particularly victims of domestic violence. Financial hardship, fear of COVID-19 infection and supervising children add a tremendous amount of stress to an already volatile situation that can lead to a greater risk of abuse. If abuse does happen, victims are too afraid to reach out for help from home for fear of being caught. That is why Alternatives to Violence, a nonprofit providing advocacy and resources for domestic violence victims in Loveland and southern Larimer County, wants to educate the community on how to help if they suspect someone might be experiencing abuse at home.

“Abusive partners do not handle stressful situations well,” said Executive Director of Alternatives to Violence, Kari Clark. “Add in the fact that gun shops across the Front Range have seen a spike in sales gives us more reason to be gravely concerned. Research has shown the presence of a gun in domestic violence situations can increase the risk of homicide for women by as much as 500 percent. It’s important for people throughout the community to know how they can help a neighbor or friend in need.” 

What the community can do:

  • Don’t text–call. A voice offers much more comfort than a text. Plus, a friend in need may be more likely to express concerns in an actual verbal conversation. You may even be able to detect if there is something wrong talking or FaceTiming a friend.
  • Encourage them to act fast: For victims who are still healthy or not yet in quarantine status, encourage them to move while they can, either to a friend’s house, hotel or shelter. Staying at home may become more violent as time goes by.
  • Drop off necessities: It is very likely that an abusive partner will withhold necessities like hand sanitizer as a form of power or control. Offer to pick up essentials for your friend and personally deliver them, practicing social distancing recommendations, to ensure they’ve been received. It might offer a good face-to-face opportunity to see how your friend is doing.
  • Create a code word: Come up with a code word or signal your friend can use if she/he is in trouble and in need of immediate help. It can even be an emoji that can be easily sent via text.
  • Contact Alternatives to Violence: The Alternatives to Violence Crisis Hotline (970) 880-1000 is available seven days a week, 24/7. Victims, as well as friends and loved ones, are encouraged to call for support and guidance.
  • SUPPORT VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE BY SUPPORTING ATV!  ATV is working hard to keep their phone lines and doors open during this critical time. ATV asks the community to consider making a donation. However small, every bit of help is needed right now. Donations can be made at coloradogives.org/alternativestoviolence/overview.

About Alternatives to Violence:

Alternatives to Violence provides shelter, advocacy, education and resources for people impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. Since 1982, Alternatives to Violence has offered victims the opportunity to heal both emotionally and physically in a supportive environment. Each year, ATV provides emergency shelter, safety planning, advocacy, information and referrals to local resources, crisis intervention, and in some cases longer-term housing to over 800 people in Loveland and Southern Larimer County.

Alternatives to Violence was established in 1983 and is registered with the Colorado Secretary of State as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.

Alternatives to Violence Hosts 4th Annual Purple Ribbon Breakfast

North Forty News, January 31, 2020

By Blaine Howerton

On Thursday, April 2, Alternatives to Violence (ATV) will be hosting its fourth annual Purple Ribbon Breakfast at the Embassy Suites Loveland, which serves to raise funds for ATV’s SafeHouse and programs.  The event starts with check-in at 7:00 a.m. followed by the breakfast presentation from 7:30-8:30 a.m. 

“Many victims hesitate to leave an abusive relationship because they don’t have a safe place to go or have the means to start over,” said Executive Director of Alternative to Violence, Kari Clark. “The money we raise at this breakfast provides the critical funds to maintain our SafeHouse and programs to help these victims heal and rebuild their lives.” 

The Purple Ribbon Breakfast will feature special guest speaker, Mildred Muhammad. Muhammad is the ex-wife of the D.C. sniper, John A. Muhammad, who went on a three-week rampage with the intent to ultimately find and kill her too. Muhammad will open up with personal details of her experience involving fear and abuse. She will share her expertise and challenges on what it’s like to be a victim and survivor of domestic violence “without physical scars.” Muhammad has made it her mission to be a vessel of support and healing to all those affected by domestic abuse and violence. She is an award-winning speaker, international expert speaker for the US Department of State, certified consultant with the Office on Victims of Crime and CNN contributor. 

Individuals and companies are invited to sponsor the event. Sponsorship is $1,000 and includes a table for 10, breakfast, recognition on all event collateral and promotion, plus the opportunity to be part of an essential team helping victims of violence right here in our community. 

Those wishing to volunteer or participate should call the ATV office at (970) 669-5150. For those who cannot attend the event, but wish to contribute to Alternatives to Violence, can donate at alternativestoviolence.org/Pages/Donate.php.

About Alternatives to Violence:

Alternatives to Violence provides shelter, advocacy, education and resources for people impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. Since 1982, Alternatives to Violence has offered victims the opportunity to heal both emotionally and physically in a supportive environment. Each year, ATV provides emergency shelter, safety planning, advocacy, information and referrals to local resources, crisis intervention, and in some cases longer-term housing to over 800 people in Loveland and Southern Larimer County.

Alternatives to Violence was established in 1983 and is registered with the Colorado Secretary of State as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.

Ex-wife of D.C. sniper to speak at Alternatives to Violence's April fundraiser

Mildred Muhammad will speak about her experience escaping domestic violence

Loveland Reporter-Herald, January 21, 2020

By Carina Julig

Alternatives to Violence, Loveland’s domestic violence shelter, announced Tuesday that the ex-wife of 2002 Washington, D.C., sniper John A. Muhammad will be the keynote speaker for its fourth annual Purple Ribbon Breakfast in April.

Mildred Muhammad will speak about her personal experience of being a domestic violence survivor. She has written several books about domestic violence and served as a consultant with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The breakfast will be held on April 2 at the Embassy Suites in Loveland. It is ATV’s largest fundraiser of the years, and supports its domestic violence shelter and other programs.

Individuals and businesses are invited to become sponsors of the event. Sponsorship costs $1,000 and includes a table for 10 and recognition on all promotional material. Those wishing to volunteer or participate can call the ATV office at 970-669-5150.

Colorado domestic violence deaths rose in 2018, report says

Director of Loveland's Alternatives to Violence says awareness, prevention are crucial

Loveland Reporter-Herald, December 16, 2019

By Carina Julig

The director of Loveland’s domestic violence program says a new report about the increasing number of deaths from domestic violence highlights the need for awareness and prevention.

The number of people killed in domestic violence incidents in Colorado rose 10% from 2017 to 2018, according to a report released Friday by the Attorney General’s Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board.

The review board was established in 2017 to track data on domestic violence fatalities and make policy recommendations on how to prevent further deaths.

In 2018, 43 people were killed in domestic violence incidents in Colorado, the report said. Of those, there were 26 primary victims, two children, four other adults and 11 perpetrators. That was an increase from 2017, in which 39 people were killed in domestic violence incidents, including 18 primary victims.

The youngest victim was 3 and the oldest 64, the report said. The plurality were women killed by current or former male partners, and 63% of all victims were killed by gunshot wounds.

One victim, Greg Baker, was from Larimer County. Baker was allegedly shot and killed by his wife, Nancy Baker, in their Fort Collins home in October 2018. Nancy Baker pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in his killing, and her court case is ongoing.

Kari Clark, director of Loveland’s domestic violence program Alternatives to Violence, pointed out that domestic violence does not discriminate based on race, gender and other socioeconomic factors.

“It is often a misperception that just because the victim is male, it is not domestic violence,” she said.

Clark said the report is troubling.

“That it’s increasing in number is disturbing,” Clark said. “We’d like to see all deaths from domestic violence go away, but in the meantime it’s important for us to educate the general population about red flags for abuse.”

Red flags identified by the report include the perpetrator feeling a loss of control, having a history of possessiveness or previous domestic violence assaults, having access to firearms and experiencing estrangement or separation from the victim.

The fact that many of the perpetrators had previously been arrested on domestic violence charges highlights the need for more prevention work from the judicial standpoint, Clark said.

As policy recommendations, the report suggested creating an abuse prevention program for youths, studying treatment programs for teen dating violence offenders and enforcing domestic violence offender treatment sentences.

NOCO Businesses support Pastels on 5th

Get Creative with Giving

NOCO Style, November 2019 Issue

By Lisa Kennedy

On a warm Saturday afternoon, Kelsey Priestly leaned over a square etched into the sidewalk, drawing. Shippers’ Supply Custom Pack, the Loveland business she works for, had purchased the square as a sponsor of the Pastels on 5th festivities. This year’s installment of the annual chalk-art gathering brought artists—professional, student, hobbyist—to town for a cause as grave as the two-day event was buoyant.
Since 1983, Alternatives to Violence (ATV) has been providing services and a safe haven to people affected by domestic abuse and sexual assault, as well as victims of human trafficking. Pastels has been a money-raising event for the organization since 2010. This year’s program brought in $45,000.

“We are so grateful,” says ATV Executive Director Kari Clark. Perhaps as significant as the funds raised is the fact that Pastels “lets people know we are here,” Clark adds. “It puts the word out on what we do. A lot of clients and people seeking services hear about [us] because of Pastels.”

Sheree Lambert, co-owner of Shippers’ with husband Jim, has been a Pastels sponsor from the start. “We love anything art related,” she says. “And then the cause! We hold ATV near and dear to our hearts. It was a no-brainer.”
The family-owned business provides all manner of goods and support to people sending packages, but its unique skill set is in packing, crating and dispatching art works to places near and far-flung. Many of the artists participating in Pastels “are good friends of ours that we wanted to support,” says Lambert.

Local businesses, church groups, nonprofits, school groups and individual sponsors were able to buy a square, or multiple squares, costing from $150-$1,000 per square. Approximately 150 artists participated this past September, according to Vicky Bryant, the longtime ATV volunteer who launched the community gathering as a way to fundraise for an organization she believes in deeply. “I had a childhood riddled with domestic abuse, and ATV really needed a good fundraiser,” she says.

Northern Colorado’s businesses, large and small, like to give and—more vitally—like to give back. Community groups, local nonprofit organizations, even a daughter’s softball team can be beneficiaries of that largesse. Companies can qualify for tax breaks and boost their standing within their community i.e. customers with their charitable efforts. In the parlance, it’s a “win-win.” But for many business owners the motivation runs deeper than extending its brand or saving on taxes. Think of it as community-building with “give where you live” as the mantra.

One of the most innovative examples of that may be the business model Mission Homes constructed. The brainchild of David and Stephanie Gregg, Mission’s mission is community-driven and Christian-centered. Not only does the homebuilder create much-needed affordable houses in its backyard of Berthoud, 25 percent of the net profit from a sale goes to nonprofit organizations that were curated by a cohort of locals with philanthropic chops. And the couple know their way around the region. David Gregg, an architect, was once Berthoud’s mayor; Stephanie Gregg has been woven into the community’s philanthropic fabric for years.

The charitable partners on Mission’s “MVP” list range from local to regional to international.

“Some have been around forever,” says Stephanie Gregg, of the 10 charities. “But some of our nonprofits are really grassroots. They’re just starting. They don’t have big fundraising efforts to support their charities. Mission Homes affords them a big benefit.”

During closings, Berthoud buyers can choose which local organization they’d like to donate to. “Part of our thinking behind having our buyers select the Berthoud charities the money goes to was to create a culture of giving, a pay-it-forward culture that was more than what we established,” says David Gregg. “At the closing table, buyers are very appreciative of getting to choose the charities, but a number of realtors and lenders who attend those meetings have chosen as well.”

Many businesses, Mission Homes among them, look to the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado for guidance when it comes to growing, protecting and dispensing their funds, and for direction setting up charitable foundations and endowments.

Hydro Construction is among the businesses whose holdings support a foundation managed by the Community Foundation. The Fort Collins-based, employee-owned water-treatment company has been in business for more than 40 years and its core values of ethics, honesty and teamwork undergird their charitable vision. As Hydro has grown, so has its ability to fund organizations and charities its employees hold near and dear, allowing it to “give back to the communities in which we work and live in,” said Hydro’s president, Stan Javernick.

Javernick gives an example that underscores the familial feel of the company. “An employee could come in and say, ‘I’d like to give $50 or $75 to sponsor my son’s or daughter’s team, would you be willing to match?’ Hydro has a [program] where we’ll match it dollar for dollar.”

And forget those holiday bonus mugs and thanks-for-your-decades watches employees get for sticking around. Hydro doesn’t have much turnover. So, the company seized an opportunity to honor milestones of five, 10, 15, even 25 years. “With each of those milestones there’s a certain dollar allocation that you get to donate to any 501(c)(3) organization of your choosing,” Javernick says. And Hydro has extended that philanthropic practice to its clients as a way of acknowledging the longevity of the relationship. “We send them a letter letting them know the company would like to donate to a registered charity of their choice on their behalf.”

For companies like Hydro and others, charitable efforts aren’t simply about writing a check and disappearing until the next season of giving. It’s also about the ways in which a business can improve the quality of life of its employees.

“A big driver for me was that we have a lot of creative, amazing, artistic people on our staff,” says Nate Frary, a franchise owner of Dutch Bros. Coffee, which bought its first Pastels square this year. Frary owns four of the drive-through coffee joints. (He’ll soon be opening a second one in Fort Collins to make it five.) He’d been on the lookout for philanthropic opportunities and read about Pastels in the paper. “Giving someone a chance to draw and spend the day with other artists, that’s an easy one. And we’re always looking for any and every way to get involved in local communities,” he says. “It really comes down to us wanting to broaden our footprint and reach into the community.”

Frary’s commitment didn’t start, nor will it stop, with Pastels. When he and his wife relocated to Colorado from Washington state in 2016, he created an employee program with the hip handle “Street Crew.” “We live here, these are our communities, a lot of our employees are really into community service and giving their time and talents. We wanted to create another platform for them to do that,” he explains. “We wanted to show people that Dutch Bros. is not a coffee company. We’re really a people company that happens to serve coffee.”

On the Alternatives to Violence website there’s a short, inspiring slideshow about a recent fence project for their SafeHouse. It’s reminiscent of the communal barn raisings that went on in rural towns in Colorado. But a sturdy wood fence—good-looking to boot—has an additionally powerful meaning for the people who rely on ATV’s safe house.

There’s something touching and fortifying about a crowd of volunteers unloading pick-up trucks, toting lumber, setting posts all in order to build an additional measure of safety and security for their most vulnerable neighbors, as if to turn a curmudgeonly old saying on its head. Good neighbors, it turns out, can make good fences.

Peer workshops help Loveland High School students learn about teen dating violence

Organizers work with the Ashley Doolittle Foundation and Alternatives to Violence to teach teenagers warning signs

Loveland Reporter-Herald

By Carina Julig

October 27, 2019

Loveland High School students give a presentation about teen dating violence during health class on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, at the school in Loveland. From left are Brady Zink, Arden Ferrowitz, Hannah Smith and Katrina Nelson. In partnership with Alternatives to Violence and the Ashley Doolittle Foundation, students at Loveland High School are leading peer workshops educating their fellow students on the topic. (Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald)

In a health class at Loveland High School one October afternoon, students learned about something not always discussed in school: domestic abuse.

Teams of Loveland High students delivered presentations last week on teen dating violence, part of a collaboration between the school and Alternatives to Violence, Loveland’s domestic violence shelter, to help young people spot the warning signs for abuse.

Students from Loveland High’s peer ambassador and peer counselor programs taught the program.

The hope is that students will listen to a presentation from their peers more readily than from an adult, said Marigaye Barnes, Alternatives to Violence’s outreach advocate.

Each year, Barnes trains students who volunteer about teen dating violence and walks them through the presentation. They then give the presentation in the school’s health class.

Earlier in October, students gathered at Trinity Lutheran Church for the training. While Barnes talked through some of the red flags of a controlling partner, one girl nodded her head and said that they were all too familiar from her last relationship.

Teen dating violence is pervasive across the U.S. According to the CDC, 26% of women and 15% of men experienced some form of intimate partner abuse before the age of 18.

Because young people are not always taught about what constitutes a healthy relationship, many assume that abusive behaviors such as stalking, reading through texts, put-downs and keeping you isolated from friends are “normal” parts of a teen relationship, or just chalk it up to jealousy.

Violence in an adolescent relationship also makes people vulnerable to further abuse. Youths who are victims of dating violence in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college, according to the CDC.

Barnes wants young people to understand that these behaviors are never OK. The presentation teaches students about the red flags for teen dating violence, what a healthy relationship should look like and how to help a friend you think may be in an unhealthy relationship.

Barnes works closely with the Ashley Doolittle Foundation. Ashley Doolittle had just graduated Berthoud High School in the spring of 2016 when she was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2017. Her mother Ann Marie Doolittle formed the foundation in her honor to educate people about teen dating violence.

Barnes talks about Ashley in every presentation she gives to young people. At the request of Ashley’s family, she never uses her ex-boyfriend’s name. Ashley’s story is a powerful realization for students that teen dating violence isn’t just an abstract issue.

Barnes was a hospital nurse for 35 years before she decided she needed a career change and joined Alternatives to Violence four years ago. She said that Doolittle’s death was a wake-up call to her that teen dating violence was here in Larimer County.

“It happened in this school district,” Barnes told students at the training. “And we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Marigaye Barnes of Alternatives to Violence trains students from Loveland High School in how to be ambassadors for domestic violence prevention on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Loveland. In partnership with Alternatives to Violence and the Ashley Doolittle Foundation, students at Loveland High School are now leading peer workshops educating their fellow students on the topic. (Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald)

Ann Marie Doolittle said that it was vital that students learn the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship. Ann Marie had seen snippets of Ashley’s relationship that concerned her, and her friends had as well, but none of them knew what they were seeing.

“Had we known what the signs were, I really believe Ashley could still be alive,” Doolittle said.

Senior Tamala Kamayu said that she volunteered to give a presentation because she felt like it was an important issue to talk about. If the statistics on teen dating violence bore out, that meant that a lot of students at the school district had been victims of it, and they deserved to have help.

“If I can save one person, I feel like that would be a win,” Kamayu said.

Junior Shannon Tyler said that she volunteered because she is passionate about teaching young people about healthy relationships. She is especially passionate about educating her peers about consent, which is an issue she feels isn’t covered en

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Alternatives to Violence  |  541 E. 8th St. |  Loveland, CO  80537
Office Hours: 9:00am - 4:00pm  |  Monday - Thursday  |  Friday 9:00am-Noon. Closed Saturday & Sunday
Office Phone: 970-669-5150  |  Fax: 970-669-5136  |  After Hours Crisis Hotline: 970-880-1000

Alternatives to Violence provides shelter, advocacy, education and resources for people impacted by domestic violence , sexual assault and human trafficking.

Alternatives to Violence provides services to women, men and children regardless of race, sexual orientation or legal status.

© 2018 Alternatives To Violence