First Step Honoring Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October Recipient of the Junior League Give Light Awards
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The News Channel 6 City Guide is a segment that shines a spotlight on local businesses, events, and nonprofits in your communities. In this episode, we’re highlighting First Step. It is an organization that advocates for domestic violence survivors, while promoting safe and healthy family behavior through education, awareness and supportive services. Here you can see how to take the first step towards a community free of violence.
First Step is a non-profit organization that has been serving Wichita Falls and the surrounding areas for over 40 years and they offer awareness programs, training around the community, shelter, safe housing, counseling, support groups, legal advocacy and case management. Domestic violence cases increase was huge during COVID, while people had to stay at home during the pandemic. First Step stayed open during the pandemic to help all the victims who needed support, specially those experiencing an unsafe environment at home.
In this episode we’re honoring Domestic Violence Awareness Month and taking a look at First Step, Inc! October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and First Step is this month’s recipient of the Give Light Awards-Junior League of Wichita Falls.
“Domestic violence occurs in one out of three women over a lifetime,” Patti Mallow, Program Director at First Step said. “So it’s a problem that is continuing in our society and most people have either experienced some form of domestic violence or they know someone who has and it’s great to be aware of that.”
First Step advocates for domestic violence survivors by raising awareness to domestic violence and offering resources to the community. And you can support them by wearing purple throughout the month of October!
“These (purple) ribbons that are out here, there are 185 of them and they each represent a loss that we had in the state of Texas,” Executive Director at First Step, Michelle Turnbow said. “One of the biggest things that I see people struggling with or clients struggling with is that - why didn’t you just leave?”
Turnbow explains there’s children, there’s the financial, there’s the manipulation, their self-esteem has been brought down and you believe that you can’t make it without it or that people won’t believe your story. That’s why it’s so support to have an organization such as First Step to give victims an option and offer support during their transition while they build themselves back up.
“Last year alone, in the 2019 statistics, First Step offered 7115 safe nights for people in our community,” Turnbow said. “I can assure you that having a safe house in our community has saved hundreds of lives.”
If you or someone in your life needs support, you can take the first step by going to FirstStep.org or call their 24/7 Hotline at 1-800-658-2683 and talk to an advocate at First Step. Don’t hesitate to reach out, “Just knowing that we’re here and we care - and we have a whole team here who’s behind every client that we serve and we see lots of success stories,” Mallow said.
You can wear purple to raise awareness to domestic violence throughout the month of October, put a purple ribbon on your front yard or volunteer and find out about more ways to help First Step.
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