Victims of Domestic Violence
In Victorville, California, there is a shelter and outreach program that is centered around domestic violence to help victims of domestic violence have safe places to go, give support, and provide further education. The problem being addressed is that men, women, and their families are being affected by domestic violence and don’t always have the greatest resources around. Margaret Diaz is the woman behind “A Better Way”. She wanted to bring more awareness and safety to those suffering, because she was a victim herself. The plan was to provide as much shelter as possible for the victims and to provide them with the necessary tools, education and resources so that they can leave the program successfully and thrive as individuals.
Sense of Community is a value that is represented here because even though Margaret is the director for this program, it was not just her alone that made this program successful. Many different people had to come together to be able to provide the housing and education to the victims. The victims themselves make a community. Everyone had support from each other because of similar situations they were going through. The program started out with a 24/7 hotline available to victims. Eventually with the proper funding, the program was able to provide actual shelters that could fit multiple families, and give children not just a home, but a place to play and interact and even use their skills in classroom settings.
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Empowerment and citizen participation is a huge value shown by this outreach program as well. Empowerment specifically is shown tremendously through this outreach program because of how many victims have been known to thrive after they have left the program with the help and support of the individuals that are in control of “A Better Way”. As a victim of domestic violence, whether it is physical or mental abuse, having other individuals stand by your side and letting you know what you can do for the world is true empowerment.
After graduating from the program, everyone feels that they have the “power” to accomplish anything and everything that they want. Citizen participation comes into play within this group also, because the victims can give feedback on exit forms given to them. They also communicate with the directors of the program, telling them what they need more of so that the program can be more adjusted to fit their needs during their time in the community. This also has an aspect of Community Based Participatory Research.
Even though there is not much research conducted between the directors and the victims, they are giving victims a chance to voice what they need to thrive more effectively so that the directors of the program have an idea of what they need to do to build up the program. Part of Community Based Participatory Research is not working against the community but working with them to make the community better for everyone involved. Within this outreach program, many of the domestic violence victims gained valuable skills to help them succeed in their lives following the help that they were given. This is when I believe that collaboration and community strengths happened.
Many of the graduates from the program left with cars, savings, and jobs which would have never happened if they never got the chance to gain help from others and learn how to get back on their feet. They leave knowing how to take care of themselves. The surrounding community worked hard in giving the best counseling and education programs for them and their children. Victims want the best for their families when put in tragic situations. Adding support in their lives gives them more motivation and strength to do more, so that they can provide for their children, themselves, and give their best to others around them moving forward. This outreach program has the opportunity to speak out to schools, clubs, and agencies to provide awareness and education about domestic violence, and this is all thanks to Margaret Diaz.