Time does fly when working tirelessly to end a health epidemic. Domestic violence is just that – a national health epidemic.
For the last 14 years, I’ve led the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) in its purpose to end domestic violence against women. When I first started, I didn’t fully understand the enormity of the problem of violence in the home or between intimate partners. Our work grew to include violence prevention services not only for women, but also for men, teens, same sex partners, and children who witness. Over the years, I became a leader in the field of intimate partner violence (IPV) in Newport & Bristol Counties where our agency’s programs and services have grown far and wide.
If we can change social norms in our society, then we can make a difference in ending violence in our communities. The Health Equity Zone project in Newport is doing just that. For over five years, the Women’s Resource Center has been the lead agency to bring together many groups to ensure that all residents in Newport have the ability to live in an environment free from health disparities.
The WRC is among a small cohort of organizations nationally who are engaging in health equity work as a domestic violence prevention strategy. We are nationally recognized leaders in the development and progress of this work, and have been invited to present at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and for several national webinars. Our team has had the privilege of training domestic violence program staff in other states as they begin to adopt evidence-informed prevention practice. It has been an honor to work with all of these amazing, like-minded agencies in Newport to look at the way we approach the issue and listen to those voices in our communities who are impacted the most.
As I step down in retirement, I leave the WRC in a very good place. It has grown from 10 employees to over 35 today and from a budget of $800,000 to over $2 million. The staff are what make the WRC what it is, and I have had the honor and privilege to lead and guide these dedicated individuals. I will miss them dearly.
I want to thank all those individuals and organizations who have dedicated their lives to helping the WRC with its work. Whether as another agency in our network, a donor, grantor, volunteer, event attendee, or someone we honored as a Wild Woman or a Man Who Made A Difference, we could not have helped over 16,000 clients over the last 14 years at WRC without all of you!