Hope Harbor expands services

Alex Rivera

Hope Harbor, a sexual trauma recovery center in Bowling Green, is expanding its capabilities, training and outreach for this year as well as communicating with new demographics.

Volunteer coordinator Alayna Milby said the program has set goals in order to achieve these expectations.

“For 2016, Hope Harbor is focusing on raising awareness about services and options, increasing volunteer involvement and improving fundraising strategies,” Milby said.

The non-profit crisis center has partnered with several groups for Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October, like The Barren River Area Safe Space and WKU Testing and Counseling Center.

Hope Harbor has provided many free services for victims in the past including legal counsel, a crisis intervention hotline, emergency hospital and legal advocacy and more.

Kaitlyn Barriere, a volunteer for the crisis hotline, said she works with Hope Harbor to help provide comfort in people’s time of need.

“I go and be there for the patient to provide information, be a source of comfort, and even talk to family and friends that may be there as well,” Barriere said.

Barriere answers the 24-hour crisis number when a victim or survivor is in distress or needs information. Barriere also takes hospital advocacy shifts for Hope Harbor. If someone comes into a nearby hospital because of a sexual assault, the hospital is required to call Hope Harbor.

Although she is optimistic of the work that the organization does, Barriere is also always wanting to accomplish more, she said.

Milby added Hope Harbor can often run into funding and volunteer number problems. Since it is non-profit, it is reliant on charity to spread the message and maintain current resources, she said.

“When hosting events, we begin competing with other community events for participants,” Miley added. “This can also be an issue when asking for sponsorships or donations from local businesses.”

To fix this problem, the organization is increasing benefit events. April, Sexual Assault Awareness month, is typically when most of the fundraising happens.

However, this year Hope Harbor wants to start off earlier to increase volunteer count and fundraising. On Sept. 10, Hope Harbor will be reviving the Shine Up and Show Off: Charity Car and Truck Show in the SoKY Marketplace.

This fundraising event is also designed to reach new demographics the organization has not been able to communicate with.

With the influx of new outreach events this year, the organization is revamping the training program in order to prepare volunteers. Although volunteers are already trained to be advocates by staff, this will also include a focus on direct client communications.

“We plan to soon release a recruitment flyer targeted specifically to men,” Milby said. “We believe men have to be involved in the anti-rape movement to eradicate sexual assault.”

The organization is always looking to expand the number of volunteers and Barriere encourages those interested to contact the Hope Harbor volunteer coordinator.

Hope Harbor serves Barren, Warren and all their surrounding counties. A 24-hour confidential Crisis Hotline is available at 270-846-110 for those seeking any degree of help.

Reporter Alex Rivera can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].