glow parkOWENSBORO, Ky. (7/19/13) – (Editor’s note: The following is the second in a series of features highlighting local non-profit agencies in the Owensboro area.)
 
Between July 2012 and June of this year, a local non-profit agency centered on providing free therapy services for individuals and family members who have suffered some form of sexual abuse has worked to help almost 300 clients and offered almost 900 programs in the multi-county region it serves, including Daviess, Ohio, Henderson, McLean, Hancock, Webster, and Union counties.
 
Karla Ward, the executive director of New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services in Owensboro, told SurfKY News the agency has worked with more than 25,000 participants through its various therapy services and educational programs, including one operated as part of a five-year grant that is nearly completed.
 
New Beginnings operates 13 rape crisis centers in its service area, Ward said. She noted that the program relies mostly on volunteers who must first complete a 40-hour training requirement. The volunteers are “advocates that respond to crisis calls,” and serve as “first responders” for victims who are treated at a hospital.
 
In addition to the volunteer program, the agency operates with a staff eight full-time employees and one part-time employee. Two therapists work with the program in Owensboro, and another therapist travels routinely from Henderson to Owensboro to help treat people who would otherwise be on a waiting list. Still, even with the extra help, Ward said the agency has as many as 30 people on a waiting list at any given time. She said she hopes to hire a third therapist when funds become available.
 
Most clients, on average, are treated for a period of five to six months depending on their circumstances.
 
When it comes to donations, New Beginnings relies primarily on support of local churches and maintains what Ward referred to as a “laundry of love” list, mostly consisting of clothes and toiletry items needed. She said one of the main goals for volunteers working with sexual assault victims is to make sure they have “street clothes” they can wear.
 
On Aug. 10, a fundraiser for New Beginnings will be held at Yellow Creek Park. The event, a 5K run where participants will be sprayed with glow in the dark paint colors, is scheduled to start after dark (probably around 8:30 p.m.), and will be followed by an after party for participants. To register, or to learn more about the event, visit http://www.glowintheparkrun.com/locations/owensboro.htm.
 
Dennis Beard
SurfKY News

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