If someone asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ he will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’ Zech 13 v 6

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thank You

Bekah and Michele
I consider this project to be very bitter sweet. The bitter is of course what our family had to endure to discover the need that existed at SAIVS. The sweet is the beauty that was created out of ashes. It has been a very emotional week for me as I have reviewed the before and after pictures of the sexual assault center and created the most recent posts. This project was taken on out of love for our family, knowing it was a desire of mine to change the experience that future victims and their families would have at this facility. Other than knowing it was going on I was totally hands-off and didn't know any details. Due to all the complicated relationship issues I, myself, hadn't even seen the finished building until now via the photographs. I have been flooded with various emotions but I have landed on gratefulness! I am so grateful that this transformation was made a reality! Thank you, thank you, thank you.....

I asked Bekah if she would be willing to write in her own words the reason why she took this project on. I specifically asked her to include details of what was done and the approximate amount of money that the project took to complete and to mention the main people involved in making this possible.

From Rebekah Davidson:
I took on a little piece of a friend's burden. Danielle shared with me the experience of having to take her child to the Kitsap County Sexual Assault Unit. It was depressing, dark and very run down. Not the type of environment to foster a sense of safety or caring for the many families that have to be processed there. Danielle said, "If I ever make it through this ordeal I want to do what I can to make it a more warm, welcoming and safe place for victims and their families." I was a victim of sexual assault as a child. I never told. I felt ashamed like it was my fault. It wasn't until the assault of my dear friend's child that I told of my experience. I'm still not sure why I felt like I could finally talk about it. I felt angry and devastated that this happened to my friend's child, to me and many other thousands of people every year. Taking on just a little piece of my friend's burden was something I could do to work through the pain of her family's experience along with my own. And hopefully make other families more comfortable while having to be at the SAIVS unit. 

Originally, I envisioned I would go in and try to just spruce things up. But on my first visit I saw a much bigger challenge. There were too many things that needed attention. From the dim lighting to the musty smell. Chipped paint and stained carpet and old everything, the place needed a major overhaul! How and where could I even begin? My initial thoughts going in were to have my husband and I tackle it in a weekend or two and try to raise a few thousand dollars to cover the expenses. Long story short the whole unit was like opening Pandora's box! I knew that this was much bigger than what I could achieve alone. I started asking friends and family if they'd be willing to donate their time and resources to help. The response was all positive! As I started to take pictures and make a list of what needed to be done by priority order I realized I needed professional advise. I contacted Michele of Michele Interior's. She had done several remodel projects at my home and I knew she would be a great help. I also contacted my sister-in-law, Donna Moreland. She was invaluable in giving financial advise and directing me to resources that provided grants towards the project. 

Here are a few of the things we were able to improve:
New carpet on the stairs and all upper level offices
New paint on entire interior upper and lower levels 
New paint on exterior 
Landscape overhaul with major clean up of parking areas 
New ceiling tiles to replace broken and stained tiles 
New blinds on all lower windows
Beautiful mural in the childrens waiting room 
New flat panel T.V.'s (dvd player for the children's) adult waiting rooms 
New toys and books for children's waiting room 
Local photographs and art for conference room and adult and general waiting rooms 
New flooring in 4 existing bathrooms 
Changing station for waiting room bathroom 
New furniture for many areas in the lower level 
New lamps to provide a softer more welcoming atmosphere 
New sound proofing and rewiring of victim interview room 
New paint, carpet, wall decor and furniture for victim interview room 
New area rugs and furniture for general waiting room and adult waiting room 
Entire new kitchen including all new cabinets and cork flooring 
New table and chairs, art and lighting for kitchen 
Kitchen supplies to provide snacks etc for meetings with staff and victims and their families waiting for interviews or trial 

The list goes on and on..........we were even able to procure supplies for victims that need food or other necessities on an emergency basis.

The entire project took almost two years from start to finish with details too numerous to list that could have only been accomplished by a host of faithful volunteers and local businesses. Much of the work had to be done at night or on weekends so as not to interfere with the operation of the center and so that victims and their families had the privacy they needed. I am so grateful for the thousands of working hours that so many gave. I'm also grateful for all the funding for this project. All tolled the project totaled just over $100,000.00. A far cry from my original thought of a few thousand dollars!

A burden shared turned into a vision and desire to provide a welcoming, safe place for victims and their families to be able to work through the agony and ugliness of sexual abuse.

My thanks goes to Danielle for sharing her burden with me and that so many were able to participate in a tangible and practical way to show care for her family and many others.

Special mention must be made of:
Josh and Donna Moreland and family, The A.Y. Petter Donor Advised fund, The Seattle Foundation, The Kitsap community Foundation, and several anonymous donors. It couldn't have happened without them!

From Michele of Michele Interiors:
I was approached by a client who became a dear friend about providing some design guidance for a facility that was used to help children who are victims of sexual assault. I was surprised that she would even be aware that a place like SAIVS even existed.  I was probably like a lot of people who didn't even realize how great the need is for places like SAIVS.  When I heard how her life, and the life of her very close friend were affected by a sexual predator, I knew I had to get involved. 

How many of us that count our blessings every day and have nothing like this to puncture our daily lives even give this a second thought in our "safe" community?  Probably very few if any.  The truth is, unless we know someone who's come out with their story or we've been part of one, we all either choose to ignore it's there or are blissfully unaware of it.  Getting involved with SAIVS was my way of helping families start to find an end to their trials. To provide the brave victims and victim advocates with an environment that was uplifting and promised hope and safety.  

It reminded me every day how very blessed I am and how you NEVER know the pain that your friend, neighbor, colleague, acquaintance or stranger that you meet may be suffering.  Because until they are brave enough to come out with their story, no one knows...  and when they ARE brave enough to come out, there is SAIVS.

A Comment from Donna Moreland:
Now I am crying also, Danielle. They are healing tears, for sure. So grateful for your faithfulness. Your friend Bekah did a fantastic job of rallying the troops to get the job done. So many volunteers, dedicating so many hours; so much talent and skill going into the project. What a transformation! Knowing that one out of four women, and one out of eight men have been victims of sexual abuse; not to mention additional victims of violent, physical abuse ... knowing the numbers of good people who have come through the doors at SAIVS ... I praise God for the change that you initiated here in Kitsap county to change the experience of the victim. You have given hope to each person who comes in the door, and additionally to the people who work there. Words can not adequately express how grateful I am to have played a part in the transformation of this facility which serves so many in Kitsap county. Trusting that God will continue to bless and multiply your efforts. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great and true title...beauty from ahes, thanks Danielle, you are making a difference in this world.