San Miguel Resource Center Celebrates 20 Years of Outreach
WESTERN SAN JUANS - It has been a record-setting year for the San Miguel Resource Center, begun two decades ago by Telluride psychologist Marshall Whiting when a client with an abusive partner needed safe housing.
What began life as a domestic violence and sexual-assault resource center, with emergency shelter services for a few clients, now offers facilitation for domestic violence, stalking, harassment, child sexual assault, adults molested as children, elder abuse, child physical abuse, murder and suicide.
Geographically, client services have expanded from San Miguel County to include the west end of Montrose County, all the way Egnar. “We’ve also had an uptick of clients in Ridgway,” says Kristin Redd, SMRC client services manager.
As it borders extend, so does the number of clients served. From its first year, with 21 client meetings and 94 callers, SMRC today fields roughly 1,300 in-person counseling sessions and 2,000 callers.Through September of this year, SMRC staff and volunteers fielded 2,038 telephone calls and 1,289 in-person contacts, worked with 222 regular clients and safe-housed nine adults and children for a total of 24 nights. “We have gone into a very busy cycle,” says Redd. “By June of this year, we had worked with more sexual assault clients than any other year. By the September mark, we had completely passed our client count” of years past.
The State of Colorado has applauded SMRC’s violence-prevention education program.
“The west end has the highest suicide rate,” says Redd, and Colorado ranks eighth-highest for suicide in the nation.
The suicide rate on the Western Slope, she added, is three times the national average.
SMRC numbers and services are expanding today “for lots of reasons,” says Redd. For starters, “We have more advocates than ever,” with a recent Telluride advocate training drawing 20 recruits, well over the usual three or four. At the same time volunteer training is soaring, “We’re getting more referrals,” many from law enforcement, says Redd.
“That’s the positive side” of the increased numbers, she allows. “On the negative side,” mounting economic and social problems are “whip-cracking up and out,” with mounting stress leading to escalating violence. In recent months, “We’ve had some pretty incredible situations out in the west end,” she says.
As SMRC continues to grow, so does its programming wish list. Organizers would like to see an increase in funding for emergencies, as well as seed money for a male violence-prevention education specialist, improved outreach to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, and more funding for Life Clubs in its service area for violence-prevention education for at-risk youth.
To that end, SMRC is recognizing its anniversary – and the fact that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – with an array of community celebrations. Wednesday, Oct. 2 marked its annual Community Appreciation Luncheon for Volunteers and Service Providers, and today marks its 20th Anniversary Cocktail Celebration and Capital Campaign Kickoff (Element 52, 5:30-7 p.m.). A Community Hoedown takes place Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Elks Lodge, 7-9 p.m. (tickets $10; children free); Monday, Oct. 14 brings the annual traveling Luna Festival of award-winning short films by, for and about women (6-9 p.m.; $10) to the Ah Haa School, and on Thursday, Oct. 17, BRAvo returns to the Sheridan Bar, 7 p.m. (admission $5). The month wraps up with a West End Community Appreciation Luncheon for Volunteers and Service Providers (Oct. 22 at the Nucla Firehouse, 1 p.m.), and Latino Movie Night at Wilkinson Library (Oct. 23, 6-8 p.m.).
For more information, visit sanmiguelresourcecenter.org.
The Injured Eagle
Editor’s Note: “It was very beautiful – it was her story, and the way that she put it into an allegory is very beautiful,” says Client Services Manager Kristin Redd, of the following story written by a client of the San Miguel Resource Center. “It’s always neat to see people be transformed, and to see something that was so hard become so meaningful in their lives. We were all really excited about this story.”
Once upon a time, there was an eagle. She flew high in the sky, as high as she liked, and she was very happy. However, one day, she was captured by a man. He cut her wings and locked her in a tiny cell. Soon after, she fell in love with the man and stopped wanting to escape her prison. She was never happy with her clipped wings, though, and she found her body was deteriorating in that cell. She was dying a slow death.
Then her first baby was born. She gave life all she could to keep on going for her baby, although she felt dead in her soul. People saw the eagle and thought she must be very sick in the prison. One day, a person helped the eagle escape. She couldn’t fly and her body was destroyed, but she abandoned the cell, taking her baby with her.
The eagle was so injured that she never imagined she could heal. But with time and the help of God, her wounds healed. However, she couldn’t fly as high as she used to in order to stay safe. Once again she was captured, this time in the nets of a man. He didn’t cut her wings, and he did let her fly a little bit, but with strict rules. He made sure to keep his nets nearby so that she couldn’t fly away from him.
Soon the eagle had another baby eagle. Now there were two. The eagle looked at her older baby, now a young eagle, and saw her own story in her daughter. She saw that her daughter was dying that same slow death in the clutches of the new man. The eagle suffered to see her child suffer. She decided to free herself and her two daughters and carry them both away from danger.
After she fled, the eagle found that she had a long road of healing ahead of her. She had suffered beating after beating, feeling helpless, unsafe, and unprotected. She decided it was safer to fly away and heal on her own in a place where she could protect her young eagles.
The eagle will heal, she will grow even stronger, and now she knows how to keep herself safe from any danger.
Escrito por Anónimo
Había una vez un aguila, la cual volaba muy alto dominando las alturas. Volaba tan alto como quería y era muy feliz.
Pero un día, fue capturada. Le cortaron las alas y fue encerrada en una pequeña jaula. Ella se enamoró de su amo y no quería escapar de ese lugar en el que fue prisionera. No era feliz con sus alas rotas y deteriorando su cuerpo en esa jaula en la cual estaba muriendo lentamente.
Pero nació su primer polluelo y le dio fuerza para seguir viviendo aunque espiritualmente estaba muerta. La gente la veía enferma en esa prisión. Un día, una amiga le ayudó a escapar, aunque no podía volar con su cuerpo destrozado. Abandanó la jaula, llevando con ella su polluelo.
Estaba muy herida y pensaba que no se iba a poder recuperar, pero con el tiempo y con la ayuda de Dios, sus heridas fueron sanando. Se recuperó, pero aún no podía volar alto, y nuevamente fue capturada entre redes.
Esta vez, no cortaron sus alas. Se le permitía volar, pero con límites. Había muchas redes que no le permitían volar. Pero su polluelo fue encerrado en una jaula y en ella vio el reflejo de su propia historia. El polluelo estaba muriendo lentamente en esa jaula y el aguila sufría viendo a su polluelo sufrir.
El aguila decidió liberar a su polluelo y alejarlo del peligro. Pero ahora no sólo era un polluelo sino dos. Uno crecía libre y feliz mientras el otro crecía prisionero. El aguila escapó con sus dos polluelos porque deseaba protegerlos y alejarlos de los peligros.
El aguila se encuentra en un proceso de renovación ya que ha sufrido golpe sobre golpe, sintiéndose desamparada, insegura y desprotegida. Ha decidido alejarse y recuperarse sola y proteger a sus polluelos. Ella sanará y será aún más fuerte ya que por ahora esta muy sensible a cualquier daño.