Apart from the occasional spanking for talking in church or that one time I set fire to the Kleenexes in my Mom’s bathroom wastebasket, I have been a stranger to domestic violence. Yet, it is a reality for many adults and children in our community, across all ethnicities and socio-economic strata.
To provide respite from domestic violence and abuse, there is a local organization called ALIVE (Alternatives to Living in Violent Environments). They offer counseling, emergency sanctuary and other critical services to adults and children who have been impacted by domestic abuse. ALIVE’s vision is to end domestic abuse, restoring safety and peace one family at a time.
ALIVE was founded in 1983 by two Washington University graduate students who recognized the lack of services for domestic violence victims. Their awareness of the critical need for safe shelter for women and children victimized by domestic violence inspired them to fill this existing need. ALIVE began in two rooms of a church with two volunteer co-directors and six safe home providers. Four weekly support groups were held. ALIVE was incorporated in 1983 and has flourished into a full service domestic violence agency. Today’s Nights of Safety program continues to provide temporary emergency shelter when all domestic violence shelters beds are full. ALIVE’s additional services include: 24 hour crisis hot line, emergency transportation, individual and group counseling for adults, a children’s treatment program addressing children who witness violence, court advocacy and community education.
All services are provided by professional staff and highly trained volunteers. Anyone who would like to help can volunteer in the following areas:
• Staff the crisis line
• Care for children while parents receive counseling
• Perform clerical duties in one of ALIVE’s offices
• Assist with various special projects
• Serve on the Board of Directors or a special committee
• Join in outreach efforts through the Speaker’s Bureau
Donations can take the form of:
• Nonperishable food for the women and children
• Paper plates, bowls, plastic forks spoons and knives, paper towels, napkins
• Funds to support ALIVE’s emergency transportation are always needed
• Used cell phones (to be recycled, refurbished and sent to 3rd world countries.)
(ALIVE also receives a reimbursement per each donated phone)
To learn how you can become a volunteer and be on call to answer the crisis calls, contact Maggie Menefee – [email protected] or call: 314-993-7080 x 108
All volunteers must complete 40 hours of training. Domestic abuse occurs every day; the hot line is answered 24/7 – 365 days each year. There are no holidays for domestic violence needs.
I, myself, have committed to performing 25 tasks for ALIVE, mostly related to their upcoming Golf Tournament and Dinner Auction to be held at the Norman K. Probstein Golf Course in Forest Park on June 26. For a fee of $150, golfers will receive lunch, 18 holes of golf, buffet dinner and open bar, plus the opportunity to participate in a silent and regular auction. To register and learn more about this charity event, visit www.alivestl.org.