Please share your name, title, and how long you have been serving with your organization.
1. What makes the Frederick County community you serve special?
Frederick is a diverse county, both in demographics and geography. We have farms and mountains, urban and suburban neighborhoods, a robust arts district, and the variety of universities and industries bring in students and professionals from all over the world. We really are a cross-section of the state of Maryland, and we take pride in that fact. The thing that makes the Frederick community truly special, however, is the way in which we take care of each other. There is a shared feeling of responsibility for one another and for the well-being of the county. I absolutely love working here and raising my children in this community.
2. Tell us about Heartly House's current community prevention efforts.
Heartly House has been part of the Frederick community for forty years now, and we have been consistently providing support to victims, survivors, and secondary survivors since our beginning. Heartly House also has a strong history of community outreach and education, and more recently we have been ramping up those efforts to focus on prevention at the community level in ways we haven’t before. We can do this in large part because of the receipt of the RFPA grant from the state that is geared specifically towards the prevention of sexual assault. Heartly House will be building new relationships and strengthening existing ones in the community as we roll out this new campaign, and we are excited to see this effort impact Frederick by way of lasting change.
3. Why are you a member of MCASA?
Prevention work is hard work, and it can feel almost impossible at times. MCASA has been an invaluable resource to me personally, and to Heartly House as an organization, by offering trainings, connecting us with agencies and centers who are also doing this work, and by leading legislative and prevention efforts at the state level so that we feel less alone and more supported in our county-level work.
4. What called you to your work?
The story of how I came to this work is a long and winding road; the short version is that I have several people in my life who are survivors of sexual assault and childhood trauma, who inspire me daily with their perseverance and open-hearted approach to life, in spite of their past. I wasn’t there to help them when they were going through the worst of it, but I can be here now for others, both in my support work with medical accompaniment and prevention work in the community. I myself am a survivor of childhood trauma, and my own lived experience has given me a passion for being a safe place for people who are hurting, and to create safe spaces where people can share their stories, find healing, and most importantly, know they are not alone. Heartly House gives me a place where I can work alongside some of the most amazing people I have ever met, doing work that gives me purpose, and makes our community a safe and supportive place for individuals and families to thrive.
5. MCASA prioritizes advocating funding for rape crisis centers. With the rise of the #MeToo movement why is funding for rape crisis centers important?
Funding for rape crisis centers is more important than ever in this #MeToo era; the movement has made space for more and more people to come forward with their stories of assault and abuse. We need to make sure that when people step out into the light with experiences that kept them in the dark for so long that we are there to meet them, that they know they are seen and believed, and that they know they are not alone.