Written by Malachi Brown // Graphic by Cooper Turman
Bobbie Boozer, the new executive director of the White County Domestic Violence Prevention Program, began laying new foundations for education and progress last spring. During her time in the position, the program has been rapidly developing its outreach capabilities to include rural domestic violence, as well as child abuse and human trafficking awareness programs.
“We’re trying to expand awareness about domestic violence and all its related activities throughout the community,” Boozer said.
Elizabeth Wilson, a retired Harding faculty member, has been working with the program since its conception 27 years ago. Much of the program consists of going to communities and educating them about the signs and realities of domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking. The outreach program bolstered by Boozer will begin offering parenting classes April 1.
“We do education at schools, churches, really anywhere we can,” Wilson said.
The program has long had affiliations with the University as a potential field placement for Harding’s Social Work program. Their current student intern, senior Dominique Gonzales, discussed her experience working with the program.
“I am most passionate about empowering clients to take back their self-identity and independence … as well as seeing the joy a client feels when they get their own apartment, a new job or getting their kids into school,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales views the program as playing a crucial role in the ability of women and their families to rebuild after violent situations. The shelter and outreach program provide safety, comfort and resources to enable families to take steps toward independence.
“Every day, I am thankful that I can be part of such a great place where I can learn and work,” Gonzalez said.
Alongside the education programs, the organization has an emergency shelter known as Hope Cottage.
The program asks those who share its same ideals to help in spreading awareness about its programs, and the causes it supports, and to get out in the community and raise awareness about what it does.
“We also have a monthly needs list for Hope Cottage that we could always use help getting stuff for them,” Boozer said.