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Women’s films help Advocate Safehouse

Kay Vasilakis
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Nonprofit spotlight
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You may think the horrors of domestic and sexual abuse only happen in big cities such as Denver and Los Angeles. But the reality is that Advocate Safehouse is busy right here in Garfield County, providing vital services to women and their children.

During 2009, the award-winning organization provided services to 538 survivors of domestic and/or sexual abuse. Of those survivors, 36 families with 42 children (78 survivors) were provided with 1,288 nights of shelter – 1,288 nights of safety in a nightmare of insecurity.

Most people are aware the Advocate Safehouse Project provides shelter for victims of sexual abuse or domestic violence. The program also provides counseling for those women and their children (if appropriate), case management, advocacy, information and referrals. The length of stay varies from one night to eight weeks.



Community awareness is a big deal for the Advocate Safehouse Project. In 2009, the Advocate Safehouse Project (ASP) participated in 82 educational presentations for 1,403 individuals, plus 32 community activities. All its information is available in English and Spanish.

Advocate Safehouse Project also provides a 24-Hour Help Line, staffed by volunteer advocates, which offers crisis intervention, emotional support and information or referrals. In 2009, ASP handled over 2,300 calls from and to clients, with at least 336 crisis calls.



The agency’s outreach program (non-residential) offers support in the form of legal advocacy in civil and criminal courts, safety planning, information/referrals and working with other community resources to maximize the program’s benefits. The outreach program offers weekly support groups for women in Glenwood Springs and Rifle.

A counseling program offers individual therapeutic counseling, allowing a client advocate to work with a client while the client is also working with a private therapist. The agency has a list of therapists in the community who work with different survivor issues. The therapists are paid by ASP, but have agreed to work with its clients at a reduced fee. Only clients who do not have other financial/insurance resources for counseling are eligible for this program.

The Latina Outreach Program targets the Latino community in Garfield County and provides crisis intervention, case management, supportive counseling, safehousing, advocacy and information/referrals. The agency has four bilingual and bicultural staff members who cover the agency’s 24-hour Help Line.

During 2009, the Latina Outreach Program represented 20 percent of the ASP clients served in 2009.

Advocate Safehouse Project Executive Director Julie Olson said, “ASP is crucial for our community because we help survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence begin their healing processes as they access resources, learn to advocate for themselves, regain their sense of self and re-learn how to establish healthy relationships in their lives.”

“Each year LUNAFEST – a film project with films made by, for and about women, chooses new short films from around the world,” she continued. “LUNAFEST is a fun and educational opportunity for everyone to learn more about the different issues faced by women. Some of the films will make you think, laugh, and perhaps cry.”

LUNAFEST was established in 2000 by LUNA, the makers of the Luna Whole Nutrition Bar for Women, to promote female filmmakers, raise awareness for women’s issues and support worthy women’s nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

LUNAFEST is completely funded by LUNA and run by a small, dedicated group of LUNA employees. One hundred percent of all proceeds are donated to charity – 15 percent to the Breast Cancer Fund and the remaining 85 percent to hosting community organizations such as The Advocate Safehouse Project.

Ten films are selected, from animation to documentaries, and are diverse in style and subject matter, but are united by a common thread of fine storytelling.

The films will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5 at the West Garfield CMC Campus in Rifle; and at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 at the Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door; student admission is $10 in advance or $15 at the door. For advance tickets, call ASP at 945-2632, extension 104.

“The Advocate Safehouse Project is the only program in Garfield County offering comprehensive and confidential services to survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence, and the only safehouse program in the Roaring Fork Valley,” concluded Olson. “The Advocate Safehouse Project is one of only ten domestic violence shelters on Colorado’s Western Slope.”

Do you have a healthy relationship, free from violence? Do you know someone who needs help from the Advocate Safehouse professionals? It’s only a phone call away.

– Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column appears every other Wednesday in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. She is an active member of the Garfield County Human Services Commission, a group of county nonprofits. For possible mention of a local nonprofit event or news item, please e-mail kvasilakis2222@gmail.com or call 618-6689.


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