CLEARFIELD – Marsha Learish is busy with many and varied programs at the Community Action Inc. Crossroads Project, which helps victims of domestic violence, both in Clearfield and Jefferson counties.
Since 1999, the Crossroads’ staff has worked to offer a 24-hour, toll-free hotline. Those calling can speak with trained staff for any issue dealing with domestic violence.
“This is just one of the 25 local member agencies of the Clearfield Area United Way. United Way’s goal this year is $245,500, and it’s at 90 percent.
“We need people who have never given to the United Way before to look at how many people we help. We need them to please send a tax deductible donation to CAUW, 18 N. Second St., P.O. Box 1430, Clearfield, PA 16830 that will help so many of all ages year-round,” explained CAUW President Ranea Brewer.
Current services CAICP offers include: safety planning, individual and options counseling, supportive and educational counseling for family and friends, support groups, as well as legal, medical and social advocacy.
“We assist with the processing and obtaining of Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders and the safety planning necessary for participants and staff,” explained Learish.
The group works closely with the court system, and there is emergency shelter available. They also provide community prevention education programs and speak to a myriad of groups including schools, churches and civic groups. Crossroads has collaborated with other CAUW member agencies to speak at their “Healthy Relationships Program” and the “Nurturing Parents Program,” she said.
“We sometimes receive requests from individuals thinking we help with neighbor disputes or other problems; Crossroads works with survivors who are impacted by a domestic violence issue and who are related or in a relationship,” Learish noted.
She added, “Domestic violence is something specific and unique, which involves asserting power or control over another individual. In any other setting, it would be a crime, just because the physical abuse happens within a relationship, it doesn’t make it any less of a crime and many people don’t always associate the two.”
The agency runs 24-hours-per-day and seven-days-per-week, and its shelter provides a 30-day temporary stay, as they work with individuals on the road to self-sufficiency.
Learish explained, “Ideally, we would love to have a list of people who we could call on with a bit of notice who would step forward offering to purchase items for our victims or to re-establish their households that were destroyed by domestic violence.
“Whether they could maybe adopt a room or agree to buy something like a cookware set, beds in a bag, towels, small furniture items, anything would be greatly appreciated.”
“Domestic Violence changes who you are as a child,” Nancy Pinto added. “Kids internalize stuff; they think it’s their fault, neither of things are health . . . kids need a safe place to fall, to be nurtured, supported, cultivated, etc. and to be self-sufficient caring adults.”
CAUW has various programs, including Jeans for Teens to help young people. Also, they have given out more than 2,200 gently used books through its “Reading Ripples” Project. Board members worked for several days prior to the start of school to collect more than 60 shopping bags of school items to “Stuff the Bus,” she said.
Learish explained that individuals can call the Crossroads’ Clearfield office at 814-768-7200 or 1-800-598-3998 for questions about domestic violence services that it provides or if you want to help by donating any and all household items, including furniture.
“We can contact persons we have in need to possibly pass those items on to a good home,” said Learish.