Com­edy Show held for Our House ben­e­fit

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Sean Wil­liams swilliams1­[email protected]­hoo.com

Our House Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Shel­ter once again joined hands with co­me­di­ans and com­mu­nity mem­bers for their sec­ond an­nual “Stand Up 4 Hope” fundraiser to end last week.

The event saw thou­sands of dollars raised and hun­dreds of guests en­ter­tained at the Cedar­town Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter on Jan. 25 as Kay Dodd and Kenn King­ton were hailed with roars of laugh­ter.

Though the event was about much more se­ri­ous cause.

Ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent sta­tis­tics pro­vided by the Na­tional Coali­tion Against Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence (NCADV) and Our House it­self, in­ti­mate part­ner crime ac­counts for 15 per­cent of all vi­o­lent crime, nearly 20 Amer­i­cans are phys­i­cally abused by an in­ti­mate part­ner ev­ery minute, and a woman is killed by an in­ti­mate part­ner in the United States ev­ery seven min­utes.

Ge­or­gia it­self saw 61,415 calls made to do­mes­tic vi­o­lence cri­sis lines in 2014, and the Ge­or­gia Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion re­ported that law en­force­ment of­fi­cers re­sponded to 68,313 fam­ily vi­o­lence in­ci­dents in 2013 alone. A tough work­load for a state with only 49 pri­vate and non-profit do­mes­tic vi­o­lence shel­ters.

For­tu­nately for lo­cals, one of those 49 shel­ters is in Polk County. Our House con­tin­ues to pro­vide tem­po­rary shel­ter, tem­po­rary pro­tec­tive or­ders, le­gal ad­vo­cacy, ref­er­ences to sup­port groups, re­fer­ral ser­vices, and much more for those in need.

The group’s 24-hour cri­sis line- 770-749-9330 - en­sures help is al­ways avail­able and le­gal ad­vo­cacy ap­point­ments can be sched­uled at 770-748-6633.

Our House re­ceived ap­prox­i­mately 1,358 cri­sis calls and shel­tered 377 women and 271 chil­dren be­tween July 2010 and June 2015. The group’s le­gal ad­vo­cate aided 353 vic­tims in ob­tain­ing tem­po­rary and per­ma­nent pro­tec­tive or­ders.

Those in­ter­ested in more in­for­ma­tion can visit https://www.face­book.com/ polk­coun­ty­our­house/.

The ac­co­lades of the shel­ter are to be com­mended, but it stays open in part thanks to the con­tri­bu­tions of lo­cals. Those who pur­chased a ticket to the Jan­uary 25 com­edy show aided the shel­ter’s mis­sion.

The ex­act amount of money raised was yet to be con­firmed, but Our House Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Kel­sei Poulin of­fered some in­sight into what the funds would be used for, as well as de­tails on how to con­trib­ute.

“The money will go to day to day op­er­a­tions- any­thing that our grants don’t cover,” Poulin said. “This will fill in with client as­sis­tance and just bills. We al­ways need do­na­tions. Any­thing that it takes to start a house­hold. We can take do­na­tions at the thrift store- that’s 504 S. Main St. in Cedar­town- they can drop off any do­na­tions there, and if they want to drop off par­tic­u­lar do­na­tions that go to the shel­ter, they can let the thrift store staff know it needs to go to the shel­ter. Pa­per prod­ucts, per­sonal care prod­ucts- ev­ery­thing goes there and we pick it up.”

Poulin also shared a list of spe­cific items they need more of but don’t of­ten re­ceive- though any do­na­tions are wel­come.

Those in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing or mak­ing a con­tri­bu­tion can also call the ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fice at 770-748-2300.

“We def­i­nitely need new, un­worn un­der­wear and socks,” the di­rec­tor shared. “Deodor­ant. Male deodor­ant be­cause we don’t get a lot of that but we do get teenage boys. And some­times we get men. We al­ways go through baby items- di­a­pers, wipes- that’s an on­go­ing need.”

The event also served as a morale boost for those who may be strug­gling now.

Dodd, a sur­vivor her­self, spoke on her ex­pe­ri­ence with do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and demon­strated that there can be life and suc­cess after abuse via her per­for­mance.

When asked why the group de­cided to raise funds with a com­edy show, Our House Board of Di­rec­tors Pres­i­dent Amy Thomp­son cited Dodd and her story as two rea­sons.

“One of our board mem­bers knows Kay,” Thomp­son men­tioned. “If you lis­ten to her, it’s (com­edy) just one of her pas­sions. She’s a sur­vivor. She hopes to grow, and we hope to grow with her. We’re gonna meet with her next week and see what went well this night and what didn’t work and just start plan­ning from there (for next year.)

Those in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about the per­form­ers can find facts and de­tails on up­com­ing events at http:// www.kay­dodd.com and http:// www.kennk­ing­ton.com/.

Our House was or­ga­nized in 1995 by a group of women who found the grow­ing num­ber of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in­ci­dents in Polk dis­turb­ing.

The team grew to over 50 vol­un­teers be­fore es­tab­lish­ing a 24-hour cri­sis line, and the fi­nan­cial sup­port of Polk cit­i­zens, as well as var­i­ous state agen­cies, helped pave the way for Our House to be of­fi­cially named a “safe house” by the Depart­ment of Hu­man Ser­vices.

A life of fear and abuse is not the norm, and those in need are urged to con­tact the shel­ter.

“We look for­ward to serv­ing our com­mu­nity, and we are here to help,” Poulin said.

/ Kevin Myrick

POLK’S GOT TAL­ENT: A crowd gath­ered at Crossview Com­mu­nity Church in Rock­mart over the week­end on Satur­day, Jan­uary 26 for the first ever Mo­saic Place Polk’s Got Tal­ent fundraiser, which in­cluded an open­ing act from Amer­i­can Idol con­tes­tant Isaac Street­man, and Rock­mart’s Shatira Spears, who per­formed a solo dance in honor of the vic­tims of the Jan. 24 shoot­ing.

/ Kevin Myrick

Work was just about wrapped up on one stretch of Ge­or­gia High­way 100 that takes up part of Prior Sta­tion Road in Cedar­town.

/ Sean Wil­liams

Top: A com­edy show put to­gether by Kay Dodd was held at the end of the week in Cedar­town. Above: Kenn King­ton was the head­line at­trac­tion for a com­edy show ben­e­fit held for Our House Women’s Shel­ter.

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