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Center for Women, Families celebrates new Bullitt facility

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By Stephen Thomas

SHEPHERDSVILLE - A large turnout showed representatives from The Center for Women and Families that the Bullitt County community cares.

A great deal of local effort and involvement helped lead to the opening of a new Bullitt County CWF location.

Local officials and community members gathered for the ribbon cutting and grand opening at the facility, located near the campus of St. Aloysius Catholic Church.

CWF president and CEO Denise Troutman thanked everyone for helping the organization create a permanent structure for local workers. She mentioned that the staff met local clients wherever possible.

“We did not always have a facility but we had a staff,” he said.

CWF communications manager Elizabeth Fitzgibbons said lack of a service location did not hamper the organization’s local advocacy.

“In recent years The Center for Women and Families has provided services to domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in a variety of available spaces, including at the library or even in fast food restaurant dining rooms,” Fitzgibbons said.

CWF hosts emergency shelter facilities in Louisville and southern Indiana. Fitzgibbons said the Bullitt County offices would feature individual and group counseling, court advocacy, children’s services, community education and professional training.

Troutman mentioned a study by the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association showing that one out of every three women in the state would become a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. She said that made the organization’s local presence important.

“CWF has been there for years to give this a voice,” said Troutman. “Some people refer to this as hard work, but for us every day has been heart work.”

Troutman acknowledged the large crowd supporting CWF’s groundbreaking, reiterating that the Bullitt County community understood the need for CWF’s local presence.

“When I look out and see all of the people that came out to support us, this is indeed heart work,” she said. “Tonight the village has assembled to help those that are less fortunate in Bullitt County. In Bullitt County there is a voice.”

Troutman publicly thanked St. Aloysius and Fr. David Naylor for assisting with programs and offering the new facility on a rental basis.

Naylor, who mentioned his past educational studies and knowledge of battered children as a certified social worker, welcomed the new tenants.

“We’re very grateful to open our doors to you,” he said. “We will pray for you every day for the good work that you do.”

Founded in Louisville and originally based in the YWCA building, CWF was the first organization to open a domestic violence shelter in 1977. They have expanded services to 11 counties in Kentucky and Indiana. Troutman said CWF has assisted Bullitt County for over 20 years.

Susan Selby, MSSW, is the CWF director of outreach services. Selby said the move into the new Bullitt County location gained momentum about a year ago following a candlelight vigil at the Bullitt County Courthouse.

At the time CWF received immediate assistance from the Bullitt County Woman’s Club, whose charitable efforts focus upon helping victims of domestic violence.

Both CWF and Woman’s Club representatives gathered for an official meeting at Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts’ office.

Selby said initial meetings led to a visit by St. Aloysius representatives Trina Summers and Tom Chamberlain. They approached the committee with an offer to move into the St. Aloysius facility last used as a Knights of Columbus headquarters.

“We recognized there was a need in the community,” said Summers. “The house was available with a little work.”

Fitzgibbons said the facility needed extensive work. Carpet cleaning, interior and exterior painting, landscaping and bathroom renovation were completed by community members.

“Just to have our own place helps,” said Selby. “We have a door we can lock.”

During the ceremony Selby shared domestic violence studies mentioning that one in four American women between ages 18 and 65 experience domestic violence and one out of nine Kentucky women will become a sexual assault victim.

“CWF serves women, families and victims,” she said. “We help offer shelter, hospital visits and court cases. We still need help, through donations and volunteers.”

The Center for Women and Families offered food to the many supporters attending the ribbon cutting. They distributed a list of individuals and organizations that helped established the center, including St, Aloysius.

The list included the above mentioned along with the Bullitt County Advisory Council, the Bullitt County Bar Association, State Rep. Linda Belcher, Judge Jennifer Porter, Judge Rebecca Ward, Hillview Mayor Jim Eadens, Philip Thompson Plumbing, Service Master Carpet Cleaner, Lowe’s, Eco-Tech, Shepherdsville Florist, the Rusher Family, Jeff Brewer, Jim Bohannon, Joe Burden, June Daugherty, Stephen Finley, Mike French, Gary Gibson, Skip Hatfield, Kenny Morrison, Philip and Tammy Ott, Steve Pavey, Betty Porter, Faith Portman, Debby Stinson and William Thompson.

For more information about services, donating or volunteering, call the CWF business line, (502) 581-7200, or go to www.thecenteronline.org.

For assistance with any type of domestic abuse or violence, call the CWF 24-hour toll-free crisis line, 1-877-803-7577.