Did you know 50 percent of men who abuse their wives also abuse their children?

Did you know little boys who grow up in abusive homes are much more likely to become abusers than those who do not grow up in abusive homes?

Did you know that domestic abuse crosses all socio-economic lines?

Did you know that in a five-county radius, 10 percent of the clients of Stillwater Domestic Violence Services come from Cushing?

The need is great and the stakes are definitely high – but now there is a new campaign bringing new hope – Wings of Hope.

Wings of Hope is a campaign to raise funds to expand services to more effectively reach citizens in Payne, Logan, Noble, Pawnee and Lincoln counties. One part of the expansion would be to make the facility and its services more easily accessible to those living outside of Stillwater.

“We are on the brink of an incredible opportunity,” said Dr. Ralph Lindsey as he spoke to those attending the informational coffee held at the Magdeburg home, hosted by Lynda Smith and Patti Ahrberg. Smith and Ahrberg have been instrumental in spreading the word regarding Wings of Hope.

Dr. Lindsey has been working with victims of abuse at Stillwater Domestic Violence Services (SDVS) for over 11 years. “Originally I thought I would stay only a year or two,” he said, “but making a difference in these people’s lives captures your heart…” Dr. Lindsey said he is always asked why he does what he does – especially since most in his field are women.

“It’s my belief that when men start holding men accountable, it can stop,” Dr. Lindsey said emphatically. According to Lindsey, 90 – 95 percent of the victims of domestic abuse are women.

After four years of working on the expansion project, Wings of Hope recently received a most sought-after grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to underwrite the construction of the new, expanded shelter and resource center.

“It is not only one of the most difficult grants to receive,” Lindsey said, “but it’s also one of the most coveted.”

The $4.85 million Donald W. Reynolds Foundation grant will not only provide a high-quality structure – complete with furnishings, security and landscaping – but will increase the shelter capacity by nearly 70 percent.

“Right now we can’t accommodate adolescent boys in our facility,” said Brenda Gill, senior counselor at SDVS. “We just don’t have the space.” The current facility is an old house that has been converted to a shelter. It has six bedrooms and 14 beds, which has proven to be less than adequate for the need.

“Last year we had to turn 50 people away because we didn’t have room,” Gill said.

While the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation grant is providing a great deal toward the expansion, Wings of Hope still needs a commitment of $1.2 million for a restricted fund and property acquisition in order for the building to begin.

“We really need to raise these funds by the end of March,” Dr. Reynolds stated. “We’ve found the property, but it must be purchased separately as part of the grant agreement and we want to get started on the building as soon as possible. It’s all about the women and children.”

If you would like more information regarding Wings of Hope, go to www.SDVS.org. Contributions should be directed to: Stillwater Domestic Violence Services, 115 E. 4th Ave. Stillwater, OK 74074 or call 405-377-2344.

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