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YWCA to Help Domestic Violence Victims Across Southern Colorado

February 27, 2019

KXRM Fox 21 news broadcast.

Among a slew of new goals and programs, the YWCA of Pueblo announces they are changing their name to YWCA of Southern Colorado, reflecting their new mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and eradicating violence against women and children in the southern portion of the state.

Zelna Joseph, the executive director for the organization, announced three years’ worth of goals for YWCA. She says the goals breakdown to five areas of their service: research and education, direct services and replication, collaboration, marketing and community awareness, and the organization’s sustainability.

“Our changes were inspired in the fact that domestic violence continues to increase,” said Joseph.

According to statistics from the Pueblo Police Department, there were more incidents of domestic violence (1,161) than car thefts (1,083) in the city in 2018. In 2013, there were 976 domestic violence reports in the city marking an 18.95 percent increase in the five years since.

“Having courage to report it is difficult,” said Joseph. “It does inspire us to a call to action. That’s one of the reasons we want to open the Health, Education and Training Center. We want to do more than provide an emergency shelter.”

The center, if plans go through, would be located on the Pueblo Community College Campus. Joseph says they need to provide other resources and help outside of their shelter and office at 801 Sante Fe in Pueblo.

Her goal would be for the center to be a place where families could go for any kind of help as they start to get their lives back in balance or just need a place to talk. Joseph hopes to see mental health counseling, help with families, counseling for children, and job training provided.

“Your mental health is important, your physical health is important, your spiritual health is important,” said Joseph. “We want to actually work with these women, we want to help them to understand the traumas they have experienced, help them understand their worth as a woman.”

Joseph worries about the access of resources, shelters or any kind of help in the rural areas of Southern Colorado. She says the YWCA and a shelter in Trinidad are the only places for women who need help to go to the south of Colorado Springs. Outside of that, she says there are little to no places for them to go when home is too dangerous for them.

“We decided we wanted to expand our reach,” said Joseph. “Going into those rural communities and seeing if we can replicate some of the programs in those communities to help fill the gap.”

The organization relies on government grants, which often times can only be used for very specific services or programs. The organization is hoping to expand the non-governmental money they bring in through donations and memberships for their financial sustainability.

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