Ballston based non-profit, Doorways for Women and Children, held their 8th Annual Brighter Futures Breakfast last week. The event, attended by more than 450 members of the Arlington and non-profit community, was an opportunity to learn about the invaluable work being done by this organization, and served as a call to action to help them continue their mission.
Started in 1978 by concerned Arlington residents, Doorways is dedicated to transforming the lives of women, men and children facing homelessness or abuse in the Arlington Area. Their initial goal was to create a safe place for women and children to escape domestic violence; in the decades since, their work has grown and evolved. At the Brighter Futures Breakfast, CEO and President of Doorways, Caroline Jones highlighted the impact of two of their newest initiatives. The first is an expanded mission; while still committed to supporting those facing domestic abuse, Doorways has added services for those facing sexual abuse. According to Doorways, 45 percent of domestic abuse survivors also report being sexually assaulted. The organization now offers a 24-hour domestic and sexual abuse hotline providing assistance to those who call. The hotline now receives 1,500 calls a year, with an average of four per day. Equally important, Doorways has ensured the ability to connect these abuse survivors with trained advocates to accompany them through post-assault forensic medical exams.
In addition, Doorways started the Revive program last year. Revive began as a way of reaching out to all age groups affected by abuse. Domestic abuse, sexual abuse and homelessness has been increasing within younger households. Individuals between 16 and 24 appear the most at risk in this growing trend as this demographic now comprises 40 percent of Doorway’s clients. To date Doorways has provided trauma counseling to 373 survivors of abuse, ranging in age from preschool to high school, through the Revive program.
Nearly 40 years after its start, Doorways continues to be a beacon of light in the Arlington community. They have assisted in everything from counseling, requests for shelter and providing advice and support through caring advocates. This year alone, Doorways has helped 3600 people; nearly double what they were able to do just three years ago. Michelle Sagatov of the Michelle Sagatov Group, co-chair for the Campaign for Brighter Futures stated their mission best when she said, “Our collective will to turn tragedy into triumph, and despair into hope, will directly fill the gaps we currently face as well as ensures no call for help goes unanswered.”