By: Lydia Wood, Victim Advocate and Trauma Therapy Dog Handler
It was not my intent upon adopting Echo that he become a therapy dog, but as I grew to know him more it felt like something he needed to do. The healing power of dogs, I think, has many levels. The foundation being that dogs just are. They’re with you in the moment, no matter how uncomfortable. You don’t have to question their motives or if they really love you. You don’t have to wonder if what they’re doing is genuine or not. They don’t get caught up in their own thoughts, opinions, or judgements. They’re pure, and with the struggle of waking up and living in a world with people who may not be exactly how they seem, it’s refreshing to be around a dog who just is.
A therapy dog’s job is to provide comfort where they go. Their very presence is enough to help most people feel more relaxed and taken care of. Echo, however, adds a bit of a deeper level than many therapy dogs I’ve encountered. Soon after I adopted Echo, I realized his whining didn’t coincide with situations that made him anxious, but with when the people around him felt bad. And not only did he mirror one’s emotions, he sought to comfort the people whose energy he was feeding off of. It was with this realization that I decided to name him “Echo,” on account of him echoing the energy of the people around him.
Having trained dogs for several years, I knew the simple fact that he reacted to changes in emotions wasn’t completely uncommon. What stuck out to me about Echo was that he knew how you felt, felt it with you, and tried to make you feel better. He didn’t just soak up your emotions, he empathized with them. That caring, and empathy isn’t something that can be trained into a dog.
As a victim is navigating the heart breaking and traumatic dynamic of an abusive relationship, or dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault, Echo’s tenderness and genuine presence can add a peace and clarity of mind that may have been otherwise impossible in the complicated world of human interaction. He’ll be there with the victims we advocate for, through the good and the bad, and hopes for nothing in return.
Beacon of Hope Crisis Center Adds A Trauma Therapy Dog And Receives Large Donation From Bob’s Discount Furniture
Exciting start to 2018 with additions of comfort for victims of crime receiving services from Beacon of Hope
(INDIANAPOLIS, IN—January 25, 2018)—This brand new exciting year of 2018 kicks off for Beacon of Hope Crisis Center (BOHCC) with new additions to the team which includes Echo and his handler Lydia. Comfort abounds to assist with healing at this local agency serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault here in Central Indiana. Lydia and Echo joined the team on January 1st, Lydia is a Victim Advocate and Echo’s Trauma Therapy Dog Handler. She is getting her masters in psychology and has experience training service dogs for victims suffering from post-traumatic stress.
“We are thrilled to add Echo, a trauma therapy dog, and his handler Lydia to our team and touched by the generosity of our corporate partners, Bob’s Discount Furniture. Thanks to their large donation we now have waiting, counseling and meeting room furniture to make those we are serving comfortable while dealing with their traumatic struggles. And adding Echo to our team helps victims dealing with the traumatic dynamics of an abusive relationship or the aftermath of sexual assault.” said Sandra Ziebold, CEO / Executive Director at Beacon of Hope Crisis Center.
"One of our main goals as a company is to give back to the community, so we are honored to provide new furniture for the Beacon of Hope Crisis Center to ensure they are well equipped to serve their growing number of clients," said Cathy Poulin, Director of Outreach and Public Relations at Bob's Discount Furniture.
Echo knows how you feel, feels it with you, and tries to make you feel better. He doesn’t just soak up your emotions, he empathizes with them. This caring and empathy isn’t something that can be trained into a dog, but this innate gift is what makes Echo an exceptional trauma therapy dog. Echo’s tenderness and genuine presence adds a peace and clarity of mind. He helps the victims we advocate for, through the good and the bad, and hopes for nothing in return.
BOHCC served 904 victims of domestic violence and sexual assault this past year, the agencies 2017 annual report is available on their website. The complexity of cases they are managing and the increase in demand for their services continues to grow. BOHCC advocacy services are desperately needed 24/7. BOHCC serves victims in Central Indiana and has advocacy partnerships with local police departments serving victims of crime. In 2018 BOHCC hopes to increase major donor support to help them be able to operate 24/7 and add language services. You can help, learn more and donate now at beaconofhopeindy.org.
About Bob’s Discount Furniture
Bob’s Discount Furniture provides quality furniture at every day low prices. With furniture stores located across the United States, the Manchester, Connecticut based company has become the 12th-largest U.S. furniture chain. Bob’s is committed to the communities they serve through a variety of charitable giving efforts. Bob’s Discount Furniture Charitable Foundation provides organizations and individuals with over $2.75 million in donations yearly. For more information on Bob's charitable programs, follow Bob’s on Twitter @MyBobs and on our LinkedIn Company Page, and subscribe to Bob’s on YouTube.
About Beacon of Hope Crisis Center 501(c)3
Beacon of Hope Crisis Center a Christ-centered organization empowering victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to become self-sufficient by providing safety, support and education. Since 2009 Beacon of Hope, through its Crisis Intervention, Victim Advocacy, Counseling, "Teen Talk" Outreach and Education, Criminal Justice, Economic Sustainability and Foster Pet Programs has offered victims of domestic violence assistance in overcoming barriers that hold them in abusive situations. Beacon of Hope is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization located in Indianapolis, Indiana. More information about Beacon of Hope can be found at beaconofhopeindy.org.
BOHCC Blog: beaconofhopeindy.org/blog
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January 25, 2018
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, CONTACT
Sandra K. Ziebold, CEO / Executive Director
Beacon of Hope Crisis Center
317 731 6131
By Katie Foley
Life is full of unexpected changes and we often recognize those changes when it happens to those closest to us. What happens if you start noticing negative changes in a loved ones life? What are the signs of these changes?
Maybe you’ve noticed bruises on a friend or maybe they are constantly negative and showing you a significant change in their confidence. Maybe you’ve even noticed a change in their attitude or personality.
Their scarf collection is growing. They don’t laugh anymore. They are always checking their phone and letting their significant other know where they are.
While you thought they were always happy, you’re now beginning to question if something is wrong. Reality: domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone. Sometimes, though, problems are pushed under the table or even denied.
Noticing the signs of an abusive relationship can be the first step to ending it. If you immediately think of someone in your life that relates to the points below then we encourage you to take the first step and reach out. There is available help and no one should ever live in fear.
Change in habits
When someone becomes obsessive about updating their partner on their location or daily activities this may be a sign that something is wrong. Other changes in daily routine and habits may bring light to something more going on behind closed doors. For example, your sister used to always put on makeup, get manicures, and workout. Now, all she does is sulk around and seems to have lost self-confidence. It is possible those changes are the result of domestic violence.
Constantly on edge
Do they fear their partner all of the time? Do they try everything in their power to never make their partner angry? Are they always complaining of never doing anything right? If answering “yes,” then it is time to step in and help them realize that they aren’t helpless, but that they are worthy of help.
Bruises. Scratches. Black Eyes. Jammed Fingers. Lacerations.
Above are “obvious” giveaways of physical abuse. Realize that abusers are smart, so these wounds could possibly be in hidden places. Take notice and start asking questions.
They’re not communicating
While this may seem superficial, it’s important to start noticing how they are communicating is it via text, phone calls, and social media. If they no longer are on social media or even less active – you may have your first sign. If you also notice that your loved one has a “phone manager” and isn’t texting you as often or maybe isn’t even allowed to talk to certain people, then it might be time to talk.
“You’ll never find someone else that will love you.”
The lie above is a sign that your loved one is being manipulated to stay in a bad situation. If you are noticing that they are forcing smiles and laughs – then it could be time to take action. The more they are faking and lying, the more they will be manipulated to a point of serious abuse.
If you or a loved one are a victim of feeling these emotions – it’s time to take back your life. At Beacon of Hope Crisis Center, we are committed to breaking the cycle while empowering victims and survivors to take back their life. From providing emotional support to safety planning, let us be your advocate.
For more information, contact our hotline at: (317) 731-6140.
By Sandra K. Ziebold
By Kristin Scrivens
Introducing Jess, a victim advocate on our criminal justice team! Jess works with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Jess earned her Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University at IUPUI in Spanish and recently completed her Master’s degree in Social Science and Development Studies at Chiang Mai University in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Her thesis for her Master’s program was studying violence against women in migrant communities and studying how non-government organizations provide services to women.
Jess loves being a victim advocate because she loves being able to provide emotional support to victims and helping them navigate the criminal justice court system. She’s passionate about being a steady voice during such a hard time in a victim’s life and being able to help them move forward.
Jess’s favorite service that Beacon of Hope offers is emergency financial assistance, when we have the funds available. She loves that it’s a tangible and quick way to make such a huge difference in someone’s life.
A fun fact about Jess is that she lived in Morocco for two and a half years serving in the Peace Corp. While she was there she worked in youth development and taught English and aerobics.
We love your fun spirit and high energy, Jess! Thanks for all you do!
By Sandra K. Ziebold
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
There is a knot of fear that goes along with having experienced being a victim of a frequent, consistent and systematic pattern of domestic violence abuse. Domestic violence is about power and control. Abuse occurs when there is consistent unwanted dominance and control exerted over another.
You may be in an intimate partner relationship and thinking to yourself, "What happened, I felt so wonderful and now I feel this horrible ache that won't leave the pit of my stomach. How did I get here and why do I feel so trapped? What can I do better? If I can do things better then he/she will, be okay / be calm / be happy." If you have thoughts like that, then stop for a second and really think about your thought pattern.
Can you remember the last time you didn't have that aching knot of fear in your stomach? If you are constantly fearful that your every single breath or action is going to trigger anger and violence in another person exerting control over you, then our advocates can help you. It is domestic violence awareness month and you need to know that you are valued, there is a safe way to get out of your situation and you deserve a life free from the grip of domestic violence.
We are here to help. Our crisis line number is (317)731-6140
Victim Advocate - Beacon of Hope Crisis Center
A client had reached out to the police due to violation of privacy. The victim was afraid that given this new violation of privacy, that the abuser will continue to go above and beyond to make the victims life difficult. The detective contacted Beacon of Hope Crisis Center for assistance. I was able to connect with the victim where I discussed the Address Confidentiality Program. The victim was in the process of moving and did not want the abuser to know of a new address considering the latest incident.
Although the victim has an active PO in place, the victim felt that taking every possible necessary step for confidentiality was a must. I was able to assist the victim with completing the Address Confidentiality Program Application and submitted the form on the victim’s behalf. Within 24 hours, the application had been approved. By the following day, the victim had sent an email thanking me for assisting the victim with this application and keeping their new address confidential.
By Kristin Scriven
Introducing Tiffany Wilson, Beacon of Hope’s Director of Victim Advocacy! Tiffany has been with Beacon of Hope for a year and a half and truly loves this organization. Her favorite part about working here is the atmosphere and the people; she loves working in such a supportive environment with coworkers who all have the same passion for helping and empowering women.
Tiffany has worked in victim advocacy for the past nine years and has a degree in Criminal Justice from Indiana University. As Director of Victim Advocacy, Tiffany leads the team of advocates and works directly with our CEO/Executive Director on grant writing. She is also responsible for overseeing our informational database of client information for follow ups and data collection.
Her favorite service that Beacon of Hope offers is of course our criminal justice team! She loves being able to inform victims of their rights while working with them each step of the way. In such a scary and unsure time, having someone who can provide support and clarity is monumental and Tiffany loves that she can help in that way.
This past Spring Tiffany was honored with winning the “Baker One Outstanding Victim Advocate” award! This award is given to an outstanding advocate that demonstrates a consistent excellent effort in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault. Tiffany is a hard worker and a valued member of our team.
Thanks for all your hard work, Tiffany! You make us proud!
By Kristin Scriven
Meet Merideth Bush, Beacon of Hope’s Crisis Call Team Leader! Merideth joins us fresh out of graduate school where she earned her Master’s degree in International Policy and her MBA from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey Bay in California. For her undergraduate education, Merideth studied Spanish at Ashbury University in Kentucky.
As Crisis Call Team Leader Merideth is the first point of contact when a victim of domestic violence and or sexual assault calls. Merideth likes being able to support victims and validate their feelings while connecting them with all of the resources Beacon of Hope has to offer!
Her favorite aspect of Beacon of Hope is how inclusive we are of all communities. Domestic violence and sexual assault do discriminate based on ethnicity, religion, language, education, or orientation and getting the chance to serve everyone is one of the things Merideth is most passionate about.
A fun fact about Merideth is that she once roasted marshmallows over a volcano in Guatemala! She is also responsible for introducing our staff to Wednesday mid-morning yoga breaks, an office favorite!
Thanks for your contagious enthusiasm and passion, Merideth!
By Kristin Scriven
Meet Rosa Ponce, Beacon of Hope’s Senior Victim Advocate! Rosa graduated in May of 2017 from Ball State University with a dual degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology and a minor in Social Work.
As Senior Victim Advocate, Rosa oversees the criminal justice team and works directly to support the victims. When asked why she loves working at Beacon of Hope, Rosa said, “I love what we stand for and what we do; I’m passionate about working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I love that we get to help spread awareness about such important issues.”
Rosa’s favorite service that Beacon of Hope offers is court accompaniment. She loves being a pillar of support for the victim in their time of need. Her support helps victims feel a sense of safety and security during a scary time.
In her spare time, Rosa loves hiking and reading. Currently, her favorite book is Orphan Train by Christina Baker Cline. A fun fact is that Rosa is initially from California and moved to Indiana when she was six years old! When she’s not working, you can find Rosa at Klipsch Music Center attending country concerts.
We love having you as part of the team, Rosa!
About this blog
This blog is about our domestic and sexual violence crisis center, Beacon of Hope. We hope you find it full of helpful information, motivation, creativity, serious facts and positivity. We hope that it will help you know what is happening in our center, in our community and with our events. We hope you follow our blog in support of our organization and our mission.