Shining the Light on the Work of the Cordova Family Resource Center
In June, 2023, the ANDVSA Executive Director, Brenda Stanfill, and the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assaults’ (CDVSA) 13 member Board visited the Cordova Family Resource Center (CRFC) to learn about the services they provide and to talk to the community of Cordova, AK about what is working to end domestic violence and sexual assault and what needs improvement.
The presentation by the CFRC team included information about their services and an overview of how many times the services had been provided. They presented their annual service counts which reflected how the need for services has grown in their community through the years. This year, half-way through the year, they have provided more services in some areas than were provided in the entire previous year.
They talked about the challenge in finding safe housing as they are one of the few communities that have a direct service program for victims but do not have a shelter structure. According to Nicole Songer, Executive Director of the CFRC, It has been challenging to find safe housing for survivors who are in dangerous situations and the housing market in Cordova is extremely limited.
Their B.I.O.N.I.C (Believe it or Not I Care) Teen Group also attended and shared their groups highlights and goals for the future. They are hoping to build a teen center where teens can gather in an environment of healthy relationships. One of the most moving parts of the presentation was hearing from past B.I.O.N.I.C. members who have gone on to become adults and hear the impact of how being part of this group changed their lives. There was not a dry eye in the room when we watched the video put out by B.I.O.N.I.C sharing the challenges that teens face and the services that are available to them in the community.
We toured the community Child Advocacy Center of which CFRC are partners with the Native Village of Eyak. Adult Sexual Assault investigations and exams are also done in the same location, saving victims the need to go to the hospital. The setting was one of comfort rather than the sterility of an emergency room location which is where many sexual assault victims find themselves after being raped.
The work of CFRC in their community was also felt during the public community meeting where more than 50 people showed up to talk about the issues CDVSA addresses as a statewide board. One common theme is that the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault intersect with many other issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse, and the civil side of the AK Court System.
It was impressive to see the work being done by five dedicated people at the CFRC along with their community and teen partners to create a safer Cordova. Thank you CFRC and the Community of Cordova for hosting the CDVSA Board Meeting and bringing us together to learn.
July 5, 2023