For more than three decades, Oak Park’s Sarah’s Inn has provided a continuum of much-needed services to victims of domestic violence and their families. In honor of the organization’s 35th anniversary this year, they recently kicked off their “35 Strong” campaign to raise funds as well as awareness of the vital assistance they provide.
“We’ve come a long way as an organizaton that started as a crisis line in 1981, that rang in a volunteer’s kitchen,” says Carol Gall, Sarah’s Inn’s executive director. “As we work to battle the issue of relationship violence, we now take a holistic approach.”
In the 1980s, a number of laws were passed that made it illegal to abuse one’s spouse, so many organizations designed to help domestic violence victims were launched during that time.
The volunteers and community members who ran the crisis line soon found a need for an array of other services to support those who called in. They not only needed help navigating the immediate crisis, but in the longer term, they needed to process the trauma and get on pathway to self sufficiency.
With their social services partners, Sarah’s Inn now provides the 24-hour crisis line, as well as emergency housing, transportation and other housing assistance, counseling services for adults and children, legal advocacy, and partner abuse intervention groups for perpetrators to stop the cycle of violence. They also work with young people to teach them about healthy relationships to prevent future violence.
“The crisis line isn’t only for victims,” Gall notes. “You can also call to get advice on how to talk to a friend or family member who you’re concerned about. This is an issue where people tend to keep their thoughts and reactions to themselves when they see warning signs. We want people to understand how they can help by opening conversations in concerned and supportive ways.”
On October 22, their annual benefit, “Stand Tall,” is being held at Oak Park Country Club. Tickets are sold out, but you can still make a contribution at the ticket site.
For more information about Sarah’s Inn, visit sarahsinn.org. The 24-hour crisis number is 708-386-4225.