Letter from the CEO - Looking Forward

If we had a crystal ball that would have showed us 2020, would we have looked into it? Would it have made us more prepared and better able to cope? Or would we have gone crying under the covers, determined to miss everything 2020 had in store?

I’m not sure what I would have picked. I do know that the challenges and trials of 2020 have made PADV stronger, more determined, and better prepared to successfully address whatever the years ahead send our way. 

In 2021, the first big challenge will be figuring out how to ease back into the on-site and in-person world. Some of our services have been more accessible in 2020; the virtual format eliminating the need for transportation, childcare, fighting traffic and being questioned “where were you?!” PADV will figure out how to continue virtual services as needed, while also once again being in the community, courthouses and schools to physically touch the lives that we change. We hope to once again be able to welcome volunteers on-site at our shelters and hear the children’s laughter as they complete their art project or return from a delightful trip to the zoo.

Another important area for us to address is how to expand our services to increase our impact post-COVID. During the pandemic, PADV is utilizing hotels for temporary shelter to reduce the spread of the virus. As a result, we learned that for some people in need of a very short-term place to stay, hotels worked better than coming into the shelter. We also moved to housing only one family per bedroom in our shelters. While this helped people stay safe, it also greatly reduced client conflict. Are there ways to combine these two measures that are cost-effective, meet each client’s needs, and ensure capacity for all those fleeing their homes seeking safety?

With on-site presentations and education starting to become safer, we need to focus on areas of outreach that we haven't previously spotlighted. One area is that we’ve seen the importance of parent/child relationships as families spend much more time at home together. How do we work more with parents to educate them about abuse experienced by teens and young adults? Should we give parents more tools to be the support their children need? We saw the disparate impact of COVID-19 on families of color and those struggling with poverty. What are additional resources and support we can bring to these communities to move families past these barriers to a full, safe and nourishing future? How can we be more vocal on the policy level to draw awareness to these inequities and advocate for the laws and policies that help create parity for all?

Even without a crystal ball I have 100% certainty of a few things that 2021 will bring, including:

  • A continued great need for our services.
  • Caring, committed staff doing everything in their power to provide the services needed to ensure the well-being of those entrusted to our care.
  • The tremendous support of our community, friends and donors who are our foundation. Without you, our life-saving and life-changing work would not exist.

Gratefully,

Nancy Friauf
President and CEO, Partnership Against Domestic Violence