By Pamela Brownstein
Last week, I attended the annual meetings of two local nonprofits that work tirelessly to make our community a better, safer place to live.
Citizens Opposed to Domestic Violence (CODA) met at TCL and included a brave survivor of domestic abuse sharing her story and how her counselor at CODA helped her by listening and encouraging her to rebuild her life.
At City Hall, the Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA) recognized the selfless hours of their many volunteers and praised the success of their new thrift store.
CODA and CAPA both operate shelters in Beaufort as a refuge for victims of abuse, and rely on the time and efforts of their staff, board members and volunteers to keep these places running and open 24 hours.
Here are some 2012 statistics I found interesting from both groups:
• CODA received more than 4,000 calls to their emergency hotline;
• Only 6% of CODA’s annual budget goes to administration and salaries;
• CAPA’s Closet thrift store saw a sales increase of 18% from 2011-12;
• There were 51 children who lived in CAPA’s shelter; the average daily attendance was 11 children.
After both meetings, I experienced a range of emotions. I had just seen and heard from so many people doing good and helping the most vulnerable members of society; it was inspiring. But the fact that families and children still suffer from verbal, physical and sexual abuse is simply heartbreaking; it made me angry that people think they can get away with this kind of horrible behavior. Then I came full circle and ended feeling hopeful knowing that the whole purpose for these groups is to break the cycle of abuse through education and support.
CODA and CAPA, along with Hope Haven of the Lowcountry, make up the Abuse Prevention Coalition, which receives funding from United Way of the Lowcountry. Shauw Chin Capps, director of Hope Haven and the guest speaker at CAPA’s meeting, said that by working together, “We ensure that healing can happen.”
For this reason alone, the efforts of these dedicated groups deserve the community’s full recognition.
To get involved or to find out more about these organizations, visit www.codalowcountry.org and www.capabeaufort.org.
(My only recommendation is that next year these two groups collaborate and don’t have their annual meetings on the same night.)