I understand that it can be difficult when the current shelter has to run a wait list. That is why DAIS is working so hard right now to build a much bigger shelter. They do amazing work despite the limitations they face.
I am privileged to be a volunteer member of the DAIS committee for the annual fund raising “Celebrate Independence” luncheon. Economic times have created difficult situations for many, including victims of domestic violence. In the past year, DAIS has received 352 calls seeking information about shelter (144% increase), 293 new crisis response clients (49% increase) and 964 nights that people have been waitlisted for shelter from their abuser (1621% increase). In the past year, Dane County has experienced an increasing number of deaths resulting from domestic violence. This dismal picture is exacerbated by the fact that while demand has dramatically increased, retaining funding for important DAIS services has become much more challenging. DAIS is the only domestic violence agency supporting Dane County. Dane County has a projected 2009 population of 491,357. DAIS serves this population with a budget of just over $1 million and through a 25-bed safe-house residence. What they accomplish with minimal resources for the population base they serve is commendable – direct service to victims, community outreach and training for law enforcement, human services staff and other related professionals. In spite of their sterling reputation and the need for their services growing at astonishing rates, they unfortunately continue to have to direct a significant amount of staff resources to just maintaining their budget, let alone grow it to better need the pressing needs.
I am very honored to provide this small service(cleaning)to DAIS. Although I know that the staff has to meet challenging circumstances on a daily basis, they still manage to maintain a professional and positive attitude. This past year was particularly traumatic with several high-profile cases of domestic violence in Dane County including the murder of two mothers and their daughters. Although the staff was deeply affected, they continued to provide the support, information and comfort so needed by victims of domestic abuse. Yesterday there was an article in the local paper (Wisconsin State Journal)about the huge increase in the number of people seeking DAIS services. I know that even with its limited resources, DAIS will continue to try to meet that need with knowledge and compassion.
Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) helps provide a safe place for many women while they find their independence. It is a great organization, with dedicated staff and volunteers who make the vision of the organization a reality. I have witnessed personally, through this dedication, the power of women helping women achieve their dreams.
Domestic Abuse Intervention Services is an organization that strives to empower women by providing services and support they might not otherwise receive when facing the challenges that come with domestic violence. I started volunteering last October, and I have seen the broad reach of the organization's positive influence. Whether through advocacy, the shelter, the Crisis Line, the Crisis Response program, support groups, legal assistance, the Kid's program, and its extensive volunteer training program, DAIS is truly working to make positive changes in the lives of its clients, its staff, and the community writ large.
DAIS is an amazing organization that not only works to provide shelter, advice, and resources to victims of domestic abuse but also works to educate the public about the issues surrounding domestic violence. Prior to becoming a part of the DAIS team, I was completely uneducated about all of the barriers and problems that victims face when trying to overcome their fears and leave their abuser and I hope that I am able to pass on what I have learned to my family and friends. DAIS does a lot with what little money and shelter space it has.
DAIS is an organization about empowerment and respect. It offers services and resources that empower women to make their own choices about their lives and their safety. This is what I love about DAIS; they respect women and their capabilities. They provide an (unfortunately) necessary resource for families in the community that they cannot find elsewhere. They provide safety, support, and advocacy and they do it with the utmost respect and dignity.