By Nikki Metzger
Most people are aware of domestic violence. Many have been touched by it through a friend, family member, maybe even personally. Darryl Evey, executive director of the High Desert Domestic Violence Program, is working to make the community aware that they offer more than just a shelter.
“We have a 24 hour hotline, we help victims file restraining orders, we help them navigate the legal system and civil system, and we have a transitional housing program. We also have classes and support groups.”
Since taking the helm as executive director 4 years ago, Evey has helped the program grow and branch out. He explains, “We are the only shelter that accepts teenage boys. And we were the first shelter in California to accept pets.”
In April they will be holding their second dog walk to raise awareness that they can help pets. It is a walk-a-thon where your dog participates too. Evey said, “Last year the Town of Apple Valley really embraced it, promoted it, and even brought some of the dogs from the shelter. So we were able to tell everyone to come on out, and if you didn’t have a dog to walk we could provide one for you!”
“I tend to be a problem solver – when I see a problem I fix it. Another service we offer is our homeless prevention program. It’s not just for domestic violence victims. It is to help people who are about to lose their rental home. We can help them with motel vouchers and rental assistance,” Evey said. His group also facilitates a utility assistance program and a food distribution program.
Another group that Evey and his staff have started is called Answers 4 Cancers. All this month they are holding a fundraiser called Tequila Tuesdays. “In the month of February Victor Valley Community Hospital is giving $50 mammograms. The challenge is that some women don’t even have that money. So we are raising funds to pay for the mammograms.”
Each Tuesday they go to a different Mexican restaurant. “We are asking everyone to come out, have fun and help raise money. We have some awesome raffle prizes including a custom beach cruiser bike at each event, gift certificates from local restaurants, local businesses have donated stuff, and each week a different salon comes out to donate items. At the end of the month we’ll give away a grand prize of a week at a big beautiful house on the beach in Mexico,” Evey explained. They are also reaching out to women who are in need of assistance to pay for their mammogram.
The High Desert Domestic Violence Program is also fostering better relationships between the local police departments and their agency. “Every other week one of our staff members spends the day on a ride-along with the Hesperia Police department. This has improved the relationship and trust between our agency and the police department. I’ve seen our referrals to police double and referrals from police have doubled” said Evey.
There are so many good things happening, new programs, new services, and a lot of outreach from the High Desert Domestic Violence Program. They have a very active Facebook page to keep the community updated on upcoming events and fundraisers. Their website is www.hddvp.org for help or even to make a donation.