By Nikki Garrett Metzger
High Desert Daily
(Victorville) — The High Desert Domestic Violence Program is taking a new direction and new focus. They have changed their name to the Family Assistance Program, and their focus now is preventative measures of domestic violence.
Family Assistance Program hosted an open house Wednesday to introduce the community to their new mission.
Darryl Evey, Executive Director, explained, “This is more than just a symbolic change. To us it’s about two things: aligning our name to reflect our mission, and also redefining our mission and redefining what it is that we do. Focusing on domestic violence is a necessary and we’re still going to offer all of the same services that we’ve been offering. We’re going to continue to help victims of domestic violence just as passionately as we do now.”
“The second thing is that we’re going to spend more time focusing on the preventative measures of domestic violence. We’re going to focus a lot on building stronger families,” Evey said.
The Family Assistance Program has many new services that they will offer. Evey explained, “One of the things we’ve started doing is family counseling. There is also an art healing program where children and women who have been exposed to violence can learn to express themselves.”
“Another thing we are adding this year is a teen dating program where we go into the schools and talk to teenagers about dating, so they can learn what good dating is. What we’re trying to do is help people learn to respect women and to learn where their boundaries are. How do you determine where you boundaries are if you don’t learn from someone? So this is a really helpful program,” said Evey.
Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt was scheduled to speak at the open house, but he was unable to make it because he was ill. Evey said of Supervisor Mitzelfelt, “He has been such a fantastic supporter of ours. When our board of directors thought we should change our focus, I went to the Supervisor to ask for money. He instead gave me a scholarship to go the High Desert Resource Network Funding Academy. I learned from that and we were able to get a grant for $15,000.”
“So when we asked the Supervisor for money, he went way beyond that. And it has made a tremendous impact on our agency and I really appreciate it,” said Evey.
Garner Morris from Supervisor Mitzelfelt’s office presented Evey and the Board of Directors with a plaque.
Rebecca Tennnison from Assemblyman Steve Knight’s office was also on hand to show support at the open house. “On behalf of State Assemblyman Steve Knight we would like to say congratulations to Darryl, your staff, and your volunteers. Thank you for all you do to empower families throughout our community. Best wishes in all your future endeavors and thank you for all that you do.”
Guests were treated to healthy snacks and tours of the facility, which included the staff offices, the art room where the art healing program is held, the supply area where they keep clothes and other items that their clients may need, and counseling rooms.
Future services that the program is planning to implement are relationship and healthy marriage classes, stress management workshops, a runaway/homeless youth shelter, and more.
The website for more information, volunteer opportunities and contact phone numbers is www.familyassist.org.