By Jill Hull
In 2012, the Eastman Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) began using its annual golf tournament and luncheon to raise funds for Turning Points Network (TPN) in Claremont. Plans are currently underway for the 2016 tournament and luncheon to be held August 25 to benefit the Sullivan County organization, which provides critical services for people experiencing or wanting information about domestic violence, sexual abuse, or stalking. EWGA’s contributions are focused on emergency shelter because of the urgent need and TPN’s limited funds.
TPN works with 950 families and individuals annually, including 40 to 50 families from the greater Grantham, Springfield, and Sunapee area. It has provided Eastman and Grantham families with many services and assistance—even to loved ones in other parts of the country. Some have participated in the agency’s economic independence program to secure new jobs, promotions, and/or a college degree. TPN also partners with the Grantham Police Department in implementing the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) for families that the police department determines are at high risk.
EWGA was attracted to TPN partly by its empowerment approach that recognizes the survivors of abuse, women and men alike, as the experts on their own lives. When we met the keynote speaker at the 2015 luncheon—a woman introduced as “Grace”—she personified the theme of the event, “Butterfly – Be Free to Soar,” making a new life for herself and her son with TPN’s assistance. Grace says, “TPN helped me to think through what was safe for my son and me. They helped me get a restraining order, get my vehicle repaired and inspected, got me into school and provided the positive reinforcement and support I needed to get through day by day.”
When Grace and “John” were dating, he was a very supportive and loving partner. Over time, John became jealous, began isolating her from family and friends, and ultimately began to beat her repeatedly. She tried to get John the help he needed and felt guilty that it was somehow her fault. When John seriously injured her in front of their small son, she fled with her son to her family, but after relentless promises from John to reform, she returned hoping her family would heal. Within months his behavior resumed, putting Grace in fear for her and her son’s safety. A friend, who helped Grace understand that she was battered and controlled, brought them to live with her in Sullivan County, where the Family Assistance Division at the Department for Health and Human Services referred her to Turning Points Network.
Grace’s story is but one of hundreds that could be told. She could have been someone we know, a neighbor or even a family member. The hopelessness of domestic violence is widespread, and TPN’s opportunities to help are limited by resources. TPN does not charge fees for its services. However, many survivors who have benefited from TPN have shown their gratitude by donating, volunteering, and participating in TPN’s signature fundraiser, Steppin’ Up.
Eastman Members and friends are invited to participate in the 2016 TPN Golf Tournament and/or luncheon on August 25th to help more women, children, and men to learn to “soar”!
Jill Hull is President of the EWGA.
About Turning Points Network
Turning Points Network’s social services include crisis intervention, emergency shelter, advocacy for restraining orders and criminal charges if desired, safety planning, and assistance in obtaining other community resources such as health care, food, financial aid, and legal aid. TPN provides information and referral, and offers a violence prevention curriculum in schools for pre-school through 12th grade youths. Each survivor’s story is protected by legislative privilege that enables TPN to guarantee clients total confidentiality.
TPN can be reached 24 hours a day for services at 1-800-639-3130. TPN has offices in Newport at 167 Summer St. (863-4053) and in Claremont at 11 School St. (543-0155). More information about TPN can be found at www.turningpointsnetwork.org.