The issue: Empower Yolo puts focus on the future
One of the signature features of living in Davis is the extraordinary commitment local residents have to helping those in need.
AN OUTSTANDING example was founded by five women in a local apartment in 1977. Originally called the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center, the agency sought to fill a need for crisis-intervention services in Yolo County. In 1980 the group opened Harper House, the county’s first shelter for battered women and their children.
In the ensuing years, the agency has grown and provided counseling and support to countless victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Advocacy is also part of its mission, and its volunteers have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the costs of violence to individuals and to society. Its expanded services and outreach were matched in 1999 by opening the Wallace and Vannucci Shelter, enabling the group to provide services to even more survivors of violence.
And now, it seems, the agency even outgrew its name. Worried that the “sexual assault” was perceived as a woman-only issue, and that it would create a barrier to men or children seeking services, the group’s leadership decided that the more forward-looking “Empower Yolo” would be a better reflection of the agency’s philosophy of service and geographic reach.
“The name ‘Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center’ emphasizes what has happened, rather than the expansive solutions that Empower Yolo offers,” Executive Director Lynnette Irlmeier said in a news release announcing the name change.
ALONG WITH the rebranding, Empower Yolo is in the midst of a 10-day Campaign for Change that concludes this week. It seeks to raise awareness and to engage local business owners, service providers, residents and community members of Yolo County “to join Empower Yolo in taking a stand against violence.”
The campaign’s website is at http://empoweryolo.org/get-help/prevention/campaign-for-change, offering a multitude of options for us to help the mission of one of Davis’ most important resources. Donate, volunteer or just help spread the word.
No matter what its name, Empower Yolo means hope.