By Karen Hildebrand Odessa
Children witnessing abuse in their homes are three times more likely to repeat the cycle in adulthood. Children in homes with violence are physically abused or seriously neglected at a rate 1,500 percent higher than the national average and those children are 6 times more likely to commit suicide and 50 percent more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
The Odessa American recently ran an editorial about the need to expand school-based programs for adolescents as a step toward preventing child sexual abuse. One of the programs mentioned in the article is WHO (We Help Ourselves). Crisis Center of West Texas provides that very program in our local schools along with other evidence-based programs aimed at bullying prevention, teen dating violence awareness and healthy relationships. In 2017, we reached over 34,000 students and adults with our educational programs, not just in Odessa, but throughout our 9 county service area in west Texas.
Crisis Center of West Texas is the only agency that provides shelter and support services for domestic violence or sexual assault victims and their minor children with a shelter located in Odessa. While our administrative offices, Outreach Center and Angel House shelter are located in Odessa, we also operate a shelter in Fort Stockton called the Lilah Smith Safe House and Outreach Offices with weekly office hours in Andrews, Seminole, Kermit, Monahans, Pecos, Crane and Fort Stockton. Victims are able to access counseling services, case management, legal services, support group meetings, transportation, accompaniment to legal and law enforcement appointments, and assistance with a myriad of other needs all free of charge. Construction on our new 61 bed shelter, the Louise Wood Angel House, is well under way with a completion date of December 2018.
Other programs include a 24-week rehabilitation program for men who batter called reStart. This program is usually court-ordered and aims to alter the beliefs, attitudes and actions of men who have a domestic violence conviction. Additionally, we offer a summer camp called Wonder Girls. This week-long camp is for girls ages 9-14 and focuses on confidence building, healthy relationships, STEM, art and dance activities.
We are so thankful for the support of this generous community with our annual Dancing with West Texas Stars fundraiser along with the other support we receive throughout the year.