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Team Spotlight for January: Lesly Lytle, Safe Dates Coordinator

1) What do you like most about working for Prevail?

I think 11-12 years

2) What do you like most about working for Prevail?

Knowing I’m working with people who are in it for the victims and work tirelessly to support them

3) Who is your hero?

Probably my mom

4) What would you sing at Karaoke night?
Dancing Queen

5) What is your favorite quote?

- First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist

- Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionists

- Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew

- Then they came for me and there was no one left the speak for me

Pastor Martin Niemoller

6) What motivates you the most to serve others?

Oddly I think my height. I learned to somewhat speak loudly so people wouldn’t overlook me. So I speak loudly about things I’m passionate about. Giving those who don’t have a voice speaks to my soul.

7) If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Pizza

8) What is your proudest accomplishment?

My kids and their friends coming to me when they need help and knowing that I will always be here for them

9) What animal do you most identify with, and why?

Hmmm...I don’t know

10) Favorite Prevail memory?

Dancing with coworkers at gala

11) Favorite self-care practice?

Tik tok

2020 Reflections and 2021 Projections

We’ve all said it, “I can’t wait for 2020 to be over!”  Well, the older I get, the less I wish for time to go by quickly.  It already feels like it is flying by.  So, 2020 or not, I wouldn’t mind if time slowed down a bit.  Toward that end, I am taking some time at the end of this year to review some of what has happened here at Prevail. 

In 2020:

  • In February, we experienced one of our best-ever City vs. County Bowling Events! In the 20th year for this event, we surpassed the $500,000 mark for total fundraising over the life of the event!
  • Then, we learned about the Coronavirus! The team at Prevail created and implemented plans for safety during a worldwide pandemic.
  • Throughout the year, Prevail continued to provide high-quality, trauma-informed services for victims of crime and abuse. It looked different, depending on the circumstances, but with adjustments, there were no pauses in services.
  • Prevail celebrated many of our community partners! I can’t say it enough, this work doesn’t happen without generous community support – and we appreciate it!!
  • We adjusted plans for every fundraiser supporting our services. While this made things look different, this was ultimately supported by the community.
  • Prevail received generous community grant support to implement COVID-19 protocols including acquiring technology to support tele-advocacy, as well as expanding our waiting room to allow for social distancing.
  • With federal grant support, Prevail increased the size of our team to ensure staffing to meet the needs in the community.
  • Following best practices from around the country, Prevail created our first Mobile Advocate position to meet clients where they are in ways that they identify as safe and convenient for them.
  • In an effort to meet the need for housing for victims of crime and abuse, Prevail created a Housing Solutions Plan and launched Hotel Voucher and Rapid Rehousing programs to begin to fill this demand.
  • Sadly, we said goodbye to Odle – our faithful facility dog and friend. His impact is evident in our lives and in many of the clients he interacted with.

At this time, not only am I reflecting on what happened this year, but also looking forward to what is next.  We have exciting things planned for the coming year!

In 2021:

  • Prevail will be celebrating our 35th Anniversary! For 35 years, Prevail has been advocating for victims of crime and abuse. This year we will celebrate our history and peek into the future!
  • Over the past year, Prevail’s Board of Directors has been working on a new strategic plan, including updated values. This will launch in January as we enlist the community to support the plan.
  • Prevail will continue to work toward full implementation of the Housing Solutions Plan – filling in emergency, transitional, and flex funding gaps. We look forward to a comprehensive continuum meeting the needs of survivors in safe and creative ways!
  • Our Mobile Advocacy program will be reaching out to partners to host services. Ideally, Prevail’s services will be available to those who need them where they are; rather than expecting survivors to come to us.
  • To implement all of these plans, Prevail will continue to be creative in how services are funded. We will certainly count on our community to support this work!
  • As a vaccine is deployed and we look for COVID-19’s influence to diminish, we can’t wait to re-engage in-person events to connect the community with our mission!

I can’t end without a tremendous shout out to the Prevail team.  They are a passionate, dedicated, talented team of professionals who do this hard work every day.  It is an honor to walk alongside them.  As always, it is a privilege to do this work.  And, I am sincerely thankful for the trust that you have placed in us to do it. 

Wishing all a very happy new year!

Team Spotlight for December: Jennifer Atkisson, Youth Advocate

1.) How long have you been at Prevail and what is your position?

I have been at Prevail two years. I am a youth advocate, working primarily with adolescents and teens. I facilitate Healthy Relationships groups at Fisher’s and Hamilton Southeastern High Schools. I also facilitate Prevail’s group for teens at Agape in Cicero.

2.) What do you like most about working for Prevail?

I am grateful to work for an organization that is committed to ending violence within our community. Prevail has multiple components of the organization that work together and complement each other so well. Through the Primary Prevention team, individual services and groups, and continuing education for staff, I feel as though Prevail has a unique position to support community healing, growth, and change.

3.) Who is your hero?

My hero’s are those who seek to heal from wounds that they are not responsible for. I so deeply admire those who have the courage to seek self-improvement and acknowledge that future generations can do/be better. You are the real MVPs.

4.) What is your favorite quote?

I have a lot of favorites. I am a “quote-y” person. My top 3 are:

1. You have every right to a beautiful life.

2. We can do hard things. – Glennon Doyle

3. The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time. – Brene Brown

5.) What would you sing at Karaoke night?

Spice Girls “Wannabe” or Destiny’s Child “Independent Women” – something that I can get the crowd involved with!

6.) What motivates you the most to serve others?

I love the lightbulb or “ah-hah” moments. A turning point in the healing process. The moments when those that I am working with acknowledge that their future can and will be different than what they’ve experienced. Having an understanding equals empowerment and I feel so honored to help foster those moments.

7.) If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Does “Mexican” count? I’m counting it.

8.) What is your proudest accomplishment?

I think my proudest accomplishment so far is becoming an advocate. I truly feel that advocacy is where I am supposed to be and the work I am called to do. I am so fortunate to have found Prevail. My biggest accomplishment will be embodying that for those I work with.

9.) What animal do you most identify with, and why?

My dogs make me a better person every day. Dogs’ hearts are so pure. They live to have fun, take naps, and give love. What a great reminder to live in the present. If I could live a day in the life of a dog (specifically mine – I’m biased 😊), it’d be a great day.

10.) Favorite Prevail memory?

A bunch of moments come to mind, rather than one big experience. A teen telling me how attending Agape group changed their life. A teen overcoming their apprehension around Odle to connect with him. A teen making the decision to leave an unhealthy dating relationship. Connecting with co-workers to provide support to a whole family. Each of those moments are amazing in their own way.

11.) Favorite self-care practice? – I feel my best when I exercise, get enough sleep, and eat well. The days those things align make a big difference for me. And spending time with my dogs – always.

Ways to Give on Giving Tuesday

Oh, Hey! It’s #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday started in 2012 and has since become a day for everyone to Give Together. Not-for-Profits (NFPs) around the world have grown to count on the generosity from today specifically. But, your “gift” does not have to be only financial (although, a lot of the time this is the most beneficial). Below are some of the favorite ways to give on #GivingTueday and beyond!

 

Giving a gift of funds to an organization allows them to use that money wherever they need it most. Government, State, and Local Grant dollars are a lot of times “restricted funds” or dollars that can only be used for very specific programs within a NFP organization.

Ways to connect with Prevail and other great information:

  • Prevail’s 2020 Winter Appeal is out and is our largest mailing ask to the community. Consider helping us reach our goal and learn more about the 2020 Highlights here. 
  • Read this great article on “How to Be Smart About Your Giving”. 
  • To learn more about monetary and planned gifts to Prevail visit Our Supporters tab above.

 

Another great way to give is by donating materials the agency would otherwise have to purchase themselves. Most of the time, this is through a “Wish List”. The vast majority of agencies will have a Wish List on hand or have one available through Amazon. You could also consider hosting a “Collection Drive” to have your family, friends, neighbors, social or civic groups get involved! This also helps spread awareness about a NFP’s mission, which could increase the amount of community members getting involved, JUST LIKE YOU!

Prevail’s Wish List and Collection Drive information is available here

 

Spreading the word about an agency is the simplest, but largely most overlooked way to help out your favorite NFP! This can be as simple as sharing social media posts, videos from YouTube, information about upcoming events, or volunteer opportunities. Talking to someone about an agency’s mission is massively important. YOU could be educating those around you about the services available to them, without even knowing it! YOU may also engage a lifelong supporter for that agency. A little share has a HUGE impact.

Ways to spread the word about Prevail:

  • Prevail is always willing to help our community engage those around them! We have free materials available to anyone that may need them , such as our Agency Brochure, Safety Planning Resource Cards, and many other materials.
  • Prevail is also open for a tour of the agency or a presentation to your social or civic group to learn more about the programs and services offered FREE of charge to those who need them. Contact Natasha Robinson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (317) 773-6942) to schedule a tour or for more information.

No interaction is small. Each of our fellow NFPs appreciate the support that is shown from the community that surrounds them. So today, and year round…we’d like to encourage you to engage with your favorite and local NFPs in a way that calls to you the most! You really never know the lives you’ll touch or the impact you’ll have!

 

Social Ecological Model

Written by Sara Roorbach, Primary Prevention Specialist

Sara Roorbach - Primary Prevention SpecialistAt Prevail we not only focus on supporting survivors of crime and abuse and their families, but we also have programming to prevent violence from occurring. This is called primary prevention. Preventing violence using primary prevention is evidence-based and supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has created many tools to help us understand the root causes of violence and explain the best ways to implement prevention initiatives in those target areas. One of those tools is the social ecological model (SEM). The SEM is a four-level model that considers the complex interplay between individual, relationship, community, and societal factors. It helps us to better understand how these factors influence one another and provides prevention strategies at each level. If our ultimate goal is to stop violence before it begins then we need to utilize tools to better understand the factors that influence and cause violence.

As for the four levels of the SEM, first there is individual, which identifies biological and personal history factors that increase the likelihood of becoming a victim or perpetrator of violence. Some of these factors are education, income, or substance use. Next is the relationship level. This level recognizes how a person’s closest social circle like peers, partners and family members influence their behavior and contribute to their experience either for good or for bad. The following level is community, which explores the settings in which relationships occur, like schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Lastly is the societal level. The societal level looks at the broad societal factors that help create a climate in which violence is encouraged or inhibited. 

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Team Spotlight for November: Kelly Growden, Primary Prevention Specialist

1.) How long have you been at Prevail and what is your position?

Primary Prevention Specialist since 2015

2.) What do you like most about working for Prevail?

I enjoy the opportunity to serve our community in new ways, as well as the organization-wide emphasis on learning and personal/professional development.

3.) Who is your hero?

My hero is my grandma; she was so kind, compassionate, and generous. If more people were like her, our world would be a much better place.

4.) What is your favorite quote?

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” Iain Thomas

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Team Spotlight for October: Leah Griffet, Adult Advocate

1.) How long have you been at Prevail and what is your position?

I am an adult advocate and I have been at Prevail for 1 year.

2.) What do you like most about working for Prevail?

I like the supportive culture that this staff cultivates every day and genuinely enjoy coming to work with amazing women.

3.) Who is your hero?

My hero is Prevail’s Brittany Winebar. She is a wealth of knowledge and I am always amazed when she is providing training to the staff or I see her interact with a client. She genuinely embodies trauma-informed care in who she is, not just at work with clients. As an advocate, I really look up to Brittany.

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Racial Trauma Matters. Historical Trauma is Real. Racial Justice is Happening at Prevail.

By Danielle Noonan

Take a mental road trip with me, readers. I want you to imagine what places like Prevail are working toward and why we do what we do. Our destination is a future without violence, a future without preventable, power-based trauma. What does that future look like to you? Who is there, and who helped us get there? If we are doing anti-violence work toward this future, then what are we for?

At Prevail, we know that power and control are the catalysts of violence. When control is unjust, it’s called oppression. In our work, we have a long legacy and well-documented history with oppression as a root cause of violence and the systems that allow it to continue. More recently, our organization has not only been asking What are we for? but also asking some accountability questions, because we know we have a role to play in working toward this future. Questions like: Is Prevail a system that allows this to continue? If not, how are we serving the most marginalized and most vulnerable people in our community? How can we continue to create safe, healing, and supportive spaces for all?

We need Prevail to be accessible to all survivors. All survivors. Whether you’re 6 or 60, our role is to stop ageism from limiting your access to services. If you are multilingual or speak ASL, our role is to provide language advocacy to make our services accessible. We serve all genders and all sexual orientations, because we know that violence impacts these communities without discrimination. Our services are free and confidential, because poverty and privacy can be barriers. In order to continue the work we have been doing, we are actively working on what our role is in the anti-racism and racial justice space in our community. Understanding and unpacking racism is important for us to do, because on this road to anti-violence we will cross many intersections with overlapping needs to meet.

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Staff Spotlight for September - Beth Dunlop, Administrative Assistant

How long have you been at Prevail and what is your position?

Volunteered for many years before landing the Admin job a little over 5 years ago, which btw, was totally my plan.

What do you like most about working for Prevail?

I love being the first person to speak with many of our clients. I feel humbled by their incredible courage.  I mean, imagine the terror of the thought of making that initial call. And then imagine being brave enough to do it anyhow.

Who is your hero?

Depends on who I am on the phone with. Our clients are my heroes.

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Prevail’s 2020 Celebration of Hope Goes Virtual

Prevail would like to thank the community for supporting our mission and our events. Unfortunately, we had to make the decision to cancel the 2020 Celebration of Hope Gala.  However, even though we can't meet in-person for the Celebration of Hope, we are still celebrating hope here at Prevail and, we are inviting you to join us!

The contributions that would have been made that night are still critically important to victims of crime and abuse in our community. Some of our outstanding supporters have stepped up to challenge you to contribute in lieu of your attendance.  They have agreed to match your donations, dollar for dollar, up to the first $50,000 raised!  That doubles your donation!!

We’d like to thank our $10,000 and over challenge sponsors: The Prevail Board of Directors, Frank & Charlette Pichler, and Protective Insurance; our $5,000 and over supporters: Biddle Memorial Foundation, Dave and Jackie Cox, and Hare Chevrolet; and our $2,000 and over supporters: Church, Church, Hittle + Antrim, Riverview Health, WealthCare Financial Group, LLC, and Private Wealth Management Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Gregor Private Wealth Group.

We’d also like to recognize and thank our valued supporters who were ready to be a part of the 2020 Celebration of Hope in-person event: The Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel, Sun King Brewery, The Current, The Hamilton County Reporter, Heavenly Sweets Bakery, Davant, Gary Deakyne, and the Lemon Wheel.

Please take the time to visit our event campaign page (link here) and view the videos to connect with survivors, supporters and partners as they celebrate the hope made possible because of our community. Then, please join us in creating opportunities for hope to continue into the future by making your donation and challenging your friends to do the same. 

It is a privilege to walk alongside victims of crime and abuse during their most difficult times, then watch them walk out the door with hope.  It is such rewarding and encouraging work.  Thank you for joining us in celebrating hope!

Please mark your calendar for Prevail's 35th Anniversary Celebration on August 21, 2021!

Staff Spotlight for August - Danielle Noonan, Adult Adovcate

How long have you been at Prevail and what is your position?

I am an Adult Advocate, and I am in my first year with Prevail. 

What do you like most about working for Prevail?

I love that Prevail strives to be inclusive and pushes to better define what that means every day. For marginalized and underserved communities, an organization that has services designed for inclusion can really positively impact a person’s journey toward post-traumatic growth.

Who is your hero?

I feel like I’m supposed to have a really profound historical figure or icon for this question. In truth, I have many heroes, some fictional and some real. At the end of the day, my heroes tend to be writers—specifically comedy writers. The ability to accurately depict what it means to be alive, to challenge your audience to question their beliefs and invite them into stories they may never know, and to find any element of humor in it all…well, that’s some of the bravest work you’ll ever see. Heroic work.

What is your favorite quote?

“If you stay ready, then you ain’t got to get ready.” – James Brown 

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Prevail’s 2020 Celebration of Hope Goes Virtual

Prevail would like to thank the community for supporting our mission  and our events. Unfortunately, we had to make the decision to cancel the 2020 Celebration of Hope Gala.  However, even though we can't meet in-person for the Celebration of Hope, we are still celebrating hope here at Prevail and, we are inviting you to join us!

The contributions that would have been made that night are still critically important to victims of crime and abuse in our community. Some of our outstanding supporters have stepped up to challenge you to contribute in lieu of your attendance.  They have agreed to match your donations, dollar for dollar, up to the first $50,000 raised!  That doubles your donation!!

We’d like to thank our $10,000 and over challenge sponsors: The Prevail Board of Directors, Frank & Charlette Pichler, and Protective Insurance; our $5,000 and over supporters: Biddle Memorial Foundation, Dave and Jackie Cox, and Hare Chevrolet; and our $2,000 and over supporters: Church, Church, Hittle + Antrim, Riverview Health, WealthCare Financial Group, LLC, and Private Wealth Management Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Gregor Private Wealth Group.

Please take the time to visit our event campaign page (www.prevailinc.org) and view the videos to connect with survivors, supporters and partners as they celebrate the hope made possible because of our community. Then, please join us in creating opportunities for hope to continue into the future by making your donation and challenging your friends to do the same. 

It is a privilege to walk alongside victims of crime and abuse during their most difficult times, then watch them walk out the door with hope.  It is such rewarding and encouraging work.  Thank you for joining us in celebrating hope!

Please mark your calendar for Prevail's 35th Anniversary Celebration on August 21, 2021!

July's Staff Spotlight - Sara Roorbach, Primary Prevention Specialist

How long have you been at Prevail and what is your position?

I have been with Prevail since July of 2019 and my position is a primary prevention specialist, specifically the coordinator for 100 Men.

What do you like most about working for Prevail?

The best part about working for Prevail is seeing the feedback I get from the community when I tell people where I work. Prevail has such a great reputation and impact and people in the community truly value what we do.

Who is your hero?

My hero would have to be my mom. She is such a strong woman who I’ve watched be present for friends and family members at the most difficult times. And now that I’m older she’s also become like my best friend- she is SO fun!

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite Bible verse: “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Now go in peace and be freed from suffering” Mark 5:34. I actually have it tattooed on my foot!

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June's Staff Spotlight - Sara Flores, Adult Advocate

How long have you been at Prevail and what is your position?

Since April 2017 – started as VNP advocate and now Adult Advocate

What do you like most about working for Prevail?

Our organizational culture. We are an amazing group of people who strive to constantly provide better services, and to grow as individuals.

Who is your hero? 

My daughter, for being my greatest teacher of what family and love can look like, and motivating me to grow and do better. And my mom, for laying the foundation within me to accept these lessons from my daughter 😊

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How to Keep Yourself and Loved Ones Safe from Elder Abuse

By Lauren Guynn, Executive Director for Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County

Today, June 15, 2020, is Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  At Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County, we promote and support independent lifestyles for adults 55+ in our community.  It is important for us to acknowledge the unfortunate reality that older adults, much like children, are at a higher rate for victimization of abuse.  The Indiana Council Against Senior Exploitation (IN-CASE) reports that nearly 16% of people 60+ are a victim of elder abuse. 

Our community partner, Prevail, has a great blog about the types of elder abuse you can read here (link to blog).  Prevail offers crisis intervention and restorative support services for adult, adolescent and child survivors of crime and abuse, which includes elder abuse.  Since they did a great job of describing elder abuse, I want to focus in on how Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County can help you keep yourself and loved ones safe.

Guardianship Program

Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County’s newest program is our Guardianship Program.  This program allows SCHC to serve as the court-appointed legal guardian of incapacitated adults in Hamilton County and helps those adults through trained Volunteer Advocates.

It promotes the dignity of a person who no longer has the capacity to make major life decisions by helping them find the least-restrictive assistance that also prioritizes their best interest, safety, and self-determination.

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Elder Abuse

Robin has decided to quit her job and to stay home to be with Sara.  The high cost of paying for someone to care for her while Robin was working had become onerous, to say nothing about how unreliable some of the help had been. Yet, the drain on finances from the loss of income, plus the hit to her career can’t be denied.  And all the responsibilities; toileting and changing of diapers, bathing her, keeping up with the extra laundry, cooking for a special diet, keeping a constant eye on her, keeping her busy while trying to keep the house running and what about all the errands that need to be run? Sara can’t be left alone, but it is so difficult to go grocery shopping with her. Then there is the lack of conversation, lack of contact with people her own age, Robin is afraid she will go stir crazy. Sara’s tantrums are getting to be really difficult, she screams and cries, lashes out. Late afternoons and nights are particularly trying and Robin is exhausted. 

How familiar does this scenario sound to the struggles many parents have to work through when they have little ones? But what if Sara is not a two year old, but instead a 145 lb. 85 year old woman with advancing dementia? How does this impact the stress level in the home?

Never does stress excuse or explain away abuse of any kind; but it is frequently a trigger. Households, assisted living centers, and nursing homes are experiencing a significant difficulty securing the workforce required to provide the services needed to properly care for the elderly, the frail, and the physically and mentally impaired adult population.  Presently, there are 3 adults over the age of 85 for every 100 people age 18-64.  In 2045, 25 years from now, that ratio will more than double to 7 out of 100 (1) This may not sound like an unreasonable ratio, and yet as it is, the lack of caregivers is a significant issue in both the home health and residential care industries. Mercer, a healthcare consulting firm, projects there will be a shortage of 446,300 home health aides by 2025.(2) The increased pressure that will be put on a caregiver system already experiencing a significant strain could cause it to collapse. The vacuum created by a lack of service providers will leave this vulnerable population even more at risk for abuse and neglect.

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May Blog - Self-Care and Making It Up As We Go

By Danielle Noonan

I want you to Google the phrase, “self care.” Go ahead. I’ll wait.

I just did, and I see several articles from mental health websites, numbered lists about how to make plans and new strategies to try, cutesie graphics from Pinterest boards, and recommended videos that promise to teach me self-care in five minutes or less. I know the resources that are out there, and so do you. We have had these resources before the pandemic, and we will afterward. I know that there are yoga stretches and breathing exercises and phone apps and social media accounts and homesteading and DIY crafts and sugar scrubs and the Wonder Woman power stance. I get it. But it’s all easier said than done, right?

All of these resources meant absolutely nothing to me several weeks ago when my partner came home and found me sitting on my kitchen floor, silently and slowing eating a cold piece of leftover garlic bread. That, dear readers, is too specific to not be real. It’s real, and it happened. In that moment, you could not have paid me to stand up and do a Wonder Woman pose.

You may be wondering how I, as a professional, could openly share something like that--that I was feeling overwhelmed by powerful emotions or that I had hit a limit that somehow resulted in me numbing and avoiding and literally slumping onto the floor. I assure you that I looked nothing like the capable, put together staff picture that’s on this blog post. I am comfortable sharing this snapshot of life with all of you, my colleagues, and my boss, because it’s normal.

It is normal to have uncharacteristic behaviors, become emotionally dysregulated, and have a lower threshold for the amount of stress you can tolerate when you are experiencing an abnormal event. These are normal reactions to abnormal experiences. Before you can bring self-care into your life in a way that feels authentic and practical, we have to name and normalize what we are going through.

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May’s Staff Spotlight - Beth Nellis, Youth Advocate

How long have you been at Prevail and what is your position?

I am a Youth Advocate and have been working at Prevail for 7 months (in Feb. ’20 - started July 2019). Prior to coming aboard full-time, I volunteered for 3 cycles of teen support groups.

What do you like most about working for Prevail?

My favorite aspect of my job is witnessing the resilience of the kids I work with and their ability to grow and heal after trauma. I enjoy that my work allows for genuine and authentic interactions with kids whose strength and bravery I admire greatly.

Who is your hero?

I thoroughly admire the work Brené Brown is doing. I believe her messaging is profoundly relevant for each and every one of us. She has so much wisdom to share and does so in a relatable, approachable way. Lookout for her upcoming podcast “Unlocking Us”, premiering in March!

What is your favorite quote?

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.” - Brené Brown

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How Advocates Can Help with a Sexual Assault Examination

Kelly Ferriell, Youth Advocacy Supervisor

As Sexual Assault Awareness Month ends, Prevail recognizes that sexual violence does not. About 35% of the population served by Prevail are survivors of sexual assault. Did you know that we are classified as a Rape Crisis Center (RCC)? In order to be classified as a RCC in Indiana, an agency must provide specific services including:

  • Having a mission to provide service to individuals who are impacted by sexual violence
  • Employing staff dedicated to working with individuals who are impacted by sexual violence
  • Operating a 24/7 Crisis Line
  • Prioritizes confidentiality and safety in the services provided
  • Providing support at the hospital when an individual is seeking medical care after experiencing a sexual assault

Prevail provides these services, along with many more, every day. As an advocate, I seek opportunities to collaborate with others to create a team of support for individuals impacted by sexual violence. One of these unique opportunities is when someone presents at the emergency department of a local hospital after experiencing a sexual assault. 

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are trained to provide medical and forensic services and often partner with an advocate to provide support during the exam process. As described in a previous blog post, sexual assault exams provide the opportunity for an individual to make choices regarding their physical well-being and health. Each step is optional. An advocate’s role in these situations is to meet the survivor where they are. Advocates provide emotional support, link survivors to practical needs and on-going support, and ensure they are informed of their rights. 

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The Role of a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) by Kellie Cajas, RN-BSN

Hello and good day! My name is Kellie Cajas and I currently work as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner at St. Vincent Hospital Indianapolis. For the last two years it has been my honor and privilege to work with an amazing team of nurses, doctors, social workers, technicians, advocates, law enforcement officers, and lawyers to help serve men, women, and children in the state of Indiana who have experienced sexual assault and abuse. April is a time each year that we work to bring awareness to sexual assault as a community issue, and attempt to help the community understand resources available. Today as a SANE, my goal is to help our community understand the medical and forensic services available to anyone and everyone who has experienced sexual assault, as well as dispel any myths or half-truths that keep people from seeking out the services within their community.

So first, let’s define sexual assault. As a community we understand ‘sexual assault’ as any unwanted sexual contact by another person. Many people feel that the word “assault” implies violence, but sometimes the violence is not seen or perceived as violence. Violence can look like manipulation, coercion, threat of danger, or intimidation. After any incident of sexual assault – no matter the type of forced activity – medical and forensic services are available, regardless of a person’s decision to report the assault to law enforcement.

For anyone over the age of 18, the choice to report the assault remains with the person who has been victimized. For anyone under the age of 18, a report to authorities is mandated by the State of Indiana. However, no matter the status of a report, the person has the right to medical and forensic services that help ensure their health and safety following a sexual assault. The state of Indiana even has a special fund of money set aside to help afford these examinations to persons in need immediately following a sexual assault. As a SANE, I help my patient fill out these applications at the start of the exam, and submit the application on their behalf. Most often this fund of money will cover parts or the entirety of the exam. The fund can also assist with follow-up services such as doctor’s visits, counseling, or job-loss assistance.

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March’s Staff Spotlight - Stephanie Holmes-Gullans, Adult Advocacy Supervisor

How long have you been at Prevail and what is your position?

I have had the privilege to do this work at Prevail for over 7 years.

What do you like most about working for Prevail?

At Prevail there is feeling of community and connection. We have a staff that is supportive, empathetic, and kind. This sense of community extends to those we serve. Humans are hard wired for connection. At Prevail we foster an environment that encourages and supports connection. The feeling of connection shows up in individual work as well in our support groups.

Who is your hero?

My heroes are those that show up for others and do the hard work. They are the ones that walk the walk. I happen to be surrounded by these heroes at Prevail. Walking through the doors of Prevail is a brave step and to me heroes are brave.

What is your favorite quote?

“Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain.”  - Vivian Green

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Community Collaboration

This blog post was planned a few months ago – before any of us had even heard of Coronavirus or COVID-19.  Although the idea was pitched before social distancing was a thing, it is more relevant now than ever:  Our community of local nonprofits works together.   It is a pleasure to collaborate with such passionate entities who work so well together to meet the needs of the community we all serve.  So many of us not only give lip service to collaboration by cross-referring; we actually accomplish really important things for the community because we are at the table together, invest our resources together, and do good together.  At Prevail, we have had the privilege of working with (among others):

  • HAND on an affordable housing project for people who have experienced family violence
  • Shepherd’s Center and Janus on the Our Community Reads project
  • Cherish as victim advocates during their forensic interviews
  • Indiana Center for the Prevention of Youth Abuse and Suicide on QPR and Stewards of Children Training
  • Good Samaritan Network on service projects and volunteer needs
  • Student Impact on Developmental Assets training
  • Nickel Plate Arts on presenting The Vagina Monologues

These are just a few examples of the many partnerships that benefit the community.  These partnerships are maintained and enhanced by meeting together as the Good Samaritan Network and in groups like the Hamilton County Executive Directors group.  These interactions keep us in touch with needs in the community and help us to avoid any duplication of services.  This makes us efficient and effective.  Now, more than ever, we need to be efficient and effective.  Our community needs this infrastructure of nonprofits that exists to fill in the gaps and ensure all people have access to all the benefits that Hamilton County has to offer.   As we work together, we have the opportunity to learn from each other and develop better solutions to the problems we face. 

As the nonprofit community works together, one of our most important partners is you – the actual community.  None of us do this work without the philanthropists that support us.  The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy defines philanthropy as any voluntary action for the public good.  So, as we highlight all the efforts that the nonprofit community is putting into collaboration, we invite you into the fold.  Please look for the opportunities available for you to do some voluntary action for the public good.  Prevail, like any nonprofit in the community, has plenty of opportunity for you to offer your time, talent, treasure, and testimony to benefit the community. 

We are truly better together. 

- Susan

March Team Spotlight - Kelly Ferriell Youth Team Supervisor

How long have you been at Prevail and what is your position?

I have worked for Prevail for 7 years. I started as an intern and now I am the Youth Advocacy Supervisor.

What do you like most about working for Prevail?

Every day is different and new. I am always learning new things, meeting new people, and get to be creative and curious.  

Who is your hero?

My heroes are the individuals who recognize they need support and reach out for help. I get to work with my heroes every day: teens. They teach me so much and I am really excited to see how their creativity and wisdom will continue to shape our world.

What is your favorite quote?

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.-Gandhi”

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Thank You For Supporting Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month

Each February, Prevail recognizes Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month (TDVPM). According to the Centers for Disease Control, dating violence is a public health crisis that impacts one out of every nine adolescent females and one out of every 35 adolescent males. This equates to millions of teens in our country who are being abused by a dating partner. This fact makes me extremely uncomfortable, and I hope it does the same to you.

Parents and community members often ask me what can be done about teen dating violence. The answer is simple and complicated at the same time- we have to talk to our teens. To create a world without violence, we must teach youth about healthy and safe relationships. We can use movies, TV shows, and social media posts to start conversations. We need to hold teens accountable when the make a choice that removes another person’s choice or power. We must listen to teens when they tell us about what is happening in their lives because they are the experts in their own lives. We cannot expect teens to interact in ways we are not, so modeling healthy relationships is key.

On our website you will find our 2020 TDVPM toolkit, full of activities ranging from five-minute discussion starters to full lesson plans, all focused on increasing skills teens need in order to have safe and healthy relationships. These activities can be used all year with any teen you interact with. Overcoming teen dating violence, or any other power-based violence, can only be accomplished when a community unites together. It really does take a village to raise healthy, happy, and whole children. Thank you for being part of a village that is working toward eliminating teen dating violence.

The TDVPM toolkit can be found here: https://prevailinc.org/images/pdf/2020/2020-Teen-Dating-Violence-Prevention-Month-Activities-Packet.pdf

And, for more information about Prevail’s Primary Prevention programming, which is working to ensure everyone has access to safe, stable, nurturing environments and relationships, check out our website here:  https://prevailinc.org/index.php/our-services/primary-prevention/what-is-primary-prevention

February Team Spotlight, Susan Ferguson

How long have you been at Prevail and what is your position?

This April, I will have been at Prevail seven years as the Executive Director. 

What do you like most about working for Prevail?

I love working with the amazing, professional, dedicated, passionate, competent staff at Prevail! 

What is your favorite quote?

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”  Norman Vincent Peale

What would you sing at Karaoke night?

Well, I am not likely to sing in public, but there are a few songs from Meat Loaf that might be fun!

What motivates you the most to serve others?

I believe it is a privilege to serve others.  I have been blessed in my life and love to have the opportunity to serve those around me.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Something Mexican and cheesy!

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Raising my children who have grown up into responsible, independent, authentic adults!!

What animal do you most identify with?

I aspire to live life like my dog – happy to sleep all day, but ALL IN when it is time to play!

Favorite Prevail memory?

My favorite memories are connecting with other staff, and my very favorite is when one of our very introverted staff was decorated as a snowman at one of our holiday celebrations.  So out of character for her, but so fun for the rest of us!!

Favorite self-care practice?

Making memories with friends and family!

January 2020 Blog Post

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” –Fred DeVito

Justin GrowdenThis quote was brought up in one of the breakout sessions I attended during the National Sexual Assault Conference 2019 and it really sums up my 3 day conference experience. I had considered myself knowledgeable about the widespread problems of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault, but this conference challenged my level of comprehension and took it further.

One of the first things I asked myself on the first day of the conference was, “where are all the men?”  On the contrary, the women with whom I attended said there were more men there than they usually see at these conferences.  Sexual violence advocacy, awareness, and prevention are female-dominated fields, but they shouldn’t be.  More men need to recognize their responsibility in eradicating sexual violence and be present as allies in this work. 

My experience at NSAC2019 exposed me to an atmosphere of inclusivity and anti-oppression, a far cry from my usual corporate environment.  I’ve never been to an event where all-gender restrooms outnumbered gender-specific ones, and our corporate meetings don’t feature a “commitment to language access”.  I can without a doubt add that I’ve never had access to a “safe room” during my Marine Corps career.  I learned that oppression is at the root of violence, and that building equity and sharing power with the individuals at the margins of society are the keys to preventing violence from happening in the first place, but as I saw these concepts in action, it all seemed really strange to me and brought me out of my comfort zone. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered--why does this idea of inclusion feel so weird?  Why does tackling the very root causes of sexual violence feel so uncomfortable?

Why does addressing sexual violence make men so uncomfortable?  Are men afraid of being seen as victims? We don’t want to seem weak, or less-than.  Are men are afraid of being seen as offenders, being automatically presumed guilty or even falsely accused?  Are we afraid of confronting our own questionable actions, both past and present?  Are we afraid to face the inherent power and privilege that comes with being men in our world?  Or, maybe more accurately, are we most afraid of losing that privilege when we seek to empower the women around us?

The only way to battle sexual violence is to confront our own discomfort.  Sexual violence will never end without us becoming active participants in its erasure.  This isn’t just a women’s issue—this is an all of us issue, and it’s time for us all to play a part.

Men, it’s time to get uncomfortable. 

- Justin Growden

New Year, New Beginnings: Prevail Poised for the Future

Prevail, Inc. is committed to offering crisis intervention and restorative support services for adult, teen and child survivors of crime and abuse, free of charge, in a confidential, supportive, non-judgmental environment that is meant to empower, educate, and strengthen those who are served.  While Prevail has been in Noblesville, serving all of Hamilton County, since 1986, the agency has seen significant growth in the past five years.  Since 2013, the number of clients served each year has increased 42%.  While there has been an increase in almost every single client category the agency tracks, the fastest growing population served over that time is victims of sexual assault, with the largest growth in teen victims of sexual assault, which has increased by 102%!  To serve these growing numbers, the agency has expanded in a number of ways.  Prevail celebrated an expansion of space in 2018.  Several new positions have been added to the team, and funding to support those positions has been secured.  This has allowed the agency to continue to provide top quality advocacy services to those who seek them.

Early in 2019, the Prevail Board of Directors reviewed and updated the mission statement of the agency.  The new mission statement, which succinctly and accurately describes our mission, is: “Prevail strives to empower victims of crime and abuse on their path to healing, while engaging the community to support safe, healthy relationships.”

The growth, along with laser focus on the mission of intervention along with prevention, has recently prompted the agency to enhance its staffing infrastructure.  While not adding new positions within the organization, new leadership responsibilities have been distributed among existing staff.  Prevail is proud to announce that Brittany Winebar, formerly the Youth Advocacy Supervisor, is the agency’s new Director of Mission Achievement and will be responsible for staff supervision and program development for all services that help the agency to achieve the new mission.  This will include ensuring the current quality of work along with analysis and planning for future operational needs and program development to meet those needs.  Brittany joins existing Executive Director, Susan Ferguson and Director of Operations, Michelle Moen to round out Prevail’s Leadership Team. 

Both the Youth and Adult Advocacy teams have new supervisory leadership.  Stephanie Holmes-Gullans is now the Supervisor of the Adult Team and Kelly Ferriell is the Supervisor of the Youth Team.  In addition, team leadership will be enhanced with the help of two new Lead Advocates.  The Lead Advocates will have all the responsibilities of an advocate, along with some responsibility for training and providing supervisory consultation.  The new Lead Advocates that have been promoted into these positions are Chelsea Martin, the new Youth Lead Advocate; and Paula Connor, the new Adult Lead Advocate. 

With these new leadership positions, Prevail is able to focus on program development, provide additional advancement opportunities, and strategically work on developing and implementing new opportunities. 

The Trauma of the Holidays

By Christina Parker-Benton - Former Prevail Client

By Christina Parker-Benton - Former Prevail ClientAs the end of the year draws near, the Holiday season can be a tough time for domestic violence victims and survivors alike. We feel suffocated by the masks we wear or tormented by flashbacks of holidays past. Victims cover up their sadness, fear, and pain behind masks with painted on smiles sometimes even applying make-up to conceal black eyes, bruises and scars. Survivors are haunted by seasonal songs, recipes, images or places that cause them to recall one of the many times they thought they were about to lose their life.

I remember one morning in November as a freshman in college, my abusive boyfriend pounding on my apartment door. I had just broken up with him the day before for punching & pushing me down to the ground repeatedly on the campus quad. That hadn’t been the first time he had been violent with me but at that point when no one stepped into help me, I felt I had to help myself. However, the sound of him aggressively knocking on my door rattled in my head as I awoke in a foggy state. I could barely remember the night before but the pain between my legs radiated as I glanced at my naked body. Dazed and confused, I pushed a long muscular arm off my body, grabbing a robe I proceeded to stagger to my front door. There my baby-faced athletic built ex smiled at me holding a frozen turkey in his hand. He charismatically began to apologize for beating me offering the turkey to help me earn extra credit in a class through the holiday donation. Sick to my stomach both by his half-hearted apology and whatever I had ingested the night before, nearly falling over I leaned onto him.

The same long muscular arm emerged from my room. My ex grew aggressive. An angry evil I had seen far too often. The arm belonged to a young man who was an acquaintance. He lived across the hall and we had many classes together. The guys exchanged words and it took all the energy I barely had to keep them from fighting. Somehow I ended up riding with my ex back to his parent's house across town as he cussed me out for cheating on him. During the ride I began to recall the night before. I had been given a drink by the acquaintance and then raped.

I have countless stories where the holidays are backdrops to the abuse I had endured over my life. I’m sure others can relate to the painful memories or dangerous present they are facing this holiday season. This time of year seems to bring a heightened intensity in the rage of an abuser. Maybe it's the fear of them being found out by family and friends because it's harder to keep the victim isolated during a time of year that encourages getting together with others? Maybe it's unrealistic expectations of the holidays they place on the victims to prepare the perfect meal, hang the perfect decorations, or give the perfect gifts?

Whatever the reason is, it is never an excuse for someone to abuse you. So to all the victims it's okay to take off the mask, reach out and get the help you need. Gift that to yourself this year! To all the survivors out there remember you’re free, make some new memories that you can look back on and smile. And to all the family & friends of victims learn to recognize the signs so you can lovingly offer the support they need. Remember, survivors WE are strong! There is no level of anxiety or PTSD that will ever disqualify us from the love, joy and freedom we deserve.

 Just keep growing & living your best life. Hear us! Believe us! Support us!

Christina Parker-Benton
Founder of Romans 8:28 Counseling

September 2019 Blog Post

Go Purple In October

Chelsea Martin - Youth AdvocateOctober is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. So why should you care? Particularly if you have never experienced first hand the loss of power and feelings of helplessness or worthlessness, or the fear that saying or doing the wrong thing might ultimately lead to your harm or death by the person you love. It can be easy to close yourself off into a world where physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, to name a few, only occur during the 60 minutes of Law & Order SVU on a Thursday evening. We can watch these shows and think about how horrible those crimes are and be grateful that we haven’t had those experiences in our own lives, while also being entertained.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that can include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse, or financial abuse (using money and financial tools to exert control). The NNED also notes “some abusers are able to exert complete control over a victim’s every action without ever using violence or only using subtle threats of violence. All types of abuse are devastating to victims.”

The truth is, whether you know it or want to believe it, we are all touched by domestic violence every day. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence and The National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 1 in 3 women and more than 1 in 4 men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Nationwide, an average of 3 women are killed by a current or former intimate partner every day. And intimate partner violence affects more than 12 million people each year.

Based upon the above statistics, you love someone, work with someone, or somehow interact with someone daily who has directly been in an abusive relationship with an intimate partner. The effects of domestic violence do have an impact on you and those around you.

Domestic violence doesn’t care how much money you have or where you live. It doesn’t care where you work, who you’re friends with, or who you love. It doesn’t care what your beliefs or values are. Contrary to a common belief, this is not simply a ‘women’s issue’, it’s a people issue. It’s an ‘us’ issue, and it’s going to take all of us to put an end to the violence that is so unfortunately excused and so often well hidden.

It’s going to take all of us to end the complacency that we so easily fall into if we feel we are not being directly affected. It’s going to take all of us to stand up against the rape jokes, the idea that some people hold less value than others, the silence that has seemed to be more appreciated than it has been appalling. It’s going to take all of us to change this culture that very literally and sometimes inadvertently protects the abuser and shames the abused; to change a culture that has long believed and accepted the inaccurate idea that abuse doesn’t really happen that often, or that it only happens in certain parts of town and to certain people who have somehow done something to bring the abuse on themselves.

National Domestic Violence Awareness month is represented with the color purple, and at Prevail, we will be going purple all month. During the month of October, domestic violence gets a spotlight in effort to help raise awareness about the violence that is impacting so many on a daily basis, but is so often overlooked or maybe not taken seriously. Help us raise awareness and end the silence around domestic violence. Whether it’s one day in October or every day in October, wear purple to signify your support of those who have experienced intimate partner violence and those who are still in the midst of it. Wear purple in support of the changes that are so desperately needed in our culture.

Let’s all together take a stand and be a united voice for change. Let’s be a voice for those who may not have one right now. We can put a stop to domestic violence. It’s going to take every single one of us.

No form of abuse is ever ok. If you need help, please reach out to us at 317-773-6942 or you can call our 24hr crisis line at 317-776-3472.

August 2019 Blog Post - Victim Blaming

Too many times a victim of crime or abuse is blamed for the abuse they have endured. The blame often comes from everywhere – family members, close friends, law enforcement, social media…the list goes on and on. In cases of domestic violence, victims are often asked, “Why don’t you just leave?” or “What did you do to make him/her that mad?”

The most common questions victims of sexual assault/abuse hear are:  “What were you wearing?” “Were you drinking?”  “Did you flirt with him/her and give them the wrong impression?” “Why didn’t you scream/kick/fight/run away?” “Why didn’t you report this sooner?” 

Victim blaming often happens due to the victim blaming phenomenon. The victim blaming phenomenon occurs when an individual identifies something that the victim could have possibly done to make the abuse/assault happen. Identifying something that someone did to “make” an event/situation happen often gives the person a false sense of security. It can look like this in domestic violence cases: “Well, if that were ME in that situation, I would NEVER let someone hit/abuse me. I would call the police, I would leave that relationship. Since he/she (victim) isn’t leaving or reporting the abuse, they either like it or it’s not true”. Or, in sexual assault cases, it might sound like this: “Well, I would never be at the bar drinking that late at night wearing clothes like that”, or “If I was being sexually abused, I would tell someone right away to make it stop”. Placing blame on the victim essentially allows the person to think or feel that if they made different choices that they are safe from being abused or assaulted.

Unfortunately, the victim blaming phenomenon does not actually provide total and absolute safety from becoming a victim of crime/abuse. The statistics for both domestic violence and sexual assault are staggering and are occurring in epidemic proportions here in the United States. Domestic violence knows no bounds and impacts 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime. Anyone, at any time, can find themselves in an abusive relationship with their partner, spouse, or family member because the abuser is the only one that can decide not to be abusive. Every 92 seconds an American (man, woman, or child) experiences sexual assault (RAINN, 2019).  Most victims know their perpetrator and many victims say that they trusted the person that assaulted/abused them. Domestic violence and sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of their gender, race, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or religion.

A victim never chooses to be hurt, assaulted, or abused. However, the perpetrator of the violence, assault, or abuse chooses to hurt others by their actions. The conversation surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault needs to change; the questions often asked are the wrong questions. We need to be asking why the abuser/offender is choosing to hurt others. We need to be asking why the abuser/offender isn’t being held accountable or what can be done to hold them more accountable. We, as individuals, communities, and society need to focus on the actions of the perpetrator instead of the victim. It is never a victim’s fault. If you have ever experienced crime/abuse, please know that at Prevail we believe you, we support you, and it is not your fault.

- By Jessica Reynolds

Why Did Prevail Turn Their Logo Rainbow?

Each year, June serves as Pride month in  honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots which were a turning point in the fight for LGBTQ rights in America. Since then, June represents a time to recognize the impact LGBTQ individuals have had on the world.   Prevail recognizes Pride month because crime and abuse have  no bounds and impact all people regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religion, income, geographic location, education, gender identity, or sexual orientation. As an advocate, my job is to provide support to anyone who has experienced crime or abuse. My goal is to understand each individual’s life journey, help to identify needs and goals, to provide education about relevant topics, and support and affirm each person who enters my office. This is empowerment and is a core philosophy of victim advocacy.

Most importantly, I recognize that the LGBTQ community is impacted by crime and abuse  at a disproportionate rate than that of individuals who do not identify as LGBTQ. For instance, nearly 44% of lesbian women and over 61% of bisexual women have experienced physical or sexual assault and/or stalking by an intimate partner. This is compared to 35% of heterosexual women reporting the same types of violence. 37% of bisexual men report experiencing these crimes, comparted to 29% of heterosexual men.  There are also types of crime that are only experienced within the LGBTQ community, including outing; exposing to others that an individual is LGBTQ.

At Prevail, we provide compassionate support to all children, adolescents, and adults who have experienced crime or abuse. We know that crime knows no limits so our services don’t either. We welcome all.

June 2019 Blog Post

Beth Dunlop - Prevail Admin AssistantIn January, Prevail’s Executive Director flagged an article in the Indianapolis Business Journal titled Let’s become better-quality volunteers, which highlighted the difference between short-term (or one-time) and long-term volunteers.  The author pointed out that long-term volunteers—those that show up regularly and stick around for years-- end up having a far more meaningful experience than those that come in once to stuff envelopes or paint an office.  I know that that is true here.  Don’t get me wrong, we really appreciated the  people who showed  up to help move furniture after our office expansion and we could not have done it without them, but I cannot  help but feel that they are missing out on a deeper, more moving experience.  They were filled with the good feelings one gets from giving, imagine getting that feeling on a regular and on-going basis.  Imagine becoming an integral part of the Prevail team on your own terms.  Imagine making a difference not just by checking off the duties in your job description, but by deepening and expanding, or even redefining your job.

We have several long-termers, and I believe that they have fallen in love with us.  Fallen in love with our clients and staff and mission, but more importantly, fallen in love with the way volunteering here for years and years on a regular basis makes them feel. They have become team members and they feel that.  They know how important they are to us, and not just because of the Community Appreciation Breakfast, but because they understand that they are uniquely important to our work.  They fill roles that they have molded into their own specialty.  They play their part with the confidence of a professional.  It is my goal as Prevail’s Volunteer Coordinator to nurture that experience for every person that comes here to donate their precious time to us.  I want our volunteers to find meaning here.  I want them to become educated.  I want them to fall in love. 

Honoring Det. Brett Bays During National Police Week!

Prevail, Inc. would like to recognize Det. Brett Bays.Prevail, Inc. would like to recognize Det. Brett Bays. For over a year, Det. Bays diligently, intentionally, and collaboratively worked a case that led to adjudication of over 15 years of jail time. The survivor had a complicated relationship with the offender and it was hard for them to fully resolve this conflict between the friendship they had with the offender and the abuse that occurred. From the beginning, Det. Bays was always available for the family and communicated thoroughly throughout the whole process. He showed up for the hearings and always spent time talking with the family. Furthermore, he was openly communicative and worked with the prosecutor and advocate that was supporting the family. In preparation for trial, Det. Bays traveled, out of county, with Jessica Paxson, the prosecutor, and Brittany Winebar, the advocate, to meet with the family. He reinforced that he was there for the survivor. He did not have to make that time commitment, but he wanted to the survivor to know that they had all of us there for them. In talking with the family, they felt like he kept them fully informed, was always available to taketheir calls, never giving them the brush off, and really cared about what had happened. As an advocate, I find that it is crucial to the survivor’s healing that the officer really fought for them, no matter the outcome. The success of this case was due in large part to Det. Bays’ investigative skills, follow-through, and communication. Our community is better off because of who he is, what he did, and how he did it.

Prevail Designated as a Rape Crisis Center

Did you know that Prevail is designated as a Rape Crisis Center by the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault? 

Many people in Hamilton County know about Prevail and know that we strive to empower victims of crime and abuse on their path to healing, while engaging the community to support safe, healthy relationships.  Many people may also know that those we serve are most often victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault; although, we do serve other victims of crime, as well.  However, when we tell our story, we have not always done a good job explaining our status as a Rape Crisis Center (RCC).  The Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault (ICESA) has standards that have to be met to earn this designation.  In fact, Prevail is one of 12 RCCs in Indiana.  This number has grown over the past few years as ICESA has advocated for required funding and has encouraged service providers to meet the standards required for the designation.  Being an RCC means that Prevail provides comprehensive services to meet the needs of sexual assault survivors.  This includes a 24-hour crisis hotline, 24-hour on-site hospital response, criminal justice advocacy, community awareness and outreach, information and referrals, systems coordination and collaboration, support groups, and referral relationships for other needs including counseling or therapy.  This comprehensive set of services is intended to provide hope and healing for the survivor from the moment of the assault through the healing process.  It is important to point out that many survivors do not disclose their assault right away, so these services are available throughout the survivor’s lifespan.  All of Prevail’s services are free of charge.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  This month is an important time for all of us to recognize that our neighbors and friends have been affected by sexual assault.  Did you know that as many as 1 in 5 women in the United States have experienced rape or attempted rape in their lifetime?  (NSVRC)  Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a campaign to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it. The 2019 campaign theme, I Ask, champions the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday interactions.  To honor survivors during this month, Prevail is hosting the Clothesline Project.  You may see in local businesses, libraries, schools, and government buildings some t-shirts with messages from people who have come to Prevail for help after they experienced crime or abuse.  These t-shirts become their canvas to share their message with the community. 

Prevail, Inc. is committed to offering crisis intervention and restorative support services for adult, adolescent and child survivors of crime and abuse, free of charge, in a confidential, supportive, non-judgmental environment that is meant to empower, educate, and strengthen those we serve.  By offering these life-saving services, we help people move forward – to give hope for a life free of violence and fear – to provide care and understanding in crisis – to help make an easier path in facing life’s challenges. Prevail seeks to make positive change happen – in individuals and families, in our communities, and in our social systems.

For more information regarding Prevail, our services, or The Clothesline Project, visit www.prevailinc.org.  Or, contact us for a tour by reaching out to Natasha at 317-773-6942 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

How Do We Prevent Violence? By Helping Each Other Thrive!

Asset 19:  Religious Community 

Meeting the needs of the spirit

 Young people involved in a faith community benefit in at least three ways:

  1. They are more likely to have positive values;
  2. They have strong bonds with people of different ages and interests; and
  3. They spend less time experimenting with risky behaviors than those not involved in such a community. Faith Community is Asset 19 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the Facts

 Research shows that young people who spend at least one hour a week involved in activities within a faith-based organization are more likely to: provide service to others, enjoy youth programs, follow and provide positive peer influence, and exercise restraint when it comes to risky behaviors. About 58 percent of young people, ages 11–18, spend one or more hours a week in activities in a religious institution, according to Search Institute surveys. Providing a place for spiritual growth and exploration could help reduce violence, alcohol and other drug use, and sexual activity among young people.

Tips for Building this Asset 

 Faith-based organizations strongly emphasize their ideas of positive values. It’s important for parents to choose carefully. When you find a faith community that supports your family’s values, your kids are more likely to internalize these values and make responsible decisions. Visit various faith-based organizations, and include your children in decisions about how and where to be involved. If you’re already part of a faith community, welcome new parents and young people into your organization.

Also You May Want To Try This:

In your home and family: Include faith and spirituality into your family’s daily life. Choose ways that best fit with your values, traditions, and culture. 

In your neighborhood and community: Become an active member of a faith community and help promote the well-being of young people in your community. 

In your school or youth program: Avoid scheduling events that conflict with families’ spiritual or cultural commitments. Use a community calendar of events to help with your planning.

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them?  Visit www.search-institute.org/assets, www.parentfurther.com, or contact Prevail’s Primary Prevention Specialist at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (317) 773-6942.

April 2019 Blog Post

I am Brandon Bennett, Director of Parks and Recreation Department for the City of Noblesville.  I have been involved with Prevail for the last 19 years through the City County Bowl a thon, which I started in 1999.  I initially started the event as a way to get city and county employees together in a fun environment outside of work and create a friendly competitive competition between the two units of government.  I decided to tie a charity to this event when we realized we had the potential to make some money in addition to our relationship building between the city and the county.  I chose Prevail out of respect for my soon to be father-in-law, the Honorable Steven R. Nation.  He helped to create Prevail when he was prosecutor as he saw a service that was needed for victims of domestic abuse and violence. 

I reached out to Prevail to gauge their interest and they jumped right in and helped plan and implement the event as the benefactor of the proceeds.  The first year, as we were learning the ropes of putting on a fundraiser like this, we had a successful year and were excited to move forward.  At this point I was really starting to understand just how important Prevail was to the community and, just how much their services were, unfortunately, needed.  As the years progressed we have tried to look at many different ways to keep the event fun, competitive, successful and, most importantly, relevant. 

We have worked with many different people at Prevail over the years with this event and all of them are passionate about the mission of Prevail.  With their passion and my understanding of what they truly did, my passion grew for them as well.  I desperately wanted to find ways to drive more and more money over the years to truly support them as much as possible.  We have always tried to make sure the experience has been a good one for the bowlers as well as they are the ones out raising the money.  We wanted to find ways to connect them with Prevail’s mission so they could truly understand what they were out raising money for. 

We continue to try to connect with them every year and try to figure out how to push them to raise more money for this amazing cause.  In the last few years my wife has become a board member at Prevail and serves to their mission.  It has become a family passion for us and is one of the main charities we support personally and professionally. Over the 19 years of this fundraiser we have raised over $475,000.00!  Wow, who would have thought our little bowling event could have this impact on a cause in our community, certainly not me! 

Next year is our 20th anniversary in 2020 and we hope to hit the $500,000.00 mark to celebrate our anniversary.  I know we all have our causes that we believe in and support, but I would encourage you to consider making Prevail one of your causes.  They won’t stop working until their services are no longer needed.

March Blog Post

The Prevail, Inc. Teen Financial Literacy Fair is a fun and interactive way improve your financial literacy with professionals in the community. In the book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, the author wrote, “[m]ost people fail to realize that in life, it’s not how much money you make. It’s how much money you keep . . . Money without financial knowledge is money soon gone.” Financial literacy is the set of skills and knowledge that someone may possess that allow them to make informed financial decisions. Unfortunately, financial literacy is simply not being taught in our schools nor in our homes; a recent government study, by FINRA, found that 66% of Americans couldn’t pass a basic financial literacy test. As a result, it is incumbent upon our communities to take the reins and teach financial literacy to its members.

Could you use a little more money in your pocket? Today, we are exposed to overwhelming amounts of information. That doesn’t, however, mean that we are exposed to accurate or useful information. Proper basic financial literacy is not only easy and interesting but can only result in having more money in your pocket. For example, being able to distinguish between a good and poor interest rate or avoiding unnecessary fees in a lease will only result in increasing the amount of money in your pocket.

Improving my own financial literacy turned my life around. At 18, I joined the Marine Corps and could not pass a basic financial literacy test - my bank account continued to remind me. I took loans and bought vehicles at high interest rates; I paid unnecessary fees for apartments; and I never saved a single penny. I continued to struggle with my own financial literacy until I was 27. Then, I began working to improve my financial literacy and slowly but surely saw an increase in my own financial well-being and understanding. Now, along with Prevail Inc.’s 100 Men Campaign, I want to help others improve their financial literacy . . . with free food and prizes!

Financial literacy is just one example of an issue Prevail encourages men participating the in Campaign to address. The 100 Men Campaign empowers and supports men in the community to make a positive impact by serving as a role model for others. The 100 Men Campaign also encourages men to step up and help reduce domestic and sexual violence in their community. Remember, we all control and shape the health, safety, and well-being of our community. 

February 2019 Blog Post 4

How many times have you asked a teen how their day was and they give you a one-word response? “Fine” is something I hear often as a youth advocate. The frustrating thing is that “fine” is not at all helpful. It lacks any information and halts conversation dead in its tracks; a tactic teens know all too well. Many times parents express frustration that their teen doesn’t tell them anything and they don’t know what is going on in their life.

The issue often is not that the teen does not want to share about their day, but they are not approached in a way that allows them to feel safe and comfortable to do this. Most importantly, asking open-ended questions allows conversation to flow more smoothly. “Tell me about your day.” or “What was the highlight and low point of your day?” can solicit more clear feedback. When asking about their feelings, it is important to allow time for teens to think and process what you are asking before expecting an answer. Sometimes youth don’t have words to communicate their emotions because, let’s be honest, emotions are complicated.

Ensuring that we remain open and non-judgmental is vital to healthy communication with our teens. If they sense that we don’t want to hear what they are telling us or will think differently about them, they will be less likely to reach out to us in the future. Most often, teens need validation or reassurance that what they are feeling is normal and completely natural. “It sounds like this is really tough for you.” can serve as a great way to show you are listening and care. It is when we as adults jump into problem-solving mode that we are met with roadblocks. Only after someone feels heard and understood can addressing issues occur. When teens feel that someone ‘gets’ them, we are reinforcing that they matter and deserve to be listened to.

Most importantly, we have to check in with ourselves before engaging in conversation with youth because feelings are contagious. If you or your teen is overwhelmed, stressed, uncomfortable, or distracted, everyone will feel dysregulated. It is impossible for us to listen with our full heart if we are dysregulated or emotionally unsettled. Try modeling coping skills and identifying your emotions in everyday life.  It can be as simple as saying “Wow, I am feeling overwhelmed right now. I am going to take a walk.” In this example we are showing that it is important to identify how we are feeling and then do something about it.

Teens who can recognize, communicate, and manage emotions are teens who can reflect on interactions they have with others and determine if it is healthy or unsafe. Parents who are present as open and welcoming connections can serve as supports when teens need guidance or help. With this, teens are better able to navigate interactions with others and discontinue relationships that are unhealthy or do not meet their needs.

Thank you for joining Prevail in recognition of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). Our  Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month toolkit  will remain available on Prevail’s website at https://prevailinc.com/index.php/prevail-special-events/awareness-month-activities/teen-dating-violence-awareness-month. Each day, we have the opportunity to encourage and empower teens to create healthy connections with others. Please consider how you can support Prevail’s mission of eliminating violence from our community by promoting healthy relationships.

February 2019 Blog Post 3

In my work as a youth advocate, I often hear parents tell me  “I wish my teen would just put their foot down and say ‘no’.”  Honestly, saying “no” is one of the most challenging responses to give to another person. Saying “no” requires boundaries, which are clear guidelines about what actions we feel ok and not ok with in a relationship. In most teen relationships, boundaries are either missing or are nonexistent. Boundaries help us build trust in a relationship. If a dating partner understands and upholds our boundaries, it shows that they respect us. If they don’t care about or disregard boundaries we have put in place, this is an indication that this relationship is unhealthy. We can have boundaries regarding our bodies, our thoughts and emotions, our personal belongings and property, our sexual interactions, our time and space, our religious or spiritual beliefs or disbeliefs and how we want people to interact with us. 

In order to support a child as they develop their own boundaries, it is important to teach about consent. Consent is freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and specific agreement to participate in an interaction with another person. Development of boundaries starts when children are very young and are able to begin making their own choices. We can teach consent to young children by giving them options about how they want to greet family members and friends. Instead of telling our children to give someone a hug or kiss, we can provide options. For example, “Would you like to give grandma a hug, high five, or handshake?” or “Can I give you a kiss on the cheek?”  are effective ways to help children outline their options and support the choice that makes them feel the most comfortable. Building this foundation is vital to the development of autonomy.

Autonomy refers to a sense of self that includes personal responsibility. Autonomy is what allows children the ability to set and maintain boundaries with others, make choices that align with their individual values and beliefs, and prioritize personal safety. We can build autonomy by including teens in conversations about their bodies and health, gaining their feedback about goals and needs, and addressing concerns in an honest yet compassionate way. Healthy relationships require boundaries, consent, and autonomy. By providing opportunities for children to practice making choices and supporting their decisions, we are allowing them to develop the skills needed to build safe connections with others.

I ask you to join Prevail in recognition of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). This February, look for our TDVAM toolkit (available on Prevail’s website at https://prevailinc.com/index.php/prevail-special-events/awareness-month-activities/teen-dating-violence-awareness-month), social media posts, and follow-ups to this article. Each of us has the opportunity to encourage and empower teens to create healthy connections with others. Please consider how you can support Prevail’s mission of eliminating violence from our community by promoting healthy relationships. Look for part 3 of this series next week with information about modeling healthy relationships and tips to make conversations with teens the most effective.

How Do We Prevent Violence? By Helping Each Other Thrive!

Asset 18:  Youth Programs 

After-School Activities: They May Be Extra But They’re Also Essential!

It’s appropriate that the word extracurricular starts with the letter “E.” But the word should really be essential-curricular. In fact, they’re so important many schools are now calling them co-curricular activities. For many young people, youth programs at school and in the community are the highlight of their day. They meet new people who share their interests or introduce them to new pursuits. They spend time with adults who also enjoy the activity. And they boost their skills. Youth Programs is Asset 18 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the Facts

Research shows that young people who regularly spend time in sports, clubs, or other youth programs have higher self-esteem and better leadership skills, and are less likely to feel lonely. About 57 percent of young people, ages 11–18, spend three or more hours a week in youth programs, according to Search Institute. Young people involved in interesting activities helps bring out their best.

Tips for Building this Asset 

Encourage young people to join a school or community activity that matches their interests, or try one they have never considered before. People can learn a lot about themselves by taking a chance on something new. Clubs and programs can also help young people make new friends of all ages, give them leadership opportunities, and make life more fun. Many groups also let them choose how much time and energy to commit.

Also You May Want To Try This: 

In your home and family: With a child, make a list of activities he or she wants to learn about. Rank the ideas according to her or his level of interest. Together, research ways to try out the top two choices.

In your neighborhood and community: Check with the Chamber of Commerce on what types of programming already exists for youth.   How can you help those endeavors?   Volunteer to help youth programs out!   Donate money to an entity that provides evidence-based programming for youth.

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them?  Visit www.search-institute.org/assets, www.parentfurther.com, or contact Prevail’s Primary Prevention Specialist at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (317) 773-6942. 

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

February 2019 Blog Post 2

In this age of technology and instant news, it seems that reports of sexual assault or domestic violence offences committed by celebrities are a daily occurrence. The reality is that violence occurs across our nation every single day. Violence knows no limits. While it might be a knee-jerk response to ignore or avoid these “taboo” topics, they offer a vital teachable moment for the teens we interact with. Instead of thinking “that has nothing to do with me” or “it was probably an over exaggeration”, these situations can be used start discussion and facilitate learning.

Many of the images of relationships that teens are surrounded with, whether it is television and movies or books and music, romanticize characteristics of relationships that are unsafe or abusive. In my work as an adolescent advocate, I often use these images and representations in my conversations. Referring to these fictional characters can provide a reference point that is not personal or intimidating. In the Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) toolkit, there are many discussion starters and activity ideas that provide an interactive way to challenge unsafe relationship messages and representations and open up an opportunity for conversations about healthy and safe connections with others.

So next time you are sitting down watching an episode of a TV show or a movie together, pause it partially through and talk about what is happening. What actions have the characters taken that are healthy and safe? What behaviors are warning signs that things are not so great? What things are unsafe or unhealthy? Are characters respectful of boundaries? Are there ever conversations about consent? What messages are being shared about relationships that are totally wrong or inappropriate?

I ask you to join Prevail in recognition of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). This February, look for our TDVAM toolkit (available on Prevail’s website at https://prevailinc.com/index.php/prevail-special-events/awareness-month-activities/teen-dating-violence-awareness-month), social media posts, and follow-ups to this article. Each of us has the opportunity to encourage and empower teens to create healthy connections with others. Please consider how you can support Prevail’s mission of eliminating violence from our community by promoting healthy relationships. Look for part 3 of this series next week for information about helping teens understand consent.

February 2019 Blog

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1.5 million teens experience physical violence at the hands of a dating partner each year. This does not include millions of others who are experiencing verbal/emotional, sexual, financial, spiritual, or technological abuse in a relationship. Central Indiana is no exception. Abuse knows no limits and does not care your race, religion, income, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, level of education, or where you live. While we like to think that our teens are surrounded by safety and are unaware of potential harm, the reality is that they are saddled with pressure and expectations to fit into the mold of what they think others want them to be. Our teens believe that having a dating partner set guidelines of what they can wear means that they care; that rules about who they can be friends with means that they are looking out for their partner; that being hit by their partner means they made a mistake and need to do better next time. We are living in the time of social media where #relationshipgoals encourages teens to ignore the downsides of a current relationship and focus on their image and what other people can see. Teens see representations of relationships in the shows and movies they watch, the music they hear, and the books and magazines they read. Often, these depictions are not of healthy interactions between dating partners.

Knowing this, it is our responsibility as adults to promote a culture where we encourage conversation about relationships, provide support without judgement to teens who are struggling, and challenge our own misconceptions and messages we share to ensure we are modeling safe, stable, and nurturing relationships ourselves. Throughout February, Prevail will have daily social media posts and we encourage everyone to pick a day to wear orange, take a picture, and post it online using the hashtag #GoOrangePrevail.

I ask you to join Prevail in recognition of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). This February, look for our TDVAM toolkit (available on Prevail’s website at https://prevailinc.com/index.php/prevail-special-events/awareness-month-activities/teen-dating-violence-awareness-month), social media posts, and follow-ups to this article. Each of us has the opportunity to encourage and empower teens to create healthy connections with others. Please consider how you can support Prevail’s mission of eliminating violence from our community by promoting healthy relationships. Look for part 2 of this series next week for information about opening up conversations with the teens you interact with using teachable moments.

How Do We Prevent Violence? By Helping Each Other Thrive!

Asset 17:  Creative Activities 

The Arts for Fun and Learning

Whether it’s Mozart or the Rolling Stones, Picasso or graffiti, most people like some type of music or art. Being creative—singing, playing the piano, drawing, or acting—can be fun, and helps young people improve basic and advanced thinking skills. Performing and creating works of art helps young people develop cognition (intellectual comprehension), cultural understanding, communication, and creativity. Learning that’s fun and worthwhile—what could be better? Creative Activities is Asset 17 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the Facts

Research shows that young people who spend three hours or more a week in music, theater, or other arts are more likely to grow up healthy. Only 21 percent of young people, ages 11–18, do so, according to Search Institute surveys. It’s important to help young people find creative outlets that are fun, teach them about themselves, and provide a way to relieve the stresses of everyday life.

Tips for Building this Asset 

Everyone is an artist in some way. Think of how you may create a new way to surprise someone on her or his birthday, hum along to the radio, dance when you’re in a good mood. These small bursts of artistic expression are important ways people communicate individuality. By bringing more art and music into young people’s lives, caring adults can help to develop another side of their personalities, talents, and skills.

Also You May Want To Try This: 

  • In your home and family: Play magnet art. Here’s how: Visit an art museum as a family. Have each person walk toward the first painting that catches her or his eye (drawing you to it like a magnet). Let each family member explain what he or she likes about the painting he or she chose.
  • In your neighborhood and community: Encourage the creative energies of everyone in the community by supporting your local community theater.
  • In your school or youth program: Integrate music into your regular curriculum or program. Start the day with a bit of classical music, followed at lunch by rock and roll or jazz, and end the day with opera. Discuss everyone’s preferences and invite students and participants to help select songs for the next day..

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them?  Visit www.search-institute.org/assets, www.parentfurther.com, or contact Prevail’s Primary Prevention Specialist at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (317) 773-6942.

From the Desk of Odle:

Happy December! It is the season of the 25 days of Odle! I have loved telling people about how they can support Prevail and thanking all the people who help make our mission possible. Check out our Facebook page to see all my adventures. I hope you will consider how you can help support our mission this Holiday Season. Our biggest need is gift cards for food and transportation for clients.

From July 2017 – June 2018, we served 910 youth, an increase of 23% from 2016-2017. Personally, I attended 1,065 individual appointments and 73 groups. Some of the highlights of my year included: starting a new group at Hamilton Southeastern High School and Fishers High School for adolescent survivors of sexual assault; having two new employees join our youth team, Jennifer Atkisson and Stephanie Pomerenke, and the building expanding (I have so many new places to play in).

In 2019, I am looking forward to Prevail implementing a trauma-informed yoga group for children (ages 6-12). I am so enthusiastic about all the growth of clients I will witness and the support the community has for their healing.ave loved telling people about how they can support Prevail and thanking all the people who help make our mission possible. Check out our Facebook page to see all my adventures. I hope you will consider how you can help support our mission this Holiday Season. Our biggest need is gift cards for food and transportation for clients. 

December Blog Post ~ 'Tis the Season for Giving!

We get it, it’s the end of the year and your mailbox (both virtual and physical) is about to be loaded with heartfelt end of the year asks. Each organization is out there, doing some good for the world and it’s hard to support everyone. There’s no doubt each one put a lot of time into the mailer and each one is in need of your support.

First of all, if Prevail’s is one that you take the time to read, THANK YOU and if it is one you choose to support, THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES! A gift from YOU saves lives and moves all of us towards a more positive change in our community; but not all gifts are financial. It is a gift to be able to share our story with you.  The time you give to us while volunteering or touring and by using your voice to share our FREE resources with those neighbors who may need them is a priceless gift.  We appreciate everything our community does to help spread Prevail’s mission to the ears, eyes and hearts of others.

If you do choose to support Prevail financially, there are many convenient ways to do so. Monthly or reoccurring gifts are a huge help to Prevail and make giving simple for you! YOU have the control in the amount, frequency, and method that your gift is provided to our agency. Three of the most common ways to set up a reoccurring gift are through your company, through the United Way, and of course through Prevail directly.

Through your company:

Some companies offer an automatic payroll deduction and a few will also MATCH your contribution to your favorite not-for-profit. Your HR office should be able to tell you if they offer a way to give directly from your paycheck and if they match your gift.

Through United Way:

Another way to give, if your company does not offer a direct paycheck withholding is through the United Way. Simply complete the designation form and designate “Prevail, Inc.”.  This may be a separate form from the one used to make your pledge.  Ask your company’s United Way representative for information on how to designate your contribution to a particular charity.  Minimums may apply.

Directly through Prevail:

The last (and still very simple way) to give is directly to Prevail. We are able to set up monthly, annual, or any type of reoccurring/one time gift to the agency through your preferred credit card for any amount over $10.00 USD per month.  You may set up your gift own your own through our website (www.prevailinc.org) or by contacting our office directly at (317) 773-6942 or email Natasha Robinson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are happy to help in any way we can!

Thanks to all of you, 2018 has been an outstanding year for Prevail both in the amount of client’s we have served and the lives we have touched outside of the Prevail office. We are looking forward to 2019, and the possibility of reaching community members before they experience a crime or abuse. With your help, we will be able to do just that! Together we can build a safer and healthier community.

Warm wishes this holiday season to everyone in my community,

Natasha Robinson

Marketing & Event Coordinator

Prevail, Inc.

Why is Prevail Working with Incarcerated Women?

October 2018

Many people in the community may be interested to learn that Prevail offers group support to women at the Hamilton County Jail who have experienced violence. As part of our mission, we are working to end ALL acts of violence and we are going where we are needed in order to accomplish our agency’s goal of a healthy and safe community. For incarcerated women the trauma rates are even higher compared to women not under correctional supervision. According to research, 90 percent of incarcerated women were victims of sexual or physical violence at some point during their lives. Three out of four women in prison experienced physical abuse by an intimate partner and over one in four women were raped before entering prison. Over 90 percent of women who were convicted of murdering an intimate partner were victims of abuse by an intimate partner.

 So what does this mean? For us, it means that prison facilities for women are filled to the brim with mothers, daughters, cousins, and friends dealing with untold trauma. Furthermore, since women tend to deal with trauma in very different ways than their male counterparts, and have much higher rates of sadness and depression, it is crucial for these women to receive trauma informed care. Prevail  utilizes our time at the jail by exploring PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)  and how to respond to triggers so that the women are able to better cope. It is important to understand that women who are incarcerated do not have the typical flight or fight stress response so a triggering event can result in aggressive or anti social behavior that results in some form of harsher treatment or behavior by guards or fellow inmates. By providing education about violence and abuse 101, we can help identify their triggers so they are able to apply healthy coping skills in their daily lives.

When dealing with trauma in general, studies show that over half of children and adolescents who have PTSD go on to experience substance abuse problems. What we have learned so for through the jail support group is that, almost 100% of these women struggle with substance abuse issues and are serving time due to drug related, non violent offenses. Therefore, Prevail feels that it is crucial to see addiction as a symptom with the root being chronic trauma that has been masked or dormant for years.  It is also important to inform the public that the effects of violence on women has devastating and rippling outcomes that is tearing apart families and creating bigger mental health issues for our communities.

Our main focus is to create a space for these women to have a voice and to build self esteem in order to create a better life for themselves and provide them with community resources, like Prevail, while doing so.

Kelsey Carrier
Adult Advocate

How Do We Prevent Violence? By Helping Each Other Thrive!

October 2018

Asset 15:  Positive Peer Influence

The Power To Be Positive!

Too often, people jam the words peer and pressure together and think of it as a bad thing. Truth is, that’s only part of the story. Sure, peers have power. But this pressure is only negative when young people feel they’re pushed to do something they know is too risky. Peers can also help young people become more independent by encouraging and supporting healthy choices. Peers can invite one another to join teams or clubs, help with homework, or simply listen. You can help young people choose the kind of peer power they want in their lives and what kind of friends they want to be. If young people and their peers are responsible, positive, and supportive, they are more likely to succeed. Positive Peer Influence is Asset 15 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the Facts

Research shows that young people whose closest friends behave responsibly do better in school, get into less trouble, and choose activities that give them the best chance of future success. It makes sense for young people to surround themselves with people who bring out their best qualities. In return, they can multiply the benefits by being friends who are also positive influences. About 63 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say their best friends model responsible behavior, according to Search Institute surveys.

Tips for Building this Asset

 Peer pressure can be especially strong in school. When you notice trouble brewing or young people who are about to make a poor choice—in school or elsewhere—remind them that they have the power to say no—even to a peer or a friend.

Also You May Want To Try This:

 In your home and family: Identify people, stories or images that exemplify the positive power of peers. Use these examples to help your child make a collage of inspiring quotes and images for a friend.

In your neighborhood and community: Talk with young people in your neighborhood about the qualities you admire in each of them. Encourage them to be a positive influence in the lives of their friends and peers.

In your school or youth program: Pair off students and participants. Have them take turns discussing a time when they positively influenced a friend or peer. After each story, talk about how it felt to use positive peer pressure..

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them?  Visit www.search-institute.org/assets, www.parentfurther.com, or contact Prevail’s Primary Prevention Specialist at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (317) 773-6942.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

Preventing Violence Begins with ALL of Us

September 2018 Blog Post

We, as many of you, were horrified to learn of the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School this past May.  Schools are central hubs of our community and should be safe havens for young people.  When that security is shaken, it can be terrifying for students, educators, and families.

As much as we were shocked by this shooting, at Prevail we see the effects of horrific acts of violence in our community every single day.  Everyday, our advocates help people who have experienced devastating events cope with their trauma.  Everyday, kids, teens, and adults fill our offices and share their own stories of violence, emotional abuse, stalking, and sexual assault.

Hamilton County is remarkably safe, especially when compared to many other places across the state and even the country.  We have incredible assets and strengths that offer opportunities and advantages many places lack.  Our schools are top-notch, our parks are pristine, our law enforcement agencies are responsive, and there’s always something fun to do.  While these resources contribute to a wonderful sense of security, we cannot ignore the gaps in our community.  We cannot turn a blind eye to our friends and neighbors who are struggling.

One of the greatest assets our community offers is the wide array of service agencies and community organizations dedicated to improving our individual and collective well-being.  However, many of these agencies, like Prevail, are often overwhelmed by the immediate needs of individuals and families in crisis.  Though these intervention services are critical, they do little to reduce the number of people walking through our doors every day.  In order to make our community safer, we need to be proactive rather than reactive—and we need your help to do that.

Preventing violence begins with all of us working together to create safer and loving environments.  That means building relationships, strengthening connections, and checking in on the people around you. It means encouraging each other, building others up, and breaking down the stigma that surrounds seeking help. 

It is easy to point fingers, hurl blame, and wait for someone else to do something about the conditions that contribute to violence in our community. But every single one of us has a responsibility to our friends, families, and neighbors to do our part in keeping Hamilton County safe.

When it comes to making our community even better, we are all in this together.

 

September Asset 14: Adult Role Models

How Do We Prevent Violence?  By Helping Each Other Thrive! 

Asset 14:  Adult Role Models 

Young Eyes Are Watching You!

Sometimes adults do things they aren’t proud of—swear, watch too much television, argue. Making mistakes is understandable, but remember young people look up to adults. They see you—especially if you’re a parent—as the type of person they want to become someday. They want heroes. That’s why it’s so important to be the best person you can be. Adult Role Models is Asset 14 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. 

Here are the Facts

Research shows that young people are more likely to exhibit positive, responsible behavior when they have parents and other adults in their lives who model positive, responsible behavior. Having good role models is one of the greatest desires of most young people. However, only 27 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say their parents and other adults model positive, responsible behavior, according to Search Institute surveys. Let’s all try a little harder to “practice what we preach.” 

Tips for Building this Asset

According to experts, what most young people need more than anything else in their lives is positive social interaction with adults. These interactions expose young people to real-life heroes. Be a role model for the young people around you, and help them find other responsible adults to be part of their lives as well. The more positive role models young people have, the better! 

Also You May Want To Try This:

In your home and family: Do your best to model appropriate behavior at all times. When you make mistakes, admit them. Apologize for missteps.

In your neighborhood and community group: Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with a young person. Begin by asking: How did you meet your best friend? What is your favorite family tradition?

In your school or youth program: As a group, list questions young people can ask their adult role models to learn more about choices they made. Then, have students or participants interview that person. Discuss their findings.

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them?  Visit www.search-institute.org/assets, www.parentfurther.com, or contact Prevail’s Primary Prevention Specialist at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (317) 773-6942. 

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

July Asset 12: School Boundaries

How Do We Prevent Violence?  By Helping Each Other Thrive! 

Asset 12: School Boundaries 

Make Sure Everyone Knows The Rules

All schools need rules. In fact, young people actually learn better when school boundaries—expectations for how they should act—are clear and consistent. Setting these standards isn’t always easy, however, and neither is enforcing them. Many schools struggle with how to discipline students appropriately and effectively. It’s a balancing act in which school administrators, parents, and students play important roles. Working together, families and educators can ensure young people reach their highest potential. School Boundaries is Asset 12 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. 

Here are the Facts

Research shows that young people who attend schools with clear rules and consequences are more likely to display positive behaviors and attitudes, rather than engage in risky behaviors. About 52 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say their schools provide clear rules and consequences, according to Search Institute surveys. Work to ensure schools help young people focus on positive, rather than negative, behavior. 

Tips for Building this Asset

It’s important for parents to stay involved in their children’s school. Teachers and administrators can help by creating and enforcing a conduct code.. Parents can reinforce the rules set by the school. Conflicts may still occur, and when they do, allow everyone—students, parents, teachers, and others in the community—to feel comfortable voicing their concerns and suggesting solutions to the problem. The more families, schools, and communities work together to establish consistent boundaries, the better off young people will be because they’ll know what to expect. 

Also You May Want To Try This:

In your home and family: Learn about school boundaries by visiting or volunteering at school. Ask yourself: Overall, how are students behaving? How do adults and students interact with one another? When conflicts occur, how are they resolved? How do the school boundaries match your home boundaries? When you’re with children, talk to them about why school rules are important.

In your school or youth program: Work with the young people in your school or program to create clear rules and norms about appropriate behavior. 

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them?  Visit www.search-institute.org/assets, www.parentfurther.com, or contact Prevail’s Primary Prevention Specialist at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (317) 773-6942. 

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

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