• Getting Help
  • Escape
  • Donate

Team Spotlight for June - Kelly Ferriell, Youth Advocacy Supervisor

1.) 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.

2.) 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.

3.) 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.

4.) What is your favorite quote?

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

5.) What would you sing at Karaoke night?

I LOVE Hanson, so any Hanson song would be my choice.

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

I believe it is possible to create a community that does not tolerate violence. My role at Prevail gives me the opportunity to work on this goal in many different ways and collaborate with many people.

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

Pepperoni Pizza. With lots of cheese, please!

8.) What is your proudest accomplishment?

I am proud of my growth at Prevail. I started as an intern when I was in college and then worked as an advocate part time while I completed the last semester of college. I started working full-time two days after I graduated college. I left Prevail for a few years to try some other jobs and always felt that a part of my heart was missing. So when I had the opportunity to come back to Prevail, I did!

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

I wish I could morph into a cat. I envy their naps in the sun and their ability to do what they want without feeling ashamed about it. And they are really flexible! 

10.) Favorite Prevail memory?

My favorite Prevail memory so far was the first day Odle brought me one of his toys. I had been training to be a handler for him, which is a challenging process to say the least. After several weeks of working with him and practicing the things I had learned, Odle brought me one of his Beanie Baby toys and dropped it on my feet so we could play. In that moment I realized he accepted me as part of his pack, and that is an amazing feeling. 

11.) Favorite self-care practice?

My favorite self-care routine is to put on my headphones, listen to music, and color. The more intricate and complicated the design, the more fun it is.

Clothesline Project 2021

Thank You to Our Community for Joining Our Clothesline Project 2021! 

What is Prevail's Clothesline Project? 

Prevail's Clothesline Project Art Installation is a display of shirts with graphic messages and illustrations created by survivors of violence or family members of victims who have been murdered. The purpose of the Clothesline Project is to increase awareness of the impact of violence and to give survivors an avenue for breaking the silence that often surrounds crimes like sexual assault and domestic violence. Starting in April, Prevail asked our community to join us in recognizing the voices of survivors of violence in Hamilton County by offering space to display the project for a week, a month, or even a few days. This project is adapted from the National Clothesline Project.


Special thank you to the Current for this amazing article! Click Here to Read!


We still have shirts out in the community and opportunities to host through May!  We'd like to recognize those business who have or are supporting the project this year! If you're in the area stop by and check them out!

  • Agape
  • The Bombshell Hair Company
  • Butler University Counseling Office
  • Cherish Center
  • Cicero Market
  • Family Counseling Associates
  • Family Promise of Hamilton County
  • Hamilton County Judicial Center
  • Hamilton County Sheriff's Office
  • HAND, Inc.
  • Hare Chevrolet
  • Hare Truck Center
  • Harbour Market
  • Great Growins
  • Riverview Health
  • The Shepherd's Center
  • St. Vincent Carmel
  • Trinity Free Clinic
  • Tom Wood Volkswagen of Noblesville
  • Westfield Washington Township Trustee
  • Westfield Student Impact


Team Spotlight for May - Michelle Moen, Director of Operations

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

15 years, Director of Operations

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


3.) Who is your hero?

Anyone who advocate for animals

4.) What is your favorite quote?

No quote – Serenity Prayer

5.) What would you sing at Karaoke night?

Give Peace a Chance

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

Knowing that my purpose for being at Prevail is to serve those who serve others

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


8.) What is your proudest accomplishment?

Passing the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) exam the first time

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

All. It is my belief that all animals have a soul and a purpose for their existance

10.) Favorite Prevail memory?

Linda Rodgers participating in Festivus

11.) Favorite self-care practice?


May 2021 Developmental Asset - Responsibility

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

May Asset 30: Responsibility


Give young people a chance to stand on their own two feet

Following rules is important, but is doing as you’re told enough? To become strong, upstanding, and successful adults, possessing a personal desire to be responsible is also significant. Accountability is more than following rules. It means you’re responsible for knowing why you follow the rules and when it may be beneficial to change the rules. Give young people the chance to do their best—sometimes without assistance. Responsibility is Asset 30 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 succeed if they accept and take personal responsibility for their actions. About 63 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say they accept and take personal responsibility for their actions, according to Search Institute surveys. Take time to model and teach young people how to take care of themselves, follow through with commitments, and learn from mistakes.


Tips for Building this Asset

There are four keys to instilling responsibility in young people, according to authors Don Dinkmeyer, Ph.D. and Gary McKay, Ph.D. In their book, Raising a Responsible Child, Dinkmeyer and McKay list the following keys to teaching responsibility: 1. Let the young person do it him or herself; 2. Expect it to take time; 3. Ask, don’t demand; and 4. Use natural and logical consequences.


Also You May Want to Try This:

* In your home and family: Create a chart of family chores, listing everyone’s responsibilities, even yours. 

* In your neighborhood and community: When you make a commitment to a neighborhood or community group, follow through. Don’t minimize the responsibility simply because you’re a volunteer. 

* In your school or youth program: When a young person won’t take responsibility for her or his actions, help him or her understand the consequences. For example, if a homework assignment isn’t completed on time, let the student experience the natural outcome of receiving a zero. If he or she asks for an opportunity to bring the grade up, great! If the student doesn’t seek that opportunity, avoid offering it. It will be a great lesson for the student to see how that zero affects his or her overall grade.


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, click here for Prevail's Developmental Assets information, 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.


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.


June 2021 Developmental Asset - Restraint

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

May Asset 31: Restraint


Let them know you're here for them--no matter what

Sex, alcohol, drugs . . . These are subjects many adults would just as soon not discuss with young people. But if parents and other caring adults don’t step up and talk to young people about these things, who will? Make it easy for young people to come to you and talk about the temptations in their lives. Avoid judging. Listen, and educate. Restraint is Asset 31 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 refrain from sexual activity and the use of alcohol and other drugs are more likely to grow up healthy. About 45 percent of young people, ages 11–18, believe it’s important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs, according to Search Institute surveys. These young people are less likely to chew tobacco or smoke cigarettes, fight, steal, or feel depressed. Further, drinking and driving or riding in a car with someone who’s been drinking are also less likely to happen when young people practice restraint.


Tips for Building this Asset

Communicating with young people about the risks of sex, use of alcohol or other drugs is important. Labeling them as bad is not necessarily helpful. Instead, explain the dangers: having sex can lead to pregnancy and disease; using alcohol or other drugs causes you to lose control over your functions, which can lead to serious, even fatal, accidents; substance use can also damage the developing teenage brain. Work with young people to focus on long-term outcomes—not just on the moment. Helping them to internalize and stand up for their personal values also makes it easier for them to practice restraint and withstand negative peer pressure. If they do get in trouble with these issues, though, make sure they know they can come to you for help.


Also You May Want to Try This:

* In your home and family: Look for opportunities to respond to messages in the media about sexuality and use of alcohol and other drugs. Discuss your reaction and ask for your child’s opinion.

* In your neighborhood and community: Keep everyone accountable! Make a pact with your neighbors not to allow alcohol at parties for young people—and to report to other parents if you hear of or see young people using alcohol or other drugs. 

* In your school or youth program: Form a weekly after-school group to promote drugfree and alcohol-free lifestyles, as well as positive decision-making.


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, click here for Prevail's Developmental Assets information, 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.


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.


Letter to a Parent by a Secondary Survivor

Dear reader,

If you are a parent and have found this post while desperately seeking help for your child, this is for you.  Regardless of if your child was abused once or endured years of abuse, regardless of if the nightmare occurred yesterday or was years ago, this is for you. 

I know your pain.  I, too, am that parent.  I know that sharp, stabbing, relentless, shocking pain that brings you to your knees.  I know too well the exact minute that changed your life forever, the minute you learned that your child, your precious, loved, sweet child, was a victim of sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse happens.  Unfortunately, everywhere.  Where it is least expected.  Through the darkness of night and in the bright light of day, sexual abuse is happening – in every neighborhood, in every town.  The harsh reality is, even in the closet of families, the best of homes, sexual abuse occurs. 

We considered ourselves the most protective of parents, never leaving our children alone with anyone but the most trusted friends and family. We continually instilled “stranger- danger” to our children, as soon as they were young enough to listen.  We did not know then, nor ever, ever, thought we would have to know, the ugly truth.  The truth that 90% of children who are victims of abuse know their abuser well. At least half of young children who are abused are done so by a family member.  I was suddenly faced with this horrible truth, and something I never thought I would so intimately know.

So now, you feel this ugly truth, too.  You too may feel as if it is drowning you, pulling you to dark depths from which you think you will never rise.  I know the questions that keep you up at night.  They kept me up, too. Nightmares of questions for which you have no answers.  How can I help my child? Will our family ever recover? How can I discuss such an ugly truth with my child? And the blinding, numbing, anger… why did this happen? To us?  How could this possibly have happened? How do I have a healing conversation with my child when I am hurting so badly? How do I discuss with my young child … one that doesn’t even know the word “sexual”- what has happened to them?

Will I forever feel the need to guard my child as a fragile flower, shielded, isolated, and unable to have trusting relationships with anyone, ever again?

You may think, as I did, that you cannot possibly handle this.  But I am writing to tell you, you are wrong.

Surviving sexual abuse is not a death sentence.  It does not need to be a lifetime of pain and worry, even if it may feel like that now.  You may begin to think, as I did, that life will never be the same.  That I can tell you, is true. Life will never be the same as it was before the abuse. But, Prevail can bring light back into your life.  They can give you hope.

If you are feeling suffocated from the weight of your worry, stop… breathe.  Breathe in knowing that now you have found Prevail. 

This path you choose to take can forever change not only your child’s life, but yours, too. With Prevail’s help, your child will heal.  Through your child’s healing, you too will heal.  Yes, you are beginning a journey you never asked for.  But Prevail can equip you with the tools you will need along the way.  They will teach you how to talk to and best support your child.  And, if you allow them in, the knowledgeable, caring experts at Prevail can be your guides on this journey that you never, ever thought you would travel. 

I know this because many years ago, I began that same unwanted journey, and I want to tell you:  You are not alone.  Your child is not alone. 

There will be moments when you will think you’ve got this- when you feel like you can finally hold your head above water, gaining the strength to slowly move forward.  But, perhaps when you least expect it, a wave will come crashing down and pull you back under.  The pain may return.  Triggers will happen.  You may feel yourself and your child drowning again.  Do not let that pain take away the joy of today, as I regret that I did.   You still have your child next to you.  You now know their truth and can protect them.  Love on them; treasure every minute with them.  And please allow yourself to understand, you cannot save your precious, hurting child, until you can save yourself.  Let Prevail help you.

Each time a wave comes crashing down, with each trigger or set-back, you and your child can grow stronger.  Prevail can be your lifeline as you come up for air.  Prevail can pull you to safety, and help you create your own lifeline.   As your child grows, matures, and moves through life, Prevail can give you power to rise above the waves.

And then… eventually, finally, your head will rise above the water, and there it will stay.  You are stronger than you ever thought possible.  You can help your child recover.  And through that, you can recover, too. 

I shudder to think about where our family might have been had we not found Prevail.  Through Prevail’s parent and child support groups, our family learned the tools we needed to create our own lifeline.  We learned how to talk to our children, how to advocate for our children, and the best ways to help them. 

Prevail patiently guided us, pulled us to safety, and taught our family how to not just survive, but to thrive in the wake of abuse.

Take it from me, seek help early and seek help often.  Know that you cannot take the journey alone.  The amazing and expert advocates at Prevail can guide you along your unwanted journey.  They can help you help your child, and through your child’s recovery, you will heal, too. 

You WILL rise above it all.  While recovery is a lifelong process, you will see that your child is not a fragile flower after all.  With the help of Prevail, both you and your child will become bolder, stronger versions of who you were before abuse changed you forever.

Like a lighthouse in a storm, Prevail guided us out of darkness on a horrendous journey we never imagined we’d take.  Let them guide you, too. 

Team Spotlight for April : Emily Beebe, Adult Advocate

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

About 15 months. Adult Victim Advocate

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

Being inspired on a daily basis by both my coworkers and clients.

3.) Who is your hero?

Artemisia Gentileschi

4.)What is your favorite quote?

- All that is gold does not glitter,
- Not all those who wander are lost;
- The old that is strong does not wither,
- Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

                -J.R.R. Tolkien

5.)What would you sing at Karaoke night?

Strangers Like Me -Phil Collins

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

Knowing that we can all make a positive impact in someone’s life.

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

Easy. Mac n cheese (but don’t you dare put bread crumbs on it).

8.)What is your proudest accomplishment?

Completing an undergraduate thesis on how men’s hostile sexism scores impacted their gaze patterns of women experiencing street harassment.

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

My dog…because she’s grumpy when she isn’t constantly fed.

10.) Favorite Prevail memory?

During the holidays this past year, we went around the room and told each coworker what we valued in them. What was supposed to be an hour long activity ended up taking over 4 hours and we didn’t even finish. It perfectly demonstrates how caring we are as a team.

11.) Favorite self-care practice?

Watercolor…or reading…or pretending I’m a movie critic. Must I pick only one?!

September 2020 Impact Report Highlights

Looking Back at September 2020   

Support groups are an extremely important part of the work being done to support victims. These groups allow survivors to breathe, work through trauma, and restore hope. They are able to work together with other survivors, allowing them to feel supported by not only Prevail, but peers in their community.

The Prevail team creates a curriculum for support groups using a Trauma Informed Care Model of approach. Prevail will be releasing more information about Trauma Informed Care in an upcoming blog!

Prevail's September Honorees and Updates

September Hero: Michelle Sloderbeck, The Bombshell Hair Company

September Team Member Spotlight: Beth Dunlop, Administrative Assistant

September Blog Post: "Racial Trauma Matters. Historical Trauma is Real. Racial Justice IS Happening at Prevail."


<< Back to August Highlights                                                                                                                        Jump to October Highlights >>

August 2020 Impact Report Highlights

Looking Back at August 2020   

We'd like to once again thank our Challenge Sponsors for all of their support during uncertain times. These individuals and companies came to our aid when things were very unsure. We are extremely grateful!

$10,000 +

Prevail's Board of Directors

Frank & Charlotte Pichler

Protective Insurance


Biddle Memorial Foundation

Dave & Jackie Cox

Hare Chevrolet


Private Wealth Management Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Gregor Private Wealth Group

WealthCare Financial Group, LLC

Riverview Health

Church Church Hittle + Antrim


Prevail's May Honorees and Updates

August Hero: Todd Thurston

August Team Member Spotlight: Danielle Noonan, Adult Advocate


<< Back to July Highlights                                                                                                                         Jump to September Highlights >>

July 2020 Impact Report Highlights

Looking Back at July 2020   

With all of the proper safety measures in effect, the Prevail office resumed "normal" business operations. The team was ready to fully serve victims and to get support groups started. Clients were still offered remote services, ensuring all needs were met.

This week were are going to focus on Prevail's Adult Services. The video below highlights our Secondary Victim Program. This program supports the parents of the children who have been sexually assaulted. This type of support allows Parents to heal, while focusing on ways to support their child on their journey. We are honored to offer this type of support to others.



Prevail's July Honorees and Updates

July Hero: Officer Ben Lugar

July Team Member Spotlight: Sara Roorbach, Primary Prevention Specialist


<< Back to June Highlights                                                                                                                         Jump to August Highlights >>

June 2020 Impact Report Highlights

Looking Back at June 2020   

The Prevail team was excited to get back to the office in order to serve clients directly. Adjustments were made to ensure safety for the Prevail team and clients entering the building. Staff worked on rotating schedules to make sure that numbers were low, but client needs were continuing to be met.

This week we'd also like to highlight our Children's Program Our first video this week highlights this program through the eyes of a survivor, advocate, and a Prevail Supporter. All of this has been made possible by YOU and your belief in Prevail's Mission.



Prevail's June Honorees and Updates

June Hero: Center for Hope

June Team Member Spotlight: Sara Flores, Adult Advocate

June Blog Posts: "Elder Abuse" by Sharon Kleinman (former team member and current Prevail Volunteer of the Year) and "How to Keep Yourself and Loved Ones Safe From Elder Abuse" by Lauren Guynn, Executive Director for Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County


<< Back to May Highlights                                                                                                                         Jump to July Highlights >>

May 2020 Impact Report Highlights

Looking Back at May 2020   

Prevail’s Crisis Line is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year. Through this line we are available to offer support to those victims who are in a crisis situation and need immediate help with safety planning or emergency shelter.

Prevail advocates are also available to assist police officers who are on the scene of a violent incident and speak with victims on the spot or to report to a hospital call out where a victim has been transported due to a violent incident or a sexual assault.

The video below highlights some of our community partners and a survivor who were involved in a hospital crisis response. Your support makes it possible for Prevail to provide Crisis Support to those community members who need it.


Prevail's May Honorees and Updates

May Hero: Center for Hope

May Team Member Spotlight: Beth Nellis, Youth Advocate

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


<< Back to April Highlights                                                                                                                        Jump to June Highlights >>

October 2020 Impact Report Highlights

Looking Back at October 2020   

March through October, Prevail supported Hamilton County Police Departments with 82 Lethality Assessments and assisted in building 4,863 Safety Plans.

What is the Lethality Assessment Protocol (or LAP)?

In partnership with Hamilton County police departments, Prevail assists victims with safety planning when they have been assessed as having a high risk of lethality using  a standardized, evidence-based tool. Working together to assist a victim, police departments and Prevail can tailor a unique response and referrals to victims in extremely dangerous situations.

The LAP assessment is based a Maryland model, used to identify victims  of intimate partner violence who are in the highest of being killed by their intimate partners.



What is Does Safety Planning?

One of the most important services Prevail provides is Safety Planning.



Prevail's October Honorees and Updates

October Hero: Jamie Davidson

October Team Member Spotlight: Leah Griffet, Adult Advocate


<< Back to September Highlights                                                                                                                         Jump to November Highlights >>

November 2020 Impact Report Highlights

Looking Back at November 2020   

Prevail hired our first Mobile Advocate and launched the Rapid Rehousing Program!

What is Rapid Rehousing?


Rapid Rehousing (RRH) is a program build to meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness due to violence. Prevail's Rapid Rehousing Program creates a community of support that will increase a victims access to housing resources and provide on-going support services necessary to achieve housing stability and build a foundation for self-sufficiency.



Prevail's November Honorees and Updates

Hero: Mikki Perrine

Team Member Spotlight: Kelly Growden, Primary Prevention Specialist

 Blog Post: "Social Ecological Model" by Sara Roorbach, Primary Prevention Specialist


<< Back to October Highlights                                                                                                                         Jump to December Highlights >>

December 2020 Impact Report Highlights

Looking Back at December 2020     


Prevail was honored to be among 50 Central Indiana Not-for-Profits to receive United Way of Central Indiana C-CERF Funding. This $75,000 award was used to expand Prevail's client lobby to provide a more comfortable space and allow for better social distancing. 

Click here to read the full announcement

Learn more about the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund Here



Prevail's December Honorees and Updates

Team Member Spotlight: Jennifer Atkisson, Youth Advocate

 Blog Post: "2020 Reflections and 2021 Projections" by Susan Ferguson, Executive Director


<< Back to November Highlights                                                                                                                       Go Back to March Highlights >>

April 2020 Impact Report Highlights

Looking Back at April 2020   

Prevail implemented a new tele-advocacy model ensuring security for victims unable to seek support in-person.    



Prevail Announces 2020 Outstanding Community Partners

Each April, Prevail hosts an Appreciation Breakfast during National Crime Victims Rights Week and Volunteer Appreciation Week. 

During this event we recognize our Volunteer of the Year and our Outstanding Community Partners.  Since the event did not happen this year, we went "door to door" in order to recognize those who had gone above and beyond for Prevail for years.

We'd like to once again recognize them.

Our Volunteers of the Year! Typically we only select one volunteer out of nominations by staff. This year it was too hard to select just one. Sharon and Jerilynne's contributions to Prevail and dedication to the clients were above measure. So, we picked them both!

We'd also like to once again recognize our 2020 Outstanding Community Partners!

Bob Anderson, Brandon Bennett, Gaylor Electric, Hare Chevrolet, and Kent Whitten



April Honorees and Blog Posts

April Hero of the Month: Kellie Cajas

 April Guest Blog Post: "The Role of a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner)"


<< Back to March Highlights                                                     Forward to May Highlights >>

March 2020 Impact Report Highlights

Looking Back at March 2020   

As numbers for COVID-19 sky rocketed, Prevail made the decision to close the physical office to the public in order to keep our clients, staff, and volunteers safe and to do our part to slow the spread of the virus. 

The Prevail team did not waste any time in putting together new ways to communicate as a team and to serve clients during what was sure to be devastating to those already trying to overcome trauma.

Thank you to our supporters for continuing to check in, support, and share your belief in our mission even during difficult times. 

March Honorees and Updates

March Hero of the Month: Susan Ferguson

March TeamMember Spotlight: Stephanie Holmes-Gullans


<< Back to December Highlights                                                                       Forward to April Highlights >>

Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month

Adolescence is tricky. Dealing with physical changes, feeling new and big emotions, negotiating more responsibility, and figuring out your identity are serious challenges for most teens. When you add in new friendships and new types of relationships, things can seem downright impossible. Then consider the fact that many relationships we see portrayed in the media and pop culture are unhealthy at best, and it’s no wonder teen dating violence is such a pervasive issue.

So what can parents do to help their teens have healthy relationships?

Love is Respect publishes an excellent handbook for parents of teens who are dipping their toes in the dating waters. A few tips they offer include being prepared to talk whenever your teen is ready, creating distraction-free private spaces, considering your own values and experiences in advance, maintaining appropriate boundaries, and keeping the lines of communication open and free from judgment.

If your teen is already dating, it is important to check in often. Ask your teen how things are going, and about the relationships they see around them, both among peers and in the media. Look for opportunities to discuss healthy or unhealthy behaviors when you are watching TV. Remember that your teen is developing their own beliefs and identity, and it is important to be respectful of their opinion and listen without judgment. However, if you believe your child may be abusive towards their partner, you have a responsibility to address this; now is the time to interrupt these patterns of power and control-seeking behaviors.

Ideally, we would start talking to our kids about relationships early. Establishing consent and setting boundaries are crucial skills kids can learn at a young age. Though we often think of these things in the context of a romantic or sexual relationship, that is not always the case. We can teach even the youngest children to ask for consent before touching someone and we can model how to respond appropriately. We can enforce our own boundaries and respect the boundaries our kids set for themselves. Practicing these things early and often can help your teen establish healthy relationship skills, identify unhealthy behaviors, and help a friend who may be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship.

These conversations and practices should be an ongoing process. “The talk” is not something we can scratch off our to-do list as parents; maintaining open, honest, nonjudgmental communication with our kids and teens is a vital part of our role as parents. Sometimes, these conversations may feel weird or awkward. Sometimes, your teen may not want to talk to you at all. Sometimes, it might feel like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos—you’re just not making any progress. That’s all okay! Frequent check-ins will let your teen know you are available and interested, and encourage them to come to you for guidance and support. In a world full of misinformation, knowing you are there to help navigate will make all the difference to your teen.

March Staff Spotlight: Brittany Winebar, Director of Mission Achievement

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

I have been at Prevail for 10 years. Director of Mission Achievement.

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

The privilege for walking alongside survivors. Their courage, vulnerability, growth and authenticity are a honor to witness. I have also been blessed in working on collaborative projects that positively impact the ability for our community to empower and hear the voices of survivors.

3.) Who is your hero?

My grandpa. He has demonstrated how to manage multiple forms of adversity. He truly listens and gives you his whole self. Plus, he is a natural story teller and I am drawn to the whimsical, wild, heart-wrenching, honest, and vulnerable portrayals that he shares about his life experiences. He would happily walk into any adventure with me and have my back the whole time.

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Thank You For Supporting Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month

As we leave February in the rear-view mirror, I would like to take a moment to thank each and every one of you that took part in 2021’s Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month. Maybe you wore orange, reposted something you saw on social media, had a conversation about healthy relationships with youth in your life, or requested a training or presentation. Maybe you have some plans but haven’t had a chance to implement them yet. Each of these actions are important.

In order to move toward creating a community that does not tolerate or permit violence, these actions and conversations are vital steps; steps that must continue beyond the month and extend for the entire year. And Prevail’s work with and dedication to youth who have experienced crime and abuse continues year-round. To date, Prevail has served nearly 3,000 individuals aged 13 to 19 years old and that number will continue to grow.

With Sexual Assault Awareness month around the corner, taking place in April, I hope that your willingness to have tough conversations and take steps to address crime and abuse in our community continues. Nationwide, about 1 in 9 female high school students and 1 in 36 male high school students report having experienced sexual assault within a dating relationship in the past year.

Thank you for your continued support of Prevail. We cannot fulfill our mission without a community united around a vision of anti-violence without you.

Writer is Kelly Ferriell, Youth Advocacy Supervisor

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

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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!

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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.

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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

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

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