Trauma victims benefit from new support center

Trauma victims benefit from new support center

In a few weeks, local victims of trauma and sexual assault will have more resources to help in their recovery.

The Support Advocacy and Resource Center (SARC) broke ground on a new facility about six months ago at 1458 Fowler in Richland.

Come mid-May, it will be the new home for SARC and its supporting agencies providing services to trauma victims.

JoDee Garretson, the program’s executive director, helped pilot SARC 20 years ago as a volunteer. Since then, it has grown from three staff to 13, catering to a constant need.

“Each year in our sexual assault side of the house, we serve approximately 400 new clients, about half of them are under the age of 12,” Garretson said. “So now, we will have the resources available onsite, confidential, at no cost, so that everyone will have access.”

In addition to a bigger facility, clients will be able to access a new trafficking program, headed by a newly hired specialized advocate. Councilors will also be available.

According to Garretson, construction of the new building was partially funded by state grants, and SARC continues to fundraise.

Community members can purchase bricks to be engraved and placed lining a courtyard at the new building, showing victims the names of people helping recovery.

The center is also hosting an online Cinco de Mayo auction event through May 12 to fundraise, concluding in a live celebration May 12 at the Richland Community Center at 6 p.m.

For Garretson, the ultimate goal is to help everyone in need.

“There’s really been no greater injustice than sexual violence in our community,” she said. “So I just wanted to use my education and background to work in that field.”

Garretson urges anyone seeking support to call SARC at (509) 374-5391.