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The Crisis Center celebrates 30 years of service

The Empty Bowl event symbolizes when a victim of domestic violence escapes an unsafe place; there’s an empty bowl left at the table.  Admission includes a one-of-a-kind bowl, soups and dessert tastings, a silent auction, and live music.

By Lynne Marsala Basche; photo courtesy of the Crisis Center

The Crisis Center started with nothing but a need; a need and a hotline.  Thirty years later, the Crisis Center offers an emergency shelter, clinical services, legal advocacy, school and community outreach, equine therapy, and still a hotline.

In 1985, a group of neighbors saw a need to address domestic violence and started a crisis hotline.  Today, that need still exists.  Domestic violence is personal, difficult to speak about, and happens all around our community.  Statistics note that one in four people experience some form of domestic violence, which can include physical, psychological, sexual, or financial abuse.

The Crisis Center helped more than 11,000 people last year, and all services are one hundred percent free to clients.  Funded through grants, foundations, individuals, and special events, the Crisis Center relies on community support to help victims break the cycle of violence.  As a result of the Crisis Center’s support of families, Douglas County saves approximately ten million dollars a year by not having to intervene and provide services.

There is a stigma attached to domestic violence, and Crisis Center Special Events and Grant Coordinator Heather Orr believes that one way to minimize the stigma is to talk about the topic more.  
“People need to know that what they see in communities starts at home, and we need to feel comfortable talking about it,” said Orr.    

The Crisis Center, in conjunction with Douglas County schools, offers a Parent University class about how to talk to your kids about teen dating violence and look for signs that it is happening to them.  In addition, teen dating violence is addressed in all Douglas County high schools through powerful skits performed by local high school students.

There are many ways to get involved and help end violence.  There are opportunities to volunteer behind the scenes, directly with the public, or with clients, as well as making tax-deductible donations.

A fun way to support the Crisis Center is to attend its largest fundraiser, the Empty Bowl, on March 13.  Sixty local potters provide more than 1,500 unique bowls, and 12 local restaurants offer a variety of soups and desserts to fill them.  One hundred percent of the proceeds support the Crisis Center.

To learn more about the Empty Bowl or how you can help the Crisis Center, visit



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