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A Safe Place By Catherine Wysoczanski


As the only certified domestic violence center serving Duval and Baker counties, the Hubbard House’s Emergency Shelter provides a place for domestic violence victims to stay while in a crisis situation. Victims are provided food, clothing, linens and toiletry items as well as programs and services to help them through tough times.


Volunteers and staff at the Emergency Photos by Cherish Live Dream Photography, cld-photo.com H


ome is a place where a family should feel safe and comfortable, but for many First Coast residents,


this isn’t the case. Domestic violence is much more prominent in our community than we may want to believe. Luckily, there are options for families to get help. Trough the generosity of volunteers and the help of trained professionals, the Hubbard House is helping make the community a better, safer place.


Volunteers founded the Hubbard House


in 1976 during the Women’s Movement as the first women’s domestic violence shelter in Florida. Te organization provides safety for domestic violence victims and their children.


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Shelter work to make it a safe and healing environment. Victim advocates help residents set goals and come up with a plan for their future. Many of the victim advocates are survivors of domestic violence. One survivor and Hubbard House volunteer says, “I was a victim of domestic violence for a decade during my previous marriage. I went through the situation alone. My reason for volunteering with the Hubbard House is that I want to make sure no one ever feels like they have to go through that experience alone.”


Volunteers are important to the Hubbard


House because they dedicate their time and energy to help better the lives of victims and their children. After families are put through stressful, dangerous situations it is comforting for them to have caring people to turn to for support. Because of the violence these children have experienced, they may lash out at their peers and others around them. To find productive ways to get through their anger, volunteers nurture the children with creative outlets. “We engage the children each week, and we talk to them. We also listen to them about anything that they


may want to talk about. A child needs reinforcement to thrive,” says the Hubbard House volunteer. “I want to help children learn to express themselves in different ways other than violence. It’s my small part in breaking the cycle at an early age.” Te more time volunteers spend with the children, the more trust is built and children open up to the volunteers. “Te children we work with see us each week and many have started to become comfortable with us. Tey see us as a stable element in their lives. One small child shared with me her story, talking in detail about what happened in her home. I was amazed, at her young age, she was able to understand everything so clearly and that she could comprehend that there were consequences to actions.”


Children are vulnerable as victims and


witnesses to domestic violence. Te Hubbard House has a childcare center in the Emergency Shelter where children are taught conflict resolution and their self- esteem is built as a reminder that they are each unique individuals that deserve love and attention. Older children have the ability to go to a safe, secure Duval County Public School—which is located onsite. Te school provides an educational environment with Duval County Public School teachers who have experience with troubled children and domestic violence situations. Specialized programs and counseling provide children a safe and caring atmosphere, so they can begin the healing process.


Hubbard House recognizes that victims


come from all walks of life. Trough their outreach center, those not living onsite can receive counseling, relocation assistance, court advocacy and other services. Ashley, a local college professor and Hubbard House volunteer, studies and teaches self- compassion, which she has been instrumenting into an adult support group. “We facilitate a self-compassion support group where we talk to the women about self-compassion in relation to whatever suffering they may be experiencing,” says Ashley. She also feels a genuine reward in her work as a volunteer. “Anytime the women in the shelter show that they are benefiting


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