Maude manager Kelly English chatted with volunteer and in-kind coordinator Antonella Kinder about the important work that the NWA Women's Shelter does in our community. On June 10th, our owner Becca will be walking in the Mom But So Much More Fashion Show with her daughter to raise money and awareness for the shelter. But you can get involved, too! Read the Q+A to learn more about what they do, how you can help, and how your support can earn you a little extra love at Maude this month.
Q: Can you tell us about the services the NWA Women's Shelter provides? A couple friends and I attended the Junior League meeting back in April; we learned about services and programs we had never heard of before! I feel that individuals who aren't actively involved with the NWAWS may be unaware of the wonderful help you provide.
A: The Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter serves women, children and men who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. We can serve clients on an in-shelter or outreach basis so we are in a place to support victims and survivors at any point of their journey which is really incredible. Our shelter has a 24-hour hotline but I think it’s important to note that it’s not just for crisis calls. If someone feels unsafe in their relationship or if they know it is unsafe and they are considering leaving, then our advocates can talk to them about safety planning. Roughly 75% of domestic violence homicides happen when a victim is leaving their abuser or after the victim has already left. With safety planning, our advocates have the opportunity to connect with a victim to help develop a plan to keep themselves, and in many cases their children, safe while they a) are living with their abuser b) preparing to leave and c) after leaving their abuser.
Our shelter can provide court advocacy, bi-lingual services, children’s advocacy, counseling, support groups, connections to community resources, food, clothing and more all at no cost. Community education is also a large part of our efforts to prevent domestic violence, combat stigmas and guide others in how to support victims.
Q: Tell us about your role at the NWAWS. How long have you been involved? Why did you become involved?
A: As the Volunteer & In-Kind Coordinator I manage the volunteer program, internship program, in-kind (read: product) donations and social media. I started out as a volunteer helping manage social media and now I’m ringing the bell at the three month mark as a full time staff member.
Becoming involved with the women’s shelter was a natural progression for me. I had been looking to empower and advocate for women in my day to day life, or in any platform that was available to me, so volunteering and now working with the shelter was the next step for me. It made the most sense; I had an interest in women’s issues and I was talking about it, but it was time to put some action behind it. Talking about women’s issues is necessary but I knew I could offer much more than that and I’d like to challenge other women in our community to do more because I know the passion is there.
Q: What was your inspiration behind the Mom But So Much More Fashion Show? Who is involved and what are their roles in the community?
A: Inspiration was all Chantel Shuler’s! Chantel works with Gap and she actually came to me with this crazy cool idea to put on a fashion show to support the shelter and elevate women in our community. It’s wonderful to partner with bold women in this area, like Chantel, who want to use their creativity and skills to uplift others.
We have so many partners involved in this event! Becca with Maude has a huge heart, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with her to work on some ideas to support the shelter, and I’m thrilled she’s going to be modeling for the event. We actually have 29 models for this event, all of which are fabulous, but just name a few we have Kelly Stuckey, Betsy Soos, Kasie Yokley, and Robin Atkinson. It’s going to be a fun event and tickets are $5/person so I hope to see everyone there this Friday! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mom-but-so-much-more-the-fashion-show-tickets-33466125081
Q: We are collecting gently worn items for donation this month; for those who are interested, what other opportunities are there to help support and volunteer for the NWAWS?
A: Our most urgent needs in-shelter are laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, bleach, disinfectant spray, sponges… really any items you would need to maintain your household, we need to maintain our shelter. If you’re interested in donating you can drop the items off at our thrift store: 1622 S. 8th Street, Rogers, AR.
There are always volunteer opportunities (www.nwaws.org/volunteer-application) but what I’d love to see is young women in our community advocating and being ambassadors for our mission. We need their passion! If anyone is interested in being an ambassador for our shelter, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk about how your ideas, skills and passion can meet our needs. There’s so much room for growth and creativity.
Q: Is there any additional info you would like to share with our readers?
A: Shopping and donating at our Thrift Store supports our shelter and our clients in a unique way.Our Thrift Store makes up roughly 20% of our budget but it’s also an important part of our efforts to empower victims/survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault as well as to provide them with clothing, furniture, etc. As a means to control their victims, abusers can prevent them from obtaining a job, managing their own money or picking out their own clothing and victims who stay with us in-shelter often come to us with very little. The Thrift Store gives us the opportunity for clients to choose their own clothing and for us to provide other donated items to them all at no cost.
Whether you decide to become an ambassador, donate some clothing or attend the Mom But So Much More Fashion Show we hope you will join in and be a part of this important cause! Also, don't forget to follow them on Instagram @nwaws to stay up to date on their needs. If you want to learn even more, check out their website nwaws.org.
Maude is making it easy to donate! During the month of June, bring in gently used items for the NWAWS and we will take them for you. We want to say THANK YOU, too, for being a part of this amazing cause with us so be sure and check out the discounts below.