October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and a local domestic violence shelter is helping to raise awareness and funding for the cause with a regional talent show set for this Saturday.
No One Alone, a domestic violence program and emergency shelter serving victims of domestic violence in Dawson and Lumpkin counties, is hosting the second annual North Georgia’s Got Talent Oct. 13 at the Dawson County High School Performing Arts Center.
The show starts at 3 p.m. and will feature performances from the top 13 acts that were selected from 40 auditions.
Proceeds from audition fees, ticket sales and People’s Choice Award votes will go to support NOA, which has served nearly 20,000 men, women and children since opening its doors in 1992.
According to statistics from NOA, three out four Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence, which is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States, causing more visits to the emergency room than muggings, rapes and auto accidents combined.
Women leave an average of seven times before they leave for good, and 75 percent of women killed by their partners were murdered while trying to escape, NOA says.
NOA serves victims of domestic violence with a 24 hour crisis line, a 12-bed emergency facility, legal advocacy and court support, case management, support groups and trauma counseling, educational scholarships and community outreach programs. All services are free and confidential to victims in need.
According to NOA Executive Director Cara Ledford, this year alone NOA has already served 80 clients in their shelter, housed 16 in local motels, responded to nearly 2,000 crisis calls and provided support services to almost 1,000 men, women and children in their outreach program.
“Although the shelter only houses women and children, we provide support services to men and advocate for them to find safe shelter,” Ledford said.
It costs an average of $95 a day to operate the shelter, around $35,000 a year. Ledford said the organization has already spent over $90,000 this year on client assistance, which includes assistance with rent, utilities, transportation, counseling, child care and medical bills.
There are many ways to help NOA continue to provide services in Dawson and Lumpkin counties. Financial contributions as well as in-kind donations of food, household supplies, clothing and professional services are always needed, and volunteer opportunities are available at the Southern Finds Thrift Store and with special events, maintenance, fundraising and internships.
For more information about volunteering call (706) 867-6167.
“Now is the time to take a stand, support survivors and speak out against domestic violence all month long,” Ledford said. “I’d like to challenge the community to show their support and raise awareness by wearing purple on Oct. 26 and taking pictures to share on Facebook.”
Ledford said that anyone in need of assistance or who walks to talk to someone about domestic violence can call the shelter crisis line 24 hours a day at (706) 864-1986 or the toll free hotline at 1(866) 331-9474 to speak with a trained peer advocate. Online web chat is also available at www.noonealone.org.
Tickets for the talent show are $15 and can be purchased online with a credit card at www.noonealone.org/talent or with cash or check at Wild Birds Unlimited or the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.
Current NOA shelter needs: