There are some organizations that would dearly love to work themselves out of existence — no longer needed. I am sure that the small group of nurses and interested residents who initiated No One Alone (then called NOA’s Ark) would have been happy to think that its services would not be required 20 years later.
But on March 25, NOA will hold the l6th Annual Spring Gala recognizing 20 years of service. Recently, the chairman of that event, Margie Greer, asked me to meet with her and Executive Director of NOA Marina Libera-Barron, to talk about NOA’s history. She tapped me because in a scrapbook at the NOA office she had found a number of articles I had written about the organization and its work.
Apparently it’s time to do it again.
First, we need to know that, although the main office, the shelter and the thrift store are all in Lumpkin County, NOA serves both Lumpkin and Dawson counties. Its mission is to provide emergency shelter and services to victims of domestic violence and to provide legal advocacy and programs that may prevent such violence, even violence-related deaths.
In 2010 alone, almost 1,500 women and children (and even a few men) were served face-to-face; that does not count the crisis calls and the 2,000 children served in school presentations.
Thirty-five percent of victims were from Dawson County, and the majority of school presentations, aimed toward prevention, were made in our county.
Unfortunately, Dawson does not adequately support NOA with volunteers serving on the board, at the shelter, in the thrift store, or as financial sponsors. Maybe that lack of participation is because you didn’t know about NOA.
There is a Dawson County NOA representative available by calling (706) 344-3853 for an appointment, or even by calling (706) 864-1986, the 24-hour crisis line.
A weekly support group is held, at a confidential location, to help victims with post-traumatic stress. Professional counseling is also available.
The majority of revenue for NOA comes from state and federal grants, as well as foundation and private grants, with less than 10 percent from local governments and United Way.
Individuals and fundraisers account for about 20 percent. With the expectation that grants will probably be cut this year, NOA administration joins other non-profit, humanitarian operations in hoping that fundraisers and donations will increase, because they certainly expect that the need for their services will not decrease.
I really want to tell you about what volunteers do and why supporting NOA is important. Having served earlier on the NOA board of directors and helped with fundraisers for several years, I know that such service is both necessary and rewarding.
Expect more information.
Helen Taylor’s column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.