PLYMOUTH — Tickets are on sale now for the second annual ‘Unmasking Domestic Violence’ masquerade gala. The event, including dinner and a silent auction will be held Saturday, July 27 at Christo’s Banquet Center. Tickets are $40 and need to be purchased in advance to accommodate catering. Proceeds from the event go to fund the local domestic violence shelter, Heminger House.

Currently Heminger House has 5 women and 8 children being sheltered there. The shelter has 16 beds and 4 playard / bassinets. 

Build Self-Esteem

House Manager Nicole Hicks shared, “My first goal is to help clients build self esteem. We give victims of domestic violence a safe place to heal and teach them skills to help themselves.”

Those who do not have medical insurance are aided immediately in getting established on Medicaid. Copies of birth certificates and social security cards for all those who apply are required. Hicks shared that many who come to the shelter don’t have copies on them, and maybe don’t have access to those at all. Hicks helps them obtain those documents and the shelter uses funds from fundraisers such as the gala to cover the fees for obtaining them. 

Goals and Resources

Each week, clients set up personal goals for what they want to achieve. Those can include alternate housing and employment. Each client is different. A typical stay at the shelter is 45 days. Hicks understands that healing from abusive relationships is a process. Hicks highlighted that there are different agencies that focus on different aid. When the shelter doesn’t have clothing and shoes in the sizes that are needed, Hicks arranges for clients to visit the Marshall County Neighborhood Center to go through the clothing boutique. 

Volunteers and the children

Hicks shared that the shelter is currently seeking volunteers to watch children for parents as they seek employment opportunities. Volunteers are required to fill out a volunteer application and submit to a background check. 

Hicks shared that the Plymouth Boys and Girls Club has scholarship opportunities available for parents who cannot otherwise afford to send their children there. “It’s important for the children to have social opportunities and make friends among their peers.” Hicks shared, “The shelter is not only focused on the adults who come for help, we care very much about the children and their well being.” 

Hicks shared that domestic violence has a negative impact on children. Even if they are not being abused directly, witnessing the abuse of their parent can be traumatic. Hicks shared, “Some examples of how domestic violence impacts children is that they may be behind in physical and economic development, they may be defiant, experience separation anxiety, and act out sexually.” Hicks cautioned that when they start dating they may view abusive situations as ‘normal’ and remain in unhealthy relationships. She shared, “They often feel they are not good enough, it can be difficult for them to show and express emotion, their grades in school can suffer and they may isolate themselves from family and friends.” 

Hicks shared that the shelter helps families find counseling opportunities. 

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