Edee Greene and a group of concerned citizens founded Women In Distress of Broward County, Inc. (WID) in July 1974. WID began as Broward County Florida’s first refuge for homeless women in a modest four-bedroom home. Women in Distress outreach locations and residential facilities served approximately 1,300 people last year. The crisis line assisted another 3,600 people.
Services offered to participants and their children include food, emergency shelter, clothing, individual or group counseling, education, family activities, batterers’ intervention, linkage to community resources and safety planning. WID’s domestic violence trainings are provided to the professional and general community (20,300 people), as well as a dating violence training (2,200 children) called-It’s Not Ok, which goes into junior and senior high school classrooms. WID partners with a multitude of community and faith based agencies, help serve the varied needs and resources required to assist in the empowerment of domestic violence families. In 2002, WID was able to obtain National Accreditation demonstrating a commitment to excellence and continued self-evaluation.
Volunteerism is a major asset utilized and encouraged by Women in Distress. Last year, 14,864 hours of volunteer services were performed for and by Women in Distress in the capacity of the Speakers Bureau, Day Care services, Crisis Line coverage, Fairs/Events, Court Accompaniment, Thrift Store, Internships, Board, Auxiliary, etc. An additional $100,000 of donated professional services was obtained for our participants.
WID also coordinates and participates in a voluntary capacity for community advocacy groups such as the Victims’ Rights Coalition, Children’s Consortium, Homeless Coalition, and the Domestic Violence Council. Community Awareness events are also a large part of WID’s community involvement. For example, during Domestic Violence awareness month in October, WID partners annually put on an Interfaith Service (leaders of various denominations looking at addressing domestic violence in their communities), a Domestic Violence Memorial, a high school rally against violence (SOAR-Students Opposed to Abuse in Relationships), a 3K Safe Walk and a Domestic Violence training and awards luncheon. WID’s staff has participated in a voluntary capacity for other service agencies such as Take Stock In Children mentoring, Day Of Caring, Rebuilding Together, and boards and committees of partner agencies serving families in need.
Last year, Women in Distress entered its 30th anniversary of serving and partnering with the Broward County Community as the only certified domestic violence center serving the second largest county in the state (in terms of population-2.2 million). Women in Distress is recognized as a staple in this community for its holistic approach to domestic violence services, and extensive community involvement in both providing services and increasing community awareness for all age groups and a diverse populations.