Upstate center hoping for local support after learning of federal funding cuts

Local organizations that help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse are at risk of losing funding without Congressional help.One of those organizations is the Julie Valentine Center in Greenville.Wednesday, the center’s director learned the cut there will be $70,000 in the upcoming fiscal year. That represents 10 percent of the funding that comes from the federal government’s Victims of Crime Act, or VOCA.The Julie Valentine Center and other companion organizations around the state have been told the following fiscal year could bring a 40 percent cut.Calls for a fix from statewide advocacy groups have not been answered. Neither Senator Lindsey Graham nor Senator Tim Scott have agreed to an interview about the issue despite multiple attempts.The news of the upcoming cuts comes days before what the Julie Valentine Center considers its biggest fundraiser of the year.Friday, keynote speaker Jaycee Dugard will address supporters of the organization virtually.Under the theme “Journey of Hope and Healing,” Dugard will share her story of her story of freedom and survival after she was kidnapped from a bus stop in 1991 and help captive for 18 years.Hope and healing are more important to the Julie Valentine Center now more than ever.”Sexual assault is not just a crime against the body but a crime against the mind and spirit,” said Jamika Nedwards, the crisis program director for the center. “Sometimes walking through that door (of the center) is the only and last hope.“I’ve had clients who have said to me, ‘I came there, and if you guys weren’t going to help me I was going to take my life afterwards.’ But they didn’t have to because our doors were open.”Sometimes the person on the other side of the door knows exactly what those survivors are feeling.“I have my own history of sexual abuse as a child,” said Kim Ponce, the child advocacy center director. “That inner power literally comes from some of the harm that I experienced, and it just makes meaning of what has happened.”Ponce and the rest of the staff know what it takes to walk someone through hurdles of medical care, court hearings and questioning faith.“We can’t live without hope,” said the center’s chaplain, Carrie Nettles. “Hope is life-giving.”Now the center’s staff is hopeful the community will fill in the gap left by the federal funding cuts.Fundraiser tickets can be purchased up until the start of Friday’s event.

Local organizations that help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse are at risk of losing funding without Congressional help.

One of those organizations is the Julie Valentine Center in Greenville.

Wednesday, the center’s director learned the cut there will be $70,000 in the upcoming fiscal year. That represents 10 percent of the funding that comes from the federal government’s Victims of Crime Act, or VOCA.

The Julie Valentine Center and other companion organizations around the state have been told the following fiscal year could bring a 40 percent cut.

Calls for a fix from statewide advocacy groups have not been answered. Neither Senator Lindsey Graham nor Senator Tim Scott have agreed to an interview about the issue despite multiple attempts.

The news of the upcoming cuts comes days before what the Julie Valentine Center considers its biggest fundraiser of the year.

Friday, keynote speaker Jaycee Dugard will address supporters of the organization virtually.

Under the theme “Journey of Hope and Healing,” Dugard will share her story of her story of freedom and survival after she was kidnapped from a bus stop in 1991 and help captive for 18 years.

Hope and healing are more important to the Julie Valentine Center now more than ever.

“Sexual assault is not just a crime against the body but a crime against the mind and spirit,” said Jamika Nedwards, the crisis program director for the center. “Sometimes walking through that door (of the center) is the only and last hope.

“I’ve had clients who have said to me, ‘I came there, and if you guys weren’t going to help me I was going to take my life afterwards.’ But they didn’t have to because our doors were open.”

Sometimes the person on the other side of the door knows exactly what those survivors are feeling.

“I have my own history of sexual abuse as a child,” said Kim Ponce, the child advocacy center director. “That inner power literally comes from some of the harm that I experienced, and it just makes meaning of what has happened.”

Ponce and the rest of the staff know what it takes to walk someone through hurdles of medical care, court hearings and questioning faith.

“We can’t live without hope,” said the center’s chaplain, Carrie Nettles. “Hope is life-giving.”

Now the center’s staff is hopeful the community will fill in the gap left by the federal funding cuts.

Fundraiser tickets can be purchased up until the start of Friday’s event.