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Community

www.SanTanSun.com ABUSE FROM PAGE 1

educates residents about victim’s rights, victim’s compensation and safety planning should they find themselves in a situation of abuse again. “Sometimes women will need help finding employment...coming up with resumes...filing for food stamps, getting cash assistance or child support,” Christianson says. After these immediate needs are met, the women can receive additional personal counseling should they want it. The shelter’s network of counselors is extensive, and they are ready to offer help on practically any topic a resident might be interested in discussing. All of these things make up the necessary functions of My Sisters’ Place, but there is really more to it. The shelter possesses a welcoming and comforting atmosphere. It is made up of two separate buildings, each with bedrooms and communal living spaces, where residents can be seen relaxing, watching TV and spending time with their kids. Linking the two buildings is a spacious courtyard, complete with a basketball hoop and a playground area. The first and main building doubles as a workplace for the staff and a living space for residents. That has created a communal ambiance between the two settings. “You get to know each guest very well because you’re meeting with them almost 24/7,” Christianson explains. On most nights, the residents and staff get together and one of them cooks a community dinner. Then at about 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, the women and children split up for scheduled group

time. For the kids, this means stories, games and arts and crafts. For the moms, this is a time to take a breather and discuss anything that’s on their mind. Clarinda Barney is a member of the shelter’s staff and runs the children’s groups. “I spend an hour with them in the evening just playing games or coloring and doing crafts. I also see the moms for a behavioral assessment for the children,” Barney says. On Monday nights, children play with a dog from the Arizona pet therapy group, Gabriel’s Angels. Thursday nights mean art therapy, thanks to Free Arts of Arizona. While the children are enjoying themselves, the moms take a break in the building next door. During this time, they usually address any concerns they might have and hold a general house discussion. A few times a month, they also have a counselor with them in case they want to talk to somebody about sensitive issues. With so much going on at any one given time, it takes a lot of effort and help to keep My Sisters’ Place up and running. To ensure a smooth operation around the clock, there is a team of 15 staff members and a pool of 16 interns and volunteers. They all work tirelessly to make sure that the residents and their children are getting everything they need to make successful recovery. Gavin Maxwell is a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. He can be reached at news@ santansun.com.

October 18 - 31, 2014

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Military and veterans expo set for Oct. 25 The annual Military Members and Veterans Benefits Expo is being held 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25 at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave. New to the event this year is the ability to sign up for VA Healthcare and check eligibility and receive advice from VA health and benefits counselors, in addition to learning about the new Community Based Outpatient Clinic serving the Southeast Valley. The expo features information about benefits and programs for Chandler veterans and their families, including health care, education and employment opportunities. The City of Chandler is hosting the expo in partnership with the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, Phoenix VA Health Care System and

Veterans Benefit Administration. For event details, call (480) 558-2052 or visit www. chandleraz.gov/veterans.

City seeks businesses offering discounts to veterans The City of Chandler is creating a list of businesses offering discounts to veterans at www.chandleraz.gov/veterans. The list will also be handed out during the annual Military Members and Veterans Benefits Expo, 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave. Go to the website and fill out a brief survey with the business

name, location and the type of discount provided. The expo is a partnership with the City, Arizona Department of Veterans Services, Phoenix VA Health Care System and the Veterans Benefit Administration. Call (480) 558-2052 or visit www. chandleraz.gov/veterans for more information.

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