For two decades, Canyon Creek Women’s Crisis Center has served the Cedar City community and surrounding areas providing advocacy, emergency shelter, and other support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“Thousands of victims and their families have been helped,” said Brant Wadsworth, the center’s Executive Director. “We as an organization are extremely proud of the vital work that’s been done, and the community has been a tremendous support. Now, as we prepare for the next 20 years, we’re asking ‘What more can be done to ensure that all victims within our service areas receive the help they need, and more broadly, how can we realize our vision of a community free of domestic and sexual violence?’”
Coming in as a new Executive Director for the organization, one of the first tasks Wadsworth took on was learning about the growth Canyon Creek had experienced and assessing the current organization as a whole, a center press release stated.
“Programming and services have grown significantly over the past few years, and it became clear that we needed to make some organizational changes to stabilize and accommodate that growth while preparing for even more expansion in the future,” Wadsworth said. “To this end, we have restructured and realigned systems and practices in ways that allow us to continue to grow without having to make more significant alterations to our administrative structure and the way we provide services.”
The process has been guided by three top priorities, Wadsworth said.
First, he said, is finding out what the clients need. Second, keeping the organization viable, strong, and connected to the communities served.
“Finally, we strive to make sure that our employees are taken care of, well-trained and appreciated in the very difficult, taxing, but often satisfying work they do,” Wadsworth said.
The Outreach Center, located in offices on Main Street above Bulloch Drug, will now be the official headquarters of Canyon Creek, including the home of their Victim Services Department.
“We will continue to provide excellent emergency shelter services,” Wadsworth said, “That will only be one service, a crucial service, but one of many. In fact, we currently provide a large amount of services to clients who do not need emergency shelter but need advocacy and support.”
In collaborating with the Board of Trustees and the organization’s leadership team, Wadsworth found that it was time to unify the organization and the two locations.
“Combining into one administrative headquarters makes us less ‘shelter-centric’ and strengthens our plan to actively expand overall services to our entire service area, which includes all of Iron County, all of Garfield County, and all of Beaver County,” he said. “At the same time, we want to make shelter available to all who need it and are enhancing the help we can provide to adults and children using our emergency shelter.”
Wadsworth said that will include programming, classes, groups, and other resources provided by employees and volunteers. The programming will cover nutrition and budgeting classes, job skills development, assistance seeking more education, and more.
The efforts have led to another key change that the Canyon Creek Women’s Crisis Center is making: assigning a specific Victim Advocate to each client, even children and youth when necessary.
This means that when a client begins to receive services with the organization, that client will be able to work with the same person from beginning to end.
“This approach is similar in some ways to the use of a cancer care navigator at the local hospital,” Wadsworth said. “Of course, there are differences, but the concept of providing a relationship with someone who is knowledgeable and capable of guiding and helping clients through complicated processes is at the core.”
Right now from the moment a client enters our services the advocate is with that client every single step of the way, from the initial visit to our offices or shelter, to the time they achieve financial independence and self-reliance.
“These advocates carefully listen and evaluate the client’s needs, desires, and goals,” he said. “And then, they create a service plan that allows us to take a step by step approach to help our clients achieve what they want to achieve.”
Another step in the organization’s evolution will be the accelerated expansion of prevention programs and victim services in Cedar City and throughout the Canyon Creek Women’s Crisis Center’s three-county service area. There is particular need to reach underserved populations which include victims within communities of color, those living with disabilities or mental health issues, and those located in remote areas.
“To do all of this, we continue to need the strong support of our community,” Wadsworth said. “We are actively looking to expand our volunteer base to include a diversity of people with skills and abilities that can help our clients and their families. We also are seeking to expand community support through donations and fundraising efforts so we can truly be a community-supported organization.”
To celebrate the new vision for the next 20 years, Canyon Creek Women’s Crisis Center staff plans an Open House event at the facilities above Bulloch Drug, which will provide an opportunity to learn more about all aspects of the organization.
“It is being tentatively planned for March 2017,” Wadsworth said, “We are excited and hopeful and dedicated to what these next 20 years can offer to all the communities we serve, and we look forward with a vision to help of communities become free of this violence and able to help any in need.”