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The Dubois County Leadership Academy (DCLA) is a county-wide initiative to foster and grow leadership skills for current and upcoming business and community leaders. To culminate the program, participants are divided into two teams and challenged to complete a capstone project that will increase the quality of life for community residents. Each team has the freedom to choose its area of focus and is charged with completing its capstone project prior to its August graduation from the Academy.

On behalf of the local nonprofit Crisis Connection, members of DCLA Team #1 have launched “Project Safe Ride” to help find or fund a safe and reliable vehicle to add to Crisis Connection’s fleet. Team #1 members are Deidra Church from the Memorial Hospital Foundation, Janet Rydberg from Kimball International, Evan Schum from Buffalo Trace Golf Course / City of Jasper, and Jason Sermersheim from Springs Valley Bank and Trust.

Crisis Connection provides 24/7 access to resources and support specifically aimed at meeting the needs of those impacted by domestic and sexual violence. In 2023, Crisis Connection advocates served 571 survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Dubois, Spencer, Perry, Pike, Crawford, Martin, and Orange counties.

  • 70% were new clients. 
  • 398 were survivors of domestic violence.  
  • 173 sought support related to sexual assault. 
  • 271 child dependents were linked to our domestic violence clients.
  • 134 of our sexual assault clients were adults seeking help to address a minor’s abuse. 
  • Assisted with 141 protection orders.
  • Offered support at 157 forensic interviews conducted to investigate child abuse.

Team #1 asks community members to imagine for a moment that you are an advocate, volunteering and providing transportation for a victim to a court case in a vehicle supplied by Crisis Connection. This day is one the victim has been dreading for weeks, but as an advocate, you are there to provide the victim with a safe space and support as they continue on their journey to peace. As you accelerate from a stop light on your way downtown, you realize your car will not move forward. You’re stuck. The stress and anxiety of the day multiply, and the safe environment you want to ensure for the victim has suddenly been compromised.

If this were to happen, Crisis Connection staff and volunteers would undoubtedly rise to the occasion to ensure swift and comforting solutions – but with the current fleet of vehicles the advocates have access to, this scenario is one that, unfortunately, could be very real.

DCLA Team #1 members want to ensure that this is a stress Crisis Connection staff, advocates, and victims do not have to worry about. Team #1 is seeking supporters who can help with the following:

  • Donation of a reliable, family-friendly vehicle
  • Monetary donations to go toward the purchase or lease of a vehicle
  • Monetary donations to go toward creating a restricted fund at Crisis Connection to assist with repair and vehicle maintenance
  • In-kind donations for service, maintenance, repair, parts, etc.  

Donations are tax-deductible. Checks can be made payable to the Dubois County Leadership Academy, with “Crisis Connection” written in the memo. Monetary donations can be mailed to DCLA—2065 Main Street, PO Box 7, Ferdinand, IN 47532. If you have questions or comments or would like to discuss a vehicle donation, please email DCLAProjectSafeRide@gmail.com or contact a member of the teamThe Dubois County Leadership Academy is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the state of Indiana. Its federal Tax ID number is 46-0975854.

To learn more about Crisis Connection and the work they do, visit www.crisisconnectioninc.org.

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