When a woman in an abusive relationship is finally ready to take the huge step to break the cycle of violence, what can she do? Toledo has Bethany House, and other shelters, which offer a safe place to stay and begin anew with rehabilitation services. For much of Fulton County, the closest shelter is in Defiance, which many times is filled to capacity. Considering the constant stream of domestic violence 911 calls, 362 in 2015, the lack of a shelter in Fulton County is a gaping hole in the puzzle to help women and children in need.
Jennifer Panczyszyn’s mother lived with abuse for 15 years in Fulton County and had nowhere to go to keep herself, and her children safe. From then, 1965, until now, there has been no domestic violence shelter in Fulton County, which covers 407 square miles and includes Archbold, Fayette, Delta, Lyons, Metamora, Pettisville, Swanton, and Wauseon.
Two years ago, Jennifer set forth toward her goal to build a domestic violence shelter to give families a chance for safety and a fresh start. Once removed from the violent environment, the families are able to begin working with The Fulton County Sheriff and The Center for Child and Family Advocacy (CCFA) to get counseling, training and coaching. Ms. Panczyszyn has been very impressed with the community enthusiasm for the safe house and is highly appreciative of Roy Miller and the Fulton Co. Sheriff Department who have been very supportive.
“The safe house is a missing piece in the puzzle to help more women and children in Fulton County,” says Panczyszyn. The outpouring of support has helped move the launch of the facility up three years to 2017.
The shelter will be called JJ Safe House and is a 501c3 charitable organization. It will house three women and their children through rehabilitation. This long-term strategy will allow the best odds for the families to successfully break the cycle of violence. When they move out of the safe house to begin their new lives they will be self-sufficient. Until the shelter is completed, by Fall of 2017, JJ Safe House is providing temporary overnight shelter. They have helped five families in this way since May. As they plan and build, they will need monetary donations and volunteers to assist at a Spring fundraiser event. In the future, once the facility is ready, JJSafeHouse.com will provide a wish list of supplies needed as well. JJ Safe House expects full occupancy within the first month.
Women trying to leave an abusive relationship have many obstacles. They have to get away, find somewhere safe to live, and have some protection. They often need funds to support themselves, training for a job, transportation, children’s school and daycare arrangements and to get counseling/medical attention for PTSD. The children of abusive households often accept the situation as normal and may become abusive themselves. It is a horrible, destructive cycle, and feels impossible to exit for many women. Panczyszyn and her board of directors have spent countless hours organizing this project. With tears in her eyes and hope for children who are going through what she did as a child, Panczyszyn states, “It will all be worth it if we save one child from that life.”
You can get more information or contribute on the JJSafeHouse.com website, call 419-402-5060 for help or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations are tax-deductible and can be sent to JJ Safe House, PO Box 1471, Maumee, OH 43537.