As we near the end of 2015 and reflect on the past year, we think of all the men, women, and children we have served, the intervention to crisis we’ve provided, and the safety and hope that has been fostered for area families in need. Without the support and generosity of compassionate individuals and businesses in our community and surrounding area, we would not have been able to accomplish our mission. While providing these services, there were also numerous outreach opportunities, community events, and fundraisers we participated in and hosted throughout the year.
The first quarter of the year was spent planning our 25th Annual Banquet and Auction which took place in April. Devoted volunteers and staff dedicated many hours to planning this event as it has notoriously been our largest annual fundraiser. February brought us a very successful “Giving Hearts Day” - a day of online giving in Minnesota and North Dakota sponsored by Dakota Medical Foundation. In an effort to reduce expenses, we again partnered with three other Detroit Lakes non-profits to pool marketing and staff resources. Teen Dating Violence is also recognized in February, so staff focused on sharing information in area schools about healthy relationships and dating violence.
Although planning started in the 1st quarter, we began the 2nd quarter with hosting our 25th Annual Banquet & Auction at the Holiday Inn. We had great fundraising success and a wonderful evening with all who attended. (Our 26th Annual Banquet is April 1st, 2016—save the date!) April is also Sexual Assault Awareness month, so in addition to fundraising, we were able to spend time providing community outreach to the students at MState as well as the community at large via publications and local media.
In May our Fundraising Committee began planning the 2nd Annual Lakes Area Auction comprised solely of donated items. Throughout the summer, donations were collected, photographed, and placed into storage in preparation for the August event. Also in May, our agency again co-hosted the Annual Dove Conference in collaboration with White Earth. This vital conference brought speakers from all over the U.S. to provide essential education, resources, and training to those in our field as well as those in education, foster care, and law enforcement. It also continues to serve as a networking opportunity for professionals to share best practices as to how to best serve victims of violence and crime.
The planning of the Lakes Area Auction culminated in the 3rd quarter on August 13th. Thanks to our generous donors, we were able to raffle three prizes which were awarded following the auction. Our hardworking committee and those who donated to our event outdid themselves making the 2nd annual event nearly double the financial success it was in its inaugural year. We have already begun accepting donations for the 2016 event (taking place on Thursday, August 11th) so please think of us if you have furniture, antiques, recreational equipment, or sporting goods you no longer use.
The last quarter of the year is notoriously busy with the holidays, assisting those needing aid, and connecting sponsors with families in need in our community for Christmas. In addition to participating in Give to the Max Day in November, we also began coordinating holiday efforts for Thanksgiving meals and connecting sponsors with families who struggle during the Holiday Season.
Over the course of the year, our staff provided numerous presentations on topics ranging from Elder Abuse to Domestic Violence to Bullying Prevention. To give back to the agencies and individuals that support us, we participate in the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign, the United Way Payroll Drive, the United Way Community Celebration, and the Week of the Young Child among many other community events. We also recognize the importance of staff training and growth and the evolution of our services. Therefore, we were thrilled to have been awarded a federal grant in conjunction with UND which will allow us to implement the Trauma Informed Care model across all programs and services we provide.
All was accomplished while also completing and submitting reports in compliance with state requirements, writing grants to apply for funding opportunities, and most importantly, serving our clients and educating the public on topics of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and the services we offer to eradicate the trauma caused by those crimes.
Thank you for supporting us & please stay tuned for a busy 2016!