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Answering Crisis Calls This Holiday Season

2018-EndYear-Helpline-DonateNow-4 ACTS HELPLINE Donate Now
The holidays can be extremely tough for those who have lost loved ones, are struggling to pay bills, or dealing with other stressors in their lives.  Our Helpline Program allows us to come alongside our neighbors as they work through deep mental and emotional pain.  It is run by a dedicated staff of seven and volunteer team of fourteen.  Our trained Crisis Listeners are available 24/7 and receive nearly 2,000 calls per month - 39% of which are suicide related.   Encompassing four different resources, the Helpline program, with the help of donations received, provides: Crisis Listeners: Thirty-nine percent of calls received per month by the Helpline are suicide related. All ACTS crisis listeners are trained to help people deal with their feelings and to talk through their issues. Resources Listeners : Providing a wealth of information on the availability of resources available to people who are in crisis, such as hospital locations etc....
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Working to End Domestic Violence in Prince William County

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Step out with ACTS Domestic Violence Services (Turning Points) by joining our 2018 Purple Purse Challenge! Together we can help put an end to domestic violence in Prince William County! 2018 was a big year as we launched a new and vital partnership with the Prince William County Police. The LAP program, or Lethality Assessment Protocol, allows us to reach high danger victims with safety planning and advocacy as never before. But the need is greater now. Many have no where to go in order to stay safe. Your support will provide needed resources to help high danger victims who need safe shelter and transportation, sometimes in the middle of the night. Your gift will help people like Laura, a survivor of domestic violence:  “My bruises were in my head.” Laura told us. “It felt like love at first, but then he became jealous and suspicious of me,” she said. “He...
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Suicide and Self-harm in the Media Today

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If you’ve been struggling with thoughts of suicide, feeling hopeless, feeling lonely and isolated, worried about someone you care about, you have help available through ACTS Helpline. Your call will be greeted by a compassionate trained listener. This person is there to help clarify your problems, offer suggestions, and most of all, listen. Call our helpline, day or night, at (703) 368-4141. Anthony Bordain, Kate Spade and 13 Reasons Why have all brought attention to something we should all have awareness of by now; suicide is the 10 th leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 45,000 Americans die by suicide yearly. Numbers are expected to be higher since under reporting is known to occur. Impacts of these tragedies shock people in different ways. Kate Spade and Anthony Bordain were both lost within one week of each other. There has also been...
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Life After Losing Your Spouse

Life After Losing Your Spouse
Read the whole article at: ACTS Helpline provides numerous support lines to ensure that no one is ever alone.Your call will always be greeted by a compassionate, trained listener. This person is there to help clarify your problems, offer suggestions, and most of all, listen. All calls made are confidential and anonymous, allowing you to be completely open about what you’ve been going through. If you would like to sign up for ACTS Senior Link service, call 703-441-8606 ext 210 and ask for Senior Link. Introduction The death of a spouse is one of the most difficult challenges many of us will have to face. Your world is turned upside down, and it’s not easy to come to grips with the many emotions that you will inevitably feel. This is especially true if you had been married to your spouse for a significant amount of time. Nobody likes to think...
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Volunteer Spotlight: Alexis

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Helpline is a free and confidential 24/7 crisis service. Since the Helpline does not close, it is crucial that there are an adequate number of staff and volunteers to cover the Helpline at all times. There are certain times of day that callers tend to call in more frequently and more listeners are needed during those times. The topics of conversation are varied and listeners need to have the ability to discuss different types of crises. Volunteers are always appreciated. Alexis is an intern for the Helpline. She has to complete 120 hours for her internship and is more than halfway done at the time of this writing. Alexis has been willing to do her internship hours based on the needs of the Helpline. Whether that means a shift that begins at 5 AM or at 5 PM. She has a full-time job and she goes above and beyond to...
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How Police Are Trained to Respond to Domestic Violence

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Last year, ACTS Domestic Violence Services initiated the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) to help train Prince William County officers how to respond to situations involving domestic violence. The LAP is a multi-pronged intervention program that consists of an evidence-based tool called the  Lethality  Screen that helps law enforcement more clearly assess a victim’s risk of intimate partner homicide, and an accompanying referral process that proactively connects victims to community-based domestic violence services. The Screen is adapted from Dr. Campbell’s Danger Assessment, a screening instrument used by clinicians and counselors to assess a victim’s risk of being killed by an intimate partner (Campbell, 1986). The LAP aims to translate clinical research on  lethality  predictors into practical tools that will help first responders respond more effectively to dangerous and potentially lethal incidents of domestic violence.  As seen in:  Domestic violence has been found to constitute the single largest category of police calls in some cities. When...
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Change on the Horizon for ACTS' Housing Program

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By: Denarsha Clarke and Laurel Turay; ACTS' Sustainable Housing Case Managers As ACTS prepares for its 50th Anniversary, one of our longest running programs, the Beverly Warren Emergency Family Shelter, will be experiencing some changes this year. Our organization began at the Emergency Shelter, and during ACTS' history, it has been the site of a thrift store, a hub for families to receive emergency financial assistance, but most importantly, it has been a refuge for all who would otherwise be homeless in our area. The change has already begun. Last year, Valria Martin became the supervisor for the Emergency Shelter as well as the Domestic Violence Shelter. Ms. Martin has been with ACTS for 10 years and her dedication to its residents has been unparalleled. The shelter will also be under renovation soon. While the building has been a beacon for those needing a safe place to stay, 50 years...
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Life Unlocked

Life Unlocked
As seen in: At a recent women’s conference in Phoenix, Ariz., Erin Brockovich was one of the featured speakers—you know, the woman made famous when Julia Roberts portrayed her life story in the 2000 Academy Award-winning film  Erin Brockovich . Brockovich was there to talk about how women can overcome even the toughest of situations. “We have to learn to persevere when we want to give up,” she said. During the Q&A that followed, Suzanna Quintana, 49, raised her hand. She had a story to tell about persevering. She had been stalked by her abusive ex-husband, she said, for two years, maybe longer—she couldn’t be exactly certain when it started, or even if it was over. In part, he had used the identity theft protection company, LifeLock to do so. Quintana had explored every avenue to get him to stop—the police, the court system, anyone at LifeLock who would listen....
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Keeping Your Mental Health in Mind

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By: Peter Lineberry It’s been said that not every disability is visible, and this can often be true when it comes to mental health. Some illnesses are readily diagnosed and treated with therapy and medication; others can be vaguer in the minds of those affected and often remain unknown to a person’s loved ones. Anxiety and depression can take many forms, and while sometimes triggered by sad events, might start just because, well, life happens. One reason that symptoms are undiagnosed, or purposefully hidden from the wider world, is the fear of stigma: that the person will become a social outcast at work or at home. Yet, in our county, there are numerous organizations dedicated to fighting this perception and providing needed help.  Prince William Living  wanted to highlight some of these organizations and show the good they are doing in the community, and share a few self-realized therapies that have made a positive difference for some coping with mental illness. Because, as Cynthia...
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Best Ways to Provide Support When One of Your Volunteers Suffers a Loss

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While it can take months or even years to come to terms with the loss of a loved one, most people realize that time doesn’t pause during that period. Life and responsibilities go on and require attention. While some people find returning to a regular routine helpful, it can be extremely challenging for others. This can be a tricky situation for a manager when a volunteer suffers a loss. But with a little planning, you can make the transition easier for your returning volunteer. Why It’s Hard Whether it’s working or volunteering, everyone knows that the first day back with an organization can be a bit of a challenge. Especially when one expects colleagues to react with sympathy and questions. It’s typical for people to have the same automatic, though well-intentioned, reaction of, “I’m sorry.”  They may ask how the volunteer is doing or what happened. Try to anticipate some...
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IWALK Festival To Enter Final Lap

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We can’t wait for  Saturday’s  7 th  Annual IWALK for ACTS. There’s still time to  register  for the 5K! Following the 5K, the community at large is invited to join us for a FREE family festival from  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center ( 14900 Potomac Town Place, Woodbridge ). We will be filling the main street with activities and entertainment for the entire family. You won’t want to miss this fun, fall Saturday! We have a few vendor spots still available. Interested in partnering with us? Learn more  here . Here is a look at what to expect at the festival: Minecraft activities by Animated Child Bounce House and Bounce House Slide from Castle Bounce LLC Virginia Party Rentals Character appearances by: McGruff the Crime Dog, Star Wars characters, Superheroes, Sparky the Fire Dog and more Meet and Greet with Queen Elsa  Science experiments with...
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What I Have Learned My First Year As A Crisis Listener

Helpline
It is amazing to me that whoever calls and whatever time it is, there is always room for compassion, even at 3:00 a.m.  Sometimes the callers at this hour are lonely and cannot sleep, other times the caller is in emotional distress.                                               We have a diverse background for our Crisis Listener team.  Many of my coworkers have past experience with working in the mental health field, serving as an encyclopedia of knowledge and resources.  One of them in particular, who has a calm spirit and years of experience, ended up talking to me about an active suicide I took. He was able to assess the call with me and gave me hope that the caller was talking about the future, so there is a chance the caller did...
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Helping Seniors Deal with the Loss of a Spouse: Tackling the Paperwork and Understanding the States of Grief

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Photo Credit: vlanka, Pixabay Losing a spouse is unimaginable. It’s one of the hardest things that an individual can go through in life, and watching your loved one suffer with the grief of losing his or her spouse isn’t easy either. If your senior loved one has recently become a widow or widower, your support is important. You can help with paperwork and other tasks. Your loved one will also need your support as he or she goes through each state of grief. When a person dies, there are certain tasks that must be taken care of, such as planning the funeral, contacting the insurance company, obtaining death certificates, and more. While you should offer to help , don’t try to take control of the situation. Handling the planning gives many people in grief a sense of control and a source of distraction. Instead, sit down with your loved one...
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Compton & Duling Supports ACTS in its Work with Domestic Abuse Survivors

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Compton & Duling recently launched a Community Champion project in support of ACTS, which offers counseling and education for community members experiencing crisis. Through its involvement with ACTS, the Prince William-based law firm is bolstering services offered to families affected by domestic abuse . Compton & Duling Partner Maryse Allen recently did a presentation for ACTS' Adult Victim Group , helping group members to better understand the divorce process in Virginia. “While I am unable to give specific legal advice during a presentation, I can provide insight into preventing common pitfalls,” said Allen, who heads Compton & Duling’s family law practice. “Another goal is to demystify the court process. We never want anybody to feel that they are trapped in a domestic violence situation due to lack of information or resources.” Many of those in attendance had questions about their own situations. Often, Allen’s advice was to seek legal counsel....
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Real Estate Team Donates $1K to Beverly Warren Shelter

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AJ Team of Keller Williams Realty , recently featured on an episode of HGTV’s popular show House Hunters , announced viewers helped raise $1,000 for ACTS Emergency Family Shelter in Dumfries, VA. Because one of the team’s Core Values is to “Be A Blessing”, they donated $1 for every social media post viewers tagged to the team’s Facebook or Instagram pages during the 22-minute live show. On July 20th , the AJ Team will present the check to shelter representatives at their office located in Lake Ridge, VA.  The journey which led the AJ Team to HGTV began when CEO Allen Johnson met Makya and Delmar through a network of friends. The couple had almost given up on finding their dream home after a year-long search because they were frustrated with their previous realtor and the home-search process. Johnson convinced them to give his team a chance, and fellow AJ...
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Understanding Dating Violence

Dating-Violence
-Linda Neice, Community Educator, ACTS Domestic Violence Services “Is this really what you want? To leave me?” he shouted. “If you leave me, I will kill myself. You are so cold. How could you be so cruel to me?”  With that he left, slamming the metal front door in my face. I had no idea what he would do, and I was terrified. I was only 21. Little did I know I would hear his threats over and over again, like a horrible song on repeat. It was not always this way. Like other girls, I wanted the love story that people talk about in novels. The kind that sweeps you off your feet, complete with passionate romance and the “happily ever after.” And that is what it was like during the first year. We would go on trips together, have long meaningful conversations, he would buy me extravagant gifts, and...
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Healing for All Walks of Life

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The woman in this story was a client in our AMAC (Adults Molested As Children) support group at the PWC Adult Detention Center many moons ago.  She was a single mom whose children were living with her parents at the time.  The parents were not very supportive, however she found the support she needed from our group and co-facilitators.  Every week she would ask the facilitators for various help that she was unable to do in jail.  One day the group members laughed when again she asked for help and apologized if she was asking too much.  She turned to them and said “I am serious, this is my life”!  It was then that we knew she had a burning determination to make it and we would do whatever we could to help her.  When she was released from jail, she stayed for awhile at a shelter, found a job,...
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Shimmy Mob Shakes for Domestic Violence Awareness

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Belly Dancers across North America and beyond have geared up during the past few weeks to make Belly Dance History once again, and all of it was for a great cause. On Saturday, May 13th, “Shimmy Mobs” appeared randomly at various locations from coast to coast to promote World Belly Dance Day and help raise funds for women's shelters . “Flash Mobs” (a group of people organized to meet to perform a specified action and then disperse quickly) are nothing new. What makes Shimmy Mob different from regular flash mobs is the three main goals. The primary goal is to promote belly dance and raise awareness of World Belly Dance Day; the secondary goal is to raise funds for local women’s and children’s shelters in participating communities; the third goal is to acknowledge and promote participating sponsors. Of course, they also aim to entertain! Shimmy Mob represents all styles of Belly Dance...
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ACTS Helpline: The People We Talk To

ACTS Helpline: The People We Talk To
ACTS Helpline responds to a variety of people in crisis throughout the state, country, and the world.  Not only do we receive calls from our neighbors in Prince William County, but also from other parts of the US. We’ve even handled calls from Mexico, Canada and London! Other than a person’s accent, it goes to show that some problems are universal.   The range of subjects we address is staggering. This could include relationship issues with husbands or wives, transitioning to a new chapter in life, or difficulties with employment.  We frequently get calls from people locked in the cycle of domestic violence , looking for a single ray of hope. Depending on how far they want to take it, we can de-escalate, form safety plans, and refer them to direct services in their area. Although we are primarily crisis-oriented, some call because they feel they're alone in the world and...
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Love, Violence, and Our Children

Love, Violence, and Our Children
Teen dating can be both exciting and scary. There are many new feelings that teens will experience during their first few relationships and it can be difficult to determine if what they're feeling is love.  What is love?  Love is an amazing feeling, it puts a smile on your face and is an antidote that can provide ultimate healing. So why do some people hurt when they are in love?  Why do relationships sometimes make people feel like they aren't good enough?   ACTS Domestic Violence Services is here to say that love is NOT pain, and being in a relationship should NOT make an individual feel like a prisoner.   Love is kindness, love is trust, love makes you feel significant and special.  Love is gentle, tender touches, not shoves, slaps, or punches, or words that are cutting and hurtful. Love is a breath of fresh air, not a feeling of...
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