Safe Place, Inc. Dumas, TX
Safe Place, Inc. provides services to more than four counties covering 4,200 square miles with more than 35,000 people. Recently the population in these counties has become more diverse with an influx of refugees, including people from Burma, Somalia, and the Sudan.
The Agricultural Extension program partners with Safe Place, Inc. to provide refugees with information on family violence, shelter, and advocacy during monthly sessions.
Safe Place, Inc also has a strong partnership with JBS Swift. Survivors of family violence who are employed at Swift are assisted in a variety of ways including transfers to a different shift and referral to Safe Place, Inc. to create safety plans.
A challenging aspect for Safe Place, Inc. has been securing interpreters. Currently the agency calls on Certified Languages International and Catholic Family Services. However, the demand far outweighs the available resources, particularly when interpreting more complex issues such as explaining the American legal system and exploring cultural differences.
Challenges aside, Executive Director Kelli Cummings-Danford and the program’s staff are creatively working to provide clients with the safety and well-being to which they are entitled.
Safe Place, Inc. is a Category 1 member. For more information, click here.
Executive Director: Heather Kartye
Family Crisis Center of East Texas, Lufkin
TCFV introduces Heather Kartye, the Executive Director of the Family Crisis Center of East Texas in Lufkin. Heather previously served on the board of directors for the program and became executive director in November 2011. We wanted to hear Heather’s thoughts on her exciting new role! In addition, we are proud to announce that Heather is the newest addition to TCFV Board of Directors, representing Region 6.
What have your experiences been like as a new executive director?
My experiences as a new ED have been life-changing. I am not the same person I was 10 months ago when I began as the interim executive director. This position has taught me so much about the movement and the individuals we serve, but I have also learned a lot about myself. I have grown significantly both professionally and personally since taking on this new role. I am in the business of empowering people—whether it be survivors or staff. And to see those I work with succeed is incredibly satisfying.
For more Q&A with a Heather Kartye, please click here.
What is your perspective as a previous board member and now the new executive director of Family Crisis Center of East Texas?
Having previously served as a board member for our agency for several years, I feel like I really had a good grasp of the “big picture.” Now in the ED position, I am filling in the gaps with all of the details as I learn and grow.
What are some of the challenges of being a new ED?
Every day on the job I am faced with new challenges! (I doubt that will ever change.) Of course the age-old issue of time management and finding balance are two things I often struggle with. Challenges I see for our agency specifically are finding creative ways to generate additional funding so we can provide uninterrupted care to survivors and overcoming growing pains, which can be exciting, but also scary and intimidating.
What has been helpful or where you have found the best support?
The support in this new role has come from many sources, including our agency’s board of directors and other executive directors throughout the state. Of course TCFV is a WONDERFUL resource. The trainings/conferences are always top-notch. And the ED list-serve is great. The topics brought forth are always so timely and relevant. And it’s comforting to know that our agency is not the only one dealing with difficulties from time to time. But I have to say, my very best resource is right here within our agency. The staff here has been incredibly helpful and patient with me as I learn the ropes!
What successes have you seen in your program since taking on your new role?
We’ve seen a lot of success in recent months. We have realigned many of our direct service staff, which has increased our numbers and productivity. Our two thrift stores continue to grow and thrive—which means additional unrestricted income for our agency. We just completed a successful first year fundraiser of gourmet caramel apples sales around Valentine’s Day. And the recent Criminal Justice System Response Training that was held in Lufkin was a success with almost 70 participants representing more than 10 different agencies. However, the greatest accomplishments our agency has seen are survivors who, through our assistance, are becoming self-sufficient and successful in finding a life free from violence!
What were your thoughts on attending your first executive directors’ conference?
The ED Conference was fabulous! I felt like a sponge the entire time—soaking up all of the valuable information that was exchanged during those two days. The conference also provided an excellent opportunity to network with other EDs and professionals in the field.
Do you have suggestions for new EDs on how to make their transition smoother?
Hmmm…don’t be afraid to ask questions—even if they seem mundane. And take advantage of TCFV’s many offerings including staff, online resources, and conferences/trainings.
Family Crisis Center of East Texas is a Category 1 member. For more information, click here.