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West Jordan Journal

South Valley Services finding ways to help those in need

Sep 08, 2022 12:48PM ● By Linda Steele

South Valley Services is an agency dedicated to educating and supporting victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and verbal and emotional abuse. SVS aims to help all victims get the help they need and get out of the cycle of abuse. They help victims realize that there is help and they don’t need to stay in an abusive relationship or take verbal abuse from anybody.

“It is important for survivors to talk about abuse. Unless abuse is talked about there is no way to address it and change it. In a community it is important for people to talk about their abuse and know there are hundreds of people there to support them. It is a tough burden to carry the pain of abuse,” according to Education and Prevention Director of South Valley Services, Mikaylee Gray. 

“By not talking about abuse is sad because it isolates you. If people open up about their issues of abuse and realize there are hundreds of people to support and uplift them. If we don’t talk about abuse there is no way to address it and change it. There are so many different aspects to confronting abuse. It helps to be with a community that can support those people of abuse and they can get help and know there are resources and SVS can help support them,’Gray said. 

In addition to domestic violence, SVS also addresses teen dating. Participants are asked to complete an eleven question survey when they take one of their teen dating violence classes. One of the questions they ask is; “Can you identify a protective factor?”

Out of 831, 427 identified a Domestic Violence Provider as a resource, indicating 48% of youth would reach out to organizations like SVS if they needed help. 

Two other questions that are asked on the survey are; “What is an example of healthy relationship behavior,” and “What’s a resource you could contact for help?” Out of 831 responses, for those two questions combined, only 27 youth either left this question blank or provided an incorrect or no answer. This indicates that 98% of youth are able to determine healthy and unhealthy relationship behavior. 99% of youth can identify a resource for help. 

“It is so important to note that our youth experience physical violence and electronic violence is almost equal. Both forms of violence have a dangerous impact on our youth. It is essential for us to have awareness and policies that address electronic violence. We can ask ourselves, ‘do our policies allow us to intervene when the violence does not happen on school property?’ If so, how may we be missing an opportunity to help youth as they experience electronic violence? It takes schools and families working together to help children who experience online bullying. We can also see that over help of students who experience either bullying or teen dating violence, do not ask for help. We have to evaluate our behaviors and beliefs as adults if we want to cultivate a community where our youth know they can ask for help,” Gray said. 

SVS holds a yearly Corporate Breakfast and a Car Show to help raise funds as well as awareness about domestic violence. 

The Car Show is in memoriam of Tawnee Baird, a victim of Intimate Partner Violence homicide. Her father and his bike group put together a fundraising event to support Domestic Violence survivors, including SVS. “They did this because they want to raise awareness for the survivors and reach out to the community about the depth of IPV,” Gray said. The event was held at the Black Sheep Grille in the morning, then moved over to Lone Star Saloon for a car show and tabling event. The participants purchased tickets to win drawings for prizes. The money raised from the ticket sales was donated to SVS. 

For the Corporate Breakfast, SVS invites corporations to an organized breakfast at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan. For this year’s event there were around 15 corporate participants at the breakfast who invited employees and guests to attend at their table. SVS was able to introduce their new Executive Director, Lindsey Boyer, to the community and share about what SVS does for the community and how their donations help to end family violence. 

“Grants help SVS provide shelter, counseling, case management work and housing support. But one of the challenges that we face is that the demand for our services is so much greater than what we receive from grant support. That’s why we kindly ask for support,” said Jeff Stott, SVS Board Chair. 

Sponsors include WCF Insurance, Wasatch I.T, Chris & Dawn Page, Donna Rentmeister Agency for American Family Insurance, Extra Space Storage, Hillcrest Bank, Microsoft, MK Nash Photography, Software Technology Group and Windemere Real Estate. Extra Space Storage generously committed to match dollar for dollar every personal donation raised for the event up to $10,000, doubling the impact of each donation. 

“For me, the big answer to why we do what we do is because community support in every aspect of our mission is essential. Survivors have a wide variety of personal needs, and when South Valley Services is able to work with corporations, community groups and other partnering organizations we are able to broaden our abilities to help survivors. I am a huge advocate for surrounding our youth with healthy adults. Part of this is bringing awareness to the crises of our youth, so that we can learn how to navigate and address these challenges. Sharing this information allows adults, schools and community groups to have the full picture of what our youth are experiencing, and to be able to address them in a healthy way. It is important that our youth has healthy relationships, and calling out bad examples when we see them in the media, is essential. That is why it is important for adults to educate ourselves on how to have healthy relationships so we can help our youth and break the chain of domestic violence,” Gray said.λ