Project Pathway Launch

Project Pathway launches with initial investment from the Robert E. and Patricia A. Schmidt Foundation.

Thanks to a $41,000 donation from Robert E. and Patricia A. Schmidt Foundation, Options Domestic & Sexual Violence Services Inc. will be launching Project Pathway, a new way of training trauma advocates. Options employs 22 staff in northwest Kansas providing 24-hour crisis-intervention services to 18 counties around domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, dating violence, and sex trafficking through 2 offices and 1 safe house.

The significant impact of domestic and sexual violence in Kansas calls for a workforce that is both highly skilled and capable of meeting the demands of these complex and challenging jobs. Yet despite the increasing visibility of domestic violence, the workers—and work itself—have largely remained invisible. Helping trauma-impacted adults and children is a difficult job that often has secondary traumatic effects on staff – which leads to high turnover, burnout, and compassion fatigue.

Through Project Pathway, Options staff will have an 18-month training and certification process through the nationally recognized, evidence-based Creating PRESENCE program (Dr. Sandra Bloom) resulting in new case management strategies, treatment and care plans for clients, and self-care and resilience for themselves as the caregivers.  

Workforce development is key to ensuring that victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence receive competent services to help them heal and move on to lead healthy, productive lives. Project Pathway provides both clients and staff at Options with basic knowledge about trauma, adversity, and stress, and advances the emergence of trauma-informed values, knowledge, practice, and skills. This benefits staff through workforce development, and clients through better care and treatment plans.

Project Pathway focuses on client and staff safety and recognizes that trauma has an impact on not only those who have experienced it, but also on the staff who work with them. Staff will also receive training to implement the S.E.L.F.  curriculum with clients. S.E.L.F. is a trauma informed framework that focuses on safety, emotional management, loss, and future for victims of trauma. Finally, staff will also receive training from the Family Peace Initiative which teaches the staff the value and risks of leading by example in group facilitation.

“We have raised about 88% of the funding we need so far, thanks in large part to the Schmidt Foundation. With their partnership and support, not only will lives be changed…lives will be saved,” said Jennifer Hecker, Executive Director. “With their donation, we are able to launch our project and get started while we continue to seek the last 12% of funding we need. We are so grateful for their commitment to a healthier, safer community.”

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