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Sauk Prairie Optimists hear about Hope House


December 6, 2018

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Jessica Kaehny of Hope House in Baraboo, serving five counties, spoke to the Sauk Prairie Optimists on November 14. Jessica, an 11-year veteran of the Hope House staff, stated that the Hope House shelter, which most people are familiar with, is "the smallest part of what they do." The shelter provides short term emergency housing, has a capacity of 21, and has separate rooms, shared bathrooms and a community kitchen and dining room. The shelter is open for abused individuals and families with children. They moved to their current location in 2010. Experiencing an increase in teen survivors, they also have seen an increase in calls since the Kavanaugh hearings. With 15 on staff, the most important part of their work is "systems work." Hope House staff work to implement victim's services, hold perpetrators accountable and raise awareness of the problem. They have a sexual assault response team and an interdisciplinary team that addressed elderly abuse. An extensive community education program seeks to educate 3-year old's through seniors in high school about safety, resisting media (advertising) that promotes women as sexual objects and more. At Sauk Prairie High School and Middle School, they speak with 8th grade Health classes, work with the Bridges group, have been involved in Project Girl, and work with coaches and more. Funding for the Hope House program comes from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), the Sexual Assault Service grant, the Wisconsin Department of Health, Sauk County, and fundraising. They also work closely with Sauk Prairie Healthcare and St. Vincent de Paul of Sauk City. Carol May, November Optimist Speaker Chair stands with Jessica Kaehny of Hope House, right after presenting to the Sauk Prairie Optimists on November 14.

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