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Center provides help, prevents abuse

November 4, 2011

Going on her third year being the executive director at Turning Point, Inc., Kim Wojcik said working to prevent domestic and sexual abuse is a, “no brainer.”

“To me, it’s a no-brainer,” Wojcik said. “You shouldn’t smoke, you should wear your seatbelt, and you just shouldn’t beat your wife.”

Turning Point is a non-profit organization that has been active in River Falls for 33 years. The 17-bed shelter provides living necessities, hygiene products, support groups, a Forensic Nurse Examiner Program (FNEP), hospital and court advocacy, domestic and sexual violence counseling, a 24-hour crisis line and other services to victims/ survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Wojcik said Turning Point treats people from all kinds of different backgrounds.

“We help people from every religion, ethnicity, race and sex,” Wojcik said. “It doesn’t matter what group or culture you’re from, everyone can experience domestic and sexual abuse.”

Since Turning Point is a non-profit organization, they do various events to spread awareness and fundraise. The two biggest events Turning Point hosts are held in April, which is child abuse awareness month, and the second one is in October, which is domestic violence awareness month.

“The event in April is called Pottery for Prevention,” Wojcik said. “Potters donate pottery and then we auction it off, we also offer food and drinks.”

The other main fundraiser is called the Walk to Empowerment to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. This year, the two-mile walk was on Oct. 8 in Prescott, Wis. Wojcik said sponsors donate money and a lot people form teams and raise money on their own for Turning Point. Courtney Brown, a senior at UW-River Falls, said that she helped plan the walk.

“The Walk to Empowerment to End Domestic and Sexual Violence was my first event I helped organize,” Brown said. “A lot of the people walking are victims of domestic or sexual abuse or family and friends of people who have experienced it.”

Brown is a marketing intern at Turning Point; she said she found the internship through a marketing communications class at the University.

“I’ve written press releases, articles and completed marketing input presentations,” said Brown. “Pretty soon I will be presenting to their marketing board.”

Turning Point is always taking applications for volunteers and internships.

“We operate off of volunteers,” Wojcik said. “We have six full-time volunteers but that’s just barely touching the surface for how many we actually need.”

Hands-on internships are available as well. Wojcik said she’s looking for a marketing, social work and a web design intern, or just anyone with passion and interest.

Overall, Wojcik said she would like to get more men involved in volunteering and being active in the fight against domestic and sexual abuse.

“The reality is, men are usually the abusers,” Wojcik said. “When boys grow up in a violent home, it is more likely that they will become violent someday as well.”

The next big event Turning Point is involved in is called Give To The Max, which is a “24 hour period of giving.”

“Basically, on Nov. 9, anyone can log on to the website (give2max.razoo.com) and donate any amount of money to the non-profit organizations that are registered for the event,” said Wojcik.

The organization that raises the most money gets a $10,000 grant.