Battered Victims Find Succor

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Sleeping without fear in a clean bed is a gift the Time Out Shelter bequeaths to battered women and their children.

The non-profit, largely volunteer operation has offered women a listening ear, a place to lay a weary head and hope for a future without violence for nearly 15 years in Payson.

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Time Out volunteer Tracy Sawkins takes care of incoming calls from women in need.

When a woman successfully leaves an abusive relationship, it is often after a few phone calls for help and maybe even several attempts to leave.

These facts make it difficult to track the number of women Time Out has assisted over the years.

"As in the operation of many new grass rootsV shelters, staff was busy with helping, and the records available from those days may not be all inclusive.Record keeping wasn't as sophisticated as today," Gerry Bailey said.

Calls incoming to the Time Out hotline numbered 2,162 in fiscal year July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007.

In addition 93 women and their 80 children resided in the emergency shelter for a total of 7,358 bed nights:

  • 6 women and 10 children in transitional housing for a total of 2,922 bed nights.
  • 341 non-residents were provided advocacy services, including, 17 men, 309 women and 15 children.
  • Staff members provided 59 community educational sessions.
  • 27 forensic interviews were conducted at the Gila Family Advocacy Center from March through December 2007.
  • As of Feb. 8, Time Out had 62 volunteers between the shelter and the thrift store.
  • In 2007, volunteer hours numbered 15,106.

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Anita Cherry, assistant manager of the Time Out Thrift Store, and Hazel West take a look at what is available at the store.

Tracy Sawkins is one of the newest voices on the hotline. Time Out trained her as a crisis advocate.

"We don't advise, but we give women options to decide their own next step," she said.

"My mother led the life of a victim, that is one of the reasons I thought this service would be good for me," she said.

So far, she has not had a crisis call, but feels when it comes her training has prepared her to respond.

"I can relate to these girls in a domestic violence situation -- it's a hard place to be without a plan," she said.

Sawkins' voice is soft and the calm demeanor she learned dealing with HVAC customers helps her on the line.

"This just another form of customer service," Sawkins said.

Arguably, the face of Time Out is the thrift store at the northwest corner of the Beeline and Wade Lane and Stan VanPelt was there at the beginning.

The Time Out shelter for battered women opened Oct. 23, 1993.

"I had a step father who verbally abused my mother. When I heard they were going to open Time Out, my wife, Barbara and I went to the original meeting," Stan VanPelt said.

The VanPelts and other volunteers scrubbed the floors, painted the walls and installed the appliances in the safe house which is set up for six women with three sets of bunk beds in two bedrooms.

"We only had two women staying at the shelter for the first two days, then word got out and more women trickled in," VanPelt said.

At that time, to keep the shelter going, VanPelt picked up donations, stored them in 10 by 20 lockers and when he could not fit another plate in the locker, held a yard sale.

With virtually no money coming in, food donations kept the altruistic habitat going.

"I belonged to the square dance club and they would some and help me unload the lockers," he said.

Van Pelt was the only male volunteer. He was still the only male volunteer, picking items up five years later when people were first able to "take time out to shop" at the thrift store located on the corner of Wade Lane at 500 S. Beeline.

VanPelt's main job now is testing the lamps, TVs, coffee pots and other donated electronic equipment to see that items are in good working order before he prices and puts them on the shelves.

For the last six years, VanPelt has shared shifts with "good guy and hard worker" Ben Brooner.

When Brooner answered Time Out's ad for help six years ago, he did not know it was a volunteer position.

"I thought, alright, I need something to do," he said.

He moves furniture, sorts heavy stuff and is one of the reasons it is nice to have a man about the place.

"The ladies sort the little stuff. If someone needs a table loaded, we help," Brooner said.

In March of 2007, Time Out went a step further and opened the Gila Family Advocacy Center.

The center is designed to feel as homey and warm as such an office can be. It is a place where victims of violent crimes can tell their story a single time, rather than repeat it to different law enforcement officers.

With the addition of forensic nurses to the staff in 2008, victims can have their medical examination onsite rather than travel out of town to a special facility.

The center is one of 16 in the state that minimizes trauma to the victims.

Time Out, Inc.

  • Founded: Incorporated May 11, 1992
  • Mission: It is the mission of Time Out Shelter to offer a safe environment for victims of domestic violence and their children in times of crisis, to give the victim a "time out" period in which to decide what choices she must make and what steps are necessary to stabilize her.

Volunteers give tremendous amounts of time and energy. Donations of clothing, household goods, money and other equipment are necessary to help the survivors in their recovery. Donations provide a large portion of Time Out's budget. Donations of goods may be used at Time Out Shelter, given directly to the clients, or sold to raise funds for Time Out Shelter programs.

Time out Shelter is partially funded by: Arizona Department of Economic Security, Arizona Department of Health Services, Victims of Crime Act with help from the Salvation Army and individual supporters.

  • Officers: Gerry Bailey, executive director; Jean Oliver is the education coordinator; Audrey Maurer is the volunteer coordinator.Darlene Curlee is our director of operations. Charlotte Beilgard is the Thrift Shop manager. Leslie Davis is the transitional Housing coordinator.Christy Walton is program director/forensic interviewer at the Gila Family Advocacy Center
  • Contact information: office / Hotline: (928) 472-8007
  • How to volunteer: contact Audrey Maurer
  • Major projects: Time Out shelter, transitional housing, thrift store and, Gila Family Advocacy Center.

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