Alder House Opens to Serve Families in Crisis
Tomorrow Saturday, Nov. 24 the Advocates of Lake County is hosting an Open House at their new family crisis center: Alder House. The public is invited to attend the event from 1 – 4 p.m. which will include a ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Jaime Stuever and the Leadville/Lake County Chamber of Commerce.
The Alder House is located at 501 E. 12th Street in Leadville. In addition to providing safe transitional housing for families in crisis, the building will also house the Advocates’ administrative offices.
The dream of Alder House began several years ago, however the reality came in early 2011 with a generous donation from the El Pomar Foundation, followed up by another sizable contribution from Freeport McMoRan, owner and operator of the Climax Mine. Building on that success, have been contributions from local donors, volunteers and community fundraisers, which have brought the project to completion.
While the opening of Alder House coincides with the spirit of Thanksgiving, it is very often holiday family gatherings that can lead to heated arguments and eventually cross the line into domestic violence. And the Lake County community is no exception. In fact, while Leadville is frequently in the record books for being the highest – highest city, highest airport – it’s also ranked at the top when it comes to domestic violence.
“We have a high rate of domestic violence in Lake County,” notes Gretchen Scanlon, Executive Director of the Advocates of Lake County. Most of the variables, Scanlon explains, are economic. Whether it’s the present rate of unemployment or the fluctuating income associated with seasonal jobs, financial hardship is often at the top of trigger points.
Established in 1982, the Advocates of Lake County’s mission is to assist victims of domestic violence and their families through prevention, education and up to now, temporary housing in local hotels and private residential safe houses. Initially an all-volunteer organization, the Advocates now consists of 3 full-time staff and countless volunteers.
In recent years, in an effort to more effectively meet the needs of victims in the community, this non-profit organization expanded their vision to include a family crisis center. This permanent “safe house” will provide a place that victims can call home during their transition to a new, secure life. It allows people affected by domestic crimes with the option of not returning to a dangerous, violent situation.
Alder House consist of nearly 2,800 square feet of livable space including four bedrooms, a shared kitchen and a living room as well as a playroom for children. Outside, the fenced in yard allows the temporary residents a secured environment. The structure is wired with a tight security system, including a panic button to alert law enforcement to any unwanted intrusions. In addition, the new building provides a permanent, on-site office for the Advocates.
The Advocates of Lake County, Inc. is a charitable 501(C) (3) organization and contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Those interested in donating can do so by mailing a check to Advocates of Lake County, P.O. Box 325, Leadville, CO 80461 .
The Advocates of Lake County Board of Directors includes: Gaby Burkham, Donna Axel, Mary Ann Best, Rene Giffen, Ann Marie Brick, and Cricket Hawkins. The Advocates staff includes Executive Director Gretchen Scanlon, Lisa Roeder, and Hope Sinclair.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, please contact the Advocates at 719-486-3530.