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Interview with Direct Services Team

The SARA Direct Services Team addresses the impacts of sexual violence through advocacy, therapy, and support services for survivors and their loved ones.

The population in our service area is 252,588 including 49,097 people age 18 or younger (2017 American Community Survey). At current rates, 1 in 3 women, 1 in 4 men, and 1 in 2 transgender individuals will experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. SARA works alongside survivors throughout their healing journeys. When survivors lack access to mental health, medical, and legal assistance, they are more likely to experience severe and long-term post-traumatic stress. Conversely, survivors recover a sense of well-being more quickly when they feel fully supported by family, friends, and members of the community.

Meet SARA's Direct Services Team

The Direct Services Team’s on-going focus is to provide care and support informed by the impact trauma has on the brain and body, an approach called trauma-informed. We do this through advocacy services and therapy services. Advocates provide supportive care and help clients navigate various systems in the community, such as legal, medical, or academic institutions. Therapists provide long-term and short-term trauma therapy with treatment tailored to each individual’s needs. Therapists typically have training in EMDR, Internal Family Systems, TF-CBT, and/or other experiential modalities.

Lindsay and Gleibys co-lead SARA's Direct Services Team.

What are your roles on the Direct Services Team?

Gleibys G., Advocacy Coordinator: I am part of the SARA leadership team and directly supervise our team of advocates, which include our Child and Family Advocate, our Rural Advocate, and our Outreach Advocate. I also co-lead with our Clinical Coordinator, Lindsay Detlie, the Direct Services Team, which is made up of our advocates and therapists. Aside from my supervisory and leadership role at SARA, I also see adult clients seeking SARA services. With our new Rural Advocate now on board, serving folks in our 4 outlying counties, I will mostly be seeing adult clients who either live or have their cases in Charlottesville or Albemarle County. As an advocate, I serve as a resource of support and community systems guide to survivors of sexual violence. Lindsay D., Therapist: I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and serve as the Clinical Coordinator on the Direct Services Team. I maintain a small to moderate caseload of individual therapy clients, supervise our therapists, coordinate our equine programming, and lead the clinical half of our direct services team. In partnership with the Advocacy Coordinator, I also evaluate and create new procedures, as needed, for direct services.

Who else is on the Direct Services Team?

For the safety of our clients and staff, we are not providing pictures of the full team. Instead, we've asked them to share more about their roles and what they are working on in 2020.

Jessica H., Outreach Advocate: My role is primarily focused on working with individuals in corrections settings. I work with survivors who happen to be incarcerated (or have recently been released) who are looking for support and need a safe place to process the trauma they have experienced at some point in their life, advocacy within the criminal justice system, and getting connected to resources upon release. I also co-facilitate empowerment and resilience groups at our local jail, the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women and a local inpatient substance abuse treatment center with our Crisis Services Coordinator. Christine P., Child and Family Advocate: I work a lot with youth who call for support, need to process, or want to brainstorm what to do. I also interact with family members of youth who need support and a safe place to process. I connect them to additional resources. Michelle W., Rural Advocate: My role is to provide trauma-informed advocacy, court accompaniment, educational counseling, and direct services to survivors of sexual violence in the rural communities of Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson. Much of my work involves establishing and nurturing relationships with community partners. Marni B., Therapist: I am a social worker who received my MSW from the University of South Florida. I joined the SARA team in 2018, and work as a therapist providing trauma-informed care to survivors of sexual abuse/assault. Healing is a process, and survivors enter therapy in different phases of that journey.

What are you working on in 2020?

Gleibys G., Advocacy Coordinator:

In my role as the Advocacy Coordinator, I am working on developing a trauma-informed leadership style, where our advocates feel supported and cared for as they support and care for survivors. My goal in 2020 is to continue to work in partnership with my colleagues in developing a system of care at SARA that is holistically trauma-informed.

Lindsay D., Therapist:

In my specific role, I am focused on cultivating and implementing trauma-informed leadership practices in order to best support our staff therapists and our agency’s mission of being a trauma-informed agency.

Jessica H., Outreach Advocate:

This year, my goal is to strengthen relationships with community partners to help get people connected to community resources that are so essential for people transitioning out of incarceration, especially when trauma is a part of their history. I would also like to see our resilience and empowerment programs continue to grow and provide a much-needed safe space for people to process and learn new/healthier coping skills.

Christine P., Child and Family Advocate:

This year, I plan to focus on nurturing relationships with community partners in Charlottesville and the immediate area of Albemarle, including counselors in the local schools to work as allies to better serve students in giving them a safe space to be open about their experiences and know that they do not have to go through this alone.

Michelle W., Rural Advocate:

As this is a new position and SARA hasn’t been a huge presence in the rural counties, my main goal is to establish relationships and be supportive of community partners there. This will require a lot of networking, outreach and attending meetings. My hope is that once that network is established and trust is built, that this role will be busy meeting the needs of folks who were unable to report incidents as they did not feel previously supported.

Marni B., Therapist:

As a therapist, I have the privilege of working collaboratively with clients to reach their desired therapeutic goals. Part of my role is fostering a safe, compassionate, environment in which survivors can be seen, heard and grow. I am currently working with adolescents and adults in individual trauma counseling. I am continually filled with gratitude for the honor it is to work with such an amazing and resilient population.

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