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A little over a week ago, the points were tallied from the My Personal Finance Journey January 10% Blog Income Give Back. Our Grand Prize winner was Donna B (also the winner of the November 10% give back as well!). As such, $75 in cash was transferred via PayPal to Donna. A big thanks to everyone for participating in the January Give Back event!
Having processed the the blog reader portion of the January give back, it was time to turn my attention to the question of which of the 8 local charities listed below would receive the $96.00 charity portion of the give back.
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Virginia
- The Nature Conservancy
- Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville
- Meals on Wheels of Charlottesville-Albemarle
- United Way Thomas Jefferson Area
- Sexual Assault Resource Agency
- Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA
- Alzheimer’s Association of Central and Western Virginia
After asking our Grand Prize winner, Donna B., which charity she wanted to see receive the $96 donation, she informed me that her choice was the Sexual Assault Resource Agency. To me, it sure sounded like a great cause I could get behind and would be happy to support once again!
So, on Tuesday of this week, I took a lunch break at the lab and ventured off on my bike to drop off the donation at the Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA) office near downtown Charlottesville.
It was a very nice clear and luke-warm February day out, and the outing made for a pleasant break during lunch. After biking the ~2.5 miles from the University where I work to a little East of the downtown area, I arrived at the specified office location address (see picture below). The office is located in a very pleasant neighborhood, which appeared to be a bunch of older houses converted in to small office buildings for doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.
|Pulling up to the Sexual Assault Resource Agency Office in Charlottesville, Virginia to drop off the donation check!|
Margaret explained to me a little about the background of the Charlottesville agency, including how they are an independent organization (not part of a national chain) and have been in operation for 32 years now. The agency first started as a group of volunteers, but it has since grown to a full-time staff consisting of 10 professionals, including 2 full time counselors. Quite the success story!
CHALLENGES FACING THE Sexual Assault and resource agency of charlottesville
When I asked if there are any particular challenges that SARA faces in the Charlottesville area, two primary things were mentioned, as discussed below:
- First, since Charlottesville is home to a big University (University of Virginia – go Thomas Jefferson!), the number of sexual assault cases is naturally slightly higher since the young adult (under 25) age group is one of the highest risk groups for becoming victims. However, it was mentioned that this University phenomena is experienced nationwide, and is not isolated to only this area.
- Second, I found out that the SARA agency in Charlottesville services a large rural population in the surrounding areas/counties. In fact, I learned that 1/3 of their clients in 2011 and 48% of their clients so far in 2012 were from rural locations.
- Because of the small population-nature of rural areas, confidentiality of sexual assault (and receiving treatment/counseling for sexual assault) is of the utmost importance. And, as you can imagine, it is also particular challenge because we as humans are naturally curious people to learn about what others are doing.
Overall, it was a truly great experience to see that what we do here at My Personal Finance Journey can have a real life impact. Through this charity give back that you all have helped to make possible, we are able to help a difference in either preventing future sexual assault cases and/or improving the life of a survivor. Just take a look at what a difference even small amounts of money can make (taken from SARA Donation tab on website).
- $30 provides a new set of clothes for a victim seen at the Emergency Room whose clothes are collected as evidence.
- $50 provides a therapy session for a child or adult victim of sexual violence.
- $20 keeps the SARA sexual assault hot line running for a day.
- $150 provides a full day of prevention programming to a local school.
So, thank you all for helping with this journey, and remember to always live for a higher purpose and ask yourself what more you can do to help others. Also, be on the lookout for the February 10% give back event, on the way in the next few days!