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Guardian Angel Community Services empowers survivors of domestic assault to regain control of their lives and develop renewed ways of thinking that promote harmony and wellbeing. Through its Groundwork Domestic Violence Program, GACS provides emergency shelter, individual and group counseling, legal and medical advocacy, a 24-hour hotline and prevention education. These services are available to everyone who walks through their doors, regardless of background, income, or insurance.
For more than 120 years, GASC has been helping Joliet, IL residents overcome adversity and make positive, lasting change.
Susan came to the Groundwork program after calling the 24-hour hotline. She told a staff member that her husband of eight years has a bad temper that was only getting worse. He hit her on several occasions and was becoming forceful. Susan’s ability to get help for herself and her sons was impeded by her inability to access safe transportation.
County Prestress, through the Sonnentag Foundation, provided funds used to cover Susan’s transportation, which helped her access lifesaving services without endangering her. If Susan were to use a vehicle at home or public transportation, her husband could notice unaccounted milage changes or gas station and ATM charges.
After receiving emotional support and information about her rights under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, Susan decided to attend Groundwork’s Empowerment Group and bring her sons to the Children’s Group.
Shortly after, Susan and her oldest son, age 8, began individual counseling as well. It became evident that Susan’s son was experiencing significant effects of domestic abuse, including suicidal thoughts.
Groundwork counseling staff helped Susan find mental health services for her son. Meanwhile, her husband continued to exert power and control over the family by becoming angrier and more threatening.
Susan decided to activate the individual safety plan she created with her counselor. With her children, she left her husband and obtained an order of protection. Today, Susan and her sons are safe. Susan is employed, self-supporting, and pursuing her goal of buying a home.
County Prestress, through the Sonnentag Foundation, supports dozens of worthy organizations and causes in four services areas, including Hunger and Homelessness Support, Military Personnel and Veteran Support, Sexual Abuse and Domestic Assault Services, and Youth Mentoring and Skills Building.
A new fitness and recreation center was built in the Northbrook Park District to accommodate the northern Chicago suburb’s growing population. The district wanted to build a state-of-the-art facility that would meet Net Zero Energy building requirements and provide sweeping views of the surrounding prairie and golf course.
Project leaders looked for an efficient, durable, and economical material that could handle high load capacities and incorporate a modern design. Insulated sandwich walls manufactured by County Prestress provided an optimal solution.
Sojourner Family Peace Center supports families affected by domestic violence as they seek safety, justice, and wellbeing. The center’s lifesaving services protect and empower more than 11,800 people each year, including Sara.
The violence started when Sara was young. She was only 10 years old when her father left, and she had to step up to take care of her family. Sara hid her feelings in adult-sized responsibilities while her siblings turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with their father’s absence.
Years later, Sara’s struggles worsened when she met Jack, her new partner who had a violent side. Jack took advantage of Sara’s tendency to put others’ needs first and used it to manipulate and control her. To her family and friends, Jack was charming and charismatic. He could talk his way out of anything, including when the police were called to their house.
Sara’s calls for help went unanswered, and without support, she endured the abusive relationship without an end in sight. Sara stopped trying to leave and eventually learned to follow Jack’s manipulative rules to lessen his abuse. She hoped things would improve when they had children, but unfortunately, his temper worsened.
Sara had enough. She was tired of living in fear and wanted a new life – a peaceful life – for her and her children. She reached out to Sojourner and, with help from an advocate, was granted a court-ordered domestic violence injunction to keep Jack away from her home, car, and workplace for the next four years.
Though she escaped the abusive relationship, Sara still felt mentally trapped. Her trauma left her feeling ashamed and afraid to open up, even in Sojourner’s support group. But, over time, Sara found her voice. She was surrounded by empathetic staff and group members who called her to confront and overcome her past.
Today, Sara is an active member of Sojourner’s Child Witness to Domestic Violence Support Group. Through this program, Sara and her children have found healthy ways to talk about the abuse they experienced. Sara has become a survivor who uses her voice to help others find safety and healing.
County Prestress, through the Sonnentag Foundation, partners with Sojourner Family Peace Center to help survivors find their voice. The Sonnentag Foundation supports dozens of worthy organizations and causes in four service areas, including Hunger and Homelessness Support, Military Personnel and Veteran Support, Sexual Abuse and Domestic Assault Services, and Youth Mentoring and Skills Building.
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