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TO GIVE, TO INSPIRE | A Look Inside Mutual Ground



PROVIDING SUPPORT FOR DOMESTIC & SEXUALLY ABUSED WOMEN

Our community shut-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us in so many ways. Everyone has their own unique experiences and struggles, but one of the groups I personally worried about was victims of domestic abuse and how they were faring being secluded with their abusers. Mutual Ground, the Aurora-based, not-for-profit social service agency for domestic and sexual violence victims, had concerns as well.


Since 1975, Mutual Ground has provided free and confidential victim-centered services for southern Kane and Kendall Counties, as well as Aurora in DuPage County. Their services include crisis hotline, emergency shelter, legal advocacy, individual, group and family counseling, hospital response and prevention education. “Our services are so comprehensive that we really ‘wrap our arms’ around the client to provide for a variety of needs so they can effectively move forward towards a safe and healthy life,” says Kathy Melone, Advancement Director of Mutual Ground.


According to the Illinois Coalition against Domestic Violence (ICADV), one in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lives. In 2019, Mutual Ground provided support services for 1055 adult victims and 406 child victims and responded to 7,278 domestic violence and sexual assault hotline calls. They also believe heavily in prevention education and had presentations at over 100 area schools to close to 59,000 students.





The challenge during these times is to still be available to provide these much- needed services to victims. Their emergency shelter remains open to current clients and to new shelter residents on a case-by-case basis, dependent on situation and health risk. “We have been extremely lucky to have had a strong community support,” says Kathy. “Many meals have been dropped off for residents, as well as cleaning and essential supplies.” Emergency hotlines have remained open and staffed 24-hours-per-day, and counseling services are offered through telehealth services, although this has been more difficult with the increased lack of privacy from abusers.


Although their volunteer program has suspended all activities at this time, they are still accepting volunteer applications for a variety of upcoming opportunities. Other ways to currently help are meal and supply donations as well as financial donations, since the cancellation and rescheduling of their Spring Gala Fundraiser has left a huge whole in their budget. More information on volunteering and donating can be found on their website at www.mutualground.org . We thank you, Mutual Ground, for working to keep our community residents safe


ABOUT THE WRITER

Mindy Kyle is passionate about helping people discover what brings them joy and to live a full, healthy and happy life. She has her Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from DePaul University and is a veteran of Chicago’s theater and commercial world as well as a graduate of the Second City Improv School. Mindy lives in Naperville with her husband, three children and the cutest dog in the land.







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