SHERIDAN — The Advocacy and Resource Center was founded as a grassroots movement in the 1980s when women in Sheridan County found a need for an organization to help women suffering from violence.
Originally called the Women’s Center, the Advocacy and Resource Center opened its doors on the second floor of where the WYO Performing Arts and Education Center is currently located on Sheridan’s Main Street. The center moved to its current location at 136 Coffeen Ave. in 1983. In 1998, the center’s name was changed to the Advocacy and Resource Center, and services were expanded to assist all people, not just women, affected by violent crimes in Sheridan County.
Today, the Advocacy and Resource Center exists to empower people affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of violence to realize lives of safety, choice and freedom.
“As a nonprofit organization, we provide free services to victims of violent crimes,” executive director Yvonne Swanson said.
“The crimes may be domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, home invasion, homicide, DUI accidents, burglary, larceny, theft and others. Our services include, but are not limited to, crisis intervention, emergency shelter, food, transportation, help navigating the criminal justice system, information about protection orders and support.”
In addition to its services, Advocacy and Resource Center provides awareness activities, trainings and events throughout the year.
Those who have used the center’s services often wish to remain anonymous but are happy to sing its praises:
“I cannot say enough good things about the Advocacy and Resource Center,” one client said. “The services they provide are such an asset to Sheridan. I was treated with respect and understanding and given the push I needed to stand up for myself.”
“Several years ago, my family’s life was turned upside down,” another client said. “The Advocacy and Resource Center was right there. They explained what our options were and continued helping us navigate each unfamiliar step as we went. My family would have been completely lost had it not been for the Advocacy and Resource Center.”
In 2018, the center welcomed Swanson as the new executive director with 12 years of victim service experience and expanded the staff to better serve the county of Sheridan. In addition to the center’s satellite office at the Sheridan County Attorney’s Office, the center obtained office space at Sheridan College to give students on campus access to services.
A co-facilitator of the reorganization of the Sheridan County Coalition Against Violence, the center has also partnered with Sheridan High School to add two days of dating violence prevention and healthy relationship information to the health class curriculum.
This award honors a Chamber member nonprofit organization that has made a significant impact in Sheridan County: a nonprofit that serves with enthusiasm and dedication, addressing needs in the community and aligning the vision of its organization for maximum effectiveness.