Family Shelter's New Director To Attend Local Candlelight Vigil
Posted on Friday, October 2nd, 2009
The new director of the Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma will be attending her first Candlelight Vigil on October 8.
But Sara Bell is no stranger to the area. The daughter of Vanesa Harper Ramsey and Charles A. Roberts grew up in Marietta. She and her husband, Dillon Bell, graduated with the Marietta class of 1998.
Sara Bell earned a bachelor’s degree in human resources counseling with a minor in psychology at East Central University.
Prior to joining the Family Shelter in July she coordinated the First Time Offender Program at the Community Children’s Shelter and Family Services Center in Ardmore.
Each year, she helped rehabilitate 200 juveniles who are involved in their first episode of delinquency.
The experience of coordinating with other social service agencies and the court system prepared her for her new role.
“The Children’s Shelter was a beneficial start. I developed a close working relationship with law enforcement and with the network of helping agencies. It’s important that agencies like ours exist. Nearly everyone knows someone who has been affected by domestic violence and if it were your mom or your sister, you would want them to have a place to turn,” Bell said.
Bell said one of her first actions at the Family Shelter was to write a grant to expand services in Love County.
“Our advocate in Marietta works herself to the bone. I would like to give her some help so we can spend more time with our clients in accompanying them to court hearings and with their transportation and other needs.”
Victims needing emergency housing to escape family violence are referred to the Family Shelter. The Family Shelter’s newest service, started last year in conjunction with the C/SARA Foundation, is sexual assault medical intervention.
Any victim of sexual assault may receive a free medical exam, forensic interview, and advocacy counseling in the homelike setting of Sara’s House in Ardmore. The service has replaced area emergency rooms for medical care of rape victims.
“Victims may contact us by calling our crisis line. We will transport them. Our advocate doesn’t leave her side until the victim has a plan in place for next steps,” Bell said.
The hotline number of the Family Shelter is (580) 226-6424. The victim advocate in Marietta is at 318 W. Main, telephone 276-2042.
The 6 p.m. Candlelight Vigil, orginally scheduled for the Courthouse Lawn has been moved indoors to Marietta School auditorium to avoid predicted rain. The vigil will honor the memories of Love County residents who have lost thier livse in violent family incidents.
Survivor testimony, music, a program of recognition and refreshments will make up the agenda.