By Kristin Boza
A New Direction (AND) is the only domestic violence organization in Beverly/Morgan Park. Their mission is to provide counseling, education, support, and advocacy to those affected by domestic violence and to provide confidential counseling and advocacy services at no charge.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, AND staff has seen nearly double the number of clients compared to the same period last year, according to Jessica McCarihan, AND Executive Director.
“We’ve moved our services to serve our clients virtually and we’ve had to adapt to what that means for our clients,” McCarihan said. “There’s some loss of intimacy by not being able to be in the same room as them; however, our clients are still receiving a great level of service and many find it easier to ask for help when they can do so over the phone versus in–person meetings.”
While AND does not have a crisis line, McCarihan noted that the organization has had to move to more of a 24/7 model in order to accommodate clients who may have difficulty in getting away from their abuser to make a call. With more people staying at home, both during and after shelter-in-place orders, many more people are spending more time than usual with their abusers.
Since services are available free-of-charge to those in need, AND relies heavily on fundraising support to fulfill its mission and keep people within the Beverly/Morgan Park communities safe. Like all other big events, AND’s annual October gala will be cancelled this year; this event provided a large portion of AND’s operating budget.
“We are looking for ways to make up the loss of our annual event, and we really need the support from the community to help us continue to fulfill our essential mission as we enter into our tenth year of supporting this community,” McCarihan said.
People are encouraged to stay tuned to AND’s Facebook and Instagram @ANDBMP to learn how to support the organization.
“Domestic violence during lockdown was very hard and we’re helping more people than ever. We need the community’s support, and we are extremely grateful for it,” McCarihan said.
If you need help, reach out to AND by calling 773-253-7226 to speak to an advocate.
To make a donation to AND’s essential services, visit ANewDirectionBMP.org.