Executive Director Beth Sturman and Volunteer Coordinator Samantha Koellhoffer discussed Laurel House, a safe shelter and support service for families facing domestic abuse. We discussed first the forms that abuse can take, it can be emotional or financial, there can be physical abuse, but controlling behavior is the driving condition. It crosses all educational and financial lines, it’s in every community and costs us over 8.3 billion a year in services and lost wages. They described domestic abuse and its effect on women and children; 15.5 million children live in a home where partner violence occurred at least once in the past year, these children are now at risk of long-term physical and mental health problems and they are also at greater risk of being violent in their future relationships. For teens, one in 10 was hit by a romantic partner yet only 30% will say something about it. They discussed the role of loved ones, co-workers and friends in ending a DA situation, without being assertive or offering advice, by just asking, ‘Are you okay?’ or ‘You don’t seem like yourself, is something wrong?’ Laurel House offers emergency shelter for women and children leaving DA and housing for the men who become victims. There is a 24/7 Hotline that anyone can call, victim or concerned friend, that can offer supports and resources. They advised having a plan for leaving the relationship, with custody, legal documents and secretly saved money. In emergencies, their DART rapid response works with law enforcement to get victims to safety as soon as possible. Laurel House provides legal help for custody, restraining orders and other protections from abuse. They offer counseling and parenting classes as well. Samantha described upcoming events, the September 14th Fun Run and October 20th 5K Walk/Run, the October 16th Breaking the Silence Luncheon and media discussion, and their annual Drag Bingo and Galas. She described the volunteer needs and the training for those who want to help with client needs.