The Valencia Shelter for Domestic Violence has a new executive director who is determined to get the word out that the group is here to help.

Daryl Rodway was appointed recently to lead the local non-profit organization which helps both the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. Rodway was appointed to the position after two years as the group’s financial manager.

“I didn’t just leap right into being executive director,” Rodway said. “I told the board I wanted time to think about it. I really liked what I did as financial manager, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to refocus my attention into grant writing and running the agency.”

As it turns out, Rodway didn’t have to refocus her attention from one to the other; she’s currently doing both jobs. As financial manager and executive director of the Valencia Shelter for Domestic Violence, Rodway continues to manage and track the grants and directs the day-to-day operations of the shelter.

Helen Abeyta, president of the board of directors, said they appointed Rodway because of her knowledge of the shelter.

“She is very conscientious about her work and has had a lot of training in a lot of other non-profit organizations,” Abeyta said. “She’s very good at communicating her needs to the board and is very good at following through with instructions from the board.”

As she juggles her time to make sure everything is running smoothly, Rodway says her work at the shelter is very rewarding. Other than making sure that the day-to-day operations are taken care of, Rodway says, her No. 1 priority is letting the people of the county know they are here to help.

“My big hope is that, when I run into people, they don’t say they didn’t know we had a domestic violence shelter in the county,” Rodway said. “I would like people to know we are here and that our services are free and available to people.”

The Valencia Shelter for Domestic Violence has been in the county since 1989. Along with offering safety and support for people who are in crisis, client advocates are also on hand when people come in looking for help.

Client advocates will also help victims file restraining orders and inform them about what their options are for a better and safer life.

“We have anger management services for both the victim and the perpetrator and our clinical director offers psychological counseling,” Rodway said. “We also have a child therapist who joined the shelter in January. She is counseling the children who are witnesses to domestic violence.”

Rodway says they are seeing more and more children who have been affected in some way by domestic violence.

“They (children) see domestic violence, and they hold that within them until they are older,” Rodway said.

“It’s been discovered that people who have experienced it or who have seen it as a child carry it into their adulthood. They believe that this is the way life is and that people beat up on each other or women are submissive to this.

“We’re trying to stop the cycle. If I had a magic wand, that’s what I would try to do stop the cycle of domestic violence,” she said.

Before coming to work at the Valencia Shelter for Domestic Violence, Rodway admits, the issue wasn’t something she knew much about or paid attention to other than when she made a donation to the local shelter. She says her experience at the shelter has not only taught her about the domestic violence issue but has also taught her about the enormity of the problem.

“I’ve learned how complex the situation is, both for the victim-survivor and for the family,” Rodway said. “There is no easy answer, and every situation is different. There is no commonality other than people are being abused, and it’s not right.

“I’ve also learned how large this problem is in this state. We’d like to help as many survivors move on with their lives and make the transition into a better situation for themselves and their families.”

Along with the counseling services, the Valencia Shelter for Domestic Violence provides a safe house for those who are in immediate danger.

A 24-hour hotline (864-1383) is available for those in need.

Those who wish to contact the main office may call 864-3202 or visit the office at 513 Becker Avenue in Belen.

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Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.