Connect the Dots: Collaborating to End Family Violence

Kandice RileyConnecting the Dots

connect the dots logo with a heading that reads "episode 7: collaborating to end family violence"

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and to help raise awareness, United Way of the Ozarks is Connecting the Dots about family violence in the Ozarks. We recognize this is a pressing issue that must be destigmatized in our community. To do so, it has to start with the conversations we have with each other on how to support the families and children around us. 

The loss of income, school closures, stress, and isolation, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have impacted the increase of child abuse, neglect, and family violence. Our partners have continued to work closely with one another to ensure the safety of those who have been victims of abuse and trauma. 

As an initiative to find a solution in the Ozarks, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, our priority partner, offers Community Collaboratives designed to help local agencies work together to address tough problems. One of these collaborative groups is the Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) Collaborative, which works to strengthen the whole child welfare system to prevent child abuse and neglect and serve children entering foster care. Our goal is to help continue these efforts to assist families in building healthy and successful lives in our community by educating and spreading awareness of the topic. 

United Way funds programs that prevent child abuse, neglect, and domestic violence in the Ozarks. This month we spoke with CASA of Southwest Missouri, Harmony House, and the Victim Center to learn more about how we can become advocates in meeting the needs of those in our community. 

You can help our community bring an end to child abuse, neglect, and domestic violence. By understanding the warning signs and educating ourselves on these issues, we can all help to strengthen families and encourage our community to LIVE UNITED. 


When you donate to United Way of the Ozarks, you are directly addressing our community’s most pressing issues. Our volunteers decide how to direct funding so that each year, we are funding the most impactful programs. Without our donors, none of these initiatives would be possible. Your financial support makes a big difference, especially as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Learn how to advocate for yourself and others by seeking out resources to help end violence.

  • If you have been a victim of a violent or sexual crime and need someone to talk to, there are hotlines available 24/7.
    • The Victim Center at (417) 863-7273
      • Advocates on-call 24-hours a day
      • Availability to talk on the phone
      • Availability to meet at the hospital or police department
    • The Harmony House at (417) 864-7233
      • Offers emergency shelter and outreach programs
      •  Provides temporary safe shelter, meals, clothing, and hygiene products
      • All  services and programs are free and confidential
    • Isabel’s House at (417) 865-2273
      • Provides immediate, safe, temporary refuge for children ages birth to 12
      • Assists families during the loss of home or utilities and safety concerns in your home
      • Responds to domestic violence, physical, or mental health emergencies

You can join local efforts by giving your time and making a difference in someone’s life by working directly with the victims and their children. United Way-funded programs are marked below in bold.

  • Harmony HouseBoutique and Donation Centers 
    • Contact: Ivy Sheldon 
    • In-person opportunities available 
    • Details: Volunteers assist in providing higher quality services to survivors of domestic violence to those who call Harmony House home. Help create a safe environment as you work one-on-one with residents in the Harmony House boutique and donation Centers.
  • Isabel’s‌ ‌House‌ – House Volunteer
    • Contact: Daniel Schekorra 
    • In-person opportunities available 
    • Time commitment a week:  Requested to have a 6-month ‌minimum‌ ‌commitment‌‌ ‌with‌ ‌at‌ least‌ ‌1.5‌ ‌hours‌ ‌of‌ ‌weekly‌ ‌or‌ ‌bi-weekly‌ ‌service‌.
    • Details: You can join Isabel House’s “daily routine” through caring and assisting their team through childcare education and safeguarding. A House Volunteer becomes a valued member who acts as a positive role model to the children as they participate in daily activities and needs.  
  • The‌ ‌Family‌ ‌Justice‌ ‌Center‌– Donation Drive
    • Contact: Jamie Willis
    • In-person and virtual opportunities available
    • Details: ‌Help provide the proper resources for domestic violence survivors through donations and outreach. You or your organization can give your time by hosting a donation drive in person or virtually using their Amazon Wishlist. The Family Justice Center uses donated supplies including coloring books, first aid kits, diapers, or stuffed animals to be distributed to the families and children in the area. 
  • The‌ ‌Victim‌ ‌Center‌ – Victim Advocates 
    • Contact: Alisa Garbisch at (417) 863-7273
    • In-person and virtual opportunities available 
    • Details: Volunteer victim advocates are essential, front-line volunteers who provide victims with support, comfort, and resources in the aftermath of a crime. After training, volunteer victim advocates are the first to respond to The Victim Center’s crisis hotline which is open 24/7. 
  • CASA‌ ‌of‌ ‌Southwest‌ ‌Missouri‌ – Child Advocate 
    • Contact: [email protected] or (417) 864-6202
    • In-person and virtual opportunities available 
    • Details: Children with CASA volunteers are more likely to end up with their family, and according to National CASA, more likely to receive therapy, health care, and education and do better in school. CASA’s vision is to provide a volunteer advocate for every child in need in our community. Every volunteer goes through a 30-hours interning traveling program. 

Everyone deserves to live a life free from abuse, neglect, and domestic violence. Together, we can provide safety and resources to protect families in our community.  Thank you for choosing to LIVE UNITED to help every person in our community thrive! Sign up for our monthly newsletters here to stay connected to the work United Way of the Ozarks is doing to make a difference in our community.