EL CENTRO – IV Breakfast Rotary club contributed $5,000 and Rotary District 5340 contributed $3,500 of District Designated Funds (DDF) for a total of $8,500 to pay for the new playground equipment, which replaced the outdoor play structures at the domestic violence emergency shelter. The Imperial Valley’s extremely hot summers had taken a toll on the shelter’s playground equipment, making it unsafe for use.
The commercial grade replacement equipment is expected to withstand the wear and tear it receives from the nearly 100 children who stay in this shelter each year. The safe house is welcoming, with a soothing, healing environment inside. But outside, it was a completely different story; the children need safe and adequate playground equipment.
WomanHaven, d.b.a. Center for Family Solutions, was founded in 1978 and opened an emergency shelter for battered women and their children. The agency maintains a 24-hour crisis line for victims of abuse and offers a wide spectrum of services, from legal assistance to counseling and emergency food aid and transportation. More than 10,000 victims have been served. In 2006, the organization received a grant to remodel its safe house, but there were no funds for a playground.
While fun is the top reason for installing the play equipment, it will also serve an important therapeutic purpose. After witnessing and sometimes experiencing abuse in their own homes, children arrive at the safe house in fragile condition. They tend to cling to their mothers, show fear of being alone, suffer from sleep problems and often struggle with depression or antisocial behavior.