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As the holiday season draws near, we here at DARCC can hardly believe how quickly 2023 has passed. Around this time every year, we like to pause to take a moment to reflect on all that we have accomplished, thanks to your support. 

2023 was a huge year for DARCC’s growth and expansion. We added more incredible staff to our team and rolled out new programs, all to accomplish a broader impact for survivors of sexual assault. We launched our Post Graduate Counseling Fellowship with four new counseling fellows, and kicked-off our Advisory Council and Survivor’s Speakers Bureau. 

All of these exciting new programs are the direct result of our wonderful supporters, like you. Keep reading to learn more about some of the exciting ways we expanded this year!

Empowering Youth to Act Against Sexual Violence

In 2023, we launched DARCC Collectives. These special groups emphasize the power of collective action, cooperation, and solidarity among individuals to bring about positive social change. Our DARCC Collectives offer more ways for people to make a meaningful impact against sexual violence.

Right now, DARCC Collectives include Young Professionals, Allies 2 Advocates, and The Upstanders. Each collective is a growing, inclusive group of dedicated individuals who share a commitment to making a difference by promoting prevention efforts throughout the community. For our Young Professionals collective, that means connecting with like-mind professionals who are in the early stages of their career and passionate about DARCC’s mission to support survivors. 

As both a survivor and long-time supporter of DARCC, Grace DeJean has found Young Professionals to be an engaging community and the perfect fit for where she is in her life. “It is a community, she says. “There is a strong community outreach aspect to Young Professionals that helps members work together to share DARCC’s mission with a larger audience, in a way that is accessible to more people.” 

In September, the collective held their first fundraising event, Pups, Poses, and Professionals. It was an unforgettable evening and very unique event, which Grace says she was delighted to be a part and that overall, it was a “tremendous success!”

When Grace initially joined Young Professionals, she was already volunteering for DARCC as crisis hotline operator, a role which required 40 hours of state-mandated training. Volunteering for the hotline gave Grace the opportunity to directly support other survivors by listening to them and connecting them with resources, so that they would never feel like they were alone as they healed from the trauma. Grace had been “looking for a way to let my voice be heard,” and she found it at DARCC.

“I grew up in Dallas, I went to college in Dallas, and I wanted to make a difference here, in Dallas—that was really important to me.” 

Grace has since shifted from volunteering at the crisis hotline to joining Young Professionals. The collective has helped her grow as a leader by helping her develop skills like event planning, fundraising, and networking. Young Professionals, Grace says, “helps me stand for what I believe in. It has been a really great experience, and having that support system has been really great.”

“By having such a strong community, I hope we can reach more people directly, and I hope we can become a resource for even more survivors.”

Grace DeJean

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Want to learn more about DARCC Collectives? Click the link here to find out how you can get involved!

Broadening Our Reach

Another key way that your giving has supported DARCC in 2023 is through the inception of our Post Graduate Counseling Fellowship. We created the Post Graduate Counseling Fellowship because we saw a need: prior to the Fellowship, our clients were waiting an average of two months for a general counseling appointment. To us, this was unacceptable, as we recognize that the need for continuity in care and specialized trauma counseling services for survivors of sexual assault is paramount. 

The Post Graduate Counseling Fellowship allows us to build the capacity to serve more survivors, and provide them with better-trained trauma therapists and improved therapeutic care. We are dedicated to providing 100% of all survivors served by DARCC access to ongoing individual and group counseling services, advocacy and wrap-around support. We are grateful for the funders and donors who have helped us turn this vision into a reality, ensuring that we are able to help more survivors who are seeking our services. 

Heather Hutchison, our Clinical Director, perhaps explains this Fellowship and its impact on survivors best:

While DARCC has always been strengths-based and trauma-informed, opportunities for enhanced training of counselors in the Fellowship program have allowed survivors in our community to receive gold standard, evidence-based treatments for trauma. To add context, there are counseling treatments that help people cope with post-traumatic stress reactions, which most of our counselors had prior experience with and were able to support our survivors with prior to and following the initiation of the Fellowship. There are also treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) that help survivors recover from post-traumatic stress reactions. This Fellowship has given DARCC counselors the opportunity to train in such trauma recovery modalities, which has greatly enhanced the care received by clients. Many believe that recovering from sexual violence takes years for significant improvement; when clients engage in these trauma recovery models, significant reductions in posttraumatic stress reactions are often seen between approximately six weeks to one year. This not only allows survivors to feel better faster, but also allows DARCC to provide support to a greater number of clients. While trauma recovery models are powerful and effective, not all clients start at or ever come to a place of readiness to engage in these modalities. Simply having the option is empowering so survivors can choose what they believe is best for their healing at the time they come to DARCC. In sum, this Fellowship has supported DARCC counselors in becoming skilled in the nuances and complexities of trauma counseling. This expertise allows survivors to be met where they are in their healing journeys and given hope for a future where their lives do not have to be defined by the trauma they have experienced.”

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We have already seen the impact that the Post Graduate Counseling Fellowship has had on the survivors that we serve, and we look forward to growing this program next year!

We’re so encouraged by the of our amazing volunteers and staff – and we can only support their efforts with your generosity! As you plan your year-end giving, will you consider making a gift to DARCC? Your financial support goes far in our efforts to engage and educate communities to prevent sexual violence. Help us create meaningful social change in Dallas and the surrounding communities through prevention, education, and outreach by making a gift today!