When Lisa Shafran, President of Turning Point, was interviewed for this story, we were just three weeks into a global pandemic –three pivotal, life-changing weeks that have morphed into a completely different way the 40-year-old organization is now serving victims of domestic violence.

“Like other nonprofits, we had to turn on a dime and figure out how we could continue to serve our clients in a completely unknown environment, with new requirements, regulations, and expectations,” explained Lisa. “We were immediately faced with finding ways to shift in-person meetings to online, find ways to safely access resources for our clients, figure out e-learning for the children in our care, and try to help everyone deal with the psychological aspects and ramifications of a stay-at-home order.”  

What started in 1975 as a safe haven for battered women has expanded to serve women, men and children with a mission to work toward the prevention and the elimination of domestic and dating violence. Today, Turning Point manages a 25-bed Emergency Shelter that serves a seven-county area including Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Jennings, Johnson, and Shelby counties. In addition to emergency residential services, they provide non-residential services, administer a 24-hour crisis hotline, provide legal assistance for women, Latina services, prevention education in school classrooms, and intervention services and programs. 

Women’s Fund was one of the first funders to reach out to Turning Point to help when COVID-19 hit. With so much uncertainty, Women’s Fund allowed Turning Point to identify their greatest need and request appropriate funding. They granted Turning Point $5,675 for shelter, food, rent, utilities, household supplies, and other basic supplies, as needed, for clients outside of the shelter with immediate needs in Johnson and Shelby counties.

“The emergency grant from Women’s Fund brought a sense of relief and security to our families who, in many ways, felt like their lives were spiraling out of control,” said Lisa. “Some lost hours and regular wages, while others lost their jobs entirely. Concerns about how to support their families, in addition to keeping them safe, were overwhelming. The generosity from Women’s Fund made an incredible difference.”

Lisa went on to share that their clients are dealing with their own crises and working to rebuild their lives. Like it has been for millions of people, the impact of global crisis was overwhelming and unsettling. She credits the dedication and commitment of her team to making sure everyone remained healthy and stayed safe during the throngs of the pandemic. She also was quick to credit the survivors themselves, stating how extremely resilient they are and knowing that will help them get through this current crisis.

“Despite this incredible upheaval – and despite the fact that they are in a crisis in the midst of a crisis – our clients have continued to work the program and are moving forward,” shared Lisa. “The amazing and immediate support from our community does my heart good. It says a lot about the human spirit to see people helping those who are struggling.”

One way people can help is donate cleaning supplies related to COVID-19. Gift cards in small denominations are also welcome and help with client immediate needs. Turning Point is also active on social media for anyone interested in learning more about the important work they are doing.

If you or someone you know feels unsafe, call Turning Point’s 24/7 Crisis/Helpline at 1-800-221-6311.