Current Date: Sat, 25 May 2013 17:43:32 -0400
The Women’s Center and the Family Violence Prevention Center of Orange County have merged into one organization.
The newly-formed Compass Center for Women and Families opened July 1.
For now, the Women’s Center will remain in its Henderson Street location, and the violence prevention center will stay at its current location on Wilson Street.
Ann Gerhardt, executive director of the Women’s Center said the two centers wanted to empower clients.
“Our goal is to provide more comprehensive services in the most seamless way possible,” she said.
Gerhardt will serve as Compass Center’s executive director.
Hudson Fuller, executive director of the violence prevention center, will continue to work with Compass Center, as will the combined staff.
Sharon Ringwalt, board chair for the Compass Center, said that while both organizations have had a strong track record of referring clients to each other’s services, the new merger will make community service seamless.
In addition to safety, the center offers clients help with financial literacy, tax and legal services, career exploration and information resources.
Ringwalt said the new name was chosen to make it clear to the community that the services offered are for everyone.
Gerhardt said the Compass Center will give clients access to the full continuum of services from both the Women’s Center and the violence prevention center.
Fuller said the boards hope to eventually move to a single location, but are waiting for the dust to settle on the merger.
“By having a name change, it might take a while to rebuild familiarity,” she said. “We’ve got some work to tell the community that we are still here.”
The two centers previously served a combined total of about 3,700 residents in Orange County annually, including men.
Fuller said that the community can look forward to a series of events in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
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