Rotary learns about the children of Faith House
By: Jeannine LeJeune
CROWLEY – The Crowley Rotary Club spent a majority of their weekly meeting Tuesday afternoon hearing about the Faith House, particularly the children of the Faith House.
The Faith House’s mission is to provide temporary shelter, safety, empowerment and advocacy, to women and children survivors of domestic violence and to promote social change through community collaboration, education and violence prevention programs.
Rocky Ogé, Acadia Parish Faith House advocate, spoke to the club and opened by thanking the club for all their support over the years, particularly with Faith House’s annual toy drive.
“The toy drive makes a huge difference each year,” she said. “When a family has to leave a home; they leave with nothing and that’s especially hard around Christmas time.”
The children of homes with domestic abuse have shown they feel the effects of domestic abuse both physically and mentally as much as the parents over the years.
“It’s harder for a child to describe what is happening to them so some will act out or act odd to us but it’s because they don’t know how to feel or what to do about their feelings,” said Ogé. “They, typically, are confused and conflicted. They love both of their parents and feel guilty.”
She added that about 50 percent of all homes with a parent being abused will see the children be abused as well.
At the Faith House, both the women and children have separate one-on-one counseling and support group therapy. But, to better reach children in the community, one person from Faith House travels to schools in their five parish area to speak to children about domestic abuse and other similar issues from grade school through high school.
“For the small children, we have a ‘Hands are not for Hitting’ program; in middle school, there’s a ‘Quit It’ program that is about not bullying; for girls in sixth through eighth grade we have a program about self-respect and self-esteem; and in high school we have a program about teen dating violence,” said Ogé.
She says the programs help keep children informed about s
The Faith House shelter services five parishes–Acadia, Evangeline, Lafayette, St. Landry and Vermilion. Each parish has an advocate that is trained in domestic issues but do not have psychiatric training. Ogé has been with Faith House for almost 10 years. She says in that time she had over 800 women come through her doors. The addresses for the parish advocates and the shelter remain unknown due to safety concerns for the abused women and children as well as the Faith House workers.
“We take precautions and we’re safe. I’ve never had a problem at the shelter,” she said.
If Faith House’s shelter is full they have no problem referring an individual or a family to another outreach shelter.
“We are not going to leave someone in trouble out on the streets alone,” said Ogé.
For more information on the Faith House, call 337-232-8954, and if someone you know needs the 24-hour toll free crisis line, they can be reached at 1-888-411-1333.