With few exceptions, every college student is looking for ways to fund their education and then use that education to make a difference. Abby’s House is a place that does both. Abby’s House is committed to providing housing and safety for vulnerable women and children but goes above and beyond in the services it provides. Abby’s House works directly with the students on campus by providing them with a safe place to talk, references to professionals, and women’s safe-homes.
Mary Ellen Dello-Stretto, (Dr. D), Director of Abby’s House, oversees all operations. Dr. D shared that “Abby’s House is a resources and referral center, that does educational programming. Although it is rooted in the women’s center tradition and mainly works with women, it also works with men and tries to help every aspect of community. ”
Additionally, SPEAK (Students Promoting Equity Activism and Knowledge) and WOU CASA (Western Oregon University Campus Against Sexual Assault), are both groups through Abby’s House that provide students with other kinds of activities and support. They recently started a program called Suit-Up, which is designed to help women get into the works force and find success there. They provide women with professional clothing for job interviews and when they are hired, they will provide them with a second professional outfit that you can wear to work.
Want to make difference:
The Jeanne Deane Abby’s House Scholarship is awarded every year to an Abby’s House advocate. The money for this scholarship comes from fundraisers done by Abby’s House, primarily the silent auction; which is done every year. This year’s silent auction will be held on Tuesday December 3rd from 11:00am-3:00pm, Wednesday December 4th 11:00am-3:00pm, and Thursday December 5th 11:00am-6:00pm. The auction will be held in Werner University Center in the Calapooia room, and will have a wide variety of fantastic items for people to bid on.
This is only one of Abby’s House fundraisers and events. Unfortunately, many people on Western’s campus don’t know Abby’s House exists and a large majority of those that do, don’t know what it’s for or all the wonderful things it does and services it provides. Abby’s House puts on events and programs, many of which are informational, and empowering, many covering topics such as sexual assault, depression, and body image.
There are several Abby’s House advocates; students who work there, they set up programs, organize events, and serve as “mini” counselors for people in crisis. They are trained to help people with minor challenges, and they know exactly who to direct people to if they do not have the ability to help people themselves. Any student can become an advocate, there is an application that must be filled out and turned in spring term, students are then picked based on the applications, they then have to go through a training program; which is typically done the week before classes start in the fall. “Abby’s House has helped me by helping others. Community service gives me an opportunity to do self care, as well as feel good about the work I’m doing,” said Abby’s House advocate Hannah Towle.
Abby’s House in open Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm, and there is always at least one advocate in the office. It is a great place for students to just hang out as well, you will always have the respect and support you need and want, it is a safe place for students to be whether they are in need of immediate help or not.
Spread the word and join the community doing this great work, see you at the silent auction.