Santa arrives for Hopeline families

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 24, 2005

ELIZABETH CITY – Santa Claus will still be arriving at Albemarle Hopeline’s Shelter in spite of the fact the organization recently packed up and moved to a new location.

Patricia Youngblood, executive director of the non-profit Hopeline, said the shelter for battered and abused women and their children will be observing Christmas as the day of Christ’s birth and will be giving gifts and foods for a special holiday meal.

&uot;We have lists of the children and other family members and we will make sure they have a beautiful Christmas in spite of their circumstances,&uot; said Youngblood. &uot;We have received many donations of food items, gifts and financial contributions and all of it will be presented to the families in our care.&uot;

Youngblood explained Albemarle Hopeline is a private organization dedicated to serving victims of family violence, sexual assault and teen dating violence.

Hopeline provides services to the counties of Gates, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Pasquotank and Perquimans.

All services are provided without charge.

Currently, the Hopeline team is still moving into their new, larger location in Elizabeth City where they are headquartered. Youngblood said the fact the building is more spacious and modern will allow Hopeline to serve even more families.

&uot;It will actually triple Hopeline’s shelter space,&uot; said Youngblood. &uot;This is a shelter and direct service agency and we try to maintain a low profile to protect the location of the shelter and the families we serve.&uot;

Youngblood said the emergency shelter, &uot;Hope House,&uot; serves battered women and children and provides a temporary sanctuary for victims as well as comprehensive support services.

&uot;Most importantly, we also have a 24-hour a day, seven-day a week Crisis Counseling Telephone Line, said Youngblood. &uot;That includes crisis intervention, counseling, information and related service referrals regarding family violence, rape, and child abuse. We also do counseling with both individual and support groups.&uot;

Youngblood said Hopeline also has a Rape Crisis Team that provides immediate and ongoing support to rape victims. To show that support, volunteers are trained in a mandatory 25-hour training for individuals interested in becoming actively involved in the Hopeline program.

&uot;We also offer Courtroom Advocacy whenever our clients must appear in court,&uot; said Youngblood. &uot;That program supports victims throughout the entire judicial process. We prepare them for court by giving them information on what will happen and who they will meet in the courtroom – judges, district attorneys and their attorney.&uot;

Hopeline even offers an educational opportunity by providing a variety of programs to area schools, as well as providing referrals to appropriate community resources. They also offer a program for displaced homemakers.

Albemarle Hopeline is a privately held organization dedicated to serving victims of family violence, sexual assault, and teen dating violence.

Hopeline was created in 1981 and since 1983 they have continued to provide services to the counties of Gates, Pasquotank, Camden, Chowan, Currituck and Perquimans.

All services are provided free of charge and anyone who would like to volunteer, make a donation or just learn more about Albemarle Hopeline should call Youngblood at 1-252-338-5338.

The Crisis Hotline may be reached by calling 1-252-338-3011.