Safe Alliance: Where hope and healing begin
by Staff Writer
United Family Services has rebranded itself as Safe Alliance, while maintaining its goals to serve as a life-saving resource for victims of abuse.
The new name comes with a new tagline, “Where hope and healing begin,” along with an announcement of an 80-bedroom facility in Charlotte called the Clyde and Ethel Dickson Domestic Violence shelter.
Women who have survived domestic violence will be able to stay at the shelter for up to a year, giving them time to get their life in order in a safe environment. Safe Alliance’s previous shelter had 29 beds and women were only able to stay there for a month.
Kathryn Firmin-Sellers, who previously served as Safe Alliance’s Lake Norman region director, has been appointed director of process improvement.
Lucille Metts, who is the Cabarrus County region director, will serve as interim Lake Norman region director until the position is filled.
Firmin-Sellers explained the name at a networking event on Dec. 5 at the Andre Christine Gallery in Mooresville.
“Safe” was chosen because safety is the core underlying value for clients, she said, whether its physical or emotional safety.
“Alliance” was chosen because the organization works with other groups in the community to help build on the continuum of services offered, “because we can’t do everything ourselves,” Firmin-Sellers said.
Safe Alliance has also created a new logo that incorporates a lotus flower to symbolize the journey that their clients take.
“The lotus flower begins at the bottom of the pond in the mud and our clients come to us, at the lowest times in their life,” Firmin-Sellers said. “The lotus flower then moves out through the water because of the waves and currents but eventually comes out to bloom as a beautiful flower. That’s the journey we hope our clients will take.”
The leaves on the lotus flower logo are made up of colors that individually represent a national awareness movement with which Safe Alliance is involved. The purple leaves represent domestic abuse, blue represents child abuse, teal represents sexual assault and green represents mental health awareness.
Mecklenburg County Commissioner Karen Bentley also spoke at the event as a board member of Safe Alliance.
“The word alliance really speaks to the partnership between Safe Alliance and Mecklenburg County,” Bentley said. “Nothing gets done in government in a vacuum and I think the key is developing relationships and working collaboratively with the nonprofits as well as your colleagues in elected office.”
Bentley said that the county dedicated over $1,000,000 to Safe Alliance in 2012 that will in part help support the new domestic violence shelter.
Lisa Moore, a member of Safe Alliance’s domestic violence speaker bureau, talked specifically about the program from the eyes of a victim.
“I know what it feels like to have been that flower down in the mud struggling to reach the sun,” Moore said. “Chances are I would not be here at all today had it not been for the support of a place like this.”