Story by: Cinde Ingram

HIGH POINT — Celebration of Guilford County Family Justice Center’s first anniversary in High Point brought together city, county and agency leaders with family members who found help there after surviving abuse and assault.

“When I went through my stabbing there was not a family justice center in place,” said Brenda White, co-chairperson of the FJC VOICES committee. “So now for it to be in place, it’s a one-stop shop for the victims, for the children and their families, and for elder abuse, to have them come under one roof and to get the services that are needed. It is the best thing that ever could have happened.”

To recognize the serious nature of the center’s work, White asked those who gathered Wednesday afternoon outside the 505 E. Green Drive center to remain silent for a moment in memory of lives lost to domestic violence.

The 3,517 colorful ribbons displayed in front of the entrance represented the pain and perseverance, hope and healing of each victim the center served this year, VOICES committee members said. By linking together, the ribbons symbolized a stronger, more vibrant and resilient community.

“One year ago today, we stood here and proclaimed to serve survivors better and to hold offenders accountable,” said center director Catherine Johnson. “We have certainly worked hard to achieve that goal and have achieved many collaborative successes.”

Guilford County received recognition at the state and national levels and is inspiring other North Carolina communities, Johnson said.

As a result of collaboration, Johnson listed several improvements including:

• New partnerships formed for joint problem-solving

• Enhanced training and focused strategies to help address some of the most dangerous cases of domestic violence

• Increased programs, such as Camp Hope, to help promote youth resilience

• Better efforts aimed at preventing elder abuse and restoring elder justice

“The work we do matters,” Johnson said. “One of the things that excites me most of all is that we are just getting started.”

cingram@hpenews.com | 336-888-3534 | @HPEcinde

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