BIENVILLE PARISH RURAL OFFICE
The Bienville Parish DART Office opened in October, 2001. Last year, the DART office in Bienville Parish served a total of 52 people. In the rural offices, the Rural Advocate is responsible for filing protective orders, counseling survivors, arranging for emergency shelter if it is needed, and networking with other helping organizations in order to get survivors the resources they need. Other than direct services, the Bienville Parish DART Office engages in community outreach efforts, awareness activities and fundraising events. The Bienville Parish Rural Advocate, Felicia Cooper, remains busy going out into the schools throughout Bienville Parish, speaking with children of all ages on Teen Dating Violence and Bullying.
During the month of April, the annual Radiothon is held. The Bienville Parish DART Office raises money by having a nontraditional Bake Sale, going business-to-business on Radiothon Day and giving away assorted desserts for donations only. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Bienville Parish Rural Advocate holds a Candlelight Vigil in honor of those who have lost their lives to domestic/dating violence. The speakers focus on inspiring those who are currently experiencing domestic or dating violence, and those who are committed to ending it. The lighting of the candles in memory of each person who has died in our community is a solemn moment. A new practice, a balloon release at the end of the ceremony, offers hope.
CLAIBORNE PARISH DART OFFICE
In September, 2002, DART opened a rural office in Claiborne Parish. In 2013, this office served 106 people. Mary Ellen Gamble has been the Rural Advocate in Claiborne Parish from the time the office first opened. Over the years, DART has become a strong presence in Claiborne Parish. With a main office in Homer and a satellite office in Haynesville, Mrs. Gamble has been able to help many women, children, and even some men who have experienced firsthand the damaging effects of domestic violence. The Rural Advocate’s position requires work in public speaking, community awareness, and direct survivor services such as help with protective orders, counseling, advocacy, and other forms of support.
The Claiborne Parish office has an extremely supportive community, including a very solid CCRT (Coordinated Community Response Team). This group is made up of community leaders and interested individuals who want to help in the fight against domestic violence. They assist in fundraising and community awareness events as well.
The Claiborne Parish DART Office holds two major fundraisers each year. The Christmas fundraiser, which includes a money raffle and pictures with Santa, has grown steadily since it began in 2002. Children served at our Claiborne Parish office receive Christmas gifts through the generosity of the community. During Radiothon season, there is a major effort towards fundraising. DART CCRT members and volunteers approach various businesses and organizations for donations, and a Premier Jewelry Show is held. The newest campaign in Claiborne Parish, Men Standing Strong, is expected to have a significant impact as they engage leading men in the fight against domestic violence.