Last year, reports of domestic violence were up in many parts of Utah, according to law enforcers.
Women and children who are victims of domestic and sexual violence are constantly on Primary General President Joy D. Jones’ mind.
“I know this pandemic has been particularly challenging,” President Jones told Rebecca Martell, director of the Utah County Children’s Justice Center (CJC), and Liz Owens, CEO of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), during a video call on Jan. 22.
“I have had sleepless nights about those who are suffering in some way and don’t have a voice. My prayers are with you and with all those who seek after your services and your love and your care.”
Latter-day Saint Charities, the Church’s humanitarian arm, recently donated $300,000 to the CJC and $250,000 to the YWCA to help them better serve women and children in the state, according to a Jan. 28 Newsroom release.
During the video call with Martell and Owens, President Jones was joined by Elder Evan A. Schmutz, a General Authority Seventy serving in the Utah Area Presidency, and Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham.
Children’s Justice Center of Utah County
Utah is home to 26 Children’s Justice Centers serving children who are victims of sexual or physical abuse. Due to significant population growth in Utah County, the CJC opened a second location in the area in June 2020 but in a temporary commercial space.
Thanks to the donation from Latter-day Saint Charities, the CJC will be able to relocate later this year to a home in American Fork, Utah, and help an additional 350 children annually, Martell said.
Young Women’s Christian Association
The YWCA is Utah’s longest-running service provider for women and children who suffer domestic violence. They also help with housing, immigration services, counseling and mental health support — all of which have increased during the pandemic.
Owens said the $250,000 donation will help provide affordable and supportive housing for women and children in need and hire a few more employees to lighten the workload.
Making a difference
The money given to the CJC and YWCA reflect the “heartfelt faith, generosity, empathy and sacrifice of individual members of the Church. These are really individual donations,” Elder Schmutz said.
President Bingham echoed the value of each individual donor: “If each one of them had an opportunity to hear about the individuals that the CJC and YWCA care for, everyone who donates would feel so warm and so happy and so good that this is what is being done with their widow’s mite.”
Read more about the donations on Newsroom.