By Elizabeth Keys
STILLWATER, Okla. —
A calling for social work hounded Marie Abraham-Robinson while she was teaching high school students in the Virgin Islands after studying English education in New York.
Class journal writings, and the issues addressed, led her to seek further training in counseling so she could help people more.
As the new executive director of Wings of Hope Family Crisis Center, Abraham-Robinson leads a supportive staff aiding the Stillwater community.
Wings of Hope Family Crisis Center, formerly Stillwater Domestic Violence Services, is committed to stopping interpersonal conflicts and helping families end the cycle of violence that is frequently passed on from one generation to another.
“We seek to empower victims and to hold perpetrators accountable. We also seek social change through community awareness and client advocacy,” Abraham-Robinson said. “It is always difficult to see people come through the door badly beaten and bruised. To look at the faces of children who have just left a home where there was violence is hard — but with hope — we are reassured we can make a difference.”
For the past 10 years, Abraham-Robinson has worked in social services. Originally from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, she served as director of Payne County Youth Shelter for five years. As a licensed marital and family therapist, she has worked primarily with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. She also supervised the Batterers Intervention Program, Parent Education Program and Children's Services Program at the Wings of Hope. Abraham-Robinson is co-facilitator of the Payne County Coordinated Community Response Team and facilitator of the Stillwater Domestic Violence Task Force.
“As a staff, we are delighted Marie is our new executive director. Marie has been a senior counselor here for the past four years. She provides continuity and strong leadership - and the excitement that someone new to the job brings,” senior counselor Brenda Gill said.
All victim services are free and confidential. Specific programs from free child care to providing safe shelter are offered to those in need. There are many ways the center supports clients.
“Our clients are our first priority. We need to fulfill our mission by supporting them and empowering them to remain safe,” Abraham-Robinson said. “I would like to continue to motivate and inspire the hard working staff at the Wings of Hope. Our staff members are very dedicated and committed, and I plan to continue to be a support system for them as they work closely with the clients.”
“Success is defined differently for each individual. Success may be the ability to just walk through our door and ask for help. We base our success on our client’s definition. When they are happy, we are happy. When they are sad, we are sad,” Abraham-Robinson said.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. Purple ribbons are being distributed at area businesses to promote awareness of domestic violence. Classes are scheduled for victim advocate training. Purple light bulbs are being distributed on Saturdays at area WalMart stores. A candle light vigil is planned later in the month to recognize those victimized by domestic violence. Even with the Donald W. Reynolds grant for the new building, funding is an ongoing issue with the United Way campaign directly benefiting Wings of Hope as an agency under their umbrella.
“We appreciate all the well wishes, thoughts and prayers. ” Abraham-Robinson said. “We could not continue without the support of community members and the United Way.”