Wild Iris Family Counseling and Crisis Center has moved to a new and improved Main Street location, where it will continue to provide services to victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Wild Iris is now offering its clients more room and greater confidentiality at 148-150 N. Main St., just northeast of West Line Street.
“After 30-plus years, we have gone from a private home, one rotary phone and one client to an office on Main Street, a 24-hour hotline” and a client base numbering in the hundreds, Executive Director Lisa Reel said.
Reel explained that Wild Iris has outgrown its previous West Line Street location. The Main Street office, double the square-footage of the West Line office, is more spacious and offers room for expansion as well as greater confidentiality for its clients.
Increased confidentiality starts with the parking lot behind Wild Iris. With its East Line Street entrance, the lot serves many businesses, so Wild Iris clients’ vehicles will blend in and be less readily identifiable by stalkers and/or perpetrators than at Wild Iris’ previous, dedicated parking lot. A back entrance on Whitney Alley also furthers client anonymity, Reel said.
There are now three sound-proof counseling rooms which have been furnished by the “generous” donations of Randy Fendon of Fendon’s Furniture and four of his associates: Greg Alexander of Whiskey Creek, Steve Joseph of High Country Lumber and Jake and Leeann Rasmuson of Coldwell Banker Bishop Real Estate, Reel said. The largest of the three rooms also serves as a children’s playroom. At the old location, children played in the front lobby area.
The old lobby also served as a staff training and conference room. “It was uncomfortable for visitors. This new location is much better for the confidentiality of our clients, visitors and staff.” The new facility has dedicated training and conference rooms upstairs.
Wild Iris continues to offer services delivered with “dignity, respect and compassion,” states www.wild-iris.org , services such as a 24-hour hotline, (877) 873-7384; immediate one-on-one crisis counseling; classes and ongoing group sessions; emergency shelter and housing establishment; safety planning; restraining order preparation; advocacy at court dates and various appointments; referral to outside medical, children’s, mental health, employment, education and other services; and youth violence prevention programs.
The Court Approved Special Advocate program is the newest service. CASA volunteers advocate for children in the Inyo County Health and Human Services foster care system.
Wild Iris is also establishing a pantry to be stocked with items such as non-perishable foods, toiletries and diapers. Donations are welcomed, Reel said. Monetary donations are tax-deductible.
Wild Iris is expanding to accommodate an increasing number of domestic violence and sexual assault victims, Director of Programs Susi Bains said. In 2010, Wild Iris saw 175 domestic violence victims; it saw 292 in 2012 and 346 in 2013 “so our numbers are increasing steadily,” Bains said. “Even more alarming is the increase in victims seeking services connected to sexual assault” – 24 in 2010, 127 in 2011 and 240 in 2013. The increases could be attributed to higher rates of incidence but “I tend to think that it is the outreach and awareness that we provide that has helped the community understand that there is a place in town that can confidentially assist victims with their very unique needs.”
Although it now has plenty of room, with an ever-increasing clientele, Wild Iris always needs more volunteers, Reel said. For information about volunteer training and to download an application, visit www.wild-iris.org , where the public is encouraged to “get help,” “get involved” and “get educated.”
An open house will soon be announced but until then, Reel said, “we continue to identify the community’s unmet needs and their relationship to the mission and vision of Wild Iris and try to meet that need,” Reel said. “We hope more victims will seek our services, which are offered in both English and Spanish, and not be afraid to step forward.”
In the Bishop/Lone Pine area, contact 148-150 N. Main St., Bishop, (760) 873-6601 and in Mammoth Lakes/Bridgeport, 625 Old Mammoth Rd., #201, Mammoth Lakes, (760) 934-2491, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.