What Compassion Accomplishes

Meet the Giving Hands Behind One of Boise's Best Support For Women

Article by Shasta Ockerberg

Photography by Women's Children Alliance + Provided

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

There has never been a time where women haven't faced challenges. But, whether now or in the future, there has also never been a time where women haven't fought to have what they deserve. Whether it's one woman standing up, or in unity, women always continue moving forward.

In the Treasure Valley, the Women's & Children's Alliance, or WCA, has provided aid to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence since the 1980s.  The organization has recently started testing out using only its initials, standing for "What Compassion Accomplishes." Their mission, "safety, healing, freedom," also acts as their process for clients. Their shelter is open for physical abuse victims in confidential locations and offers 24-hour hotlines monitored by those trained to direct clients to the best resources. They also offer court advocates to help victims understand what's happening during their court hearings. 

"Abuse is not just violent," WCA CEO Bea Black says. For the last 14 years, Black has helped pave the way for the WCA and its clients. Also among the team is their communications manager, Dara Barney, who puts her marketing skills to good use. Both Black and Barney have been a part of many fundraising events to spread awareness. During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the WCA campaigns for "Denim Day" to strike up conversations about victim-blaming and honor its survivors.  During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the organization hosts the Clotheslines Project, where T-shirts are displayed to voice the stories of survivors. Both Black and Barney are blessed to use their skills for a giving organization.  Barney says, "We are here to hear you."

The WCA has acted as a trail of destiny for many. Chloe, a BSU student, and her mother were taken in by the WCA after surviving a serious situation. For six months, they received financial and housing consoling, and helped Chloe's mom find a job. During their time, the mother/daughter pair were welcomed with warm, open arms. "It helped us feel like we had a normal life," says Chloe.

Now, years later, Chloe is a senior graduating with her degree in Communications. She's a member of the Alpha Chi Omega (AXO) sorority, which raised $10,000 for WCA through their Mr. AXO fundraiser in March. Chloe is now an intern at the WCA, and she hopes to continue working for the organization. "I've always called it fate, because I actually don't remember how we heard about WCA. I just knew it was a place that could help us. Now I've come full circle with the organization and I couldn't be more grateful."

Over the past few years, the WCA has opened its arms to men and other groups, and in 2020, 11% of their clients were male. "Everyone deserves to be in a healthy relationship," says Black.

The relationship between Black, Barney, and Chloe resembles friends eager to serve the community rather than coworkers clocking another day's work. Their devotion and determination to do whatever it takes to help keeps the organization successful.  "The WCA is the light at the end of the tunnel," says Chloe.

For more information visit the WCA at wcaboise.org

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