One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.Stepping Stones, YWCA’s sexual assault program, provides 24-hour assistance for sexual assault and sexual abuse victims and their families in McLean County. This free, confidential service also serves as the central sexual assault resource for McLean County. Services focus on empowering survivors, their families, and their friends on the path of healing, building relationships with professionals and agencies that will be part of the process, and educating the community about sexual assault. Stepping Stones also welcomes the opportunity to present information about sexual assault, date rape drugs, dating violence, or rape culture to a wide variety of audiences.
Sexual assault advocates can be reached by calling PATH at (309) 827-4005. Advocates can:
Stepping Stones provides counseling to victims of sexual assault. Here are some quick facts about our counseling services:
Stepping Stones can accompany a victim to the hospital to provide advocacy and support.
Stepping Stones can advocate for victims with:
Stepping Stones provides education to schools and community groups on:
Stepping Stones volunteers are always needed. The 40-hour training, offered twice per year, covers all information needed to become a trained volunteer advocate. These trained advocates are then put "on call" once a month. Contact YWCA Stepping Stones at 309-662-0461.
The volunteer training covers types of sexual violence, rape trauma syndrome, crisis intervention techniques, listening/communication skills, medical and legal advocacy, psychology of sexual violence and information about community partners providing different levels of assistance to survivors. Confidentiality is required.
After attending the 40-hour training, volunteers will carry a pager when they are on call. Volunteers are requested to be availbale one shift per month. Shifts are:
4 p.m. Monday to 4 p.m. Wednesday*
*Volunteers must have their pager on during the entire time they are on call; however, only paid staff are expected to respond to crisis calls during business hours (Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.). Volunteers respond to calls at all other times.
Tuesdays and Thursdays
January 28 - February 20, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
February 1 & 22, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
All trainings will be held at YWCA McLean County, 1201 N. Hershey Rd. in Bloomington (lower level entrance).
If you are interested, please fill out an application form (requires Adobe Acrobat reader) or an application form (requires Microsoft Word) and submit to Elizabeth Rardin at YWCA McLean County, 1201 N. Hershey Rd., Bloomington, IL 61704 or at the email address below by January 17, 2014. You will be contacted to schedule an orientation/interview once the form is received. If you would like more information or have questions, please call Elizabeth at 309-662-0461 x286 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are Survivors Saying?
"When I come to YWCA, I feel like I am a part of something special. I feel like it's okay to share my feelings and be open with my group members. These are the people who do care. And I know that I am not alone in this world. It's a nice feeling when I come here and I feel safe. The best part about Stepping Stones' group sessions is that I feel like I can be myself, and when I'm down, it's okay to tell someone so they can help me through it."
"Stepping Stones has been a very positive, reassuring experience. I was made aware of the rights I have as a victim and given the opportunity to stand up for myself and heal."
"It takes a village to help a survivor and I'm so happy that YWCA Stepping Stones was there for me and other survivors like me."
"It has been wonderful having someone to listen and provide vital feedback concerning the abuse and how it has affected my life. The sexual assault services have been a God-send and I am very grateful for them."
"I absolutely love this program. The Stepping Stones staff has helped me so much. They taught me how to cope in positive ways and move forward to my goal of becoming a healed survivor. Now I am able to build happy and healthy relationships thanks to Stepping Stones."
YWCA Stepping Stones
PATH 24-Hour Hotline
(800) 570-PATH (toll free)
Illinois Automated Victim Notification System
Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault