Butterflies can symbolize hope, courage and personal transformation, and a butterfly release will take place in September to help provide those services to hundreds of local residents.

A Better Way, formerly known as Genesis, offers a variety of services for Wayne and surrounding counties who’ve experienced domestic or dating violence or sexual assault.

A Better Way, which has offices in Richmond and Muncie, provides a 24/7 suicide and crisis support line, a rape crisis center, mobile advocacy, individual trauma-informed counseling, support groups for adults and kids, transitional housing, crisis chat and text services, safe shelter, emergency financial assistance, and transportation for survivors.

The organization also offers education and referrals, prevention programs for bullying, teen dating violence and domestic violence, and a check-in call service for older or disabled homebound persons.

Beginning in June 2022, A Better Way’s Richmond office launched its mobile advocacy program, with staff meeting prospective clients wherever they feel safe seeking assistance, such as their homes, public buildings or hospitals.

Throughout the latter half of 2022, the local office’s mobile advocates have provided 1,728 services to 172 survivors. And, during the first seven months of 2023, 3,936 services have been provided to 294 survivors.

Mobile advocates provide emotional support and education for survivors, such as parenting education and counseling, easy access to additional services to help with addiction, mental health care or other areas of need.

Advocates also help with goal planning, material items, life skills, employment preparation, navigating public assistance and legal issues.  

Candra Ramsey, Richmond’s program director, shared results of client surveys from Aug. 10 through Dec. 31, 2022.

She said 100% of participants said A Better Way’s services helped them feel safer, with some expressing gratitude for helping them secure housing, legal aid and protective orders.

One client said she came to A Better Way pregnant and battered and extremely stuck in abuse, but they’ve opened a door to a brighter future for her and her now 2-year-old son.

“This is an amazing organization and without this refuge I don’t feel as though I would be here or have the confidence to thoroughly get through life the right way,” she wrote. “A Better Way provides so much comfort to me and every single staff is doing an amazing job at providing care for those that don’t get the attention and respect, love, or sheltering they need in life.”

Nearly 98% said the services helped increase their confidence and make them feel more hopeful about their futures, and gave them a 5-star rating.

And, 90.5% of those surveyed noted “very easy” access to services, with the same percentage saying staff were very involved in meeting their needs such as lawyers for court dates, police escorts to and from hearings, and tools to ensure their safety.

About the fundraiser

A Better Way is offering the butterfly release from 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, in Richmond Rose Garden in Glen Miller Park.

The Secret Ingredient, a former downtown Richmond boutique, began hosting the butterfly release several years ago to benefit different local charities each year. After the store closed, A Better Way took on the tradition in 2021. This will be the fundraiser’s second year at the park.

Tickets for Evening of Hope are $30 per person, which includes one butterfly and hors d’oeuvres and desserts from local caterers. Additional butterflies can be purchased for $15 to be released in honor or memory of someone special for the donor, or to honor someone who has made a difference in the community.

If you go

  • What: Evening of Hope butterfly release to benefit A Better Way
  • When: 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7
  • Reservation deadline: Tickets may be purchased through Sept. 4 at https://abetterwaymuncie.org/events/
  • Where: Richmond Rose Garden at Glen Miller Park, 2500 block of East Main Street. Parking is available in the adjacent golf course lot.
  • Cost: $30 per person; $15 per additional butterfly.
  • More details: Fun, casual attire encouraged. A silent auction and live music are planned.
  • Info: Office, 765-966-0538; 24-hour crisis line: (765) 288-4357
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A version of this article appeared in the September 6 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.