Editor’s note: This is the first in a monthly series of columns on topics associated with domestic violence and sexual assault written by members of the Bright Future Foundation.
What started as a grass roots organization in 1983 has now grown into a best-practice domestic violence and sexual assault service organization that has gained respect on both a local and state level. This year marks Bright Future Foundation’s 30th anniversary.
Although domestic violence and sexual assault are often thought of as “taboo” topics for conversation, Bright Future Foundation strives to remove the stigma of being a victim and increase awareness across all age groups.
The Women’s Resource Center of Eagle County was founded by a nun in Minturn, and a small circle of women gathered to help women and children who were victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. By February 1984, the organization was registered as a nonprofit.
Two programs were established the first year: “Advocates” were trained to answer the hotline and “Buddies” were organized as mentors for at-risk children. In 1990, as programs grew, the name was changed to The Resource Center of Eagle County, and eventually in 2008, it became called the Bright Future Foundation.
From the start, 24-48 hours of emergency housing was provided to victims in rooms donated from hotels and lodges throughout the valley. Victims were then transferred to various shelters around the state. Recognizing that displacing individuals or families already in crisis and cutting them off from family, friends, schools or jobs only intensifies the trauma, a task force opened Freedom Ranch in the fall of 2002 with 19 beds, a kitchen, living areas and a backyard. In 2013, Bright Future Foundation provided more than 1,200 nights of emergency shelter.
It was soon discovered how difficult it was to find longer term housing for families. In 2005, a collaborative grant helped six units of local transitional housing. Bright Future Foundation continues to evolve and grow as a well respected domestic violence and sexual assault service organization. As a testament to that fact, it was named Nonprofit of the Year in 2012 by the Vail Valley Partnership.
Sheri Mintz is the executive director and Casey Wolfington is clinical coordinator at the Bright Future Foundation. Victims of domestic violence or sexual assault can call the hotline at 970-949-7086. Both English and Spanish speaking advocates are available.