Safeplace student volunteer holds campus fundraiser

Change does not always happen all at once. Instead, it sometimes comes a few pennies, nickels or dimes at a time.

Junior Chandler Mordecai raised more than $100 for Safeplace, Inc. in a self-hosted change drive Oct. 16-20.

Mordecai ran a table in the Guillot University Center, where students could donate any amount of money to Safeplace, a domestic violence program in Northwest Alabama.

Overall, the drive raised $102.63, which will go toward support group service resources for the organization.

However, getting donations was not Mordecai’s only goal. With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, she used this as an opportunity to inform students about domestic violence and offer pamphlets about Safeplace’s available services.

“Domestic violence is one of the most common and yet underreported crimes in the United States,” she said. “Shelters, such as Safeplace, need to be advertised so that more victims can become aware of the resources available to help them end.”

Mordecai has volunteered for Safeplace since 2014. Her activities have included participating in the Marion County Domestic Violence Task Force in Winfield and giving key note speeches at local schools.

Madeline Frankford, Title IX graduate assistant coordinator, assisted Mordecai in planning and putting the event into effect.

“I’m so proud of her as a student, being able to see her utilize her passion for something to make real change, no pun intended,” she said.

Frankford said the change drive was the first Safeplace fundraiser the UNA Title IX office has been involved with this year.

Mordecai said she plans on conducting another change drive eventually.

“Domestic violence possesses a connection to every individual,” she said. “However, we as individuals can take a stand and create awareness to help end the abuse.”

Mordecai said she shares her experience of domestic violence with other victims. As a child, her father abused her, her mother and brother emotionally, physically and mentally.

“Domestic violence is something I believe no individual should ever have to experience,” she said. “However, the circumstances of my childhood and adolescence have helped shape who I am today. I am now able to talk with others about my background and help others heal, as well.”

Frankford said she hopes UNA’s Title IX office and Safeplace will continue to work together in the future.

“Being able to tap into the passion that students and community members have for helping survivors and, also, educating our students, faculty and staff about Safeplace as a resource, is amazing,” she said. “For us to be able to hand out their materials, like pamphlets and brochures, is one thing, but it’s another to be able to partner and be more visible on campus.”

Frankford said the office has discussed other events to promote Safeplace resources and educate students on domestic violence.

To contact Safeplace’s help line, call 256-767-6210 or 1-800-550-9215. To contact UNA’s Title IX office, call 256-765-4223.