Sexual Assault Services in the News - Battle Creek Michigan

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In the News

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Sexual Assault Services Celebrates 23 Years of Service

Sexual Assault Services (SAS) is proud to celebrate its 23rd anniversary. To recognize the important work of its volunteers and community supporters, SAS will host a dinner on Wednesday, April 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Battle Creek Country Club, located at 318 Country Club Drive in Battle Creek.

The event will feature keynote speaker Sterling Riethman, a former gymnast and collegiate diver who is a survivor of Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State University physician and USA gymnastics national team doctor convicted of multiple cases of sexual assault. Riethman was one of the first survivors to publicly reveal her identity. Sterling and the “army of survivors” continue their efforts to advocate for justice and healing, and empower women across the nation. Sterling has been featured on CNN and in ESPN Magazine, and received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs. Sterling serves on the Governor's Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect, a multidisciplinary group within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“Sexual Assault Services is honored to have been able to serve Calhoun County for more than 20 years. And in the last four years, we have expanded our Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners program to Kalamazoo and Van Buren Counties, in addition to Calhoun,” says Dannielle Kostrab, manager for Sexual Assault Services. “However, we are still a long way from a community free of sexual violence. We must continue to provide survivor and trauma-informed services to those affected by these crimes and educate adults, children and our community about sexual assault and abuse. As an organization, we will continue to promote hope, healing and justice for all survivors.”

Sexual Assault Services Receives Grant from Michigan’s Children’s Trust Fund

After 20 years leading Sexual Assault Services (SAS), a department of Bronson Healthcare, Joyce Siegel, LMSW, has announced her retirement. She will be succeeded by Dannielle Kostrab, LMSW. Kostrab has 19 years of experience in providing advocacy and treatment for survivors of sexual assault and/or abuse. She was most recently the program supervisor for the Child Advocacy Center, a program of SAS.

Siegel’s retirement date as system manager of SAS is June 30. She leaves behind a legacy of tireless support for sexual assault/abuse survivors, advocacy and community education. During her tenure, she oversaw the growth and expansion of SAS from a Calhoun County only service, to a regional service with the addition of Van Buren and Kalamazoo counties.

“I am proud to have worked at SAS and Bronson, and I’m grateful for the relationships I have made in our community. The most satisfying aspect has been working directly with survivors of sexual assault. I have changed because of them, and I think for the better,” says Siegel. “I am very happy to know that Dannielle will be leading SAS in the future. She has the right skills, knowledge, experience and heart to do this work.”

As the new system manager for SAS, Kostrab will lead a comprehensive team of 18 staff members who implement several programs: 24-hour victim advocacy, 24-hour sexual assault nurse examiners, the Children’s Advocacy Center, trauma-informed counseling services, volunteer programming and sexual assault prevention and community education. She will also manage multiple grants that fund the program and serve as a community representative for SAS throughout the region and state.

SAS has helped thousands of sexual assault survivors over the years. In 2017, SAS worked with 1,200 people in various programs and nearly 6,000 children and youth participated in sexual assault prevention education.

Dannielle Kostrab, LMSW, and Joyce Siegel, LMSW.

Sexual Assault Services Receives Grant from Michigan’s Children’s Trust Fund

Sexual Assault Services (SAS) has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Children’s Trust Fund, Michigan’s only statewide nonprofit organization solely dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. As part of the grant, the SAS advisory board serves as the Child Abuse and Neglect Council of Calhoun County.

Of the $10,000 grant, 85 percent will support existing child sexual abuse prevention education and community awareness programming. Through a community educator, SAS provides school-based prevention education to students in preschool through college. In addition, the community educator provides adult presentations to professionals, caregivers, parents and community organizations.

The remaining $1,500 of the grant will be given to the Calhoun County Safe Sleep Coalition. The money will be used to purchase fitted sheets, pack and play cribs and education for families in need of safe sleep resources.

Calhoun County has a strong history of providing child abuse prevention support in the community. SAS recognizes the dedicated service of the previous Calhoun County Child Abuse and Neglect Council and is honored to continue this work to keep our children safe.

Children's Trust Fund Logo

New Endowment Fund Established

An endowment fund was recently established in honor of our founder, Betty J. Christ during our 20th anniversary celebration, hosted by the Battle Creek Community Foundation (BCCF). Since we started in 1996, Betty has been a "steadfast leader, advocate and supporter for survivors of sexual assault. Her continuous strong support for the work done at SAS has helped our staff reach thousands of people who need help after sexual violence." The Betty J. Christ Endowment Fund for Sexual Assault Services is established and held within the BCCF. Click here to donate to this fund in honor of Betty.

20th Anniversary Gala Dinner

We had a great time celebrating our 20 year anniversary in the Battle Creek community on April 20. We look forward to the future of our program and assisting survivors throughout southwest and south central Michigan. Check out this highlight video to learn more about our services and how you can support our efforts. Consider making a donation today! Click here to learn more.

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