All posts by Linley Beckbridge

Be an Askable Adult, with Ashley Blowe, Siobhan Grayson & Scotney Young

“There’s this fear — this misunderstanding — that youth should be seen and not heard, and that’s just not a thing anymore.” –Siobhan Grayson

What makes someone “askable”?

Arlington, Virginia has launched an “Askable Adult” program to build adults’ capacity to be nonjudgmental and approachable resources and supports for youth in the county. Program proponents believe that everyone has a role to play in supporting the health and well-being of children and youth in the community.

And on their short list of key skills that make adults more askable? Be a curious co-pilot.

To help us learn what it means to be an Askable Adult, the Choose to Be Curious podcast welcomed three dynamic and devoted Arlington community builders: Ashley Blowe, Training and Prevention Specialist, Department of Human Services; Siobhan Grayson, Youth Outreach Coordinator for the Prevention Unit under the Department of Human Services; and Scotney Young, Prevention and Outreach Manager at Doorways, a domestic and sexual violence response organization.

Statement in Support of LGBTQIA+ Youth

Amidst ongoing attacks against trans and queer youth across our state, and against LGBTQIA+ groups and service providers in our region, Doorways reaffirms our support for all LGBTQIA+ people. We are honored to serve LGBTQIA+ youth and adults who access our services.

In our efforts to prevent violence and create pathways out of homelessness, domestic violence, and sexual assault, leading to safe, stable, and empowered lives, it is critical that Doorways be a safe space for LGBTQIA+ youth and adults. Safe spaces save lives: LGBTQIA+ youth are particularly vulnerable to violence, housing instability, and homelessness, comprising 40% of young people experiencing homelessness in our region and nationwide. Supporting and providing safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ people is an essential part of Doorways’ efforts toward achieving our vision of a community where all people live free of violence and have safe and stable housing.

Safe spaces save lives… Supporting and providing safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ people is an essential part of Doorways’ efforts toward achieving our vision of a community where all people live free of violence and have safe and stable housing.

In these efforts, Doorways is proud to partner with fellow trans and queer-affirming organizations, including Safe Space NOVA, which is dedicated to providing a safe, accepting, and supportive environment to combat social stigmas, bullying, and other challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ youth. This month – Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month – we are partnering with Safe Space NOVA to host the third iteration of You + Me = We, an educational workshop series designed specifically for LGBTQIA+ youth and youth allies. It is more important than ever to provide these safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ youth and promote a community culture of safe and healthy relationships, so that sexual and intimate partner violence are less likely to occur.

To all LGBTQIA+ youth, we see you; you are valid and worthy of respect and safety; and we support you.

Commanders player James Smith-Williams advocates for survivors and their pets

“James Smith-Williams plays defense for the Washington Commanders. But off the field, he defends survivors of domestic violence,” WUSA9 reports.

“According to Purple Leash Project, only 15% of domestic violence shelters allow pets.”

“It’s not really a highlighted cause, but [domestic violence victims] stay because pets are an extension of their family,” James said.

“That’s why he’s teaming up with Purina and the Purple Leash Project for an initiative to increase pet-friendly domestic abuse shelters,” like Doorways.

In May 2009, Doorways became the only shelter in Virginia, and one of nine in the country, to offer safe shelter for people and pets fleeing violence. The all-weather kennel, which has heat, air conditioning, and indoor/outdoor areas, can house dogs, cats, and other small animals like hamsters and turtles. Learn more about our Domestic Violence Safehouse.

“Smith-Williams will continue to use his platform to make sure survivors of domestic violence and their pets stay together by wearing custom Purple Leash cleats for the Commanders’ Week 13 game this season,” WUSA9 reports.

Household Pets Flee Violence, Too

Cleaning supplies, sheets, garbage bags and cat beds. Doorways has a wish list for the occupants of their Domestic Violence Safehouse which includes the residents as well as their pets. Doorways is the only shelter in Virginia and one of nine in the country who offer safe shelter for people and pets fleeing violence. The all weather kennel has heat and air conditioning and indoor and outdoor areas.

“We know that leaving a pet behind is a barrier to fleeing domestic violence,” says Joy Myers, Doorways’ Chief Development Officer. Continue reading.

Doorways Collaborates with Ring to Provide Safety Tools for Survivors

Doorways Collaborates with Ring to Provide Safety Tools for Survivors

Senator Barbara Favola Voices Support for Initiative

Arlington, VA — June 7, 2022 — Today, local nonprofit Doorways, the only domestic and sexual violence shelter and services provider in Arlington and the City of Falls Church, announced an initiative to provide additional safety tools to survivors. Ring, whose mission is to make neighborhoods safer, will be donating up to 1,000 Ring Video Doorbells and Security Cameras to Doorways to be shared with clients, along with a free Ring Protect Plan subscription for the life of each device. In addition to this device donation, Ring will also provide a monetary contribution to help amplify Doorways’ impact for survivors across Arlington and surrounding communities.

Doorways will share devices with survivors on a case-by-case basis and as needed to support peace of mind for survivors. The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines a safety plan as a set of actions that can help lower risk of being hurt by a partner. Tools like Ring devices can help reduce risk during interactions among current or former partners, such as custody exchanges and visitation.

“Thanks to this initiative with Ring, we are able to get additional safety tools into the hands of our clients who would not otherwise be able to access them,” said Doorways President and CEO, Diana Ortiz. “Many of our clients have expressed that they want to utilize tools such as the Ring cameras and doorbells, but they do not have the means to purchase the devices and subscriptions. We are grateful that this donation will enable Doorways to meet our clients’ needs at no cost to them or the organization, so we can continue using our resources to provide shelter, supportive housing, and 24/7 services.” Ortiz went on to say that “corporate collaborations, such as this with Ring, help sustain Doorways’ life-saving programs and have been especially critical during the pandemic.”

Many of our clients have expressed that they want to utilize tools such as the Ring cameras and doorbells, but they do not have the means to purchase the devices and subscriptions. We are grateful that this donation will enable Doorways to meet our clients’ needs.

“Diana and her team work tirelessly to respond to each of their client’s individual and family needs and help them achieve the best outcomes,” said Karla Torres, Head of Community Engagement at Ring. “Doorways takes a community-based approach to supporting survivors, including offering comprehensive services like advocacy, counseling, and housing within and beyond Doorways. We believe in advancing their efforts in Arlington and enhancing their safety planning for clients to build safe and stable futures.”

“I’m proud to support Doorways’ collaboration with Ring that adds to the safety tools available for survivors of domestic violence,” said Virginia State Senator Barbara Favola. “These devices help make it possible for survivors to return to normal routines with a sense of security and confidence. There is nothing more important than giving survivors hope and that’s what this donation is all about.”

The Washington Post: Depp-Heard verdict will have chilling impact on #MeToo, advocates fear

“Many survivors may also fear that coming forward with any claim of abuse — which is already an underreported crime — could result in a defamation suit,” wrote Linley Beckbridge, director of communications and advocacy for Doorways — an Arlington, Va., nonprofit that provides housing and other supportive services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence — in an email to The Post. “Although the support shown to Johnny Depp could signal a positive shift towards believing male survivors of intimate partner violence, the net result will probably be increased silencing and isolation of survivors, especially women.” Continue reading.

Doorways Receives $2.5 Million Bezos Day 1 Families Fund Grant to Help End Homelessness for Families in Arlington

Day 1 Families Fund grants $96.2 million to 32 nonprofits across the country to provide shelter for children and families in need

ARLINGTON, Va. – (November 17, 2021): Doorways, a community-based nonprofit providing shelter and services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as youth and families experiencing homelessness, today announced that it has been selected to receive a $2.5 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund—the largest private grant in Doorways’ history. Launched in 2018 by Amazon founder and executive chair Jeff Bezos, the Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families.

“Thanks to the Day 1 Families Fund, Doorways is ready to launch our next chapter by implementing innovative and cutting-edge practices, from shelter to housing stability. We are especially committed to continuing our efforts to remove barriers that prevent historically marginalized communities of color, immigrants and people with disabilities from accessing services and getting housed quickly,” said Diana Ortiz, President and CEO of Doorways. “By increasing our capacity and adding more doorways into housing and our comprehensive wraparound services, our youngest clients and their parents will overcome the trauma of family homelessness and gender-based violence.”

This one-time grant will allow Doorways to increase its capacity to provide high-quality, low-barrier shelter to families and double the number of families they transition to housing. This grant coincides with Doorways’ current strategic initiative to determine the ideal model for sheltering families with complex needs, including survivors of domestic violence. This grant will help Doorways bring this vision to life. Doorways was selected as a Day 1 Families Fund grant recipient by an independent advisory board comprised of homelessness experts with experience in policy, advocacy, racial equity, child welfare and housing and service delivery, as well as firsthand experience in homelessness.

This year, the Day 1 Families Fund issued a total of $96.2 million in grants to 32 organizations across the country. The 2021 Day 1 Families Fund grant recipients are: ACLAMO; Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches; Alabama Rural Coalition for the Homeless, Inc.; All Chicago Making Homelessness History; AACI (Asian Americans for Community Involvement); Building Changes and Africatown International; Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa; Colorado Coalition for the Homeless; Covenant House Alaska; Destination: Home; Doorways; Family Life Center; Family Service League; Friends of the Family; Homeless Action Network of Detroit; Homeward; LifeMoves; Lubbock Open Door; Mesilla Valley Community of Hope; Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter & Services; Mississippi United to End Homelessness; Newcap, Inc.; Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA); Portland Homeless Family Solutions; Project Community Connections, Inc.; Rural Alaska Community Action Program (RurAL CAP); Sacramento Steps Forward; SHELTER, Inc.; Texas Homeless Network; The Link; TriCounty Community Action Agency, Inc.; and Union Station Homeless Services.

“In one of my darkest years, Doorways has been the light that kept me going when I felt like I had no more energy to fight for myself and my children,” said a client of Doorways. “Thank you to the donors and to all the staff that have been supporting and taking care of us during this pandemic.” 

The Bezos Day One Fund made a $2 billion commitment to focus on making meaningful and lasting impacts in two areas: funding existing non-profits that help families experiencing homelessness, and creating a network of new, non-profit tier-one preschools in low-income communities. The Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families. Since 2018, the Day 1 Families Fund has issued 130 grants totaling more than $398 million to organizations around the country working to combat homelessness and help families gain housing support and stability. The vision statement comes from the inspiring Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside. For more information, visit www.BezosDayOneFund.org/Day1FamiliesFund.

About Doorways

Doorways creates pathways out of homelessness, domestic violence, and sexual assault, empowering clients to achieve safe and stable lives. Doorways’ trauma-informed approach addresses the cycles of abuse, homelessness, and poverty in a proactive and nimble way, meeting clients where they are and providing tailored support toward long-term stability. Doorways partners with clients to break cycles of abuse, homelessness, and poverty in a proactive and client-centered way, empowering healing journeys that enable long-term stability. To learn more and join Doorways today, visit www.doorwaysva.org

Doorways and Safe Space NOVA Launch New Inclusive Sex Ed Program for Local LGBTQ+ Youth

You + Me = We: Queer Sex Ed

Doorways and Safe Space NOVA are pleased to announce the launch of a new educational program focused on healthy relationships and sexual health for queer youth. The “You + Me = We: Queer Sex Ed” program will use a hybrid virtual and in-person setting over the course of four sessions that will give participants the chance to learn and ask questions about body autonomy, consent, safer sex practices, communication and boundary-setting, and more.

The goal of the program, facilitated by Doorways’ Prevention Specialist Scotney Young and Of Colors Healing, Jerry St. Louis, is to educate and empower LGBTQ+ youth to help them develop the skills needed to practice safe dating, build healthy relationships, and avoid unhealthy relationships and abuse.

“When it comes to sexual and relationship health education, it is not ‘one size fits all,’” said Jordan Costen-Sumpter, founder of Safe Space NOVA. “LGBTQ+ youth deserve sexual health education that is inclusive of their experiences, identities, and relationships while making sure they have accurate information to stay safe and healthy. This program is more than just sex education, we’ll offer tips and tools to help youth feel safer and empowered in love, like, and anything in between.”

Participants will be eligible for prizes including gift cards and more, for every session they attend with the chance to earn up to $20 in gift cards for attending. Free breakfast and snacks will also be provided. Transportation assistance is also available for anyone who needs it.  

The program will begin on September 18 and will run through mid-October. Full schedule is below:

  • September 18 – Orientation and introductions (in-person)
    • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
  • September 25 – Session 1 (virtual)
    • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
  • October 2 – Session 2 (in-person)
    • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
  • October 9 – Session 3 (virtual)
    • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
  • October 16 – Certificate and party (in-person) optional attendance
    • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

For more information or to register for the “You + Me = We: Queer Sex Ed” program, visit safespacenova.org/programs.

About Safe Space NOVA

Safe Space NOVA is dedicated to providing a safe, accepting, and supportive environment to combat social stigmas, bullying, and other challenges faced by LGBTQ+ youth. For more information, visit safespacenova.org.