My name is Kathleen DeClark, but please call me Kathi. I’m President and Board Chairperson of Faith and Grace, Inc.
I’ve experienced the horror of domestic violence when I learned my daughter and four grandchildren were living in an abusive household. I saw them experiencing fear and uncertainty in their daily, chaotic lives. In my helplessness, I got on my knees to ask God what I could do to help them find a way out of their terrifying existence.
My prayers were answered in 2018 when I was asked by friends if I would consider opening a shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence as there wasn’t one in Lake Havasu City. They wanted to find a house and donate it as a shelter and asked if I would consider being a board president for such a mission. They knew about my experience with families experiencing domestic violence knowing the history of my daughter and grandchildren and that I had been a volunteer at another Domestic Violence shelter. They also appreciated my career as a registered nurse, familiar with trauma-induced care, case management and intense care for people. My unique background gave them confidence that I was the right person for this endeavor
I gratefully said yes as I was passionate for women and children to have a safe place to live in order to escape domestic violence. I knew it was a community need that wasn’t being met in Lake Havasu City.
My friends and I spent considerable time looking for the right house and we found not one, but two ideal shelters for Faith and Grace. One is a 2,600sf home which is our emergency shelter called Faith House and the second is a 4,600sf home which is a transition shelter called Grace House.
Faith and Grace, Inc. was established and my friend’s financial donation went into an escrow account. I had the honor of signing ownership for both homes on January 10, 2019 on behalf of this wonder charity
In the time period of looking for a home, I became certified by the State of Arizona’s Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence in their 40-hour class on Laws, Best Practices, Guidelines and Trauma Informed Care.
My expectations are very high, holding all who work or volunteer for Faith and Grace to be completely accountable for every single woman and child who reaches out to us for help. All of our Advocates are experienced, well trained with numerous certifications, educated and compassionate women. I make sure that the board, volunteers and those who work with our women and children directly are dedicated to our mission to break the chain of domestic violence. Our motto is “Be Open to Change” for a reason. We inspire the women we serve to be open to a new way of life free from the shackles of isolation, abuse, shame, violence and despair. We offer them transition from the tyranny of domestic abuse to the liberation of living free and independent lives for themselves and their children.
My decision to say yes to my friends in 2018 has filled me with a sense of purpose that contributes to something much bigger than myself. I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve.