As 2016 comes to an end I’ve had a once in a lifetime opportunity to reflect on the lessons that the past twenty years of UCASA’s work have meant to the people and communities we serve. January 1st, 2017 brings with it more than the new year, it is also the beginning of the twenty first year of UCASA’s life-changing work. For the past twenty years, we have had the opportunity to work side-by-side with advocates, families, and communities alike to eliminate sexual violence from our communities. We have made remarkable progress and we know that the next chapter of our history is about to be written.
It is an honor to be serving as the Executive Director as, along with so many dedicated individuals who ensure that our work continues. As citizens and advocates, we work together to achieve UCASA’s mission of empowering communities throughout Utah to prevent sexual assault and serve survivors by providing comprehensive training, advocacy, public awareness and coordinated sexual assault services. I have the pleasure of working alongside an incredible number of world class professionals and I am especially privileged to have an incredibly dedicated staff.
As Executive Director at UCASA, my responsibilities include building a strong foundation for a vibrant and relevant coalition based on strong fiscal practices; working with an active board of directors to responsibly plan and execute UCASA’s direction; collaborating with other coalitions across the country to learn best practices and build a team with a passion to achieve the ultimate result of ending sexual violence in Utah.
I want to provide some reassurance to those of you out there who are concerned about the social, financial, and political developments taking place in our communities. During difficult times such as these, you can depend on us. We will always be here; our work continues and we remain as optimistic about a future free from sexual violence as we have ever been. In fact, our work is growing and our organization is expanding to meet the needs of our communities.
Our future is bright and the next chapter of UCASA’s work will be as exciting, productive and meaningful as the past twenty years have been. As we look to 2017 we will continue to improve our coalition and build on the strong foundation of the previous chapter of our history. I’m very pleased to announce several endeavors that UCASA will be undertaking in the next year and beyond. Here is just a sampling of the incredible new endeavors that I am pleased to share with you:
- We are launching a new professional development program that will complement our existing 40-hour Rape Advocacy Training to focus on more than the sexual violence field. Through our new professional development program, you’ll be able to earn certificates such as Sexual Violence 101 and Human Trafficking 101.
- As part of our commitment to serving all areas of Utah we’re updating our website and launching an entirely new online experience. Our new website will feature members-only content that can be accessed remotely and will allow for members in geographically dispersed areas to experience the same content that our members across the Wasatch Front enjoy. In addition, our new website will feature translation options so that language will no longer be a barrier to the great services and programs we offer.
- Public policy has always been an important piece of the work that we do and we’re taking that commitment to the next level. We’re taking a leap as the first coalition in the nation to establish a 501c4 organization to further our legislative efforts. This new organization will be governed by our Board of Directors and staffed by our existing staff and it will allow us to further our goals of creating and implementing public policies and laws designed to assist survivors.
This is only a small taste of what is to come from UCASA. Our work is powered by our membership program. Join us on the next step of our journey by becoming a member of our newly formed Vanguard Network. By making a monthly membership payment to UCASA you are joining the local movement to end sexual violence. Our members include community leaders with a wide range of interests, backgrounds, and experience working to combat sexual violence-related issues.
I invite you to visit UCASA’s new website often. It will be constantly updated with important information regarding our work.
Thank you for your support,
Turner C. Bitton