Going Back to School with Kindness 

As children and young people head back to school, it is important to remember that many children are dealing with issues at home that they bring with them into the classroom. When children live in households where there is violence (physical or emotional), trauma, or instability, their entire world is impacted. The impacts of violence in the home often show up in the classroom.

Violence at home can affect a student's academic progress, classroom behavior, and social relationships. Students who live in a home where violence happens may be absent more than their peers. Additionally, these students may be at risk for delayed emotional and cognitive development. 
Teachers and paraprofessionals know that if one student is having a hard day, it can influence the rest of the class. Violence in one home can impact the entire classroom. This goes to show that domestic and sexual violence are not issues that only impact certain individuals. Rather, these issues are community problems requiring community solutions.

As parents get youngsters ready for school, remember to encourage kindness, compassion, and empathy. Feeling safe at home is not a reality for every child. Hopefully, classrooms and schools can be a place where all children can feel safe, welcomed, and respected.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month Ribbons

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is a time to mourn those who have died because of domestic violence and celebrate those who have survived.

If you would like to help raise awareness about domestic violence and want ribbons at your local business next month, please contact us!  
Self-Care September

Click here to read this full article in the September issue of River Valley Woman. 
When many of us hear the phrase "self-care," we picture pedicures, bubble baths, shopping, or a massage. While these luxuries can certainly be part of self-care, incorporating a practice of wellness and care into your life is more than just, "treating yourself."

Over the last several years, self-care culture has exploded and become widely recognized as ways we cope with our ever-increasingly stressful lives. There are countless books devoted to the subject and in the name of self-care, companies sell bath bombs and face masks. While these products and activities are certainly enjoyable – only taking a bubble bath rarely gets to the root cause of the stressors and anxieties we struggle with. 

At CADA, among the people we serve and staff, we often have conversations about what is and what is not self-care. First and foremost, self-care is not selfish. Self-care is not indulgent, but essential to our overall well-being. However, not every activity that feels good is necessarily helpful.

At one time or another, many of us have slipped into unhealthy self-care habits. In the name of self-care, we may find ourselves zoning out in front of the TV, snacking mindlessly, over-spending for retail therapy, or canceling plans with friends. Sometimes, self-care becomes self-sabotage. Just because something feels good doesn't mean it is working. Furthermore, self-care doesn’t always feel good in the moment. For example, going to the doctor or working out won't always feel great or sound like fun but these choices will benefit our overall wellness in the long run. 

Self-care is an intentional choice to actively engage in practices and cultivate habits that contribute to our overall wellness. Self-care activities are deliberate actions we do to care for our mental, emotional, and physical health. One simple way to think about it is to think about three key aspects of self-care: awareness, balance, and connection – or the "ABC's of self-care." 

A is for Awareness:
We need to be aware of how we act and feel when we are starting to feel over-burdened and are approaching our stress limit. Knowing our triggers and capacity is important so we can adjust our self-care practices as necessary. It is also important to have an awareness of what kinds of self-care activities will help in that moment. 

B is for Balance:
Part of healthy self-care is striving for balance in our daily lives. Maintaining a good balance of work, play, and rest is one way to avoid burnout. Maintaining healthy boundaries is also crucial – whether finding a healthy work-life balance or having healthy boundaries with our friends and family – boundaries are crucial to living a balanced life and avoiding feeling over-burdened. 

C is for Connection:
Self-care is often promoted as a solitary practice, and many self-care activities are solitary. However, it is important to remember that one aspect of self-care is connecting with others and to something larger than ourselves. This can be connecting with loved ones, with nature, or through therapy. 
Finding time for self-care can be overwhelming. Our schedules are jam-packed and the thought of carving out more time to go to the gym, spend time with loved ones, meditate, or read a book can seem daunting. By incorporating awareness, balance, and connection into our daily lives, we can continuously practice self-care rather than trying to fit in extra activities when we are already feeling maxed out. 
Staff Spotlight: Laura Ek 

Laura Ek has worked at CADA off and on since 1999. Laura has served as CADA’s Housing Advocate for the past two years. Prior to that role she was a shelter advocate and held other positions within the organization. When asked why Laura has chosen to continue with CADA, she said, "I'm inspired by the work being done here and the chance to make a change in people’s lives. Even making a small change for just one person is fulfilling." 

As the Housing Advocate, Laura helps victims and survivors find safe and affordable housing. Laura connects clients with resources such as financial assistance, energy assistance, rent assistance programs, and more. Laura loves the opportunity to see people settle into their new homes and enjoys helping them put down roots in a new community. "We couldn't get people into their new homes without the donations of furniture and household items from the community," said Laura. Donors and supporters make this part of Laura’s job possible. 

Apart from her role as the Housing Advocate, Laura enjoys raising awareness about CADA and the issues of domestic and sexual violence. When CADA participates in local parades or community fairs, Laura is always one of the first folks to volunteer. Laura is even running in the Mankato Marathon as one of CADA's Champion Runners! Laura feels like this is a good way to raise awareness of CADA's work and an opportunity for the community to give back and get involved.

When reflecting on her long history with CADA and the anti-gender violence movement, Laura said that she is excited by the changes she sees in the movement and people getting involved today. She said that when she started in this field, domestic and sexual violence were extremely taboo topics. People didn’t talk about these issues. Laura has seen these attitudes shift and feels it is a success of the movement that domestic and sexual violence are issues often seen as larger than individual issues. She is inspired when she sees individuals and communities getting involved in the work and movement.

One of Laura’s favorite self-care activities is taking a drive and watching the sunset. "That fills me up and gives me hope for the day," she said. Laura loves comedy movies and loves a good laugh, even if she has seen the movie ten times. Laura is also a proud grandmother. She said that when she retires, she wants to come back to CADA as a volunteer grandmother. Laura recognizes that for victims and their children, one of the hardest parts about relocating to shelter is being separated from family. As a volunteer grandmother, she would be able to show children that there are adults in the community who care for them and have an opportunity to help parents out.

At CADA, we are so lucky to have Laura and people like her on our team! 

Click here to support Laura in the Mankato Marathon.
Campus Sexual Assault 

Sexual assault is a pervasive issue many students face while in college. According to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), college-age women are four times more likely than any other age group to experience sexual assault. We know that sexual assault disproportionately impacts women. RAINN reports that one in five women and one in sixteen men experience sexual assault while in college. Overall, 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault.

Each survivor has unique reactions and experiences after sexual assault. According to CADA advocates, college students often fear seeing their perpetrator on campus or in class. College survivors often report severe disruptions of their academic progress and disruptions to campus life. Additionally, the mental health or physical repercussions of assault can be debilitating.

Alcohol is a common factor in many sexual assaults and is the most common substance used by perpetrators to control victims. Sexual violence is never a survivor's fault, whether or not they were using drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, the use of drugs or alcohol never excuses a perpetrator’s actions.

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program receiving federal funding. Under Title IX, sexual harassment and assault are prohibited as these crimes prevent students from participating in or receiving services or opportunities offered by these institutions.

All students deserve equal access to education and a learning environment that is safe.
For more information, check out: 
For local campus resources, check out: 
CADA Cheer Team 
You can be a part of CADA's Mankato Marathon Cheer Team and help us support not only CADA's Champion Runners, but the other marathon runners as well! 

Contact us if you'd like to join the CADA Cheer Team! 

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CADA Offices

Blue Earth County: 507-625-8688
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24-hour Crisis Line: 1-800-477-0466

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