We are looking for some friends and sponsors to celebrate with as we host the First Annual Galentine’s Day Fundraiser benefiting CADA! On the evening of Thursday, February 10th, we will gather in person and virtually to celebrate the love and connection we have with our gals, pals, and besties. Whether joining us at The Capitol Room in St. Peter or virtually from your own house party, guests will enjoy an evening of comedy, crafts, and cocktails.

What's Galentine's Day you ask? 
Galentine’s Day is only THE BEST DAY OF THE YEAR! Every year before Valentine’s Day, people across the nation get together with their friends and celebrate the love and friendship they have with their closest besties.

Why are we celebrating Galentine’s Day?
Time and time again, we hear from survivors of relationship abuse and sexual violence that one of the most crucial aspects of their healing is their support system, friendships, and the people they can lean on. We all need people in our corner who care about us, motivate us, and celebrate with us. We all need a galentine or palentine!

Will you be our Galentine?
You or your business can help show victims and survivors that there is a whole community out there supporting them! Funds raised at this event will help ensure CADA continues to offer life-saving and life-changing programs and services. Funds help cover the cost of anything from advocacy services, to support groups, to helping survivors with emergency financial assistance.

Will you join us as a Galentine’s Day sponsor?

To get a sponsorship package sent to you or to learn more,
click here to email Kristen Walters.

For the month of July, we are raising money to directly support local victims and survivors of relationship abuse and sexual violence. When CADA has the funds, we are able to help victims and survivors with one-time emergency financial assistance for things related to the abuse or violence they’ve experienced. Advocates can request this emergency financial assistance on behalf of survivors they’re working with to help pay for car repairs, rent, childcare, food, home security, and more. CAN YOU HELP?

Relationship abuse and sexual violence can disrupt almost all aspects of one’s life, from employment, to health, to parenting, to housing, and more. For many people we work with, one financial crisis could easily lead to another. If someone’s car breaks down, they can’t get to work, then they may lose their job, then they can’t pay their rent, and then might be faced with returning to an abusive partner. Your donations can help us stop the domino effect of a financial crisis after abuse. Donations like yours could help pay for a hotel for someone when our shelter is full. Donations could also pay for first month’s rent at a new apartment, new locks, help with transportation, and so much more!

Your $5 or $10 donation may not seem like a lot, but when you add it to everyone else’s it can make a HUGE difference! Every gift matters.
“We often have clients who come to us when many other organizations have turned them away for financial help. Being able to offer them safe, confidential, and free services along with financial help has been a life-changer in the way we are able to provide advocacy services.”
–Sara, CADA Advocate
Shirley Knutson, CADA's Watonwan County Advocate, Celebrates 25 years with Organization
On Thursday, July 1st, we celebrated our amazing Watonwan County Community Advocate, Shirley Knutson on 25 years at CADA!

"For 25 years, Shirley has served the Watonwan County community and CADA. Her compassion and dedication to victims and survivors is unwavering. Shirley cares deeply about each and every person who walks through her doors. We are lucky to have Shirley as a coworker and friend."
-Erika Boyer-Kern, Community Advocacy Manager

Kristen: Tell us about what brought you to CADA back in 1996.
Shirley: I had lived with an abuser for 8 years and I knew how hard it was to get out of that kind of situation. I knew about the barriers and what it felt like. I was finally able to get out of that relationship and needed to find a better job so I could support myself and my son. When I thought about my career choices I knew that I wanted to do something that could help other women who had gone through what I had experienced. So I started volunteering at the CADA office in St. James. I went through the 40-hour domestic violence advocacy training (they required that at the time) and 40-hour sexual assault advocacy training. When I was volunteering there were two advocates in the office. When one of those advocates left they hired me as a temporary employee to help the advocate who was running the office. And then four months later they opened up the position and I applied and got hired. 

Kristen: What about the anti-violence movement has changed over the last 25 years? 
Shirley: I think the police, judges, county attorneys, and other systems take domestic violence and sexual assault more seriously now. Now, advocates are seen as a necessity. But when I started, no one really knew who we were or what advocates did because it was so new. When we would show up at the courthouse or police station, they were always polite, but they dismissed us pretty quickly and it just wasn’t very inclusive. That has changed a lot in 25 years! Also, since I started in the movement the laws have gotten better and the consequences for domestic and sexual violence have gotten tougher. There is also a lot more education around domestic and sexual violence and more prevention work! 

Kristen: How has working in Watonwan County changed over the years?
Shirley: When I used to tell people that I was a sexual assault advocate, they would find a way to leave the conversation pretty quickly! No one wanted to talk about that! I started to tell people that my job was to help women who were in dangerous home situations, then people started to understand better.

Watonwan County is full of small towns and is a very small part of the state. In the 25 years that I’ve been an advocate, there have been 7 deaths in this area because of domestic violence – that’s a lot of people for a little area. All the towns in Watonwan County are very small, even St. James is only 4500 people. A lot of people in this rural region of the state had the assumption that domestic violence only happens in big cities. So these deaths really opened people’s eyes and showed them that this can happen here.

Kristen: What are some of your favorite CADA or advocacy memories over the last 25 years?
Shirley: I got to be a part of the groundbreaking crew when we moved into the new shelter in 1997. I was able to watch it be built from the first board that was laid.  When the building was finished, we had a staff picnic but it got rained out. The shelter was complete, but there was no furniture yet, so we sat on the floor in the new and empty shelter and ate our lunch. We got to run around and spend time in the empty shelter and take a look at the new space. That was a really awesome day!

In 25 years I’ve worked with 6 different Executive Directors and several managers and a ton of other advocates. I’ve learned something new from each person I’ve worked with over the last 25 years. It has been a real joy to work with so many people and make lasting friendships with some of them.

I’ve also loved working with my clients over the years. I’ve loved watching them go from scared individuals to happy, self-confident, and determined women. I love watching them start a new chapter in their life and watching their kids get their smiles back. Those are happy memories I reflect on.
"I'm just really thankful I found my niche and that I was able to put so many years into doing it.
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CADA Offices

24-hour Crisis Line: 1-800-477-0466
Blue Earth County: 507-625-8688
Brown County: 507-233-6663 OR 
Faribault County: 507-526-5275
Le Sueur County: 507-934-5583
Martin County: 507-399-2001
Nicollet County: 507-934-5583
Sibley County: 507-233-6666
Waseca County: 507-835-7828
Watonwan County: 507-375-3040