Summer Wellness Challenge

CADA's Wellness Committee was formed last year with the goal of supporting and growing CADA's workplace culture of self-care and wellness. Those in helping professions, like CADA advocates, can experience something called secondary trauma or vicarious trauma. These terms describe the negative effects of repeatedly bearing witness or being exposed to the trauma experiences of another person. Not addressing the impacts of the emotional work of advocacy can result in burnout, stress, and anxiety.

CADA strives to maintain a healthy workplace culture where individuals are given the tools and resources to practice self-care. One of the overall goals of the Wellness Committee is to give staff resources to build resiliency and address burnout and compassion fatigue.

The Wellness Committee has created various opportunities for staff to engage in self-care both during the work day and individually at home. Some of these activities include on-site yoga, staff picnics and holiday parties, and wellness challenges.

This summer, the wellness committee has organized a Summer Fun Challenge. Staff are encouraged to send in pictures of themselves participating in a number of summer activities, like:

  • Going to a parade
  • Building a sand castle
  • Going camping
  • Star gazing
  • Reading a book outside
  • Playing volleyball

Below are some pictures of CADA staff participating in the Summer Fun Challenge! 
Gaslighting: I Feel Like I'm Going Crazy! 

You can click here and read this full article in the August issue of River Valley Woman. 
Many people have heard the term gaslighting, but what does it really mean? Gaslighting is a form of persistent manipulation and emotional abuse that causes a victim to doubt themselves and question their reality.

Gaslighting can be hard to recognize because it is a subtle, gradual, and persistent form of manipulation. However, in relationships where gaslighting happens, there is most often an imbalance of power between two people and one person fights to maintain power and control. Gaslighting can happen to anyone and can happen in all types of relationships. Gaslighting can happen in personal relationships with partners, family members, or friends. It can happen in the workplace and public figures can even gaslight their constituency.

There are some distinct tactics that gaslighters will use against victims:

Lying and denying
Gaslighters will often tell blatant lies, but they do it with such conviction and repetition that the person they are lying to starts to question reality and think, “Maybe they’re right?” A gaslighter will deny their manipulative and destructive actions to the point where the victim is convinced that it is all in their head or that they are overreacting or being oversensitive.

Using persistence and repetition to wear the victim out
One of the scariest things about gaslighting is how persistent and ongoing the manipulation is. A gaslighter will constantly break down their victim’s reality and sense of self in order to maintain power and control. A victim eventually doubts and questions their own reality and lives with such anxiety and fear that they must rely on the gaslighter in some way.

Escalating when attacked
If a gaslighter is challenged or called out, they will often lash out and twist the blame back onto the victim. When challenged, it is not uncommon for a gaslighter to throw out accusations, use abusive language, or result to name calling.

Isolating the victim
A gaslighter will often spread the message that the victim is crazy, unreliable, or another false narrative. The gaslighter wants to ensure that if their gaslightee tries to find support from others, no one will believe them.

A person who suspects they are experiencing gaslighting may benefit from talking to trusted friends or a therapist. They may be able to help keep a victim grounded in reality and validate their experiences. One way a victim can cope is by taking time to reflect on their experiences, possibly through journaling. This may allow someone to look back with a clear head and process what has happened. Ultimately, those who have experienced gaslighting should be kind to themselves. It is important to acknowledge that your feelings are valid and remind yourself about your wonderful qualities and traits.  
Volunteer Spotlight: Melissa Hernandez 

For the past year, Melissa Hernandez has been a Crisis Call-Out Volunteer Advocate at CADA. Melissa is a full-time case aid with Brown County Human Services in the child protection unit. She lives in New Ulm with her 11-year-old son, Juan. 

Last year, Melissa was new to the New Ulm area and was looking to get involved in the community and connect with people. She had always had an interest in doing something to help victims of domestic and sexual violence, but had never found the right opportunity. A co-worker encouraged Melissa to check out CADA's volunteer opportunities. The flexibility of the call-out volunteer position and the in-depth training that was offered was just what Melissa needed.
Melissa and other volunteer advocates are on-call after hours and on weekends and respond to hospitals and law enforcement centers to provide support and advocacy to victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Melissa said that the most rewarding thing about volunteering is knowing the difference her presence can make to someone by being there for them emotionally. "We can make a huge impact in those critical moments," Melissa said.

Self-care is important to Melissa as she juggles a full-time job, parenting, volunteering, and more. Melissa says that through volunteering, she recognized the importance of self-care. Melissa said, "Everyone at CADA is super supportive in making sure that we are care for ourselves and that we have the skills and tools to be able to do that." Melissa schedules self-care activities into her calendar. She said, "I can't do my job and volunteer and parent if I'm not taking care of myself. I wouldn't be successful without that." 

One reason Melissa said she enjoys volunteering, apart from the knowledge that she is making a difference in the lives of victims and survivors, is that she feels appreciated and valued at CADA. Melissa said, "A lot of times, even in their daily jobs, people don't feel appreciated of valued. CADA really puts that at the forefront and lets volunteers know how thankful they are for the help we provide and I think that's amazing!" 

At CADA, we certainly do appreciate Melissa and all of our volunteers. We couldn't do the work of serving victims and survivors without the help from people like Melissa!

If you want to get involved, click here to check out CADA's volunteer opportunities. 
Taylor Corporation Volunteers

Twice over the last month, volunteers from Taylor Corporation helped beautify the shelter back yard. Volunteers put together a porch swing, did some landscaping, and stained the wooden playground equipment. We are so grateful for the time and efforts of the Taylor Strategic Sourcing Team!

Support CADA at the Mankato Marathon 

CADA is excited to once again partner with the Mankato Marathon's Charities Program! CADA has four champion runners who will raise money for CADA and our programs. As an organization, we also have the opportunity to raise money through marathon registrations. Are you running the marathon? You can designate CADA as the recipient of a portion of your registration fee!

CADA's Champion Runners are: 
  • Laura Ek 
  • Trevor Frybarger
  • Jennifer Guse
  • Jay Zender 
You can support CADA's champion runners by donating today! Click here to donate. 

The Marathon takes place on Saturday, October 19th and we are looking for enthusiastic folks to join the CADA Cheer Team! Contact if you want to participate. 
Parade Fun 
Giant Days Parade in Blue Earth
North Mankato Fun Days Parade

CADA is now on Instagram - Follow us now!

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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
Faribault County: 507-526-5275
Le Sueur County: 507-934-5583
Nicollet County: 507-934-5583
Sibley County: 507-233-6666
Waseca County: 507-835-7828
Watonwan County: 507-375-3040
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Address postal inquiries to:
Committee Against Domestic Abuse
100 Stadium Ct
Mankato, MN 56001-7028