National Care Foundation: A Flagler Beach Foundation Looking to Advocate for Victims of Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Sexual Abuse

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I had the pleasure of sitting down with Erica Rivera last week to talk about her newest venture, The National Care Foundation. This is a brand new foundation, that is still being built into existence. Erica is very passionate about helping people work through traumas, domestic violence and other sexual assaults and abuse. Erica told me how she felt people who suffered from sexual traumas and domestic violence are often an underserved area. The subject, especially around sexual assault and abuse, can sometimes be considered taboo; which makes it so hard for people to find and get the help they need. I was able to ask Erica some questions about her organization and the goals she has for it. The interview below consists of my questions and her complete response.

 

 

1. What inspired you to start this non-profit? When was the project born into existence? When was it founded officially?

Erica: “If you want to get technical, this project was born into existence in the early 2010s. I’ve been functioning as a nonprofit without even realizing it. But I finally made it official in March 2023. My Story is also my “why” and what inspired me to start this organization. I was raised in a strict, religious, Hispanic, household where I excelled academically but often did not have the freedom to express myself emotionally without negative consequences. When it came specifically to topics of abuse, sex, puberty, relationships, etc. we simply did not speak of those things. Unfortunately and fortunately this would later shape my calling in life because not only did we not talk about those things at home, but we rarely talked about those things in school or at church. I am a survivor of childhood abuse, sexual assault, homelessness, rape and domestic violence. What sets me a part from other organizations is my passion to create access to comprehensive sexual health education. I feel like that is the “prevention” piece that we are missing when it comes to preventing sexual assault and thriving in healthy long-term relationships. I have been a Sexual Health Educator since Nov 2011 and a Victim’s Advocate since March 2021.”

 

2. What is the goal of this non-profit?
Erica: “One of our main goals is to make sure we are coming in contact with, and being able to provide, the resources needed to assist trauma survivors in their healing process. Although we attribute victim services to female survivors, I want to make sure our men and LGBTQ+ are NOT excluded.”

 

3. How do you hope to inspire the community?
Erica: “I hope I can inspire our community to “say something” when you “see something”. Too often, people are afraid to speak up when they encounter abuse themselves or know of someone experiencing abuse for fear of judgement. It’s important to bring those situations to the forefront in a SAFE manner so we can do our best to put an end to traumatic circumstances; we can’t help a situation we don’t know about. I want us to be that safe space that doesn’t just say they are nonjudgmental and empowers survivors but puts ACTION behind those words. I also hope I can inspire the community to be more open-minded and practice that same attitude with their friends or loved ones that might be going through an unfortunate event. Lastly, I want to help destigmatize discussions around sex-positive education and research; we are an organization that firmly believes this kind of transparency can help prevent sexual assault.”

 

4. What are your big fundraiser events?
Erica: “Every April, on the last Wednesday of the month, for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we hold our annual “Denim Day” Fundraising Campaign. Every October, on the last Wednesday of the month, for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we will be holding an annual gala called “Living Behind the Mask”. A couple more fundraisers are in the works as it relates to other traumatic experiences and as they come to fruition we will make sure to let the public know how they can get involved.”

 

5. How are ways the community can support this non-profit?
Erica: “Right now, the best way to support this nonprofit is through donations! We have several ways we are assisting survivors at this time and they do require certain expenses. We currently hold a monthly support group where we pay for the space and we also have a couple monthly outreach events where we are always looking for door prize sponsors in hopes it will encourage future leads for that small business willing to assist us. The community can also support this non-profit by sharing our posts on social media and telling your friends and family that we are here to help. We don’t ever want our survivors to pay for support services.”

 

6. Where do you see this organization in 5 years? In 10 Years?
Erica: “In five years, I’d hope we would have grown to have our own outreach center and 24/7 hotline and in ten years I’d like to have outreach centers in other locations statewide, or even nationally! Even if it’s just one location in another state, that in itself would be quite the accomplishment. The survivors of Flagler County are the priority, but no matter where we are; if there is the slightest possibility that we can provide a resource for someone, we will.”

 

7. What are some of your short term goals with the organization?
Erica: “Some of our short term goals are to make sure the support group is consistent and that we are encouraging growth by getting the word out there about it; and we’d also like to connect with healthcare organizations, higher education facilities, law enforcement, legal services, child protection and mental health professionals that can be a part of a directory we can pull from when we are needing them to provide their expertise, especially when we are assisting victims of crime.”

 

If this is an organization that resonates with you, and you would like to get involved, you can email Erica at: erica@ntlcarefoundation.org

 

 

By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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