When you first step into CitiLookout what you notice is the aroma – the fresh baked perfume of cookies wafts thru the air. You walk toward the aroma and are created by the friendly volunteers who staff the front desk and they invite you to grab a cookie or two and sit down. It’s like being welcomed into someone’s home. It doesn’t feel like a mental health treatment facility. Citilookout was created in the center of Springfield geographically and is also at the center, the very heartbeat of helping those who have been ravaged by the storms of life. Our motto is “Where Pain meets Purpose” and it drives every person from the volunteer to the Advocate to the Professional Counselor. We come alongside those in pain and our goal is to help transform that pain into healing, stability and purpose.
Unfortunately, Clark County crime statistics reveal that our violent crime rate is significantly higher than both the state of Ohio and national averages. This means the needs are great in our community. We were blessed to be picked by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to become one of Ohio’s first Trauma Recovery Centers so we could provide trauma counseling and victim advocacy regardless of their ability to pay.
Traditional response teams recognize that individuals caught up in the violence cycle rarely reach out for or accept the resources available to them but CL TRC works with law enforcement, hospitals, clergy and others to create a bridge of help. Then Advocates and Counselors go to work helping victims become survivors and eventually to become thrivers. Our staff walks alongside each person to guide them in getting the help they need including housing, transportation, legal and medical assistance, and trauma counseling. Trauma informed counseling is far different than general therapy and is very effective in the transformational process.
Recently our team helped some of the victims of the 2019 Dayton shooting by counseling them through their horrific trauma. We have served fathers and mothers whose children have been murdered, women and men in domestic violence situations that are desperate for change, and other young people who witnessed shootings.
Our team regularly encounters families in the midst of domestic violence and we uniquely offer services to both the victim of the abuse and to the perpetrator. This distinct approach enables healing of the generational nature of violence. Healing for both perpetrator and victim has a ripple effect today and for future generations. In addition, we work with human trafficking victims, many of which don’t even recognize themselves as victims because they are caught up in the misery and manipulation of those who exploit and use them. Our staff can help them get out of their dangerous situations and/or lifestyles and create new ways to reach their potential.
The needs can be so varied. One young man was shot many times and survived. After recovering from his physical wounds, he needed help with a Victim’s Compensation Application, obtaining his own apartment, food and transportation to appointments, and trauma counseling to help him regain feelings of independence. We even helped him get his car repaired so that he could become more independent. He shared that this gave him enough confidence to pursue his dream of becoming a musician.
Our compassionate staff listens to each one’s needs and helps them in that area, not just assuming what their biggest need is. One young survivor found housing, but had no furniture. Our enterprising advocate found a local furniture supplier who discounted and donated items. One of our counselors was able to counsel a young, college student who had been raped and was brave enough to take it to trial which is additional trauma. She expressed afterward that she felt lost and alone and her Counselor gave her ongoing supportive care that was judgment free, gave her the courage to testify and healing for her brokenness.
Our community is making great strides to improve our city and make it a safer and more hospitable place to live, work and grow up. Our City Government, Chamber of Commerce, Foundations, and many other organizational leaders spend extensive time, energy and resources to restore and renew our city. CitiLookout staff is joining their efforts by working with individuals to help them develop into confident, hopeful, and responsible people who are free to act in ways that strengthen themselves, their families and communities. As we hear each one’s story, we are continually amazed at how resilient people can be when someone comes alongside them and shows compassion and support.
Barb Dotson | Executive Director
Pam Ellinger-Dixon | Board Chairwoman
CitiLookout Trauma Recovery Center