The mission of Project HELP is one that never sleeps. This selfless organization continues to radiate endlessly, touching the hearts and homes of many within the community. Helping provide hope, empowerment, and healing to those affected by sexual violence, sudden death, and crime, Project HELP, has firmly established ties within the community and has left a profound impact. 2019 marked many pivotal points for Project HELP. Eileen Wesley, Executive Director, weighs in on the top milestones throughout the past year. As 2019 marches to a conclusion, all good deeds must be recognized. Project HELP has extended love and service to over 3.5k individuals. With such a demand, Project HELP hired new staff to meet the ever-growing need. The therapy program has expanded to three therapists who are passionate about the work they do. A therapy dog in-training is onsite. A new Medical Director will oversee operations as 2019 has more than doubled the number of forensic exams from the previous year.
Change is upon the horizon as many new regulations are in place. Last December, Collier County Commissioners promoted the Mental Health and Addiction Advisory Committee to address mental health and addiction. Part of the solution was putting into place a 1% sales tax to address the need. With the support of extra funding, organizations like Project HELP will have the resources they need to assist the public. Optimism, cheer, and excitement roared last November as the casino fundraiser, A Night in Monte Carlo, helped unite the community, raise much needed funds, and shine spotlight on the mission of change. All proceeds helped to fund Project HELP’s team of professional counselors and advocates who provide hope, empowerment and healing to those in need.
Marsy’s Law in Florida to support victims’ rights went into action. Amending the state constitution and various state laws to (1) expand the legal rights of crime victims and (2) restitution payment by criminal offenders, and (3) restricting the early release of inmates, and changing the procedures for granting and revoking parole. One of the resolutions of the rape kit back log has been implemented. Law enforcement has 30 days to turn rape kits into the local florida department of law enforcement laboratories and the laboratories have 120 days to test and return results to law enforcement. This is giving hope for the victims to receive justice quicker with a faster turn around time.
As the new year approaches, and the holiday season is upon us, Project HELP, along with its’ supporters, look to the horizon with optimism and excitement. Project HELP assists in matters of Sexual Assault, Grief and Lose, and Healthy Relationships. Health Relationships is the newest program offered at Project HELP, which became available in December of 2019.