project help

Project HELP receives Community Foundation of Collier County grant to empower teens

The Community Foundation of Collier County has awarded Project HELP a $2,500 grant to create a Sexual Assault Survivor Empowerment Group for teenagers in the area.

Project HELP, a nonprofit that works to ease the pain of those affected by rape, violence, crime or loss of a loved one, applied for this grant with the hopes of furthering its mission and providing additional services for those that need it most.

“The need for this project is a critical part of the healing journey,” said Project HELP Executive Director Eileen Wesley. “After a sexual assault has occurred, whether a victim chooses to report to police or not, Project HELP offers each victim free and confidential counseling, therapy, advocacy and support groups. These groups are a next step in the process.”

The funding from this grant will go toward creating empowerment groups with the goal of helping affected teenagers deal with what has happened to them in a therapeutically guided peer setting, leaving with the skills to make healthier and better decisions.

Empowerment can be shown through art, music, clay therapy and yoga, all of which will be covered through this grant.

“These groups are not closed and they run continuously. They help victims of sexual violence become stronger and better off than they were prior to their assault,” Eileen said.

Contact Project HELP to learn more about these programs, volunteer opportunities or if you’re interested in making a donation to the cause.

Project HELP to host National Crime Victims’ Rights Week celebration in Naples

The annual observation of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week raises awareness for those who have been victimized by a violent crime, as well as the loved ones of victims.

Project HELP, a nonprofit in Naples dedicated toward easing the pain of those affected by rape, violence, crime or loss of a loved one, is hosting a celebration of NCVR Week from 4-6 p.m. on Friday, April 12, at Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Drive in Naples.

Victim service providers from Project HELP and various law enforcement agencies and state entities will be on hand to speak with the community about this important week, as well as April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“This is always a critical month for Project HELP to raise awareness of our mission and to let people know in the community that in your darkest hour, there is a helping hand right around the corner here for you,” said Project HELP Executive Director Eileen Wesley. “There are also a number of resources available to victims of crimes that everyone should be aware of, should they ever be placed in a difficult situation. We’re here to share these tips and to provide comfort and care to anyone who needs it in our community.”

The event will feature a number of prominent speakers, Bagpipe music, and some food and water will be served. The event is free to attend.

Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk, Naples Police Chief Tom Weschler and Chief Assistant State Attorney of Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit, Rich Montecalvo, will be among those giving speeches at Project HELP’s event.

Click here to view the flyer for the event.

Project HELP enhances services for victims with disabilities

Victim services center Project HELP received a big boost recently thanks to the organization’s acquisition of ADA-compliant forensic examination beds.

These state-of-the-art beds allow the local rape recovery and victim services center nonprofit to help victims with disabilities, previously a difficult task that is now easily possible thanks to this acquisition, according to Executive Director Eileen Wesley.

“These beds provide another element to our in-house sexual assault forensic collection room, which has already helped many individual survivors begin the healing process,” Ms. Wesley said.

The bed was purchased with funds granted by the Salah Foundation, which is a private foundation that supports non-profit organizations in the United States that strengthen families and communities and advances individuals to become productive and responsible citizens.

Project HELP executive director Eileen Wesley with new ADA-approved bed

Project HELP Executive Director Eileen Wesley with the nonprofit’s new ADA-approved bed will help those with disabilities.

Project HELP’s forensic collection room allows the organization to immediately help those in need, providing forensic services to survivors in a completely private, secure location. A forensic examination for evidence collection is immediately followed by crisis intervention for the survivor, as well as family or friends who are present, to begin the healing process.

The recently acquired ADA-compliant forensic examination beds continue furthering Project HELP’s mission of working with dignity and compassion to ease the pain of those affected by rape, violence or other crimes. Now those with disabilities don’t need to feel that they’ll be stigmatized or turned away if they call Project HELP for guidance or treatment, according to Ms. Wesley.

“The ADA exam bed will allow us to support the needs of people with and without disabilities, making our services more accessible to all people in the community,” according to Ms. Wesley. “The special features of the bed allow exams to be performed with dignity and respect for each individual’s physical abilities.”

2018 was a big year for Project HELP, with 342 new clients supported through counseling, support groups, court accompaniment, advocacy and information referral through our 24-hour HELP line. More than 3,000 clients were served in house, with nearly 900 callers supported via the HELP line.