Threads of Resilience: The Family Crisis Center of the RGV
(This article was written by Beth Marie Cantu and appeared in the February issue of the Explore Harlingen Magazine .) Certain stories command our attention—tales of resilience and courage in the face of trials. Beneath the surface of these stories are strong individuals who seek support to help them conquer their struggles. Since its establishment in 1981, the Family Crisis Center (FCC) of the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) has been a pillar of support for the survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in the Cameron and Willacy counties. Women in the community saw a need for families in abusive relationships, and together they helped women and children escape abuse. “[They] united to create the Family Crisis Center… Their goal was to provide these confidential and free services… and break the cycle of violence,” says Jacklyn Medrano, the FCC’s Community Education Director. The center has become a crucial resource for people of all ages and genders. The FCC provides a wide range of support to survivors of family violence as well as victims of sexual assault. By offering a wide range of services, the FCC aims to ensure that people facing crises receive the support they need to break free from the chains of violence. The FCC is most well known for their counseling services, which aid in emotional healing and help people rebuild their lives. “[The center] is really just focused on those individuals that have gone through domestic violence or assault, whether it’s in the past or currently occurring,” adds Medrano. Highly trained counselors provide diverse forms of therapy to cater to the diverse needs of people and children. The center also offers a 24-hour hotline for immediate assistance- a lifeline for those in need. Trained professionals offer around-the-clock crisis intervention to help individuals in distress. As some cases require urgent assistance, an emergency shelter provides a safe haven for survivors and their children during crises. Staff can also accompany survivors to hospitals. In a time of vulnerability, they offer support and comfort during medical exams. The FCC also assists survivors with legal aid, protective orders, and court accompaniment. Working with law enforcement, the center safeguards victims' rights and ensures justice is served. Staff can also transport victims to secure locations. All services are available for appointments and walk-ins, ensuring that individuals can access support in a manner that suits their needs and circumstances. The FCC also focuses on community outreach. By spreading awareness, they hope to break the cycle of violence in the community. While the FCC runs educational programs in schools and more, people in the community can also help spread the word. “I think that our community always needs to know more about our non-profit agencies and our resources… It’s really hard when we’re doing outreach and we’re at an informational booth event… and somebody comes up and says ‘wow I wish I had known this 10 years ago’...” Medrano says. “I always feel that somebody knows somebody… whether it’s a neighbor or a family member… You might not need this, but you might come across somebody who, in the future, will need this.” Medrano suggests that a simple and effective way to contribute is by sharing on social media (Facebook or Instagram) or passing along a brochure. “If you share the information with somebody it might just help them to get the confidence they need to be able to call us and seek assistance.” The FCC also holds fundraisers throughout the year that the community can participate in to show their support, such as champagne brunches and Halloween parties. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse and/or sexual assault, or if you’d like to see how you can get involved, contact the Family Crisis Center at (956) 423-9304 or visit their website familycrisisctr.org .