Showing Support for R.A.C.E.S.

What is R.A.C.E.S.? Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services, (R.A.C.E.S. for short), is a community-based rape crisis center serving multiple counties in East-Central Illinois, with their largest network of resources implemented in the UIUC community. Starting in 1970, they have provided free, confidential services to anyone who has been affected by sexual assault, abuse, or harassment. They also offer public education and training to schools, employers, and other organizations throughout East-Central Illinois.

The Issue: R.A.C.E.S. has been hit hard by the state budget impasse. As a result, they have had to cut staff salaries and hours by 20%.

 
What is Going On: The state budget crisis is old news. Illinois is having issues funding crucial entities across the state, and a lot of programs on our campus are being affected. One of those is R.A.C.E.S. The lack of a budget puts this state funded program into peril, and the looming threat of closure hangs heavy.  Staff hours and salaries have already been cut by 20% and office opening hours have been shortened. These cuts limit the availability of counselors, legal advocates, and community educators who provide valuable services to survivors of sexual assault.
 

What is Being Done? The public responded with an outpouring of financial support following the announcement of budget cuts. An online crowdfunding campaign called “Save Our Services” was created and has contributed to almost half of all total donations. Twenty-one separate teams participated by actively fundraising for the crowdfunding campaign. Since January, the community has mobilized to raise nearly $40,000 in donations. R.A.C.E.S. executive director, Mary Evans said, “The community response has been overwhelmingly positive. Our donors give us hope for the future. They are truly heroes and we are so grateful for their support.”

How Can We Help? Take a moment to realize how crucial this program is to our community. They are the University’s only 24-hour rape crisis hotline which is a necessity to have around a college campus where, unfortunately, 1 in 5 women will experience a sexual assault. If you want to help this vital resource stay alive, donations can be made online at  http://donate.cu-races.org/ Checks can also be mailed to 300 S. Broadway - Suite 154A, Urbana, IL 61801. 

To learn more about R.A.C.E.S. visit http://www.cu-races.org/home

Photos Courtesy of www.facebook.com/RapeAdvocacyCounselingEducation/