Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

County News

SEMO NASV moves to new location

SEMO NASV Executive Director Kendra Eads cuts the ribbon on Oct. 13, celebrating the opening of the organization’s new location in Jackson. Photo by Jay Forness

The Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence (SEMO NASV) celebrated its move to Jackson on Oct. 13 with a ribbon cutting and open house at its new location.

The organization, which also celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, moved to 147 North Lacy Street in Jackson in August due to space constraints at its former location on Mount Auburn Road in Cape Girardeau.

“This space is about two and a half times the size that we were in before,” Executive Director Kendra Eads said. “It has allowed us to have two interview rooms, two exam rooms and two observation rooms – something that we haven’t had in a very long time.”

Eads said the last two buildings SEMO NASV has occupied has only had one interview room, one exam room and one observation room – limiting the number of clients they could provide services to at one time.

In addition, the Jackson location allows more room for staff offices and provides a physical separation between the organization’s counseling services, which are all located on the first floor, and the forensic services provided to adults and children who have been physically and sexually abused.

“All the forensic interviews and exams are done upstairs,” Eads said. “We love that because when victims come back for counseling, they never have to go back upstairs or have to go to the place where they had to talk about what happened. They can just focus on healing.”

The new location also has a conference room, so board meetings are now able to be held at the organization’s building.

“We knew that we were outgrowing our prior space for about three years,” Eads said. “We knew it was coming, so we had started looking before the pandemic, but we were not able to find a space.”

Eads said the organization worked in alternating shifts once the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, meaning they were able to pause their search for a new location until the organization’s staff started working together in the office again this past year.

“The bad thing aboutCOVID is that the numbers declined because kids weren’t in front of mandated reporters,” Development Director Alix Gasser said. “We know that the abuse was happening more often, so we know our numbers are just going to continue to grow.”

Gasser said she is glad SEMO NASV will have the space available as people become more comfortable reaching out for support.

Eads said there was some concern about moving further north because they serve such a large area, but the Jackson location’s proximity to Interstate 55 has made it easier for clients to navigate to the new building.

SEMO NASV primarily services nine southeast Missouri counties including Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Perry, Pemiscot, Scott and Stoddard counties.

The organization provides all its services, including trauma-focused therapy and assigning victim advocates to every client, free of charge. SEMO NASV also provides preventative education programs such as the Green Bear Project to provide child abuse education to thousands of adults and kids.

“We were founded in 1997 by a group of professionals and concerned citizens that realized that there were no services for either child or adult sexual violence survivors,” Eads said. “A lot of times victims were having to wait hours in the emergency room or they were having to wait in police departments, which are not really appropriate settings for someone who’s just been traumatized.”

SEMO NASV was founded using a multidisciplinary team model to bring together medical professionals, law enforcement, legal communities and human services to minimize the victimization that happened to those reporting sexual violence.

“They started out in a donated space in the basement of doctor’s park,” Eads said. “There was a pediatrician who allowed them to use the space down there, so they started out just doing exams.”

Eads said they are thrilled to be settled in their new location and to be a part of the Jackson community. “We have moved around several times over the years, but this is by far the largest, nicest, most welcoming and well-furnished space that we’ve ever had,” she said.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

You May Also Like

City News

A 26-year-old Mississippi man was disarmed, arrested and charged with murder following an early morning shooting spree on Wednesday, Dec. 22, at the Town...

City News

A 58-year-old Jackson man drowned after going into Jackson City Park’s Rotary Lake during the July 4th firework show Sunday night. The man’s body...

City News

Americans frustrated by the policies of the current administration in Washington have let their feelings be known in large sporting venues across the country...

Education

Former Jackson High School athletes will soon be honored in a new hall of fame program approved by the Jackson R-2 School Board during...