Lisa Lee, Executive Director of Advocates to End Domestic Violence
Building a campus dedicated to aiding, sheltering, nurturing, and educating victims of domestic violence and sexual assault has been the dream of Advocates to End Domestic Violence Executive Director Lisa Lee and her board for the past 25 years. It’s taken every spare dollar and countless hours to come to the point where two of the three goals to building an all-inclusive campus has been accomplished.
The first of her three goals was realized in November of 2017 when the ribbon was cut to re-open Classy Seconds in a more visible location. “The first Classy Seconds was open 26 years ago to raise money to allow Advocates to supplement and grow many of the programs in place today to assist abused and battered women who need temporary shelter and counseling,” Lee said.
The former thrift store, once located off Hot Springs Road, was hard to find, whereas the new location is highly visible on Highway 50 East, just a block west of Slot World and across the street from Goodwill.
The move to the Highway 50 location turned out to be the right move. The new Classy Seconds now contributes almost 60 percent of the resources needed to offer the many programs carried out by a committed office and professional staff. The store is run by 15 hard-working souls who accept, sort, display, and sell mountains of donated clothing, furniture and appliances received daily for which Lisa and her staff are very grateful, They’re also very proud of the Nevada Appeal’s opinion that it’s “Best Thrift Shop” in town. Lisa’s vision of building an “airy and light, upscale store with downscale prices” is now available for the whole town to enjoy.
Lisa is a talented grant writer. She put aside money for years to be able to buy the 4.8 acres off Highway 50 which they want to develop into a nurturing home-like campus to better serve clients, other non-profits and the vast community around the thrift store in the heart of the Empire area.
Those who shop at Classy Seconds may have noticed the new two-story building being erected next to the store. With financial help from the Pennington Foundation, the second project is a state-of-the-art 6,400 square foot building to be known as the Intervention & Resource Center, or IRC. The IRC will house office staff, meeting and training rooms, a counseling center, a victim intake center, a safe playground for children and enough room for future expansion.
Lisa and her staff have helped design the new multi-use space to meet all of the needs that are not quite being met at the present time. Architect Darrin Berger and builder Jeff Shaheen of Shaheen Beauchamp Builders, are turning Lee’s vision into reality just as they did with the Classy Seconds project. Though Lisa humbly admits that she knew nothing about design and building, she is a visionary who knows just what she wants and enjoys being an active participant in the project going forward.
The intent is to have a grand opening celebration of the IRC sometime in late October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. She says “I am hoping this new building with its many uses will create a sense of community in what I envision as a distinct neighborhood that will lift up and enhance the area.” What is needed is to make the campus more accessible. And a city bus stop would go a long way to achieving that goal. It would serve not only the AEDV campus, but also the growing number of new residents moving in to new apartments and condos that are on the city’s horizon.
As with most building projects, there never seems to be enough dollars to do it all. In this case, the all is the interior design. The COVID-19 pandemic put a crimp into Lisa’s budget, for she was counting on the proceeds of the always popular Taste of Downtown to fund new furnishings. Instead, she is recycling and refurbishing some of the furniture for staff offices.
The third goal of relocating the 51-bed shelter and transitional housing to this campus will not be realized for about another five years, but you can bet once the IRC is up and running, the saving and planning will begin. Lisa plans to keep the south Carson location for some offices and to turn the current shelter into long-term transitional housing.
Statistics show one in four women age 18 and older, have been victims of sexual assault or physical violence. It is the hope of the board and staff of Advocates to End Domestic Violence to provide a lifeline to allow women and their children to heal and leave victimhood behind.