By Carol Mowdy Bond
Carolyn Husmann was chosen as interim executive director of the Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network (ICAN!) during ICAN’s board meeting on Dec. 29 at Nina Willingham Senior Housing in Yukon.
The group’s executive director Eric Feuerborn is stepping down, and Husmann – who has been associate director – agreed to fill his shoes until a new executive director is found.
A nonprofit, ICAN! is an intervention and crisis advocacy network. Formerly known as Women’s Service & Family Resource Center, it is the domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault aspect of Cardinal Point, Canadian County’s new domestic violence center.
“ICAN! is a program certified by the Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General,” Husmann said. “Our Canadian County program is actually a satellite office of the Grady County program. We’ve been in existence for 40 years, since 1981.”
With a 24-hour crisis hotline, ICAN! offers emergency shelter for victims, who may bring their pets and children with them.
Husmann said, “We will pick them up, and take them to a safe location. And we talk to them about their choices, and help them make a safety plan. We provide emergency shelter for up to a couple of nights, and we will help them get to a state certified attorney general shelter, or take them to family or friends.”
As well, Husmann said the staff offers hospital advocacy, providing caring support during emergency room examinations. The staff also works a lot with victim protection orders and court advocacy.
“We’ll go with them to court, help with legal services, and help them with Department of Human Services court,” Husmann said. “On Wednesdays in our office, we have a support group. Normally the children, of the people who come to us, have already had their children removed from their homes due to domestic violence. We help them get their children back.”
Victims come from every demographic. And the numbers of people ICAN! helps is always different. Husmann said that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, their services have seen a small increase. But it’s not a large increase as they expected.
“A lot of people are staying home,” Husmann said. “But Mustang police reported to me that child abuse has really increased since COVID-19.”
ICAN! has many needs, including funding from the private sector, and volunteer opportunities. But there are also in-kind donations needed including gift cards to fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s.
“When we take them to a shelter, the children are always hungry,” Husmann said. “We also need Walmart gift cards. We can’t accept clothing donations now due to COVID-19. However, we can accept personal care items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, etc.”
ICAN! has several funding agents including United Way; Violence Against Women Act or VAWA; Victims of Crime Act or VOCA; the attorney general’s office; churches; and local and private funding. VAWA provides the salary for a bilingual staff member who speaks both English and Spanish.
Financial donations may be sent to: ICAN!, PO Box 754, El Reno, OK 73036. To connect with ICAN! email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (405) 262-4455.
The ICAN! 24-hour crisis hotline is (405) 262-4455 in Canadian County; (405) 222-1818 in Grady County; 1-800-734-4117 statewide.
These numbers are for victims of sexual assault and stalking. The numbers are also for victims of domestic violence, which is defined as the abuse of power and control and can include emotional, verbal, sexual, and financial abuse as well as physical abuse. Victims may also fall into the categories of dating violence, human trafficking, harassment, and elder abuse.