By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – New outdoor play equipment is helping Canadian County youth whose lives have been affected by domestic violence.
Volunteers recently installed a new playset at the Intervention & Crisis Advocacy Network (ICAN)’s program house near the Canadian County Courthouse.
“We have not had a suitable playset for kids in five years,” ICAN Executive Director Matt Whetzel said. “This playset will allow the kids impacted by domestic violence who come to our program house to get a break from the stress and pressure of their circumstances while their parent or guardian receives services.”
ICAN has been Canadian County’s domestic violence agency for about four decades. The El Reno program house has served Canadian County residents since August 1997.
ICAN – which has offices in El Reno and Chickasha – provides crisis intervention, transportation to a safe place, safety planning, hospital and court advocacy, and transitional housing assistance for those impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
ICAN officials expressed gratitude to El Reno resident Curtis Blanc, an El Reno Chamber board member who provided the funds to purchase the new playset through his Mid America Car business.
They also thanked the United Way of Canadian County for arranging a volunteer group from SPM Oil & Gas in El Reno to assemble the equipment.
ICAN’s previous playset was purchased “years ago” by Canadian Valley Technology Center, according to Associate Director Carolyn Husmann.
“The wind blew it over and it was really, really leaning,” Husmann said. “Every child that came up here wanted to go outside and play, but we couldn’t let them because of the condition.
“So, we had it torn down. My friend Curtis happened to be here for the El Reno Chamber Coffee. I begged and pleaded with him … .”
And the “rest is history,” the civic-minded Blanc interjected.
ICAN advocates are on pace to assist 700 clients in 2023 after helping more than 650 in 2022.
Through June 27, ICAN court/victim advocates have:
- Provided 517 unique court advocacy sessions with 268 victims.
- Led a support group with 35 victims participating in 193 unique sessions.
- Assisted in 313 safety planning sessions with 239 clients.
- Provided 36 nights of emergency shelter.
The nonprofit agency relies on fund-raisers and monetary gifts to serve clients.
“We’re always looking for restaurant gift cards for the children who come in here and Walmart gift cards so moms can purchase court clothes,” Husmann said.
“We always need diapers and personal care items – like shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste – to give to victims.”
These businesses and organizations made contributions to ICAN during its fiscal year:
Altar Society of St. James Church, Altar Society of St. Joseph’s Church, Archery Traditions, Bikram Yoga OKC, Dr. Brenda and Dale Chapman – C Ranch, El Reno Blessing Baskets, EXP Realty, Lister Homes, First Christian Church Disciples of Christ, Forty West Signs & Apparel, Hardtimes Beef Jerky, Mt. Zion United Methodist Women – El Reno, Mustang United Methodist Women, New Hope Baptist Church – El Reno, Pecina’s Mexican Café – El Reno, Republic Women of Canadian County, Rhea Lana’s Consignment – Yukon, Robinson Brothers Construction, Ross Seed – El Reno, St. John’s Lutheran Lamplighters, The Monastery at Forest Lake, TJ Maxx – OKC/Yukon, Trinity Lutheran Church, Trinity Women’s Missionary League, United Methodist Women – Angel’s Attic, and Weokie Foundation.
ICAN’s Board of Directors are:
President Jenna Brown, Vice President Pam Ladyman, Secretary Misty Steele, Treasurer Katrina Hughes, Susan McGrew-Cecil, David Craig, Terry Martin, State Rep. Brian Hill, Tommy Humphries, Cheryl Lister, Paul Reynolds, Rosalia Pecina, Johanna Lewis, and Taylor Brown.
ICAN offers a 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-734-4117.
For more information, e-mail email@example.com or call (405) 262-4449.