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Headwaters Intervention Center serves community

Chris Swenson

Headwaters Intervention Center has a new executive director who is working to continue serving victims of domestic violence.

Chris Swenson will work half-time at the HIC, which serves clients in Hubbard and Clearwater counties. She also works half-time for the Family Safety Network, which serves Cass County.

"We're talking about combining HIC and FSN for cost savings and will continue to be proactive and offer the services needed," she said.

Swenson brings a wealth of experience to the job. She has worked for FSN in Walker for 14 years and previously worked as a volunteer for HIC.

"I love my job," Swenson said. "It's very intense work and can be dangerous but I've met some really strong women in my career that have made an impact on me."

She doesn't envision any major changes to the operation of HIC.

"As we work on a merger of programs, we will continue to offer the services we have always offered," she said.

The main focus of HIC will continue to be advocacy and providing access to services for victims.

"We provide help with legal services, emergency services, safe housing and transitional housing," Swenson said.

The HIC will also accompany clients to court and work as a liaison. Swenson hopes to provide more education to the public about the center's programs and is willing to speak to organizations in the area.

HIC will continue to operate the SAFE Parks program in Park Rapids and Akeley. It also accepts donations of furniture and clothing to help clients who are moving on to transitional housing.

The agency works with the school on violence prevention programs and has a safe exchange program. HIC has a weekly support group for women victims and survivors.

Shellie Bates, domestic violence advocate, also works in the Park Rapids office. Part time advocates are needed in Park Rapids, Clearwater and Walker.

Swenson said more volunteers are always needed. HIC could use volunteers to help with the crisis line or other duties around the office.

"As we move forward we're not necessarily looking to do something new or different but to make sure we firm up our core services," Swenson said.

She and her husband, Kerry, make their home in Nevis, and she said she has enjoyed getting to know Park Rapids a little better.

"I've really enjoyed being embraced by the community," she said.

The HIC is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information or to donate call 732-7413.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561