Growing up, she was always taught that it was important to give back to the community. Minkens also had an older sister who was a survivor of domestic violence – and she learned the hard way how not to respond.
“This is very personal to me because my family made all the mistakes in the world when we tried helping my older sister,” Minkens tells Madison365.
She chose to serve at the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) because domestic violence was something important to her. Since 1977, DAIS has worked passionately and effectively to ensure the safety and well-being of domestic violence survivors and their families, and to change societal attitudes that perpetuate violence and the abuse of power.
Minkins started working there as a part-time shelter advocate. She did that for three years before stepping aside to take some time to take care of herself. She returned to DAIS as the Residential Services Manager in February of 2016 and has been working there since.
“I think working with people experiencing domestic violence from intimate partners is a great way to serve my community,” she says. “I really believe in everything we do.”
Minkens manages the shelter program with roughly 25 staff members.
“I like it because we are making a difference,” she says. “Right now we are the only domestic abuse shelter in the county and I know that there are many individuals who experience domestic violence and we provide that safe space for people to feel safe. I appreciate being part of that.”
The shelter is available for anyone who needs it. When someone calls them, it is confidential, and when they come into the organization’s doors, the staff believes what they say. Minkens says that’s an important part of their philosophy.
Along with the shelter, the DAIS offers outreach programs to educate the public on domestic violence. They also have a legal department to help anyone who needs assistance with any legal issues or questions. On top of that, there is also a helpline run by volunteers that offers confidential assistance.
For anyone who wants to volunteer or work there, there are several positions open that can be located on their website. All of the volunteers go through training in order to precisely help anyone who needs it and to maintain sensitivity.
The mission of DAIS is to empower those affected by domestic violence and advocate for social change through support, education and outreach. Minkens urges people to reach out and help the organization is any way they can.
“DAIS is a special place and we do so much,” Minkens says. “When I heard about the position I’m in now, I knew there was no way that I wouldn’t apply for it. It broke my heart to leave for a year and a half and I was very ready to come back full-time.”
Minkens puts in hard work everyday to give back to her community, and work with people who need it.
This piece was produced by a student reporter in the Madison365 Academy. To learn more or support our educational programs, visit madison365.org/academy.