Work at Family Crisis Services a calling for Radke

1/28/2013

By RACHAEL GRAY

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

Janene Radke says she has her dream job.

Earlier this month, she took over as the director at Family Crisis Services. Before, Radke had worked for the agency for three years. Prior to that she was a volunteer.

FCS offers services in advocating against domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The FCS also offers a 24-hour shelter.

Radke replaces Robin Shelden, who is now the business manager for FCS.

It's a good fit for Radke, who has a degree in women's studies and sociology from Wichita State University.

But even more than a professional fulfillment, the work has a personal draw.

Radke endured domestic violence during a marriage earlier in life.

"I've always wanted to be involved in this type of work," she said.

As the new director, Radke hopes to focus on more prevention, and engage youth and men, as well.

"Prevention is key. It's what we need to eradicate sexual assault and domestic violence," she said.

Radke enjoys the community outreach involved in her position. She wants to try to speak more often to students at the high school level. She also wants men to volunteer to speak to youth and to other men.

"Sometimes these men have issues with women anyway. And hearing it from another man may make the difference," she said.

"I think there's something to be said about engaging men and making them more involved in these issues," she said.

Radke said there are men who use the agency, but more often than not, the clients are women.

"And those are what's actually being reported," she said.

Children who grow up in abusive homes are more likely to become abusive to their loved ones. Radke wants to break that cycle.

"Abuse is a generational thing. If kids grow up and see that violence, they'll identify it as something that is supposed to be there. The cycle keeps going," she said.

Radke said it's important to move forward from that.

"I want to work with kids so they know what to look for in a healthy relationship and what should be there," she said.

When Radke was in her abusive marriage, she had supportive family and friends but didn't know agencies like FCS existed.

"That's when I decided I wanted to give back to an agency like this. I wanted to pay it forward," she said.

Radke said she and the staff at FCS try to ensure everyone is comfortable using the services.

"We do the best job we can to make sure people are as safe as possible, and as comfortable as they can be about receiving our services. That's what it's all about," she said.

Radke is now married to Garden City police Sgt. Mike Radke. The couple has two children, Jaclyn, 11, and Natalie, 8.

FCS reaches Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Wichita, Lane and Scott counties, and served 279 clients in 2011, 249 of which were in Finney County.

The FCS office, 106 W. Fulton St., is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the agency also provides a 24-hour crisis hot line, 275-5911 or (800) 275-0535.

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