Garden City Community College students struggling with trauma have a direct line to support thanks to a partnership with Family Crisis Services, a local organization that provides aid to victims of domestic abuse, sexual abuse and rape.
Located at the Student & Community Services Center at GCCC, Family Crisis Services on-campus advocate Nikki Herrman is ready and able to help students who may be going through a rough time, or direct them to other resources. Family Crisis Services supports victims of abuse, from accompanying them in court to taking care of basic needs, Herrman said.
“Advocates have big hearts and are willing to help out anyone in need.” Herrman said. “They have run people to doctors’ appointments and have even taken them grocery shopping.”
The organization’s partnership with GCCC goes back several years, after Family Crisis Services reached out to the college asking whether staff would consider hosting an advocate on campus, said GCCC Campus Nurse Patricia Miller.
“The young age group of the population we have on campus, who are coming from different parts of the country and are away from home for the first time, might be starting dating relationships," Miller said. "Sometimes, they can get alcohol involved, and that can escalate situations that they find themselves in. ... We thought it was a good idea and a good support system for our students.”
Herrman said she can't provide therapy for students, but she can help them find a therapist. The on-campus advocate may not always be able to provide certain services but is there to support students and direct them to where they need to go, she said.
“Even if it is not necessarily domestic violence or sexual assault, we probably know where they need to go,” Herrman said. “We have had people come in who need clothing for little kids. Sometimes we have them, or we will take donations, but if not, we try to get them to ABC Pregnancy or Salvation Army.”
As an advocate, Herrman tries to make herself available through office hours, Facebook messenger and a free text line. Sometimes, students don’t want to talk or meet face to face, Herrman said. The text line allows those students to access a support system, whether they simply had a rough day or are struggling in the wake of assault.
Herrman is available to students in her office, room 1050 at the SCSC, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays. Students also can contact her by calling her office phone, 620-276-9672, messaging her at the GCCC Family Crisis Services Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GC3CampusAdvocate, or texting the text line at 620-640-9050.
Family Crisis Services’ helpline, 620-275-5911, is available to students and the public 24/7. If someone is in immediate danger, call 911.