May 31, 2023 marks one year since Heroes LandingTM started offering services in Muskingum County. When we look back at where we started, and how far we’ve come, we’re filled with gratitude. We’ve accomplished so much as a community, multi-disciplinary team, and advisory board—and we know that impact will only grow. Our executive director, Evonne Saunders, shared, “Through our approach of advocacy, care, and justice, we continue to support survivors, strengthen families, and create more awareness in our community.”

 Since opening last spring, we have seen 146 local cases, with an 85% disclosure rate of physical and sexual abuse. Breaking it down even more, 63% of survivors were female and 37% were male, and the average age of a child coming through our doors was 11. These numbers are significant. If it weren’t for Heroes LandingTM providing locally based services, most of these cases would have been delayed and referred to a different county, and a high disclosure rate validates our efforts to make sure children feel safe enough to share their stories. 

 Time and time again, children who have received services from Heroes LandingTM say they feel heard and believed. This is our goal and shows our team is passionate about carrying out our mission. Lisa Holcombe, one of our victim advocates at Heroes LandingTM, said, "My very favorite successful moment during an appointment is when the child arrives and is super nervous, but by the time they are done, you can see them take an audible sigh of relief, like a weight has begun to be lifted.”

 Robin Butler, another one of our advocates, shared, "Having been a victim advocate for almost 30 years, I've often spoken to parents or caregivers who feel frustrated and pushed aside by the process. Through Heroes LandingTM, Muskingum County has been able to reach many more children and their families to listen to their concerns, answer questions, and provide support that they didn't even know was available to them."

 Today, our multi-disciplinary team consists of victim advocates, medical and mental health professionals, law enforcement, and members of the prosecutor’s office. In the past year, we’ve been able to hold 12 multi-disciplinary meetings to discuss the needs of each case. “We have the most dedicated team,” Evonne said. “I have watched with intense admiration as they give their time and talents to meet and discuss cases, as well as spend time with survivors of abuse and their families.”

It’s overwhelming to see the impact we’ve made in one year, and we want to thank our community for making it possible. They have embraced the work we do and have found unique ways to support us. Whether it’s students volunteering at our facility, businesses donating supplies, or groups inviting us to speak—thank you! As we move forward, we hope you will continue to support Heroes LandingTM and our mission to amplify children’s voices in our community. 

Read more about our 2022 impact in the Malouf Foundation Impact Report: Impact Reports | Malouf Foundation