Welcome to the February edition of the NOVA newsletter! As we embark on a new month, we're excited to dive into important topics and updates shaping our community.

February marks national Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, a crucial time to shed light on this prevalent issue and advocate for safer relationships among our children. In this issue, we'll explore ways to support and educate adolescents, empowering them to recognize and prevent dating violence.

Additionally, we're thrilled to unveil our updated mission, vision, and values, reflecting NOVA's commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and community engagement. These principles drive our efforts to create a safer, healthier environment for all. Please take time to read them. Feel free to contact me if you have questions or would like to discuss them. 

Furthermore, stay tuned as we celebrate another milestone in our 50th anniversary journey, highlighting our continued dedication to serving and empowering survivors of sexual assault and other forms of interpersonal violence. 

Thank you for joining us on this journey of growth, education, and advocacy. Together, we can create positive change and build a safer future for all.

50th Anniversary Milestone: The Evolution of the NOVA Helpline

On January 23, 1975, nearly one year after the formation of WOAR (Women Organized Against Rape), the WOAR Crisis Line was established, operating out of a donated room at St. James Episcopal Church in Langhorne, PA. The Crisis Line was staffed by a handful of volunteers four days a week.  

By September of 1978, the WOAR Crisis Line had moved to Doylestown, PA and expanded its hours to ensure timely and effective support for victims. Still staffed by volunteers, the 24-hour WOAR Hotline provided around-the-clock access to services and support for victims.  

WOAR secured the funding by 1982 to expand its services including the hotline to include victims and witnesses of other crimes such as burglary, robbery, assault, and homicide. Three years later, WOAR changed its named to Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) to reflect the expansion of these services. The hotline provided immediate assistance, guidance, and emotional support to any individual who had experienced crime-related trauma. 

To adapt to changing needs and advancements in technology, NOVA launched chat and text lines in the summer of 2021. The chat and text lines remained true to the original hotline concept – confidential, immediate response, and answered by a trained staff member or volunteer. 

Today, NOVA answers more than two thousand calls each year on our 24-hour Helpline. NOVA’s Helpline serves as a readily accessible supportive and responsive environment that empowers victims to seek comprehensive help at any time including: 

  • Emotional Support
  • Information and Guidance
  • Safety Planning
  • Confidentiality and Anonymity
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Accessibility
  • Community Outreach and Education

Victims of crime often experience a range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, anger, and confusion. Trained staff and volunteers answering the helpline are equipped to offer empathetic and non-judgmental emotional support. They listen to victims, validate their feelings, and help them navigate the impact of the crime and discuss next steps.  

While many things have changed in the past 50 years, one thing has stayed the same – NOVA’s Helpline remains a vital resource that addresses the immediate and ongoing needs of individuals who have experienced crime. It serves as a lifeline for those seeking help, fostering healing, resilience, and empowerment in the aftermath of victimization. 

If you or someone you know needs support, please call NOVA’s Helpline at 1-800-675-6900. Text and Chat line are also available by visiting www.novabucks.org

Helpline Volunteers are always needed! If you are interested in volunteering on our Helpline, please reach out to Julie Dugery, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator at [email protected]

NOVA's Secondary Prevention Education Programs

NOVA's high school education & awareness programs are interactive, age-appropriate lessons geared towards equipping students with the knowledge and tools they need to live their lives free from violence.

NOVA's secondary-level prevention education programs discuss topics such as healthy relationships, sextortion, sexual violence, and bystander intervention. We encourage students to be an Upstander and safely disrupt cycles of violence whenever they can and provide support and resources for students who have experienced victimization.

If you would like to schedule a prevention program for your high school or community group, please contact Katie Sanford, High School Primary Prevention Coordinator, at [email protected].

Teen Dating Violence & How to Spot It

According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, a health-related survey for students in grades 9-12, 7.6% of Pennsylvania high school students have experienced sexual violence within their dating relationship. Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) is an opportunity to promote healthy relationships and dispel myths that sexual violence doesn't happen between romantic partners. 

NOVA wants to promote safe and healthy relationships for all our young people! You can help keep the young people in your life safe by talking to your teens about these 10 signs of an unhealthy relationship: intensity, manipulation, sabotage, guilting, deflecting responsibility, possessiveness, isolation, belittling, volatility, and betrayal along with other warning signs of abuse.

Katie Sanford, High School Primary Prevention Coordinator

How long have you been with NOVA? 

I've been at NOVA for a year and a half.

What is your favorite part about working at NOVA?  

My favorite part of working at NOVA is being a part of the ENCOURAGE Upstanders Program. ENCOURAGE Upstanders is a peer-education program where high school students learn then teach a program about being an Upstander to students in grades 1,3,4,5, and 7. The students' hard work and dedication to making the world a better place is very inspiring.  

How do you support NOVA's mission in your role? 

I support NOVA's mission in my role by empowering young people to break cycles of violence and offering a beacon of hope for young victims who feel they have nobody to turn to.

We appreciate your dedication to serving victims of crime!

Labor Trafficking in Health Care Training

February 12, 2024

In collaboration with Justice at Work & HEAL Trafficking, this virtual training is designed for health professionals to recognize and respond to labor trafficking, covering the basics of what trafficking is and how health care professionals can respond. The training will include PA-focused statistical data, as well as anonymized case studies of individual survivors’ experiences. RSVP here.

Smarter Parents, Safer Kids Workshop

Feb. 13 | Feb. 28 | March 26

This interactive workshop helps parents learn about healthy sexual development, how to talk to their kids about sexual abuse, and how to keep them safe. The Smarter Parents program helps adult caregivers tackle tough conversations with their children, along with empowerment and support. Virtual and in-person sessions are available. Learn about upcoming sessions and RSVP to your chosen session here.

A Starlit Evening: 50th Gala

April 19, 2024

On Friday, April 19, NOVA will host A Starlit Evening from 6 pm to 10 pm at a new location: Spring Mill Manor. Enjoy a fun-packed evening as we honor NOVA’s 50th anniversary and all of the staff, volunteers, partners and donors that have made us who we are today, while we raise funds to support our continuum of programs that make NOVA a leader across the region in victim services and violence prevention education.

50th Anniversary Gala Tickets Are on Sale

Tickets for NOVA's 50th Anniversary Gala, A Starlit Evening, are available for purchase! Enjoy a fun-packed evening that will feature a beer and wine bar, hors d’oeuvres, live music, a wonderful meal followed by a dessert bar, a curated silent auction, and dancing. Click here to learn more and secure your ticket.

Holiday Office Closure

The NOVA offices will be closed on on Monday, February 19th in observance of the Presidents' Day holiday.

NOVA's 24/7 Helpline is always available at 1-800-675-6900.

Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Awards

We are pleased to share that NOVA's Executive Director Penny Ettinger won in the category of Human Services! Thank you to everyone who voted for Penny!

NOVA is Hiring!

NOVA is currently hiring for the following positions:

  • Human Trafficking Victim Advocate
  • Family Support Advocate
  • Special Education Prevention Educator
  • Keystone Crisis Intervention Team Training and Outreach Specialist
  • Forensic Nurse Examiner
  • Bucks Coalition Against Trafficking Organizer

To read the full job descriptions and apply, visit the NOVA Employment page.

Survey Participation Needed

Help improve access to services for victims of crime by using your voice! The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) is conducting a survey and you can help. Take the survey here.

Sustaining Impact: The Power of Recurring Donations

The Sunrise Center for Wellness offers professional counseling services to individuals and families. Founded by Sandra Elder, a seasoned clinician with over two decades of experience, the center is a testament to her dedication, where she plays multiple roles—therapist, business owner, mediator, collaborative divorce coach, and devoted mom—all in the pursuit of wellness.  

Recurring donations hold immense significance in sustaining NOVA’s work. Providing a consistent and reliable source of support that enables NOVA to plan and execute long-term initiatives. When asked about her choice to be a recurring donor with NOVA, Sandra shared, "I've chosen NOVA as one of my charitable donations because I believe in [NOVA] and have worked in tandem with so many of your clinicians over the past two decades; these have been nothing but wonderful experiences."  

To make a recurring donation today visit our donation page and to learn more about recurring donations, please reach out to Michelle Cash, Development Director, at [email protected] or call 215-343-6543 extension 6602. 

Double Your Impact With Matching Gifts!

Did you know that thousands of companies match donations by their employees to organizations like NOVA allowing you to double your impact? Visit our Matching Gift Page to find out how to see if your company will match your gift and access the instructions you need to submit your match.

On National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, members of the NOVA team participated in the Department of Homeland Security's #WearBlueDay, donning blue to raise awareness of human trafficking in our own community and beyond.

Throughout the month of January, various members of BCAT and the NOVA team participated in the Red Sand Project, filling sidewalk cracks with red sand to both highlight the crime of human trafficking and raise awareness of the steps needed to end this crime.

On January 17th, the Bucks County Commissioners issued a Proclamation to declare January National Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Bucks County. Representatives from BCAT, NOVA, and various other local organizations attended the meeting to accept the proclamation

Representatives of NOVA attended Holy Family University's Spring Wellness Fair in partnership with HFU's Campus Advocacy Prevention and Education, distributing various materials to students and educating the attendees on the vital resources available to them throughout the community.

During our January staff meeting, the NOVA team bonded through a tower-building challenge. Using only spaghetti noodles, tape, string, and a marshmallow, each small team constructed an impressive free-standing tower. This activity fostered teamwork and creativity, reinforcing our commitment to collaboration at NOVA.

NOVA proudly stood as a finalist at the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Awards, alongside numerous Bucks County partners. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Penny Ettinger, NOVA's Executive Director, for securing the title of Bucks County's winner in the Community Behavioral Health and Innovations in Human Services category. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote!

NOVA Thrift Shop was fortunate to be featured in a special segment with Jennaphr Frederick on FOX29 News on January 30th. NOVA Executive Director Penny Ettinger talked all things sustainability and how NOVA Thrift equips us to carry out NOVA's mission. Miss it? Click here to watch the clip!

NOVA had the pleasure of hosting an exclusive Media Day where experts from the NOVA team shared information about the community services NOVA offers with local press representatives and influential individuals in the digital realm. Special thanks to Panera of Warrington for gifting free breakfast for the attendees!

"My victim advocate and my counselor were there for me at the lowest point in my life. If it weren’t for them, I don’t know where I would be. They changed my life for the better."

- NOVA Client

NOVA marks 50 years; "envisions a society free of violence" - The Bucks County Herald

From its 1974 origins as Women Organized Against Rape, to today's Network of Victim Assistance, the nonprofit has spent the past five decades supporting and empowering victims of violence in Bucks ...

Read More

CP Printing Solutions

For more than 20 years, NOVA has worked with CP Printing Solutions, a woman-owned printing, graphic design, and product promotion company located in Warminster, PA. What started out as a business relationship, has blossomed into a true friendship and partnership. Owner Pat Bodor, along with her team, has been instrumental in hundreds of NOVA projects over the years and has become our go-to source for all things printing, design, and promotion.  

Over the years, CP Printing Solutions has not only provided print products for NOVA but has supported our mission in a variety of ways. They spearheaded a donation drive through their business networking group to support NOVA’s Holiday Giving Program, fixed our broken sign at NOVA Thrift Shop free of charge, and have repeatedly attended and supported NOVA fundraising events.  

The positive impact of CP Printing Solutions’ support extends far beyond the transactions on paper; it has woven a tapestry of trust, collaboration, and shared success. CP Printing Solutions has not only been a vendor but a true ally to NOVA and the Bucks County community we serve, and we look forward to further strengthening our partnership with them. 

We are so incredibly grateful to CP Printing Solutions for their continued support of NOVA. Thank you for being a Voice Against Violence and supporting NOVA's work in our community!

Whether you donate an item from NOVA's wish list, funds, or your time, know you are making a difference.

Elevate Your Impact In Style

NOVA has merch! If you want to represent your favorite non-profit in wearable form, we have you covered with a variety options. Whether you're looking for a classic tee, a sweatshirt, or a hat, items are available in multiple colors and designs. Join us in honoring our 50 year milestone by ordering today! Browse the collection here.

www.novabucks.org | 24-7 Helpline: 1-800-675-6900

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