A Gainesville domestic violence center recently built a playground to help families feel more at ease while living at the shelter and transitional housing.
Gateway Domestic Violence Center, a crisis intervention and support center for domestic violence, revamped the old playground in July.
“The average stay for a family at Gateway is about 40-50 days, so while these families are living here, we try to make everything as homey as possible,” said Gateway Executive Director Jessica Butler. “Offering a playground is a big part of that.”
Through fundraising at its Gateway to Hope event in May, Butler said the center exceeded its $10,000 goal to build the playground.
The former playground, she said, needed much improvement.
“It was old wooden equipment, and it was just worn out, tired and in need of repair,” Butler said. “The finish had worn off, so if you brushed up against it, you could get a splinter.”
The new playground provides a swing set, fort, slide, jungle gym and new safety reinforcements to give families at the shelter something to enjoy outdoors.
“We feel like the families are using our outdoor spaces more now that we have this new playground, and we know that must be healthier and good for the mood and the overall experience of the families living here,” Butler said.
In a year, around 200 people, both women and children, live at the shelter. Gateway’s 24-hour crisis hotline fields 2,390 calls in a year, Butler said, for those experiencing domestic violence or needing more information on it.
Butler encourages all who need help or more information to call the hotline at 770-536-5860.