Advocates to End Domestic Violence Executive Director Lisa Lee looks out of what will soon be her new office window located next to Classy Seconds Thrift Shop.
Building a campus dedicated to aiding, sheltering, nurturing, and educating victims of domestic violence and sexual assault has been the dream of Advocates to End Domestic Violence Executive Director Lisa Lee and her board for the past 25 years. It’s taken every spare dollar and countless hours to come to the point where two of the three goals to building an all-inclusive campus have become reality.
The first of her three goals was realized in November of 2017 when the ribbon was cut to re-open Classy Seconds in a more visible location.
“The first Classy Seconds was open 26 years ago to raise dollars to allow Advocates to supplement and grow many of the programs in place today to assist abused and battered women who need temporary shelter and counseling,” states Lee. The former thrift store once located off Hot Springs Road was hard to find whereas the new location is highly visible on Highway 50 East just a block west of Slot World and across the street from Goodwill.
The move to the Highway 50 location turned out to be very profitable. The new Classy Seconds now contributes almost 60% of the monies needed to offer the many programs carried out by the office and professional staff of 13.
The store is staffed by 15 hard-working individuals who accept, sort, display, and sell the mountains of donations received daily for which she is grateful. She and the thrift store staff are proud of the Nevada Appeal designation as the area’s “Best Thrift Shop.” Her vision of building an “airy, light, upscale store with downscale prices” has been realized.
Lee is a big-time saver and a talented grant writer. She put aside money for years to be able to buy the 4.8 acres off Highway 50 that could be developed into a campus to better serve clients, other non-profits, and the vast community around the thrift store known as the Empire area.
Those who shop at Classy Seconds may have noticed the building being erected next to the store and wondered what this two-story stick-built structure was to be. With the financial help of the Pennington Foundation, the second goal is taking shape in the form of a state-of-the-art 6,400 square foot building to be known as the Intervention & Resource Center, or IRC, housing office staff, meeting and training rooms, a counseling center, a victim intake center, a safe playground for children, and enough room for future expansion.
Lee and her staff have had a hand in designing the new multi-use space to meet all of the needs not now being met in their current office inhabited since 1988. Architect Darrin Berger and builder Jeff Shaheen of Shaheen Beauchamp Builders are turning Lee’s vision into reality as they did with the Classy Seconds project. Though Lee humbly states before these projects she knew nothing about design and building, she is a visionary and artist who knows just what she wants and is an active participant in the project going so far as to design and build her own desktop model.
The intent is to have a grand opening celebration of the IRC sometime in late October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. She states, “I am hoping this new building and the many uses it can have will create a sense of community in what I envision a pocket neighborhood that will better the area.” What is needed, however, to make the campus more accessible is a city bus stop that is not yet on the city radar even though this area is currently densely populated with more apartments in the planning stages.
As with most building projects, there never seems to be enough dollars to do it all. In this case, the all is the interior design. The COVID-19 pandemic put a bit of a crimp in her budget, for she was counting on the proceeds of the always popular Taste of Downtown to be able to buy new furnishings. Instead, she is recycling and refurbishing some of the furniture donated to Classy Seconds to furnish staff offices.
The third goal of relocating the 51-bed shelter and transitional housing to this campus will not be realized for about another five years, but you can bet once the IRC is up running and successful, the saving and planning will begin. Lee plans to keep the south Carson location for some offices and to turn the current shelter into long-term transitional housing.
Statistics show one in four women age 18 and older have been a victim of sexual assault or physical violence in their lifetime, and it is the hope of the board and staff of Advocates to End Domestic Violence to provide a lifeline to allow women and their children to heal and leave victimhood behind.
Ronni Hannaman is the executive director of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce.