WISH operates a 32 bed emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence/sexual assault and their families, a 24-hour crisis call line, family support services and a number of outreach programs and education services for youth and adults. In 2020, WISH provided services to 319 individuals through the shelter program including 80 children, the majority of which were under the age of 5. The current shelter site is essentially filled with the existing facility leaving no space for an outdoor play area for
children. Children who have experienced trauma need to move and to have access to a safe and engaging play area to expend their excess energy.
The City of Ketchikan, in partnership with Women In Safe Homes, is renovating the former Ketchikan Regional Youth Facility in to a safe, ADA compatible emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence/sexual assault and their families. The new shelter facility has a covered, secure recreation area adjacent to the children's area. WISH would like to place a play structure designed for the ages of 0-5 on a cushioned pad/flooring in this area. The renovation budget does not include funding for such a
structure and First City Rotary would like to build this as our project.
The play structure will give children in WISH's shelter program a safe place to release their excess energy while they work through their trauma. Currently, the WISH Child Advocate has to make arrangements to take children in shelter to one of the local playgrounds for outdoor exercise. Such outings generally entail, multiple car seats and are dependent upon having a volunteer or additional staff available to assist. It is not always safe for children in the program to leave the shelter. Having a secure playground
attached to the shelter will also provide a safe space for parents to congregate while their children play.
The other half of the covered area has a basketball hoop for older youth in shelter. So, in essence, for young children in shelter, the playground is truly a place of healing. Our project will be funded from proceeds from our annual duck race, and just like our other projects, members will directly aid in the construction of the project. We anticipate this to be completed by June 30, 2022.