Compass Center relocating to better serve survivors
South Dakota ranks as one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to domestic and sexual violence. One organization is moving to a larger space to help provide more services for victims.
"We have been looking at moving for over a year now," Michelle Markgraf, Compass Center executive director, said. "We realize that space, where we are currently at, is too small for our needs and we wanted to add more staff. So, we've been searching for a place; then this is the place that we found."
Located near the corner of 26th and Cleveland, the Willow Creek Professional Building will be their new home. The new space will include three suites where clients will find a private waiting room, a play therapy room for children, and upstairs, the administrators' offices.
Last year, the organization had a waiting list of up to 100 people at a time. That led to a decision to find more space and counselors to serve clients better.
"It's always a heartbreak for us whenever we have to make a waiting list," Michelle Trent, Compass Center assistant director, said. "It's something that we don't take lightly because we know that sometimes when people call that might be the only time that they are able to come in."
One reason the waiting list is that long is because of the number of children signing up to receive counseling sessions. The organization will add their sixth counselor, who will be able to serve children from the ages of 3-12.
Experts say that as the city continues to grow, so does the need for counseling services like the Compass Center.
"As we get bigger as a community, we definitely know that more people are going to need our services," Trent said. "That doesn't necessarily reflect that there's a large portion of our community that is experiencing sexual and domestic violence that need our services."
The Compass Center says its services will continue to be free and 100% confidential.
The new location can be found at 1704 S. Cleveland Avenue. After moving on July 31st, the Center will be closed for three days to get everything ready in the new building.