Give!: Assistance League of Colorado Springs

The Assistance League of Colorado Springs provides clothing to sexual assault victims at the hospital. Without these kits victims would have to go home in paper scrubs.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Assistance League of Colorado Springs has been a part of the community since 1968. The local chapter is part of the National Assistance League that was started in California back in 1906.

For nearly 50 years, the local organization has been responding to the needs in our community, focusing on those that are not already being addressed.

Their signature program is Operation School Bell, where they provide new clothing for thousands of students in our community. Another program that makes a big impact is one few even know about: Assault Survivor Kits.

When a sexual assault takes place in Colorado Springs, all victims are taken to Memorial Hospital.

“Many of these patients coming in have to have their clothing–it’s either damaged or the police would like to take it to use as evidence,” said Kate Pryor, the Assault Survivor Kit chairman.

Back in 1995, Memorial Hospital established the SANE program, which stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. That same year, the Assistance League of Colorado Springs started putting together their Assault Survivor Kits.

“We provide a whole set of clothing, undergarments, top, bottom, slippers,” said Pryor.

Pryor said in 2015, there were more than 650 sexual assaults in Colorado Springs, and the need grows every year.

“When I started doing this we were having about 500, so it’s a big need for this community,” said Pryor.

Pryor said without these kits, victims would be sent home in paper scrubs.

“I mean if you can imagine going through this type of thing and then going home in a set of paper scrubs,” said Pryor.

The Assistance League of Colorado Springs raises money for their programs through grants and their thrift store, The Bargain Box.

“We do rely heavily on donations from the public,” said Shirley Ricketts, the president of the league.

The organization has struggled to raise funds for their Assault Survivor Kits because it’s hard to show their impact.

“You’re hitting a person at one of their most vulnerable times, so they’re not about to turn around and say, ‘Oh, thank you for giving me this clothing,'” said Pryor.

But Pryor and Ricketts said they know it makes a difference.

“This was a program that was definitely needed here because there was nothing like it, anywhere,” said Ricketts.

Several other chapters around the country have now added similar programs in their areas.

The Assistance League of Colorado Springs also operates other programs like Sweet Dreams, Operation Can You Hear Me?, and Buddy Bear.

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