History of Diane Peppler Resource Center
Who Was Diane Peppler?
Diane A. Peppler was instrumental in the funding of the Chippewa County Domestic Violence Program. She continued to give her support as a lawyer and board member. Diane was a warm, loving person who gave freely of herself to others. She touched all that knew her in a special way that will always be remembered. The Diane Peppler Resource Center, once called the Diane Peppler Shelter, was named in her honor.
The Diane Peppler Resource Center (DPRC) opened its doors to aid victims of domestic violence in 1979. This program became, and remains possible due to the dedication of many community members.
Two years before our doors opened, a task force composed of representatives from Law Enforcement, Social Workers, Attorneys, Professors, and members of both the Religious and Business Communities was formed in Chippewa County. These dedicated individuals spent many hours of looking for resources to help reduce domestic violence in our community. Two members of that group especially has touched the soul of our current existence. Diane Peppler whom we are named after, helped this project to become incorporated. Elizabeth Foley was also on the original task force and dedicated over 25 years of service to the Board of Directors.
The first funds were from a law enforcement grant. This money allowed victims up to three days at a local motel. This was a very temporary solution to a major problem. Within six months the task group received money through a governor appointed board, the Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board.
In April of 1980, the DPRC Board hired their first Director of the newly formed corporation entitled the Chippewa County Domestic Violence Project. The Chippewa County Family Independence Agency offered, free of charge, office space. A shelter facility was located and furnished. Our first facility was the old orphanage Emma Nason Home.
Our shelter doors opened June of 1980. With the continued help of community donations, volunteers providing 24 hour crisis coverage and United Way funds we have been able to fully furnish our shelter home and offer crisis and support services.
Unfortunately, that first building was sold within six months. We were able to find a replacement facility on Spruce Street and The Veterans organization helped move the shelter. This home was small and in disrepair so in 1982, War Memorial Hospital arranged for us to assume the mortgage of a beautiful home that had been used for nurses. Donations made this move possible. This building was ideal as our program was growing. We were now able to expand bed space from 11 to 17 and have private counseling space to offer outreach services.
It did not take long before our neighboring communities were seeking our services. The Chippewa County Domestic Violence Program offered services to anyone in need. However, it was difficult for survivors of abuse who lived an hour away south and west of our facility to access our services. Funding through the Victims of Crime Act became available in 1986 and we opened outreach offices in Mackinac and Luce Counties that operated one day a week,. The offices were donated by the local Family Independence Agencies. In order to reflect our service area we changed our name to the Eastern Upper Peninsula Domestic Violence Program. Today, our outreach services have expanded and we provide staff full time in Newberry and in St.Ignace we have been able to acquire our own rental space that ensures confidentiality to our clientele that enters the premises.
In addition to offering domestic violence services in the tri-county area, the Prosecutor of Chippewa County, Pat Shannon, requested that our agency become the Rape Crisis Program. Our board believed this responsibility fit under our mission, which is to provide a violence free atmosphere in which survivors can recognize their options to have the opportunity to continue living violence free. In the beginning, services for sexual assault were covered completely by community donations. Today, several grants, donations and ongoing support through volunteers help support this program.
As our services expanded, this organization again searched for a new location that was large enough to support our goals. The Michigan State Housing Authority provided grant funds to renovate and expand our current location. This allowed us to have a 19 bed facility, private counseling space, a comfortable setting for our support groups, a play room for the children and a large living area for the families seeking temporary safety.
In addition to providing services to the adult victims of domestic violence, it became clear children also experience severe trauma in home where abuse or neglect occurs. Therefore, in 1987, we started a twenty-week parenting curriculum funded through Chippewa Family Independence Agency and Probate Court. Funds. Strong Family Safe Children became available for Mackinac County in 1987. We opened offices in Cedarville and Engadine and expand our St. Ignace office in a new location in the downtown area offering more services ageared toward enabling families to reach their fullest potential. Additional funds through FIA became available in 1998 that allowed us to offer a 20-week parenting program in Mackinac and Luce Counties. Unfortunately, due to budget cutbacks we lost the program in Luce County. However, in 2009 we were granted SFSC funds and have been able to reestablish a parenting program in Luce County mirroring our services in Mackinac County.
In 2005 the board of the Diane Peppler Resource Center purchased a facility with four apartments located in St. Ignace. Housing for low income domestic violence and strong families clients had been very difficult to find in Mackinac County. This building had been owned by a staff who had been dedicated to offering safe affordable housing. In her memory we named this facility Nancy’s Place. Housing kept becoming more difficult to obtain in Chippewa and Luce County Therefore, in 2009 DPRC was fortunate to obtain a collaborative grant with the Marquette Resource Center and obtained four transitional MSHDA vouchers that could be used to house domestic violence survivors who met income guidelines. In 2010 DPRC obtain a transitional housing grant that greatly enhanced our program to offer this service to seventeen additional families. Finally, DPRC has entered into agreements with Edge of the Woods, and Park Place that has set aside up to eight apartments for permanent housing for our clientele.
We knew that reaching our youth was vital. A Community Health grant in 1996 enabled our us to offer a teen sexual assault prevention education presentation to every freshman at all of the high schools in the tri-county area.
Four years ago, we also began to offer a one-hour curriculum on dating violence. Big Brothers/Big Sisters and our program implemented a girls group that ran for seven years to help high-risk teens develop assets that aid in a positive style of living. In 2009 we revitalize this project. Referrals for this program come through our local middle schools. This project has been expanded to include St. Ignace and Newberry. In addition, DPRC has implemented a Sexual Violence Prevention Team. Our team is comprised of diverse individuals from within agencies, businesses, schools, and students. Our goal is to change attitudes about violence with the ultimate understanding that no violence is acceptable.
The team has organized several activities in the Tri-County area focusing on ending sexual violence through prevention. We are placing emphasis on ending violence in our society by using primary prevention interventions on the individual, relationship, community and eventually, the society level.
Ten years ago, the Federal Government initiated legislation called the Violence Against Women Act. With this money, local Law Enforcement, Court Personnel and Advocates from the Domestic Violence Program have created many collaborative efforts to better serve victims of domestic and sexual violence in the three county area.
Twenty years after the original program incorporated it felt appropriate to change our name to better express the scope of our actual services. In memory of Diane Peppler, our organization changed its name to the Diane Peppler Resource Center. A name that reflects the ambition of a strong woman whose vision was to stop the crime of violence that most often affects women and children.
With the help and support of the community and dedicated volunteers, we continue to grow, Our Domestic Violence Project which serviced 16 families during its first year of operation boasted a staff of one, and seven volunteers now annually serves over 400 families and employs 17, and has twenty volunteers..
Our ongoing prevention focus helps us to achieve our goal to change attitudes about violence with the ultimate understanding that violence must be replaced with respect and equality.