When she started working for Bay Area Turning Point, President and CEO Leigh Ann Fry was inspired by the strength displayed by a woman who was diagnosed with cancer shortly after coming to the care center for help dealing with family violence and sexual assault.
“She stayed in the shelter a little over two years, with a small child, while she was going through her cancer treatments,” Fry said. “Living in shelters is extremely difficult, so watching her maneuver through her hardships with such grace was so humbling to me. That had a big impact on me.”
For other victims of sexual assault and family violence, Fry said she wants them to know there are services to aid their recovery. Bay Area Turning Point is a nonprofit that serves as a center of care for victims of family violence and sexual assault, offering both shelter and nonresidential services.
Before working for Bay Area Turning Point, Fry served as executive director at the Noah Project, a center of care and shelter for victims of family violence and sexual assault in Abilene. She also served on the board of directors for the Texas Council on Family Violence. In February 2018, Fry was named president and CEO of Bay Area Turning Point.
“Once I moved to the coast, I felt I wasn’t done with the work, and I felt I had something to offer to Bay Area Turning Point,” she said.
Since 1991, Bay Area Turning Point has provided a variety of services, including a 24/7 crisis hotline, shelter, on-site child care for sheltered victims, group counseling, housing assistance, advocacy and accompaniment, life skills classes, individual therapy, and violence prevention, Fry said.
The nonprofit’s mission is to advocate to end domestic and sexual violence. In 2018 alone, 5,212 crisis hotline calls were received, 435 individuals received shelter, and 92 individuals used housing programs offered by Bay Area Turning Point, she said.
One woman who received help at Bay Area Turning Point had been in an emotionally, verbally and financially abusive marriage. Before her marriage, she worked overseas, was a published poet, often spent time with her family, and described herself as being active and productive. During her marriage, all of this came to a halt, and she developed depression and anxiety, Fry said.
The woman received individual and support-group therapy services. Throughout the process, she stopped blaming herself for her husband’s abuse and reconnected with old friends and family, and she said she felt like she shed the depression and anxiety, Fry said.
After repairing her financial situation through part-time work and getting health care insurance with the help of the legal advocates at Bay Area Turning Point, the woman was able to achieve her goal of getting a job overseas again, Fry said.
To help victims recover and thrive, Bay Area Turning Point relies on volunteers, Fry said.
“We can’t operate without the support of our community,” she said. “There are simple ways people can do that, like following our social media, and then there are bigger ways, like actively financially supporting us.”
Additionally, Bay Area Turning Point has a volunteer-run resale shop located just over a mile from the main office, where residents can donate and survivors of family violence can shop for clothing, accessories and housewares.
In 2018, over 9,371 volunteer service hours were donated to Bay Area Turning Point, either working at the resale shop, working directly with victims, doing clerical work or any of the other volunteer job options.
As the new president and CEO, Fry hopes to boost community involvement, increase funding and continue to provide the services victims around the area need.
“We are dedicated to our mission statement of advocating to end domestic and sexual violence,” Fry said.
Bay Area Turning Point
210 S. Walnut St., Webster
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.,
Fri. 8 a.m.-3 p.m., closed Sat.-Sun.