By Joel Hall
On a daily basis, the Clayton County Association Against Family Violence, Inc., also known as SECURUS House, provides emotional support and financial assistance to women and children escaping abusive relationships.
This evening, public-safety officials, church staffers, and real estate agents will battle each other on the volleyball court, to raise funds for the organization.
The second SECURUS House Volleyball-A-Thon will take place, starting at 6 p.m., today, at Red Oak United Methodist Church, located at 3984 Walt Stephens Road in Stockbridge.
Registered teams from various walks of life will set, spike and dig, in a single-elimination tournament until one team is declared victorious.
Teams from two different real estate firms, Red Oak UMC, and the Clayton County Police Department had confirmed their attendance, as of Wednesday, according to Fert Richardson, pastor of Red Oak United Methodist Church (UMC), and a SECURUS House board member. On Thursday, the Clayton County Sheriff's Office issued a press release confirming that it will have a team participating.
"We're hoping the rest show up on Friday," Richardson said. "Last year, we had about 10 teams. We had some ringers. The police department won last year. I think the sheriff's department was their best competition. Most of the people there haven't played in a while. There is a lot of fellowship."
Richardson said teams of up to 10 players pay a $200 registration fee. All of the money goes to the operations budget of SECURUS House, to pay for food, shelter, transportation, doctor's appointments, and other necessities, he said.
SECURUS House Executive Director Pat Altemus said the Volleyball-A-Thon is needed. She said donations to the organization were down "at least 50 percent" from 2008 to 2009, and that, without funds, the shelter has had to make drastic cutbacks in its rent-and-utility assistance to women making the transition out of the shelter.
"Because of the recession ... we're not able to provide as much," Altemus said. "With the public transportation no longer in the county, it is impacting the shelter a great deal, because a lot of the women don't have cars. They depend on public transportation to get to jobs. We have vans, but it is costing us a lot of money and gas to transport the women.
"With the donations down, they [women in the shelter] can't afford to pay rent, so they are staying at the shelter longer," she added. "I'm hoping that we'll have great participation, and that we'll raise the funds so we will be able to help the women and children with rent and utility assistance."
According to Richardson, teams will be able to sign up on site this evening. For more information, call (770) 474-8863, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.