Bridges to Hope honored during Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Bridges to Hope honored during Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October 19
13:50 2022

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and for their dedicated service to the citizens of Forsyth County, last week the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners honored Bridges to Hope Family Justice Center of Forsyth County with a resolution. 

Since 2020 Bridges to Hope has helped local individuals and families experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, child maltreatment, elder abuse, and human trafficking. 

There are a number of family justice centers across the country that operate under different models. While Bridges to Hope is a county facilitated center, which means the budget and administration is coordinated by the county, DeWanna Hamlin, director of Bridges to Hope, said their partners are what makes the center special. 

Clients can access multiple services such as law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, and family services advocates in one location and don’t have to go throughout the county to find some of the core services. And all of this is free of charge. “Our partners are what really make the center work. They’re providing the direct services to the clients,” said Hamlin. 

“There’s a number of organizations who are on site and then we have those we can connect them to off site …You can say we’re a one-stop shop.”

Those who visit the center seeking assistance are also connected with client navigators who remain with clients throughout their visit, check on their well-being, and help clients make decisions and choose services that are best for them. 

“If they want to see the sheriff’s office, then they give us permission; if they don’t want to see them, then that’s fine, but they get to decide which services are most important for them in that moment,” Hamlin said. “That’s an important piece because we don’t want to coerce clients.  We don’t want to exert any power over them because they get that from the abuser.  So it’s important that when they come to the center, that they are really making decisions about what’s important to them. We give them information, we want to educate and inform them, but at the end of the day it’s really their choices that drive what happens here.”

Although the Bridges to Hope Family Justice Center has only been in existence for two years, it has already left an impression on the community. The center was one of the top recognized county departments according to a survey completed by the public in 2021. 

“It feels good to know that the county does a good job making sure communities know what is accessible through Forsyth County Government because we want people to know we’re here and people do know, obviously from that survey, but they’re so many more people to reach,” Hamlin said. 

While the job can be cumbersome at times, TaWanna Archia, client services coordinator at the center, said they go above and beyond  to make sure everyone who visits the center feels comfortable. Every aspect of the center is designed to be warm and inviting for clients, including the decor and the color of the paint on the walls. 

“We have clients who enter this space that are going to experience the most traumatic time in their life and so it’s important that they encounter somebody welcoming, but also kind and compassionate,” Archia said. “It can be difficult to take that step to report an abuser, so it’s important that we validate their experience and let them know they are in a safe place. So everything is important and intentional from the front desk to the back of the house, from partner interactions to our interactions. 

“We want them to leave feeling heard, seen, and cared for.”

Bridges to Hope Family Justice Center of Forsyth County is located at 745 N. Highland Avenue, Annex 1. Service delivery hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday- Friday. No appointment is needed. For more information call 337-776-3255 or visit 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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