RACES Introduces New Executive Director, Vows To Rebuild
RACES, the Urbana-based agency offering help for rape victims in Champaign, Douglas, Ford and Piatt counties, has a new executive director, who vows to restore the services it was forced to cut due to the state budget impasse.
RACES --- which stands for Rape Advocacy Counseling and Education Services --- has hired Adelaide Aime. The 33-year veteran of social services work says she wants to assure victims of sexual violence that RACES will be there to listen and support them.
“Part of doing that is increasing our services so we have the full array”, said Ame at a news conference Friday outside the RACES offices at Lincoln Square Mall. “And the (RACES Board of Directors) and I are going to be working to strategically and thoughtfully rebuild so that we will have a strong, stable and sustainable organization.”
Lack of a state budget forced RACES to lay off much of its staff last spring, and eliminate many of its services. But it managed to stay open with help from local donors, community organizations and the United Way of Champaign County. Currently if offers a 24-hour rape crisis hotline (at 217-384-4444) staffed by volunteers, and medical advocacy services staffed by two paid parttime advocates.
But Aime says they hope to restore free counseling services in the near future, with the hiring of a new sexual violence counselor. And she says the agency hopes to bring back its other legal advocacy and sexual assault education programs for the classroom and workplace in time --- whether or not state funding is restored.
Adelaide Aime is coming to RACES from the Children’s Advocacy Center of Champaign County, where she headed an agency that helped children who have been sexually abused. She’ll begin her new job at RACES on January 19, succeeding the previous executive director, Mary Evans.