ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The Lighthouse of Baldwin County will be undergoing some restructuring over the coming months, but it’s mission of serving women in crisis in Baldwin, Escambia, Conecuh and …
ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The Lighthouse of Baldwin County will be undergoing some restructuring over the coming months, but it’s mission of serving women in crisis in Baldwin, Escambia, Conecuh and Monroe counties has not and will not change, said Rhyon Ervin, the organization’s new executive director.
“Our goal and our biggest challenge is to let women know that our services are available to them,” said Ervin, who is just the third executive director of The Lighthouse since its inception in 1994.
A native of Mobile and a resident of Mobile County, Ervin earned a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling from the University of Mobile.
After serving internships with Catholic Social Services and Penelope House, Ervin joined the Lighthouse as a weekend advocate in 1994, serving as Domestic Violence Program director from 1998 to 2011.
She was named associate director following the departure of founding executive director Jerry Sommer in 1994 and took over as executive director following the departure of Joanne Sheils Barfield in April.
Based in Robertsdale, The Lighthouse opened in 1994 and “is committed to providing support, preventing violence and promoting justice for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.”
The Lighthouse is authorized by the county District Attorney’s office as the official domestic violence shelter in Baldwin County and also provides a 24-hour crisis line, individual and group counseling, case management, court advocacy services, transitional housing, advocacy for children and prevention education.
The Lighthouse is a non-discriminatory, equal opportunity agency, partially supported by the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, Victims of Crime Act, Violence Against Women Act, Department of Public Health, U.S. Department of Housing and Development, and the Baldwin County United Way.
The Lighthouse is a member of the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Alabama Coalition Against Sexual Violence.
Ervin said she has some ideas that she plans to present to the board to expand some of the Lighthouse’s services. The Lighthouse is also working to expand services in Escambia, Conecuh and Monroe counties, she said.
Ervin plans to continue the annual Easter Eggstravaganza which is held each year on Good Friday at Garrett Park in Robertsdale. The annual event is open to the public and serves as community outreach for the Lighthouse.
Work has already begun to restructure the organization, expanding the duties of the associate director to oversee the Lighthouse’s program services. Ervin said she plans to name an associate director in the next two weeks.
“We never want to miss an opportunity to serve as an advocate for our program,” she said. “The biggest tragedy that we face is to encounter someone going through or having gone through a domestic violence situation who did not know they had access to our services.”
Anyone who would like more information on The Lighthouse and its services can contact Ervin at 251-947-6197 or they can visit The Lighthouse of Baldwin County page at facebook.com/abeacon.