“Whether you realize it or not, you likely know someone who has been a victim of family violence or sexual assault,” according to Cindy McCullough, co-owner of McCullough & Pierson Insurance in Sherman, Texas.
“Whether you realize it or not, you likely know someone who has been a victim of family violence or sexual assault,” according to Cindy McCullough, co-owner of McCullough & Pierson Insurance in Sherman, Texas. “Every single person at our all-woman agency does. This impacts far more people than you might think.”
That’s why McCullough and others at her agency believe so strongly in supporting and empowering those who have been affected—and working with the Grayson Crisis Center in Sherman, they’ve played a key role in doing just that.
The center provides a shelter and 24/7 crisis intervention for victims—more than 800 so far this year—along with comprehensive support services. But the mission also is preventative, with community education initiatives and other programs aimed at breaking the cycle of family and sexual violence, said Shelli Shields, executive director of the nonprofit.
“When Shelli took over leadership of the center and I learned more about its excellent work, I wanted to play an active role,” McCullough said. She got involved in 2016 and joined the board in 2018; next year, she will serve as board president.
McCullough and several employees plan and participate in a variety of fundraising efforts throughout the year, including “The Power of the Purse,” the center’s premier event. Earlier in 2019, the agency hosted a gathering that brought in more than $3,500 in one evening.
“Cindy and her team rise to every challenge and show up in full force,” said Shields, who has been with the center for eight years. “Their actions demonstrate that the mission is important to them. Thanks to supporters like them, we are making things happen.”
“Making things happen” is putting it lightly, as the story of one 17-year-old illustrates. A victim of repeated family and sexual violence, the center helped her escape the abusive situation— housing her, along with her siblings and mother, in their shelter before the family found a new home. “Our new home feels safe, and our contact calls to check in on us,” the girl said. “If we are in need, we can always reach out and call the Crisis Center.”
“Stories like this are why we are so committed,” said McCullough, whose agency also contributes to several other nonprofits in the community. “We really can make a difference.”
Sadly, those stories still are all too common, Shields said. “As the word spreads that we are here to help, more people are identifying as victims and contacting us.”
That makes this 2019 Safeco Make More Happen Award all the more important. The honor comes with a Safeco donation of up to $10,000 to the Grayson Crisis Center on behalf of McCullough & Pierson Insurance. That amount could serve victims by funding a stay in the shelter, paying for educational programs, even purchasing groceries.
“The challenge of ending domestic violence and sexual assault is huge, but through education and hope, each life saved paves the way for the future,” Shields said. “And the caring people at McCullough & Pierson are helping to ensure that the future looks brighter.”
Learn more about these Make More Happen Award winners:
- Agency: McCullough & Pierson Insurance, Sherman, Texas
- Nonprofit: Grayson Crisis Center, Sherman, Texas