New face at CADA
Vicki Schulte is CADA’s (Committee Against Domestic Abuse) new advocate in their Blue Earth-based office. This licensed social worker has an incredible amount of experience to bring to the table both for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, as well as community members.
Schulte is from the Fairmont area, and still lives there with her three children, Anna (18), Pamela (13), and James (10). She says she is one lucky mom who has an incredible crew of kiddos and they have helped her immensely through so many different transitions of life. Schulte was only 15 when she became a mother, but has never been more proud of her oldest daughter who is on her way to MSU-Mankato this fall.
“She’s incredible,” says Schulte. “Anna is going to MSU?for psychology and she says she wants to work with people who have dealt with PTSD. That’s amazing and she’s helping me to set my goals, too. I am hoping to go back to school to get my master’s degree at some point soon.”
Schulte obtained her bachelor’s degree from MSU, as well, and has dedicated her adult life to helping others as much as she possibly can.
“I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through alone,” reflects Schulte. “Being an advocate gives me a leg up on specific domestic or sexual assault situations. It helps to understand what someone is going through. People get comfortable with what they are willing to accept. That’s why we see so many people stay in the situations they are in. I’m here to help, and I’m here to show that it is possible to break the cycle.”
Her new position as a domestic violence advocate in Faribault County for CADA started in June, and since then, Schulte has been working tirelessly to make connections with as many people and entities as she can including local police teams, school administrations, and other community groups.
“As a part of CADA’s services, we can offer training for large groups like schools, police teams, the elderly, and workforce teams,” she says. “I really want to work on establishing these important relationships in this community so we have as many resources as possible for the men and women who need our help.”
Also included in CADA’s services are assessments, group therapy, one on one counseling, referrals, and Schulte says she has worked closely with Faribault County District Court Judge Troy Timmerman and expresses her gratitude regarding his leadership in the court room.
“Our work through CADA is entirely confidential, first and foremost, but if we are working with someone who wants to pursue something legally, we help them. I am very impressed with Judge Timmerman,” she says. “He does an incredible job of explaining things to the people we work with and I am appreciative of his guidance for survivors of domestic assault and violence.”
Schulte says confidentiality for survivors of domestic or sexual violence is vital, and CADA?advocates are especially trained to be able to understand important aspects of a conversation to be able to help a victim, legally, if they chose to.
“The legal system has very specific things they look for in domestic violence cases and sexual assault cases,” says the CADA?advocate. “We are trained to be able to help our clients understand the legal aspect of their situation, and to help them paint a picture of what they’ve gone through for the legal system to understand the usually multi-faceted issues a victim of domestic violence goes through.”
She says every community has domestic violence, and custody issues in them, and it is important, as community members, to be able to understand these situations and how anyone can help.
“Most importantly, if you are talking to a friend or a neighbor or someone and they are telling you something, believe them. Don’t have your own hidden agenda to try and help. Most of the time, they just need someone in their corner, and to be heard,” says Schulte. “Just listen and ask them what you can do to help them most.”
Other ways community members can help CADA and other groups involved in assisting with domestic violence and sexual assault victims is to donate.
“Whether it’s clothes or food or hygiene products or money, we can use every little bit we can get,” says Schulte. “Anything you use on a daily basis, someone else may need toothpaste, feminine products, shampoo, soap, toilet paper, clothes. When someone leaves a domestic situation, they leave a lot behind, and we work to fill those gaps. Every little bit helps.”
Schulte is in her office located in the Register Professional Business Building at 125 North Main Street with office hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thursdays, which are posted as 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
She says if she could wave a magic wand and help any domestic violence victim in their situation, she says she would give them the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“When you are in it, it is hard to see that light, but it can stop and it will stop and they are able to make it stop. The process getting there is not an easy one,” says Schulte. “Especially when you’re alone. That’s what I’m here for.”