NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – A crisis intervention center in Noblesville has helped thousands of victims of crimes or abuse.
Advocates for those who have suffered trauma are critical, especially for children, and traumatic stories are told inside the offices at Prevail of Central Indiana.
“We primarily serve victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, but also all types of crimes so home invasion, or the loss of a loved one by homicide or a robbery,” said Brittany Winebar, the director of mission achievement.
Winebar listens to the stories from children as young as 5 years old to adults.
“When we don’t choose something like that to happen to us, sometimes it’s important to have people who understand the process,” Winebar said.
However, Winebar isn’t the only advocate in the room. By her side, you’ll typically find 9-year-old Odle. Prevail’s busiest employee is a service dog from the Indiana Canine Assistance Network.
“He wants to do the right thing and wants to do a good job,” said Winebar. “I have a little kiddo that will lift up his ear and say, ‘I love you’ to him. I also have kids who will want to just play ball and be really active.”
Odle specializes in helping children cope. Last year, he worked 1,087 appointments and sat in more than 500 groups.
“Our general numbers have continued to grow, especially in our youth programming, so I expect that those numbers will be a little bit higher in 2019,” said Winebar. “He really is a chameleon, he does what people need for him to do, but it’s impactful because I think that they see him as a resource.”
Odle is seen as a peer and helps children learn boundaries while working on rebuilding relationships. He knows about 30 different directional commands. He’s also been taught American Sign Language for clients who are hearing impaired.
“It has been valuable to us for clients who might meet barriers other places that they have a dog who kind of speaks their language,” said Winebar.
Odle’s services aren’t limited to Prevail. He travels to schools for children who need the assistance and makes an impact in the courtroom.
“I see him incredibly valuable in that space,” said Winebar. “When we’re talking about court and what that means and having to testify in front of someone, it is really, really powerful. He is the busiest employee and probably our most valuable.”