K-State’s CARE office supports community with services, Healing Fund

The CARE Office is located in Holton Hall along with other student support services and the Office of Student Life. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Formerly known as the Women’s Center, the Center for Advocacy, Response and Education was first founded in 1973. In 2014, the center underwent renovations, picking up the name CARE and making other changes within its system.

“We are 100 percent confidential,” Clara Kientz, assistant director of CARE, said. “What that means is that we don’t have to report anything to the university or to law enforcement.”

CARE provides services to any member of Kansas State staff, students and faculty that have experienced sexual violence, dating or domestic violence, stalking or harassment.

“On the advocacy side of things, we meet with folks who have experienced one of those forms of violence and we actually try to work through their needs and see what we can offer them,” Kientz said.

Victoria Wilson, junior in microbiology, said CARE is one of the most special places on campus to her.

“The advocates, prevention specialist, GRA’s, student workers and volunteers are some of the most understanding, open-minded, loving people I’ve ever met, and they never shy away from opening their hearts to those who need help,” she said.

CARE can help individuals get protection orders, file police reports or a reports to the university. They also help victims write impact statements, provide assistance in receiving academic accommodations or help individuals get counseling.

“We’ll go with them through any of those processes,” Kientz said.

CARE is sponsored by the Victim of Crime Act — which provides them with the ability to assist survivors with financial need. The Healing Fund provides 10 sessions of counseling during the academic year to an individual enrolled in the program, and the fund can also be used for on or off campus providers.

CARE saw a rise in individuals accessing their services when quarantine started in March.

“We’ve seen individuals who are moving, having to move back home, getting back into unhealthy or abusive relationships, and try and maybe escape some of those unhealthy relationships,” Kientz said.

Recent Black Lives Matter protests have also pushed individuals to reach out to CARE. Some people have also wondered where the CARE office stands when it comes to supporting individuals impacted by discrimination.

“I think we’ve made it pretty clear on our social media and talking with folks that we unreservedly want to take a clear stance on this issue and that we’re going to be taking some approaches to improve our services and quality of services for individuals on our campus and stand with students who have experienced discrimination.,” said Kientz. “We hope that you’ll access our services and continue to seek support from our office. We stand with you.”