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On Dec. 1, 2017, the dream that Argrow “Kit” Evans-Ford had of opening a house of healing and hope for women victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault became a reality.

Argrow’s House of Healing and Hope has helped scores of women. But Evans-Ford says there is so more to accomplish.

“It takes a village to do this work,” Evans-Ford said. “People believe in what we are doing and they want to help others and we’re creating quality products to support our mission and the women.”

Those products are scented soaps that Evans-Ford went to continuing education classes to learn how to make. They raise money for the cause, and allow for a greater network with strong partners in the community, she said.

Evans-Ford had the idea for Argrow’s House in 2011. As part of her seminary experience and senior project, she wrote about starting a house of healing for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

She had her own journey, growing up in an abusive home and being the victim of sexual assault in 2008 when she was a Peace Corps volunteer in St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean.

Evans-Ford realized years ago the most effective way for women to heal is to have one safe place where a variety of services are offered.

“This is a place where women learn skills and can be affirmed and we affirm them and tell them they are wonderful and they are going out and getting wonderful jobs,” Evans-Ford said. “Employers are coming to us to employ the women and it’s exciting to see how people are jumping in to help out.

In response to Evans-Ford’s efforts, she has been nominated for an Athena Award by Palmer College professor Lisa Killinger, also a survivor of violence.

Killinger, president of the Muslim Community in the Quad-Cities, said she met Evans-Ford at a Galentine's event last year on Feb 13. “She told us her story about Argrow’s House and we ended up being speakers at a lot of different events.”

Evans-Ford’s story had a big impact on Killinger. “I just survived,” Killinger said. “She decided to make a difference and it really, really in my eyes made her shine.”

“I have always felt strongly about the importance of recognizing women who are doing great things both locally and globally,” Killinger said. “When thinking about women who are making a positive difference, I realized some change agents work quietly and diligently, under the radar and don’t get as much recognition as they deserve. That would describe Kit. She is so busy helping build women back up she doesn’t have much time to toot her own horn. She’s a great example of servant leadership and her contributions in our Quad-Cities are deep and profound.”

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