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      Family Support Services embraces domestic violence awareness

      Family Support Services is getting ready for its Stop the Violence Fall Festival, a community event targeting families who deal with domestic abuse.

      FSS Legal Advocate Jackie Bolden knows domestic violence all too well and has dedicated her life to educating people about the causes and consequences of family violence.

      "My daughter was killed by her husband several years ago and had lived in an abusive relationship for several years before that happened," Bolden said. "And what became important was trying to do what I could to help other people going through some of the things that I had experienced."

      Bolden wrote a book about her experience- 'Just Another Missing Person.' Now, she works with FSS and is using Domestic Violence Awareness Month as a way to reach more people.

      "It is something that people don't talk about in social settings. It's if you're involved in it, you're embarrassed, you're humiliated, you're disgraced. You don't want other people to know about it. You want to try to work through this and try to, hopefully, come to a positive resolution at the end of it. It doesn't always end that way."

      The Stop the Violence Festival is one of FSS' biggest events, offering a domestic violence march, a memorial wall and family activities. It takes place Saturday, Oct. 20, at Polk Street United Methodist Church from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission to the event is free and some of the family activities may require a small fee.

      "We would like to invite everybody because this is not just our problem at Family Support Services," Bolden pointed out. "This is a community, this is a community effort. And it's in support of those that have experienced family violence of some sort."

      Bolden added FSS is always in need of volunteers. Last fiscal year, the agency had more than 500 clients. This year, there are more than 430 women in the FSS support group, and more than 525 children.