Daybreak’s Mission Back to top
Daybreak’s mission is to provide 24-hour, non-judgmental crisis intervention for
all rape victims. Any woman, man or child who is victimized by a sexual predator
shall be believed, supported, counseled, and advocated for by the staff and volunteers
of this center. All services provided by daybreak shall be free of charge. Additionally,
daybreak’s mission is to educate persons residing, working or conducting business
in our seven county coverage area about the issues surrounding sexual assault. Finally,
daybreak’s mission is to empower women of all ages by giving them knowledge to help
prevent them from becoming a victim of sexual assault.
A Short History of Daybreak Back to top
|Services Provided By Daybreak Back to top
|Crisis hotline services Daybreak's hotline services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our
hotline number is 1-800-656-HOPE. This hotline number can be used anywhere in the United States for
immediate assistance to your local sexual assault crisis center.
|24/7 Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) responds to victims of rape in our local
emergency rooms to provide advocacy and support services to them and their families. SART members also help to maintain
the 24-hour crisis hotline.
|Individual crisis counseling Daybreak is able to provide free counseling services to victims of sexual assualt
and their families. Call 256-237-6300 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
|Special Investigator on site Daybreak is proud to have a Special Investigator who is a deputy with both the Calhoun
and Cleburne County sheriff's departments. The Special Investigator handles all sexual assault cases in these counties
not handled by the cities of Annison or Oxford. The Special Investigator's services are free of any charge.
|Referrals to community agencies Daybreak is able to provide referrals for assistance to any community agency
in our seven county coverage area.
|Community awareness and public education concerning issues of sexual assault Daybreak's Prevention Educator and SART/SANE Coordinator are able to provide educational trainings
to a wide variety of organizations, schools, churches, police, and civic groups. We are able to provide these trainings free of charge
and, in some instances, provide CEU credits. Please contact Daybreak for more information or to schedule a training.
|Pathways to Recovery (new) A new treatment option for
sexually reactive children. This program offers twenty-seven weeks of biweekly
individual therapy sessions designed specifically for children who have been sexually abused and are now acting out in sexual ways towards other
children. Participants must be 16 years of age or younger. Call 256-237-6300 for more information or to register a child. Note: This program
is not grant funded. Session fees must by paid by custodial parents/guardians or intervening agencies.
Daybreak’s history begins with the heartbreaking story of a young girl we’ll call
“Ann.” Ann was a troubled child with an equally troubled past. At the age of 12
she had been abandoned by her mother and then placed in a foster home when her mother
was sent to prison. Ms. Rhonda Hardagree, an employee of a local social service
agency, was notified soon after Ann’s placement in the foster home that the child
had run away. Soon after the child left the foster home, she was found running naked
along the roadside. Seeing that Ann had experienced some horror, a Good Samaritan
picked her up off the roadside and took her to the local hospital’s emergency room.
Upon Ann’s arrival at the hospital, Ms. Hardagree was notified of her client’s whereabouts.
At the hospital, Ms. Hardagree discovered that Ann had been held captive, bound
at the hands and feet, and raped repeatedly by a gang of five men. Immediately,
Ms. Hardagree requested that the local rape crisis center be called to offer support
to the child, only to be told that a rape crisis center did not exist for this area.
Fueled by anger at Ann’s situation and by memories of her own rape, Ms. Hardagree
became determined to initiate an agency whose mission was to provide rape crisis
intervention services to the Calhoun County area. Ann’s rape occurred in the fall
of 1994. By March of 1995, Ms. Hardagree had rallied support for rape crisis services
and established The Daybreak Crisis Recovery Center. The Alabama Power Service Organization
(APSO) was instrumental in Daybreak’s creation as they donated the money for Daybreak
to apply for it’s 501 (c) (3) status. APSO also agreed to fund a year of service
for the 24-hour crisis hotline number, a pager to be passed among volunteers and
letterhead for the newly created agency.
In it’s infancy, Daybreak provided only one service to sexual assault victims: the
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). SART volunteers were paged when a rape victim
was being treated at local hospital emergency rooms and met victims at the hospitals
to provide crisis counseling, educational literature and clothing for the victim
to wear home. Daybreak was operated strictly from the trunks of the volunteers’
In December of 1995, Daybreak received grant funding from the Alabama Department
of Public Health to secure office space and to provide prevention and education
services to Calhoun, Cleburne, Clay, Etowah and Talladega counties. In December
of 1999, Cherokee, Dekalb and Randolph counties were added to Daybreak’s service
area at the request of the Alabama Coalition Against Rape. Soon afterward, Clay
County received funding to establish it’s own rape crisis center. Daybreak now serves
seven counties, however, is unable to provide SART services to Cherokee, Dekalb
and Randolph counties due to funding and staffing constraints. Daybreak has now
expanded it’s services and is able to offer free counseling, court advocacy, peer
support groups, community resource referrals, investigative services and community
awareness and education programs.
Meet The Staff Back to top
Kirsten Stephenson, LPC, NBCC, began working in the Violence Against Women field in 1999, after
successfully leaving a violent marriage. Frustrated with the current system and it's inability to help
her during her situation, she set forth to work with others who had been in similar situations.
Ms. Stephenson went to work at 2nd Chance, a domestic violence shelter in Calhoun County, as Shelter
Director. After several years, Ms. Stephenson accepted a position at The Daybreak Crisis Recovery Center.
During her tenure at Daybreak, Ms. Stephenson successfully completed her Master's Degree in Counseling
and was promoted to Executive Director of the agency. Ms. Stephenson lives in Anniston, Alabama, with
her daughter Ashley, who says that she too will one day "help people like Mommy does."
|Steve Robertson, Special Investigator, is a respected and integral member of the
Daybreak staff. Since 2003, Mr. Robertson has provided victims of sexual assault in Calhoun and
Clebume Counties with critical forensic and investigative services. Working closely with victims
and the District Attorneys' offices, Mr. Robertson has full arresting privileges, investigative
powers, and the ability to provide expert testimony when needed. Mr. Roberson served for 22 years
on the Anniston Police Department and spent several years as Guntersville, Alabama's Police
Administrator. Currently, he is also an active member of the Fraternal Order of Police and resides
Trace Fleming Smith
Prevention Educator/ Fundraising Coordinator
Trace Fleming-Smith, LBSW, is a native of northern New Hampshire but chose
to attend Jacksonville State University after a visit with family living
in Alabama. As an advocate against violence, she works as the Community
Programs Manager at The Daybreak Crisis Recovery Center where she coordinates
sexual assault educational trainings and seminars. In 2005, Trace founded
Women's Issues Support and Empowerment (WISE), a women's empowerment group
at JSU, after seeing the need for women's issues awareness in her local
community. While acting as the Alumni Leader for WISE, Trace helped to
start the WISE Legacy Scholarship, a scholarship dedicated for students
who are actively supporting the end of violence against women. In 2008,
Trace became President of the Board of Directors for The Alabama Coalition
Against Rape (ACAR). She also is a member of the Alabama Sexual Violence
Prevention Committee and the Alabama Council of Violence Against Women.
SART/SANE Receptionist Coordinator
|Alicia "Toni" McPherson has worked with Daybreak since 2005, after her retirement
from Tyson Food, Inc. While at Tyson, Ms. McPherson worked in the Truck Maintenance Department
maintaining purchasing orders and other office work. Her administration skills have helped her
at Daybreak where she works as a part-time Receptionist/Support Staff. Ms. McPherson is a native
of Alabama, and lives close to her family of two daughters, three grandsons, and three
July 12, 2007 Daybreak receives letter of support from RAINN. Click here to view.
February 2008 Daybreak announces “Pathways to Recovery” - a new treatment option for sexually reactive children.
March 31, 2008 Join Daybreak in supporting V-Day, a global movement to stop
violence against women and girls, at JSU's production of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues.