Jolynn Houchins is the new executive director at Turning Point Advocacy Services.
Houchins replaces Ellen Reed, who retired this summer after spending six years restructuring the organization.
Houchins has served Turning Point in different positions since 2013. Her most recent position was assistant executive director.
“It’s always hard to fill the shoes of a well-respected and recognized leader. As a governing board, we feel so fortunate that the best candidate to assume leadership has been understudying for the past five and a half years,” said Laura Adams, chairperson for the board of directors.
“Jolynn exceeds the qualifications. She is bright, articulate and dedicated. We have full confidence that she will meet the challenges that lie ahead,” she said.
Houchins has a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Capella University and a certificate in nonprofit management and leadership from the University of Missouri St. Louis. At Turning Point she has held positions as advocate, advocacy manager, programs director, assistant director.
Before Turning Point, she spent five years with the Special School District of St. Louis and about a year at Best Behavior Consulting.
Houchins started at Turning Point part-time. The experience led to a career change.
“I fell in love with the work and the ability to make a difference,” said Houchins. “Turning Point has always, and continues to challenge me to do better and stay innovative.”
Houchins said she plans to reach out to community leaders and agencies to strengthen those relationships and work together to support victims of sexual abuse.
Under her lead, Turning Point is developing a speaker’s program to raise awareness about harassment, domestic violence and sexual abuse. Turning Point experts will make appearances in the community to address those issues and more. Turning Point speakers will customize presentations to bring to businesses and organizations that request a speaker.
Above all, Houchins said, Turning Point is committed to being responsive to the needs of the people it serves and those who need to be served. She said Turning Point continues to serve an increasing population of abuse victims. The desire is to help everyone who needs it and also provide quality services.
“We recognize that while there are commonalities among the experiences of victims of domestic and sexual violence, each individual’s experience and needs are unique. We provide a variety of services to meet these needs and recognize that victims should have options for how they proceed in the wake of violence,” Houchins said.
“I want Turning Point to continue to develop and adapt to the changing needs of victims of domestic and sexual violence,” she added.
Turning Point serves individuals and families in Franklin, Gasconade, Lincoln, Montgomery, Warren and western St. Charles counties. Turning Point’s goal is to help survivors and their children learn to overcome the cycle of abuse.
The nonprofit organization provides a 24/7 hotline, emergency shelter, court advocacy, safety planning, economic empowerment, counseling and resource education to victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and sex trafficking. In 2017 Turning Point provided services to 330 people and answered 527 hotline calls.
For help, call the hotline at 888-873-7233. For more information or to donate, call 636-456-1186, visit turningpointdvs.com, or find Turningpointwmo on Facebook.