Verde Valley Sanctuary is now a Certified Sustainable Business at the Conservationist/Bronze level
The Verde Valley Sanctuary offers a safe haven for victims of family violence and sexual assault, providing free shelter, community outreach, legal advocacy, and education and prevention—regardless of gender or gender identity. Support is available in English and Spanish.
The Sanctuary team knows that a healthy environment is an essential part of the healing process for clients in trauma, so they are using Environmental Working Group ratings to guide the purchase of cleaning products. Other healthy conservation measures include installing efficient air conditioning and appliances, and low flow water fixtures. The shelter is Dark Sky compliant but does include brighter motion-activated lights for safety.
Two volunteer-run thrift shops generate a significant portion of the Sanctuary’s funding: Twice Nice Sedona and Twice Nice Thriftique Cottonwood. Donated items are available to clients for free and to the public at a nominal cost. All furniture in the shelter and outreach offices is from their thrift shops. This operational model is inherently about conserving resources and reusing items. Taking the reuse idea even further, the Sanctuary donates unused thrift shop items to the Boys & Girls Clubs.
The Sanctuary minimizes driving by carpooling to activities for children and families. (They are seeking a 12-passenger van for even more efficient travel—please contact them if you have a van to donate!) Donated bicycles are given to clients for transportation and a volunteer is available to do repairs. They even give donated cars to some clients when needed, and designated mechanics will maintain the cars at reduced rates. Donated cell phones and computers are refurbished and given to clients.
The Sedona Thrift Store also provides a conference room for local nonprofit organizations at no cost or a bit of bartering. Community Development Director Tracey McConnell describes their philosophy, “As you receive from the community, you give back to the community too. We want to build interdependency with the entire community.”
The Sanctuary team meets every week to identify patterns and trends, and to collaborate on problem solving. This cultivates team engagement and accountability, and it keeps everyone aligned on priorities and practices. Staff are encouraged to keep their skills sharp. For example, Client Advocates receive at minimum a full week of intensive training. Work life balance is also essential in this potentially high stress environment. Team members are given flexibility to deal with personal matters whenever they arise. “There’s so much kindness and compassion here,” says McConnell.
Darcy Hitchcock, Sustainability Alliance,