Holly’s House stands as a living testament to the idea that something truly amazing can arise after great tragedy. The facility, which opened in September 2008, is named for Holly Dunn Pendleton, a University of Kentucky graduate and Evansville native who, in August 1997, survived a brutal attack by the “Railroad Serial Killer” in Lexington, Ky.
Holly’s House was established as a place where victims of intimate crimes and abuse would feel safe and empowered. While not a shelter, the facility acts as an advocate on behalf of these victims by providing support, promoting justice, and preventing further violence. Its service area reaches nine southwest Indiana counties, including Vanderburgh, Warrick, Posey, and Spencer.
As part of its prevention efforts, Holly’s House has educated more than 4,000 elementary school children about the “Think First & Stay Safe” program, which covers topics such as how to prevent sexual exploitation, prevent school violence, teach Internet safety, drugs and personal safety, and how to foster self-esteem. Holly’s House recognized from its beginnings that there were a number of other organizations in the area whose services closely connected with what it has to offer. For instance, it partners with agencies that support victims of intimate crimes such as Albion Fellows Bacon Center, Lampion Center, and area police departments.
Now, the facility will celebrate its five-year anniversary with a free community Fun Fair at Holly’s House on Sept. 14 from 1 to 4 p.m. The event will include demonstrations from the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office, German Township Fire Department fire trucks, SWAT vehicles, and bike safety lessons.
Holly’s House is located in the former North Park Branch Library building at 750 N. Park Drive. The organization secured its building from a donation by the Evansville Public Works Board and the building was overhauled to meet the needs of the Holly’s House staff and clients.
The Southwest Indiana Building & Construction Trades provided the labor for the building renovations. Thanks to this labor donation, and countless other individuals from the community who donated time and dollars, Holly’s House has been able to work to supply services for clients rather than paying off startup costs.
“Holly’s House is a reflection of our community,” says Brian Turpin, a detective in the Evansville Police Department’s sexual violence unit. He and Dunn are the co-founders of Holly’s House. “People saw the need to better serve those harmed by intimate crimes and generously gave their time, talents, and treasure. I would like to thank this community for embracing and supporting Holly’s House."
For more information about Holly’s House, call 812-437-7233 or visit hollyshouse.org.