South Suburban Family Shelter was formed in 1980 as a direct result of a needs assessment survey conducted in the southern suburbs of Chicago. Graduate students from Governors State University along with representatives of the National Council of Jewish Women South Cook Section and Aunt Martha’s conducted the survey with a broad audience. This survey revealed that there were between 500 and 700 known victims of domestic violence yet no services available for them. Since that time we have been providing services to support the victim’s efforts to become and remain safe, gain control over their lives and become self-sufficient.
Our agency has grown and evolved over our 40 years of providing services to those impacted by domestic violence. In 1980, the founders of SSFS had hopes of creating a permanent on-site shelter for those experiencing domestic violence. While an admirable aspiration, it was unable to come to fruition, due to a number of factors. The agency quickly moved away from the idea of strictly being a long-term shelter, and focused more on providing orders of protection, a hotline, and then counseling, short-term emergency shelter, and spreading education and awareness of domestic violence.
Why did we change our name?
In short, the original South Suburban Family Shelter evolved quickly into something much, much more than the initial envisioned shelter services. In 2019, our board of directors embarked on a rebranding process. We held focus groups with constituents, clients, and the community at large as well as administering several surveys to garner feedback. The feedback we received was in line with what we were also feeling: our name did not relay the services we provided and to who. The change to Anew: Building Beyond Violence and Abuse reflects the evolution of services that we provide. The new name encapsulates all that we do to help those impacted by domestic violence and more accurately describes the work we do to educate the community and stop domestic violence in its tracks.
Meaning of the logo design.
Our new logo features an incomplete circle interrupted by our name itself. The meaning behind this stems from what our agency was created to do: break the cycle of violence. All services provided at Anew have the end goal of stopping domestic violence where it stands, whether that is with the victims and witnesses of domestic violence, those who do harm, or the community at large.
Our main color of the logo remains purple, the color of domestic violence awareness. We introduce blue for “Anew” as a complimentary color designed to enhance visual impact. Additionally, blue symbolizes wisdom and a depth of understanding. With the colors combined, we hope to inspire wisdom and understanding needed to end domestic violence.
Anew has an extensive presence in the community. Staff members are active on numerous committees and associations on the local, regional and state levels. Anew has networking agreements with area police departments, other social service agencies, two area hospitals, and one clinic. Anew regularly works with Prairie State College, South Suburban College, Governors State University and over 20 elementary, junior high schools and high schools.