Posted by: joshjasper | August 19, 2010

Into the Great Wide Open

It was October 17th, 1995 when I found myself at a place in my life that was unknown and new.  Standing on the yellow footprints at 2:00am in the parking lot of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot with my head freshly shaved and 3 grown men screaming at me, I knew with my entire being that this was the right decision and would forever change my life for the better. 

Later in life I was driving south on the 405 interstate just north of Los Angeles, making my way out of the foothills when I began my descent onto the city of angels.  It was 11:00pm and the sky was pitch black when out of seemingly nowhere I was smothered by the city lights.  I had never been to Los Angeles before and now I was here to make a new life for myself. I didn’t know anyone, didn’t have a job lined up, and wasn’t sure where I was going to live, but I knew I was supposed to be there.  I knew no matter what, I was going to make this work.

Effective immediately, Riverview Center has acquired the CHOICES organization that served Jo Daviess and Carroll counties in Illinois.  For the entire 18 years of Riverview’s existence, we have been a single service organization, focusing solely on services for survivors of sexual assault.  We have worked closely with CHOICES throughout the years due to the fact that they provide domestic violence services and that we know too often individuals affected by sexual violence also have a history of domestic violence. 

We now have the opportunity to provide all of the services needed under the same roof.  I know this is the right move for us and for the people we serve now and for the thousands we will serve in the future.  With that said though, this is me once again standing before the great unknown.  I’ve done the analyses and have examined the threats to such a move in great detail.  I’m aware of the never-ending state and federal funding cuts and the continued efforts by so many to forget about the women, children, and men that have been abused.  I know the violence that is out there and see how so many of our daily influences make such great efforts to normalize and often reinforce violent behavior. 

With all of that said, this is without a doubt, the right thing to do.  No question.   Think of the opportunities.  To have an opportunity to help someone with all of their needs, not having to shuffle them between agencies, and to help them regain what they lost is worth it all. 

Our mission statement is sure to change but our vision of a community free of violence has only become stronger.



  1. Great post, Josh! The unknown can be scary, exciting or both. Good luck with your CHOICES.

  2. Josh, I agree with you that, without a doubt, this was the right move for not only CHOICES and Riverview, but also for the clients both organizations serve. We have added incredible people to our already awesome staff and now each of us has the capability to provide a level of service that each of us alone did not have!

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