Marjaree Mason Center
The Marjaree Mason Center is a non-profit, shelter-based, domestic violence program headquartered in Fresno, California. Named for an Easton, California woman who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, the center operates one of the largest shelters in California.
The Marjaree Mason Center was founded in 1979 by the YWCA-Fresno after the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Marjaree Mason. A victim of domestic violence, Mason was killed by her ex-boyfriend, a Fresno County Sheriff’s Deputy.
The center started with a group of volunteers staffing an emergency hotline for victims of domestic violence, while a few rooms at the YWCA Residence Hall became specifically designated for women and their children fleeing from domestic violence. Over time, the services of the YWCA-Fresno increasingly focused on domestic violence and gradually discontinued most other programs until the organization focused almost exclusively on domestic violence.
In 1998, the YWCA-Fresno Board of Directors voted to end a 94-year affiliation with the National YWCA, and the Marjaree Mason Center became a stand-alone domestic violence agency.
Still headquartered in Fresno’s historic Einstein Home, the home of the YWCA’s old administrative offices, the center operates a variety of services from several locations in Fresno County.
Most Marjaree Mason Center services are offered to victims of domestic violence and their children, though some shelter services are intended for homeless women and batterer’s intervention programs are intended for domestic violence offenders.
The Marjaree Mason Center operates three shelters in Fresno County. These shelters mainly house women believed to be victims of domestic violence and their children.
The oldest of the Marjaree Mason Center shelters, the Emergency Shelter is confidentially located in the City of Fresno. This 21,380-square-foot (1,986 m2) facility has 93 beds in 40 rooms and is staffed 24-hours a day.
The Emergency Shelter also features the Enrichment Center, where children can play, learn, and take part in activities organized by center staff.
Also located in Fresno, the 23-bed Homeward Bound shelter is a transitional shelter where victims prepare to move out on their own.
Reedley House is an 18-bed shelter, located in Reedley, California.
Crisis hotline, staffed 24-hours a day.
Housed in the Marjaree Mason Center Administrative Offices, therapists bill on a sliding scale to treat victims of domestic violence. The Marjaree Mason Center offers group and individual therapy for children and adults.
Marjaree Mason Center advocates have offices in both the Fresno Police and Fresno Sheriff’s Headquarters. They ride with domestic violence detectives to visit alleged victims and may accompany alleged victims to court.
The Marjaree Mason Center offers a Legal Options class, a parenting class, and another known as S.A.F.E. Group. Legal Options covers information on restraining orders, criminal charges, and custody questions. The parenting class focuses on promoting positive parenting skills. S.A.F.E. Group provides general information regarding domestic violence. Marjaree Mason Center shelter clients are also invited to take part in life-skills, and nutrition/cooking classes.
Marjaree Mason Center legal advocates assist domestic violence victims in obtaining and renewing restraining orders. Advocates also provide court accompaniment.
Three times a year, the Marjaree Mason Center offers a 40-hour domestic violence victim advocate training course that fulfills the State of California's certificate requirement for providing direct services to victims of domestic violence.
Marjaree Mason Center outreach advocates provide informational presentations on domestic violence and domestic violence services available in Fresno County. Presentations cover the signs of domestic violence and what to do if you believe someone you know may be a victim. These presentations are typically performed for schools, health care providers, law enforcement officers, court officials, social service providers, and other community stakeholders who may be in a position to help victims of domestic violence.
The kNOw MORE program works within high schools and junior highs to provide teen-dating-violence prevention and intervention services to youths. The program began as part of the Fresno County Department of Public Health, but in 2008, lack of funding forced the county to give up the project, and the Marjaree Mason Center took over administration of kNOw MORE.
kNOw MORE consists of Marjaree Mason Center staff members who train teachers to be kNOw MORE facilitators, and students to be kNOw MORE educators. The students then travel from school to school presenting the kNOw MORE curriculum to students at large.
The kNOw MORE program operates in more than 15 Fresno County high schools and more than 10 middle schools. The program reaches more than 15,000 Fresno County youths a year.
Located at a separate facility as the services for battered women, the batterer’s intervention program consists of a 52-week, typically court-mandated, class for domestic violence offenders.
The Marjaree Mason Center's December 2007 newsletter notes fiscal year 2006-2007 statistics:
4,305 unduplicated victims provided with assistance;
910 women and children provided with shelter;
42,696 nights of shelter provided;
80,466 meals provided;
4,709 therapy sessions provided to 733 unduplicated clients;
1,989 victims provided with legal advocacy assistance;
shelter and supportive services provided for one victim at a rate of $64 per night.
Marjaree Mason Center's 2008-2009 fiscal year statistics:
4,828 total unduplicated clients;
2,112 victims provided with legal assistance;
82,263 meals provided;
27,421 nights of emergency shelter;
14,448 nights of transitional shelter;
Average length of stay at Emergency Shelter: 37 days
Average length of stay at transitional shelters:
- Reedley Shelter: 94 days
- Homeward Bound: 111 days
- Next Step: 184 days.
Of total, agency-wide clients served fiscal year 2008/2009:
- 86% female
- 14% male
Demographics of clients change drastically when you compare agency-wide clients to clients served only at Marjaree Mason Center shelters. Of all shelter clients served fiscal year 2008/2009:
- 77% female
- 23% male (boys who are children of victims)
Nearly 60% of shelter clients are children, with the vast majority being under the age of five, many being infants.
While most Marjaree Mason Center clients are younger than 34-years-old, the ethnicities of Marjaree Mason Center clients reflect the diversity of Fresno County, as noted on the adjacent graphs.
Marjaree Mason Center's 2010-2011 fiscal year statistics:
948 women and children resided in our 3 shelters (unduplicated clients)
113 days transitional program average length of stay
36 days emergency program average length of stay
31,139 emergency nights of shelter
12,533 transitional nights of shelter
1,671 hotline calls
6,237 individual/group counseling sessions
14,319 case management/peer-counseling sessions
1,343 victims received safety planning from victim advocates
1,991 victims received legal advocacy assistance
- Marjaree Mason Center Official Website
- Marjaree Mason Center Top Ten Professional Women Awards Wikipedia Page
- Domestic Violence "SAFE Network."
- Marjaree Mason Center Details on SAFE Network
- Marjaree Mason Center Director recognized by Assemblymember Mike Villines.
- California State Listing of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Services
- National Domestic Violence Hotline