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HomeSafe moves with assist from players

Mary E. Hinds maryhinds@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Jul 26, 2013 at 10:06 PM

Sometimes football players get a bad rap and are portrayed as young men who are selfish and self-absorbed.

Those stereotypes were disproved in a big way Thursday when Cumberland University football players stepped up to help a local agency move to a new home.

Players Tyler Emmetts, Elvin Vann, James Jefferson, Anthony Bartolomeo, Mario Hill, Michael Self and Dylan Crews, along with head coach Donnie Suber were hard at work Thursday to help move the Wilson County HomeSafe office to a new location in Lebanon.

HomeSafe is the only agency in Sumner, Wilson and Robertson counties to provide comprehensive, free and confidential services for survivors of domestic violence. They are also the only non-governmental agency in the county that responds 24 hours a day, year round when desperate survivors need help.

Sarrina ViAnne’ Arsenault, director of the Wilson County HomeSafe agency said she had an inside track to get the players to use their muscles for a good cause.

"I'm a CU alumnus," she said. "I was aware the CU Athletic Department encourages athletes to do community service. I called and begged them to help."

The Wilson County HomeSafe office, which was in a house off Highway 231, was forced to move when the house was sold.

"I started in March, and I knew the house was on the market, but I thought I had plenty of time," Arsenault said. "I found out last Friday that it had sold."

The new office will be at 107 N. Greenwood St. in Lebanon. The director said the new facility would not be used as a shelter.

"Most of our clients were walk-ins," she said, adding the agency helps domestic violence survivors find resources from food to furniture to a place to live.

"We provide all the information they need to keep themselves safe," Arsenault said. "They know we are available to help with everything from housing to job references."

She knows the world can be a scary place for these victims, usually women, many of whom also have children to worry about. Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult and dangerous for these women.

"The most dangerous time is when they leave," she said. "The individual has to make the decision to leave."

On top of helping survivors, the agency must keep a close eye on every penny. That's where the CU players come in. By helping move the agency for free, they made it possible for the money that would have been spent on movers to be used to help desperate people. The effort also leaves the players with the pride that accompanies helping out with a good cause.

"I feel good about helping out," Emmetts said as the last items were loaded up. "I like doing good deeds and I like helping people out who are in dire situations. I'm glad I can make a difference."

For Suber, it is doing more than molding good players; it's about molding good men.

"That's why we have always done anything we can to help the community," he said.

"I so proud that my school requires athletes to help out in the community," Arsenault said. "It was amazing."

If you are experiencing domestic violence and want to reach out for help, call the Wilson County HomeSafe office 615-444-6581. For more information about the agency, visit homesafetn.org.

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