PIATT COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) – Willow Tree Missions has been helping victims of domestic violence in Piatt County for 14 years. Now, they’re expanding.

October is domestic violence awareness month, but for folks at Willow Tree Missions.

“Every month is domestic violence awareness month for us, that’s why we exist,” Rachel LeJune, the Director of Operations, said.

She said the organization was started because they wanted to focus on and help domestic violence victims, specifically in Piatt County.

“It takes an enormous amount of courage, and confidence for a victim to leap out of the situation they’re in. They have to believe, and be confident that the safety net that is there to catch them is actually going to catch them, number one, but hold them,” she said.

That’s why they bought a new home base earlier this year. It’s on East Washington St. in Monticello.
The group is renovating, and getting down to the base boards of the 140 year old building to make it their own.

“It’s got everything we wanted in a shop, but it also has apartment units upstairs”

LeJune said there is a great need in Piatt County for short term housing. The new building will have their store on the main level. On the second floor will be office space and a space for resources. Plus, 2 apartments, that way victims and sometimes their kids can have a place to stay for a few months while they work on moving away from an abuser.

LeJune said she wants victims to know they are not alone, and there is lots of help for them.

“Once they realize they’re not alone in that it’s such an empowering thing, and it just all the sudden clicks in them many times that, “oh I can get out of this there are people, places and things to help me,” she said.

LeJune said it will still be a few months before the new building is open. For now, they are still working and providing resources out of their current place.

If you or someone you know needs help, there are many different resources you can utilize.