QUINCY -- While many flowers are linked to conveying subtle messages of love and passion, loss and grief, faith and admiration, the tulip has a rather unique symbolism -- love of a spirit, hope and confidence.
On Tuesday, a team of Quanada staff members, volunteers and other supporters toiled in the lawn in front of Quanada's shelter, planting 186 tulip bulbs, hoping to leave a message of hope and confidence for better days for those who come to the shelter to escape abuse.
"As humans, we all go through difficult, if not horrible, circumstances in our lives, but it is those moments and coming through those moments that allow us to better appreciate when times are good," Quanada Executive Director Megan Duesterhaus said. "We know that we have faith in the survivors that we have served and that they will come back from their experiences, not only coming back but also thrive and rebuild their lives. This is just one small way that we can say to those survivors that we see them and that we believe in them."
Quanada provides emotional, physical and crisis support for those who have been assaulted or abused. The services provided by Quanada are free and confidential and available daily. A crisis hotline is 1-800-369-2287.
Quanada services are open to both men and women from five Adams, Brown, Hancock, Schuyler and Pike counties.
Quanada's main office is at 2207 Maine St. Satellite offices are in Pittsfield, Rushville and Mount Sterling.
Each bulb planted Tuesday represents one person who lived at the Quincy shelter during the past year.
"This is going to be a beautiful representation of these people who survived," said Megan Wardlow, who is secretary of Quanada's board of directors. "Hopefully for the public, this is going to be a nice visual reminder of just how many people are struggling with this issue."
Quanada served more than 700 survivors of domestic violence last year and an additional 150 survivors of sexual violence.
Duesterhaus said Quanada planned the event to recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month but also to reassure those who may come to the shelter in the future.
"We very rarely as staff, volunteers or other Quanada supporters get to recognize the enormity of what people do when they leave their homes or flee violence," Duesterhaus said. "I want them to know that they are not alone. It is possible to heal. It can feel very overwhelming in that moment that you are leaving a violent situation that you are never going to get there, that you are never going to get out, but just like with the tulips, we are not giving up on anybody."