Oldham County Day

RoseHaven’s Decker finds peace,
rewards from helping others

Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(July 2001) La Grange, Ky – Betty Decker believes in the quality of life. Depending heavily upon the backing of God and community support, she has begun a legacy that will endure a lifetime.

Betty Decker

Betty Decker

Decker has been chosen as grand marshall of this year’s Oldham County Day Parade and will be recognized during a July 17 banquet in her honor at the Oldham County Community and Convention Center.
Decker says she was surprised by her selection. She prefers to quietly go about her work dodging recognition, but she holds a job that has had tremendous influence on other people’s lives.
After surviving a critical period in her life, Decker and her husband, Ray, “made a commitment to serve young women the rest of our lives,” she said. The idea, however, fell dormant for a while until Decker decided she needed to get serious before anything good could be accomplished.
Decker opened the Center for Women in Crisis 10 years ago in the old train depot in La Grange. For two years at this location, she provided for women and their children who had been involved in traumatic situations. She then spent three years in the Doty Building before finally settling into the present location on Sixth Avenue in La Grange.
The Center became known as RoseHaven. The name came from various sources, said Decker. Her daughter’s middle name is Rose, the center’s symbol is a rose, and it is a “haven or safe place for women who have experienced tremendous crisis in their lives,” she said.
“RoseHaven is a transitional home for women and children. It is a temporary living space while they are going through a crisis,” said Amy Young, who works for Decker.
The home gives its residents a personal, warmer environment in which to heal.
“We also network women with different agencies that they may not know about, to get the assistance they need,” Young said.
Bettie Miller has worked with Decker through several agencies. Miller is also a member of the Project Guild, the nonprofit organization that stages the annual Oldham County Day. Miller had a hand in choosing Decker as this year’s honoree.
“She inspires a lot of us. She’s always willing to be there to give assistance,” Miller said of Decker. “She never faces a set back; she’s always willing to work. She just renews your spirit. Everything she does she does for the Lord.”
Decker said the amount of support she has received for her endeavor from the community has been overwhelming. “I’ve never bought a thing for the home. Everything has been donated from the community. It has been a tremendous blessing.”
Decker has received support from several local churches, including her own DeHaven Baptist Church. Different civic-minded groups and churches in the area have furnished rooms at RoseHaven, for which they are responsible for decorating. Decker said the Cherry House furnished the home with furniture.
The home can accommodate five un-related women and their children. Most women come to her from church referrals or word of mouth.
“I’ve been blessed with the families who have come in,” said Decker.
Before RoseHaven was established in 1999, the Center was not able to house women at its facility. Several individuals in the community aided Decker by opening up their homes to temporarily house these women. These homes were labeled “shepherding homes,” providing safe, adequate housing so that the women were not forced into the only other available shelters, which were 30 minutes away in Louisville.
Decker has also taken women into her own home in the hope of providing a sense of stability that many of the women and children have not previously known. Before beginning the Center, Decker said, “raising our own family of four children was our life.” She then extended this caring home life to those in need, showing troubled women that they too can have such normalcy.
It is Decker’s dream to one day have a separate medical unit and a men’s home nearby. She would also like to construct a handicap room.
“This is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” she said.
Decker said that at RoseHaven, she tries to break the cycle of abuse the women have endured so that mothers do not continue the cycle with their own children. Through such mediums as informal counseling and professional counseling referrals, education and job training referrals, Decker and her staff set women on the road to recovery.
Betty Decker’s goal is to turn despair into hope.

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