Bev LaChance 

Director of Social Services, Women and Children's Alliance offering safe havens in a unsafe world.

When poring over the nominations for our "Local Heroes" issue, one name stood out among the others: Bev LaChance (pronounced like nonce). LaChance is the director of social services for the Women's and Children's Alliance (WCA). After speaking with a co-worker, Christine Garner, director of Property Management, it was easy to see why another co-worker, Anji Armagost, manager of Serena House nominated her. It was clear that selecting her as a Local Hero was the right choice.

LaChance has been with the WCA for over 11 years. Garner started shortly after LaChance, and has worked closely with her for years. She explained how LaChance goes well above and beyond in her job, guaranteeing that the services provided to abused women and children in our community are first-rate.

LaChance oversees four different locations where women and children in peril can find help: Two are referred to as "facilities"-places where women in crisis can go for immediate help-and two are "transition houses," where women can feel safe while they weigh their options. She also supervises several WCA employees and makes sure that they, too, are taking their responsibilities to the community as seriously as she does.

All in all, LaChance oversees 36 employees and 109 beds in the four locations. She garners respect and devotion from those people she works so hard for and from those she works with. It's easy to see why.

In her nomination of LaChance, Armagost wrote that LaChance's sole responsibility for the WCA's grant writing has kept the alliance "funded and operational," allowing the services provided to the victims to be as efficient as possible. And she is committed to education. LaChance ensures that programs "fully educate clients on the cycle of violence and the dynamics of power and control and how these directly contribute to abuse whether verbal, emotional, physical or sexual." LaChance is as dedicated to continuing education among her staff as she is with the WCA's clients.

Garner stated that LaChance is well-known in the community and her Master's Degree of Education and her extensive background make her a respected authority in her field. She oversees inhouse and outpatient counseling and the counselors that provide those services, as well as the WCA's court advocacy programs. It's not only the larger issues she deals with, but even the minutest details at the facilities and transition houses, especially Serena House.

Serena House is a 4,000-square_foot house located on three and a half acres. It offers over 50 beds, wheelchair-accessible rooms, bathrooms and kitchen areas and a licensed child-care center where women can leave their children when they have to make court appearances or go to appointments. Anyone who's ever lived in a home with a family knows how hard upkeep can be. Now imagine it for a 50-bed home. And LaChance is responsible for all of it, from small repairs to large, to making sure utilities are paid, to supplies are stocked to even that the carpets are cleaned.

And while she makes sure Serena House runs smoothly, LaChance is also busy using her extensive knowledge and experience teaching clients. She has somehow managed to find the 25th hour in the day and the eighth day in the week that so many of us have looked so hard for.

With all of this work, it would be understandable if LaChance was unbearable to work with, but according to Garner, that's not the case. She is disciplined but fair, and exudes an air of confidence and charisma. Her high esteem for the WCA's staff and clients and the community at large make her an obvious selection as a person we can be proud of.

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