Up Close with CAP: Elizabeth Bussler, Economic/ Financial Empowerment Advocate
The Community Action Partnership is Lancaster County’s largest anti-poverty organization, helping low-income families move toward self-sufficiency. CAP’s service profile interrupts inter-generational poverty with programs that support families and individuals at every age and place in life, in the areas of education and child development, health and nutrition, household stability and safety and empowerment.
We’re working on showcasing and highlighting various individuals, programs, and the hard work that is done on a daily basis. It’s time to get ‘Up Close with CAP’!
Domestic Violence Services (DVS) of Lancaster County, a program of the Community Action Partnership, is a catalyst to eliminate domestic violence through direct service, advocacy, and social change. DVS offers 24/7 emergency shelter, long-term supportive apartment-style living, a children’s program, gratis legal counseling, and 24-hour emergency hotlines on phone and text. DVS hosts regular community education and prevention sessions for many agencies, schools and faith-based organizations.
Survivors of domestic violence face serious challenges. Many struggles to find a safe place to live and put food on the table. Others struggle to find and hold a job. Protecting one’s money and other assets can also be a challenge.
Domestic violence survivors deserve access to the resources they need. They deserve housing, jobs, and economic resources for their families. This is true whether they leave abusive relationships or remain in them.
Through this initiative, the goal is to improve the social conditions that prevent long-term independence and safety through comprehensive domestic violence program advocate training and the continual development of tools and resources that address the barriers to economic stability and safety.
To achieve this goal, Elizabeth and the DVS team focus on providing advocates with the tools and resources to help survivors access education, develop budgeting skills, repair credit, build savings, find affordable housing and gain meaningful employment.
Meet Elizabeth Bussler, Economic/ Financial Empowerment Advocate
- Tell us a little about your role! What do you do?
I am the Economic/Financial Empowerment Advocate at DVS. This is a new position that was just created with a grant from Allstate and PCADV. I work with survivors to help them achieve their financial goals such as repairing credit, opening checking accounts, reducing credit card debt, and finding a living wage job. I also work in the community to build relationships and advocate for survivors.
- Where are you from?
I’m from Reading, PA but I live in Lancaster now.
- What brought you to CAP? / What led you to this career?
I have always wanted to work with survivors of domestic violence but was afraid to make the jump from for-profit to non-profit work. Last spring, I worked as an intern for DVS and realized that this was where I belong!
- What do you love about working at CAP/DVS?
I love that I have the freedom to be myself and stand up for what I believe in. I also love working with survivors to help them achieve their goals.
- Of all the CAP values, which one resonates with you the most and why?
Hope is one of the most important things we can have in all aspects of life. Sometimes this is hard to find after surviving a trauma or just in everyday life. However, if you can find one thing to be hopeful about, it can guide you to keep setting goals and move forward out of dark places.
- How do you prefer to start and end your day?
I loooove coffee to start my day! Meditation at the end of the day is my way to regroup and connect with myself.
- What energizes you at work?
Knowing I am making a difference in other people’s lives to hopefully make them less stressed and feel more secure.
- What do you like to do for fun?
I love to knit and kayak. I also enjoy taking walks with my dog. My most favorite thing to do is travel-I’m looking forward to the day that I can travel outside the country again!
- Fun fact about Elizabeth?
I’ve been knitting for many years and I can make just about anything-sweaters, scarves, socks, slippers- you name it and I’ve probably knitted it!
- What have you learned from the individuals and/or families you’ve served?
I have learned that even despite major trauma, the human spirit is often very resilient and it is possible to come back from pain.
- What do you hope people can get out of you and your role?
I hope that I leave every person with a sense of the positive aspects of life. People often have a negative attitude about money and see it as a problem. I believe we need to view money and finances in a positive light and this will help us to achieve our financial goals.
- Anything else you want people to know about Elizabeth?
I have an amazing 20-year-old daughter who makes me proud every day. I am super lucky to have an amazing support system of family and friends.
You are not alone. If you are a victim of domestic violence, help is just a phone call and text away. Please call the 24/7 hotline at 717-299-1249 or text SAFE to 61222