Audrain County Crisis Intervention Services is celebrating 25 years of service this month to victims of domestic violence. It all began with a meeting.

In September of 1992 Sarah Maxwell began a meeting. There was standing room only. The reason for their meeting was dismal. Mexico had a problem, domestic violence. The community rallied together to provide a solution, and on October 8, 1992 Audrain County Crisis Intervention Services (ACCIS) was founded. By September 1993, with the help of Audrain Medical Center, a 24-hour domestic violence hotline became operational. No shelter, no staff; only a community dedicated to help. The first year, the hotline handled 230 crisis calls and by November a shelter was established in a small rental home. Through the support of the community, funds were raised to purchase the first emergency shelter in 1994 and the first staff person was hired.

A lot has changed since that day in 1992, but some things have stayed the same. Mexico still has a domestic violence problem. There was an average of 11 protection orders filed per month in 1994, now ACCIS assists with on average 34 orders per month. In 1997 ACCS sheltered 49 residents, in 2016 that number climbed to 151. In 2016, Audrain County ranked No. 1 in the state for domestic violence charges filed per capita with 481 incidents. Also in 2016, ACCIS served 886 women, children and men who were effected by domestic or sexual violence and answered 477 crisis line calls; 2017 shows the need is not slowing down. So far this year, ACCIS has assisted 875 individuals; 181 of those needed shelter and answered 450 crisis line calls.

In 1994 when ACCIS needed a domestic violence shelter, the community stepped up and supported the cause. In 2017, the community still stands behind ACCIS and answers the cry for help from the hundreds of people impacted by abuse.

This support has taken many forms over the years. The community has provided long term financial support through groups like Altrusa, GFWC Mexico Women's Club, First Christian Church, First Presbyterian Church and United Way of Audrain County. Others in the community hosted fundraisers and drives; like the Be-Bop car show, food drives by Curves and Missouri Military Academy, and clothing drives by the Mexico Alternative School and Goody's.

ACCIS has also become the ministry and focus of several churches including interfaith prayer groups at Second Baptist and Centennial Baptist and volunteers from Southside Christian Church and Friendship Baptist Church. The list goes on but over the last 25 years, the community support never ceases to end.

In celebration of all the work that ACCIS has been able to accomplish over the last 25 years, ACCIS wants to show appreciation to the community for its ongoing support. To celebrate all the work that has been accomplished, ACCIS is bringing a birthday concert to Mexico. Just like in 1992, ACCIS hopes to have a "standing room" only.

ACCIS's Silver Jubilee Birthday Bash will be held on Saturday, November 18 at Missouri Military Academy. Three nationally known bands will be there to lead the celebration, including headliner Jason Pritchett and opening acts, Midnight Noon and Dylan Jakobsen. The event will not only celebrate all the work that the community has done to face the issue of domestic violence, but also continue to support ACCIS in its work toward ending domestic and sexual violence in the communities.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at www.audraincountyCrisis.org/birthdaybash or in person at Melody's Quality Jewelry and Commerce Bank on South Clark in Mexico. Call ACCIS at (573) 581-3835 for additional information.