Unknown female person silhouette in studio.

Domestic Violence Story

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Content warning: this story includes details of abuse.

Jane (not her real name) works in the medical field and is a devoted mom to six children. She works hard, loves dancing, and has a passion for interior design and decorating. She is also a domestic violence survivor.

Late one night, shortly after Jane had left an abusive relationship, her abuser showed up at her new apartment. He loudly demanded entry. “I was afraid he would wake my children,” she says, so she answered the door. He instantly grabbed her by the hair and dragged her out of the apartment, threatening to kill her. She was then forced her into her car and told her to start driving.

Trapped at gunpoint in a car going 60 miles per hour on Interstate 581, Jane didn’t know what to do. Her abuser then started shooting. She leapt from the vehicle and tumbled onto the road, skinning her whole body. Fueled by adrenaline, she thought only of reaching her children to protect them. She flagged down a passing car and asked the driver to drop her off at her apartment. Only once she got back home did she realize the extent of her injuries. 

Tremendous pain radiated through her ankle, back, and wrist. She spent the next week in the hospital recovering. Jane needed crutches when she left. 

Jane seeks help from TAP’s Domestic Violence Services

While Jane was in the hospital, her mom called TAP’s Domestic Violence Services (DVS) hotline and connected Jane with the program. Jane told DVS staff her concerns—particularly the safety of her children—and together they formed a plan. 

Since it was not safe for them to come to the hotel where she was staying, Jane’s children stayed with another relative while she recovered. 

During that time, she learned that her vehicle had been found, crashed, with its windows shot out. Her abuser had not been found. While she waited, hoping to hear news of his arrest, TAP staff arranged for her to visit her children at Sabrina’s Place—a secure safe exchange facility that is guarded by off-duty Roanoke police officers and designed to protect against violent abusers. 

Before Jane learned her abuser had been arrested, DVS staff had already helped her move into a new apartment. They also helped her make it safe by installing cameras. They continued to support her through the initial court process, and when her abuser came up for early parole. 

TAP has continued to be part of Jane’s support network—but her journey has just begun.

Jane is an incredible person with a bright future ahead of her. She advises others who are suffering domestic violence that they shouldn’t hesitate to find help. “Be concerned about your safety,” she tells others, “and make sure you are getting support.” Reflecting on her time working with TAP, she says, “I feel like I am getting my self-confidence back.”

If you need help

Our staff are available 24/7 by hotline, so please call/text us any time at (540) 580-0775 for emergencies, or (540) 283‑4813 during the daytime. 

Young white woman looks straight into camera

OnRamp: Connecting People with Careers

Mary (not her real name) wanted to rebuild her life after escaping domestic violence. She had a safe place to stay with a friend, but she needed a new start in her career. She also needed a safe, permanent home for her family. Mary reached out to the Virginia Career Works Center for job-training assistance. They referred her to the Onramp program.

Helping Mary navigate her choices

The Virginia workforce system has a lot of career-training programs and services, and maneuvering through the system can be difficult. Onramp provides a personal navigator to each client. This person guides clients and refers them to supportive services. Mary’s navigator referred her to TAP’s Domestic Violence Services, where she received case management and group counseling. Her TAP-DVS case manager helped her set a goal of getting a job in healthcare. Mary applied to a nurse aide training program.

Mary receives extra support through her career training

While Mary was in the training program, her Onramp navigator connected her with Feeding Southwest Virginia. They helped her contact the local Department of Social Services office to apply for SNAP benefits. Onramp also helped Mary with transit costs, so she could get to her classes. After gaining her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification, Mary got a job in a nursing home.

When a person is working to rebuild their life, gaining employment is only one step in the process. Referrals to supportive services play a key role in their success. The additional services Mary accessed with the help of the Onramp program allowed her to begin to build a stable life.

For more information or to sign up for a class, call 540.767.6204

Small white building with blue doors

TAP History: Who is Bishop Marmion?

The Impact of Bishop Marmion

William H. Marmion had a vision to unite the diocese. His legacy lives on today through our Bishop Marmion Head Start Center. 

An Advocate for Social Justice

Bishop Marmion

As bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia from 1954 to 1979, Bishop Marmion joined the civil rights movement. Specifically, he had hopes of integrating the Episcopal Church. “He was very proactive in addressing the racism that had infected at least the denomination of the Episcopal Church,” says Ted Edlich, a friend of Bishop Marmion and former president of TAP. “He was a great guy.”

Bishop Marmion was a loyal supporter of a number of social movements. He was particularly passionate about the equal treatment of youth in the diocese and the right to an education, no matter one’s skin color. While many resisted the desegregation of Virginia’s public schools, Bishop Marmion embraced the change. He attempted to create an integrated youth center and conference for young Episcopalians. However, his efforts caused division among his diocese, forcing his work to be put on pause.

Bridging the Divide

After many years and the bishop’s patient persistence, the division was finally overcome. The integrated youth center opened, and the diocese hosted the youth conference. By the time of Bishop Marmion’s retirement in 1979, his dream of integrating the churches of the diocese had come true.

In fact, a building that housed one of the diocese’s Black congregations is now a TAP Head Start center. It was named the Bishop Marmion Head Start Center in honor of his inspirational fight for the integration of the Episcopal Church and equal treatment of all youth.

Small white building with blue doors

A Proud History

The Head Start center isn’t Bishop Marmion’s only connection to TAP. He also helped to create a training program for TAP employees. According to Ted, the program helped staff analyze how they “authentically dealt with each other,” especially when it came to social relationships and feelings toward each other. The training module was such a success that it gained national recognition.

TAP is proud to have such a close connection to Bishop Marmion, whose insight and passion made a lasting impact on our community. A plaque inside the Bishop Marmion Head Start Center features a quote from Presiding Bishop John Hines at the time of Bishop Marmion’s retirement: “His Christian charities outlived his severest critics.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Head Start preschool girls eating and looking up into the camera smiling

Campaign Update: Bringing Hope Home

We have just reached the end of our second Bringing Hope Home campaign to raise annual support for TAP. As we look back on the year, we have one thing to say: thank you!

Outpouring of Support

This year, we set an initial goal of $200,000 for Bringing Hope Home. During this challenging time, when many people have been struggling financially in the wake of COVID-19, we received an outpouring of support from generous individuals and businesses. The community surpassed our goal repeatedly.

Another Difficult Year

Ordinarily, TAP focuses on removing barriers to economic and personal independence by providing job training, childcare, and other services. This year, we provided not only our traditional services and those we created in response to urgent needs during the pandemic, but we began developing new ones with an eye toward the community’s long-term recovery needs. Without your donations, we could not have met the staggering needs of thousands of families in our community.    

You Make the Difference

Look for more details in our coming annual report about the impact you helped to make possible. In the meantime, know that your support truly made a difference in the lives of local families in need.

Thank you to everyone who has donated money or time to TAP over the past year. Together, we can continue to create pathways for low-income families in our community to live stable, full lives.

Finding a Path Forward with Job Training

It was the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ann Ellis found herself unemployed and unprepared for the workplace. Caring for her daughter kept her busy, and she wasn’t sure how she could juggle work or job training on top of being a parent.

But after learning about TAP and our SwiftStart program, Ann began to see a path forward. “TAP just opened up the door for me,” she says. “It was the right recipe for me to reconnect and get started.”

A Helping Hand

Job training was what initially drew Ann to TAP, but we were able to help her and her daughter with other challenges, too. Ann ultimately connected with several programs at TAP, which provided her with critical supports as she worked through our Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) training. She recalls that receiving housing support from our HELP coordinator, Hannah, was especially impactful, as it provided the stability necessary for her to focus on her studies.

Ann explained that Hannah went the extra mile to provide the tools she needed to become established in her new apartment. “It was a tremendous help, and the help has not ceased,” she says.

One Foot in Front of the Other

Balancing work and life during the CCMA course was challenging, as Ann knew it would be. She felt the pressure of raising her daughter while taking classes herself. Ann knew she had to prioritize her education. “I had to get this job so that we could keep our heads above water,” Ann explains.

Reflecting on her time in the CCMA program at TAP, Ann says, “I didn’t know how tough I was until I took that course.” She didn’t know how she would do it, but she was determined to complete the course. When things got hard, Ann’s SwiftStart mentor, Jennifer, encouraged her to come up with solutions rather than excuses. “All I had to do is put one foot in front of the other, and that’s exactly what I did,” Ann reflects.

She completed the TAP CCMA program in December and gained employment at Carilion Clinic soon after. She now works in a competitive position with Carilion General Surgery where she’s challenging herself and learning new skills daily.

Paying it Forward

With these resources and experiences from TAP under her belt, Ann’s next goal is to pay it forward. She says, “I want to transition from being the person seeking and needing help to the person who can actually be help. Instead of being the receiver, I’ll be the giver.”

Ann’s advice to other individuals interested in TAP’s programs is to keep moving forward; “…to not give up on yourself, and to thank God first,” she says. Ann reminds others not to feel ashamed of falling down. “There are resources set in place to help you, and all you’ve got to do is go after them.”

Starting Again with Job Training

Laura Richardson had a tough couple of years. While dealing with health issues, she lost both her medical assistant certification and her job. Her path to recertification became more difficult when local programs turned her down, but Laura didn’t give up. “I was determined to get back in the medical field,” she says. “I didn’t let my health problems hold me down.” Things started looking up when a friend at church told her about TAP’s CareerForge program.

Laura’s Path

In partnership with Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, CareerForge trains adults in the Appalachian region for new careers. It offers certifications for nursing assistants, phlebotomists, and truck drivers. TAP’s career mentors offer guidance and support to CareerForge clients.

Eager to stay in the medical field, Laura chose to pursue a phlebotomy certification. Her career mentor, Katrina Caul, played a key role in getting Laura enrolled in the course.  “Katrina was very helpful. If she can’t help you, she’ll find somebody that can.”

Katrina’s encouragement also buoyed Laura during her time in CareerForge. Laura admits the program was challenging, but her determination and faith pushed her through. “My mom always taught me to keep my head up and keep pushing forward. Not to let anything hold you back.”

Pursuing Her Goals

Katrina remembers that Laura was determined to finish her certification and get back to doing what she loved. She studied hard, did well in class, and had clear goals.

Once she got her phlebotomy certification, Laura began her job search but found she lacked confidence in her interviewing skills. After practicing in mock interviews with Katrina, her renewed confidence landed her two job offers. She accepted a position as a patient care technician at a kidney care center.

But Laura didn’t stop there. While working her new job, she earned a certificate in dialysis. She plans to take her state board tests to become a certified dialysis technician later this year.

Encouraging Others

Laura is grateful for the program and for Katrina in particular. In fact, she was so pleased with the program that she encouraged her daughter to enroll. Her daughter is studying to earn her phlebotomy certification and wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps.

Laura’s advice to others? “You’re never too old to learn. If you have the mindset to do it, you can do it. Don’t let your age hold you back.”

Supporter Spotlight: Bank of Botetourt

For more than 122 years, Bank of Botetourt has been committed to caring for its community. “Bank of Botetourt has a culture that focuses on bridging the needs of the community with the resources of the bank to improve the quality of life for all residents in our service area,” states Mary Ann Miller, Vice President-Business Banking and Community Relations.

Why TAP

One way Bank of Botetourt strengthens the community is by donating to organizations that make a positive impact. The bank has been a TAP sponsor for the past two years. “TAP is a well-respected organization,” says Mary Ann, “and when TAP Board Member Billy Martin approached us to become an annual supporter, we quickly signed on. The bank is grateful for our partnership with TAP as we seek to assist, educate, and support those in our communities who may have nowhere else to turn.”

A Culture of Service  

In addition to giving back financially, Bank of Botetourt encourages and supports staff involvement in the community. “We serve on local boards, volunteer, and work hard every day to find ways to give back,” says Mary Ann. 

A particular point of pride for bank staff is the financial education they provide in local elementary schools through their KidsSave program. By teaching young people the importance of responsible spending and saving, they hope to provide students with the tools to succeed as they branch out into the world on their own.

Community Connection

When you ask Mary Ann, who grew up in Botetourt, what makes the bank’s community so special, she is quick to answer—the people. “As a community bank, our customers are like family to us. Many of us have known one another for most of our lives. In my job I am able to help those in need through the backing of exceptional financial services at Bank of Botetourt. That makes my job so rewarding.”

Op-Ed: IMAGINE THE VALLEY WITHOUT TAP by Craig Balzer

Originally published in The Roanoke Times on January 13, 2022. Re-posted here with permission.

2022 marks the 57th year of Total Action for Progress’ existence.

During the holiday season, many of us enjoyed the rerun of the Hollywood classic It’s A Wonderful Life, the story of a local banker deterred from suicide by an angel who offers him visions of what life for his friends, family, and community would have been like without his existence.

That made us think: what would life in our area be like without TAP?

Many don’t know how extensive TAP’s work is and might assume there would be little difference in our communities today without its influence. In so many ways, even after 57 years, TAP remains one of the best untold stories in the Roanoke Valley and beyond—a story best known by those whose lives it has impacted.

Think of this: if TAP had not been here for the past 57 years, who would have:

  • reached out annually to more than 5,000 low-income people to help them toward self-sufficiency through education and employment, housing, financial services, domestic violence prevention and assistance, and family services?
  • Who would have provided a Head Start experience for more than 32,565 children?
  • Who would have helped 10,308 youth and adults to secure jobs?
  • Who would have provided remedial education opportunities for 7,505 youth and adults who had dropped out of school?
  • Who would have filed more than 3,500 tax returns free for low-income Virginians, helping them claim over $2.6 million in Earned-Income Tax Credits, if not for the TAP Tax Clinic?
  • Who would have kept over 8,000 families warm through weatherization services?
  • Who would have boosted Roanoke’s economy by providing close to 200 entrepreneurs with loans to start new local businesses?

Who would have had the capacity to start Legal Aid, the League of Older Americans (now the Local Office on Aging), RADAR, Southwest Virginia Second Harvest Food Bank (now Feeding Southwest Virginia), Project Discovery, Virginia CARES, and CHIP? Who would have worked with the Northwest Neighborhood Improvement Council to start the Harrison Museum of African American Culture?

More recently, who would have partnered with the Health Department and local neighborhood organizations to host local vaccination clinics, providing first-dose and booster shots to Roanoke citizens right in their neighborhoods? Or partnered with state and local governments to provide more than 1,400 individuals in 450 households with rent relief services when the pandemic affected their income?

Living in this area for most of us is a wonderful life. That wonderful life has in no small way been the result of TAP’s dedication to serving the community throughout the last 57 years.

But we can’t do it alone. Grants serve as the core of TAP’s funding, but there are certain expenses they can’t cover—that’s where you come in. Funds raised through TAP’s annual Bringing Hope Home campaign help fill these gaps and directly support life-changing programs for individuals in this community.

This is our time to invest in our community’s greatest asset—our people—to continue making our region stronger. With just a small donation you can support TAP to make sure we are around for another 57 years.

Woman in blue suit receives award from woman in red suit

2021 Cabell Brand Hope Award Recipient: Nancy Agee

We are happy to announce the winner of the 2021 Cabell Brand Hope Award! This year the award was presented to Nancy Howell Agee, President & CEO of Carilion Clinic. We congratulate her and thank her for her dedication to the communities in southwest Virginia.

Nancy is President and Chief Executive Officer of Carilion Clinic. Before becoming CEO in 2011, Ms. Agee served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. During her tenure as COO, she co-led Carilion’s reorganization from a collection of hospitals to a fully-integrated, physician-led clinic. The reorganization resulted in a partnership with Virginia Tech to create an allopathic medical school and research institute.

Woman in blue suit receives award from woman in red suit
Agee accepts award from Dr. Brenda Hale

Ms. Agee is a nationally recognized leader in healthcare and immediate past chair of the American Hospital Association (a membership organization representing the nation’s 5,000 hospitals). She has been perennially named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare as well as the Top 25 Women in Healthcare. Ms. Agee is a former member of the Board of Commissioners for the Joint Commission (international hospital accreditation organization) and past chair of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association and the Virginia Center for Health Innovation.

Past Cabell Brand Hope Award recipients

Indoor Plumbing and Rehab program

Help Keep Families Safe with Plumbing Rehabilitation

Our Indoor Plumbing Rehabilitation (IPR) program helps to ensure families have safe drinking water, eliminates hazardous outhouse trips, and more. However, due to the pandemic, project material costs have skyrocketed. Without donations from supporters like you, IPR will not only have to turn down people who ask for help, it will have to drop some projects it has already started.

Today, most of us take indoor toilets, showers, and running water for granted. These basic necessities are not only convenient, they’re essential for safety—but not everyone in our community has them. 

Same Funding, Increasing Need

Since the pandemic began, IPR has received even more requests for help than usual. However, state and federal funding haven’t increased, while the cost of materials like lumber has risen sharply. “It’s been a struggle trying to get these projects up off the ground,” IPR program manager Liz Puckett says.

IPR does its best to keep costs low. However, it often has to install new septic systems, drill new wells, or even rebuild badly damaged houses. 

A New Home

Willie Bell Ray benefited from IPR only because generous family members pitched in to fill gaps in the program’s funding. 

Willie Bell, who is in her 70s, lived with her disabled son in a 50-year-old trailer. The trailer had no indoor plumbing. To avoid the hazard of walking down the hill to use the outhouse at night, she and her son used five-gallon buckets instead. They also had to carry water up from their well to cook and wash dishes.

The trailer was so damaged that it needed to be fully replaced. However, IPR nearly had to turn Willie Bell down because material costs vastly outgrew the program’s budget. They were only able to continue with the project because Willie Bell’s family supplied a new trailer. Now, she and her son have running water, a shower, and a toilet. 

Will you help?

Not everyone is as lucky as Willie Bell to have a family support system. IPR has been unable to move forward with two projects this year because they exceeded budget. Both houses belong to families with children, including one with a child under five years old. “It hurts me to my heart that I can’t help them,” Liz says. 

Your donations will help ensure that IPR is able to make homes safer for the families that live there. Can we count on you?

To donate, please visit this page. Don’t forget to write a note that you want your donation to support Indoor Plumbing Rehabilitation!

Supporter Story: Network Computing Group

Mark Bowles first heard of TAP around the time he founded Network Computing Group in 1994. He worked with TAP occasionally, and in 2014 NCG became TAP’s main IT provider. Over the past seven years Mark has gotten a much closer look at our work, and NCG and its employees have become some of our most consistent supporters.

What Stands Out

Mark has met the heads and staff of several different TAP programs. He feels like he’s always learning something new, but one thing remains consistent across the agency: teamwork. “Everybody seems to be rowing in the same direction,” he says. “They all have the same purpose and passion for what they do, and that always impresses me.”

He also says TAP stands out for the breadth of our services and the wide variety of people we help. In fact, his wife told him that her mother, a single parent, had relied on a TAP childcare center while she went to work.

“Everybody has a cause that’s important to them, whatever their passion is, and for me it seems like TAP touches most of those.” He’s been amazed to learn that several other nonprofits in the Roanoke Valley, including CHIP and RADAR, began as part of TAP.

How Donations Multiply

Mark says that just as NCG gains companies’ trust by taking care of their IT needs, TAP has gained NCG’s trust through its effective use of charity dollars. It’s hard to decide what groups to donate to, but Mark says both he and his employees feel that TAP is uniquely positioned to make donations go a long way toward helping the community.

Mark wants the community to know that donations to TAP multiply. Not only does every donated dollar help us leverage $52 in state and federal funds, it also helps us touch many more lives than just those of people directly involved. “When you help one person, you’re not just helping that person,” he says, “but the fifteen people that they help, and the hundred that those fifteen people help.”

The main takeaway from his close look at the agency over the years? “It’s almost unfair that others don’t get to understand all the stuff that TAP does,” he says. 

Brightly colored graphic saying thank you for donations

Bringing Hope Home: Thank You!

We’ve just reached the end of our very first Bringing Hope Home campaign to raise annual support for TAP. As we look back on the year, we have one thing to say: thank you!

Record Support

We set an initial goal of $150,000 for Bringing Hope Home, but even during a time when many people’s budgets were lean, the community surpassed that goal again and again. In this challenging time, we’ve received record support from generous individuals and businesses.

Anything but an Ordinary Year

In an ordinary year, TAP focuses on removing barriers to economic and personal independence by providing job training, childcare, and other services. But this year was not an ordinary year—we’ve had to adapt to address urgent needs created or worsened by the pandemic.

This year, we saw our clients’ emergency needs increase by 60%, and the community helped us meet those needs by donating in record amounts.

At the height of the pandemic, with support from the community:

  • We distributed 12,000 meals to families in food crisis.
  • Our Domestic Violence Services responded to a 20% increase in hotline calls.
  • We provided 400 families rent or mortgage assistance.
  • We housed 60 families in hotels and kept them off the streets

That’s only a sample of what TAP has accomplished in the past year thanks to community donations.

Look for more details about the impact you have helped to make possible in our annual report, which will be released this fall. In the meantime, know that without your support, we would never have been able to serve so many community members in need.

Our work is never finished, of course. But we want to take a moment to thank everyone who has donated money or time to TAP over this past year. You have had an amazing impact!