The History of Mainstay
In January 1984, a group from Trinity Presbyterian Church, working with the Reverend Albert Kissling, organized The Women’s Crisis Ministry in Hendersonville. The purpose of the organization was to help women deal with such crises as divorce and widowhood. A director, Helen Redden, was hired, and The Women’s Crisis Ministry was incorporated and tax-exempt status was secured. In the beginning the organization was basically a referral agency. It offered a support group for divorced women, and served a total of 90 women in its first 18 months of operation. Paralleling Women’s Crisis Ministry, an organization adopting the name Mainstay was also formed. Its mission was to help battered women.
In 1985 the two groups merged under the guidance of Renee Kumor, Naomi Daen Claque, and Charlotte Buller and continued under the name Mainstay, Inc. In November 1985, the first director for the new organization was hired and the county donated office space in the old Henderson County Courthouse. As the agency’s reputation grew, an increasing number of women came to the agency for assistance. Individuals and groups recognized the growing needs and responded with donations that allowed Mainstay to assist more families and to expand its services for survivors of domestic violence. Volunteers were recruited and trained to provide these services. Cooperation with law enforcement agencies and the legal system was developed. A program to help abusers was initiated. Paid staff positions were added as the budget and need for them allowed.