BEMIDJI -- Evett Ellis, the new executive director of Support Within Reach, is entirely new to the state of Minnesota, but is no stranger to the work the local nonprofit does.
Started in 1977, Support Within Reach is a nonprofit community organization serving residents impacted by incidents of sexual violence. The organization serves residents of Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Hubbard and Itasca Counties.
On Jan. 4, after moving to Bemidji from Arizona, Ellis took the reins of the organization as she entered the leadership role. Before arriving in the area, Ellis worked with Gila River Indian Community's Tribal Social Services, where she held roles as a youth service coordinator and acting administrator.
She's a graduate of Central Arizona College and Arizona State University. At the latter, she earned a bachelor of science in sociology.
"I graduated in May and put my resume out there on Indeed," Ellis said. "I put in my search criteria based on what I knew I could do and what my passions are. This organization reached out to me and I basically took a leap of faith."
Ellis had several interviews with Support Within Reach and said the work the organization does is similar to what she's had experience with. She said she is excited to take on a leadership role and is ready to inform more of the community about what the nonprofit is working on.
"I want to bring more awareness to what Support Within Reach does," Ellis said. "I want it to be more integrated to where we can work closely with our tribal partners, so that way people feel comfortable and confident in the services being provided by our program."
Services provided by Support Within Reach are free, confidential and available to all age groups, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Services include crisis advocacy response, legal advocacy, medical advocacy, support groups and prevention education.
According to Ellis, despite the pandemic, Support Within Reach is committed to continuing to make these services available.
"I think the way Support Within Reach has been handling things so far has been really awesome," Ellis said. "The work is still being done. It hasn't stopped."
For more information on what the organization does, visit www.supportwithinreach.org.