By LESLIE COLLINS
January 2, 2013
Jim Bogle knew he couldn’t follow in his father’s footsteps.
For years, he watched and endured the poisonous cycle of verbal and physical abuse, followed by empty promises of change, then abandonment and finally his father’s return. The cycle continued until he was 17 years old. That’s when he finally got his mother and his siblings out of the house, away from his alcoholic father.
“I had every right to say, ‘I give up,'” Bogle said.
But, his faith in God kept him going.
“It was what would keep me focused every time I would get down. It got me to where I’m at today,” he said.
Today, he’s the president and chief executive officer of Newhouse, a Kansas City-based domestic violence shelter for women and their children.
“I’m passionate about helping others break the cycle and you can’t do that sitting on the sidelines,” Bogle said. “So, I’m here (at Newhouse). I live it. I breathe it. If you were a battered woman in here, you couldn’t tell me something that I haven’t experienced.”
Bogle began as a volunteer interim CEO and president for Newhouse on Aug. 6, 2012, while Newhouse searched for someone to fill the position. Later, Newhouse asked Bogle to stay permanently and he accepted. It became official Jan. 2.
An Historic Northeast native, Bogle grew up in a poor, blue collar family and graduated from Northeast High School. When his father routinely disappeared, Bogle, his mother and his two siblings would live with other family members to survive. His mother’s sister would assist financially, babysit and offer whatever else they needed.
“She became my favorite aunt,” Bogle said.
As Bogle became closer to his mother’s sister, he began hearing stories of his uncle, who served in the military and walked alongside President Dwight Eisenhower as U.S. soldiers liberated the German Holocaust camps.
To this day, Bogle still has his uncle’s military badge.
Although Bogle didn’t see his uncle often growing up, he began forming an image in his mind of who this uncle was and it became the man he wanted to be.
This was a man of honor and one who lived far from the abyss of verbal and physical abuse.
When Bogle had two daughters of his own, he suppressed the initial urge to hit them and broke his family’s daunting cycle of abuse.
For years, Bogle worked in the corporate industry in senior leadership positions for companies like Sprint, MCI and IBM. With a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s in business administration, he went into engineering and later data processing and telecommunications.
Before he officially accepted his role as CEO and president, his wife served on the board of directors for Newhouse, which is how he first learned about the domestic violence shelter.
For two years, he volunteered twice a week at Newhouse serving meals to the women and children.
In 2011, Newhouse housed 477 women and 267 children and answered 8,621 hotline calls. Newhouse has 86 beds, which are normally full.
“The other shelters are just as full as we are,” Bogle said. “There is an abuse report in Missouri every 16 minutes. That is estimated by experts to be only a quarter of the real abuse. That’s a sad note on our society.”
To help its residents become self-sufficient, Newhouse offers a number of free services which include counseling, substance abuse recovery programs, job skills training, utility assistance, nutrition classes, financial literacy training, among others.
“It’s a non-judgmental, empowering environment that we’re building,” he said.
Newhouse has also partnered with �Wayside Waifs to allow families to safely keep their dog or cat at Wayside Waifs while the family lives at Newhouse. Abusers can hold power over the family in a number of ways, including threatening to kill the beloved family pet, Bogle said. It’s enough to cause some women to stay in the abusive relationship.
“If there’s a way for us to let them feel like they can get out of the abusive environment and feel safe, we’ll do it,” Bogle said.
Newhouse is currently working with the Kansas City Public Schools to develop an educational offering similar to the “one-room school” concept for first through eighth grades. It’s challenging for shelter children to attend school in a new district and at a new school, Bogle explained. As a result, children often skip school, sometimes missing up to 50 days of class, he said.
Bogle hopes to secure funding to host a “one-room school” at Newhouse, so students can stay caught up in their classes and avoid judgment from their peers as being a “shelter kid.”
Another upcoming offering is the Newhouse community garden, made possible through recently donated land located next to the Newhouse parking lot. Newhouse will plant vegetables and fruits for the residents and will use volunteers and those interested at Newhouse to maintain the garden. To further the garden’s success, Newhouse has partnered with the non-profit Kansas City Community Gardens.
While Newhouse is grateful for all of its food donations from area individuals and organizations, not all of the donated food is healthy, he said. A number of residents have high blood pressure or diabetes and by raising homegrown fruits and vegetables, the shelter can “upscale our healthy initiative,” he said.
One of Bogle’s goals for Newhouse includes securing more partnerships and spreading the word about Newhouse.
“Newhouse is 40 years old; it’s the first domestic violence shelter in Kansas City and most people today don’t know we exist,” Bogle said. “Our next program is to reach out to the mayor’s office, the Chamber of Commerce and reach out to our community, to re-establish a professional, non-profit relationship. If they believe in what we’re doing, they’ll help fund it.”
It’s that funding that helps break the domestic violence cycle, he said.
While Bogle is passionate about helping the women, he’s also adamant about reaching out to the children.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, witnessing violence between parents or caretakers is the most powerful risk factor for children later becoming abusers themselves.
“My passion is to break the cycle of abuse with the children,” he said. “I want to stop the children from becoming an abuser.”
Asked to share success stories from Newhouse, Bogle said one woman who lived at Newhouse graduated from culinary school and now cooks at a local shelter, giving back to the community. Another woman wrote a book about her struggle with abuse and how she survived, and Newhouse now has an autographed copy.
“This is her story. We’re just a small part in saving her life,” Bogle said. “We don’t have enough (success stories) yet, but we’re going to have more.”
How you can help Newhouse
• Donate supplies, like basic toiletries, fresh food, old cell phones, etc.
• Donate money through PayPal at www.newhouseshelter.org.
• Volunteer your time, which can range from serving in the kitchen to reading to the children to helping with building maintenance and more
For more information about Newhouse, visit www.newhouseshelter.org or call (816) 474-6446