New director leads advocacy for domestic violence victims

Published 6:53 pm Friday, February 26, 2016



A new face leads advocacy for victims of domestic violence in Beaufort County.

Ruth’s House, Inc., Beaufort County’s domestic violence shelter program, has welcomed Valerie Kines as its new executive director, according to a Ruth’s House press release.

She joined the nonprofit in November 2015 as the interim house manager before being hired as the executive director last month when the person holding that position previously, Kim Etheridge, relocated to Tennessee with her family.

Kines said she has worked with nonprofits her entire career, whether through volunteerism or employment, and before moving to the area from Atlanta, she’d worked with an organization that advocated for victims of sex trafficking, something that she says closely aligns with advocacy for victims of domestic violence.

“It’s really not that different because that kind of abuse stems from a domestic violence situation in most cases,” Kines said. “When I came here, I was trying to get a gauge of the local nonprofit situation and what I would be interested in getting involved with.”

Kines holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of West Georgia, where she majored in political science, and a master’s degree from the University of Colorado in political science and public policy, according to the release. Regarding Kines having 20 years of nonprofit experience, Ruth’s House President Deb Ryals said, “We feel very fortunate to have somebody with Valerie’s wealth of experience in managing people, programs and nonprofit organizations working with us at Ruth’s House.”

In her interim position at the shelter, Kines said she learned a lot about how the nonprofit is run.

“It was a really great experience,” Kines said. “I’m thrilled with everything. There’s such a potential for huge growth here. (Etheridge) did a phenomenal job, and she has a good business mind so it was easy for me to step into that role because she had left (Ruth’s House) in such a great place.”

In her position, Kines will be responsible for the organization’s primary fundraiser, Ruth’s House Antiques…and more, the shelter’s retail shop on Main Street in downtown Washington. Volunteers staff the shop, which opened three years ago. The community donates all items sold at the shop, with all the proceeds going to support the shelter and client services, the release said.

Kines said she also wants to focus on expanding Ruth’s House advocacy by not only providing a safe haven for clients, but also to help clients learn valuable skills that will ultimately change their situations upon leaving the shelter.

“A lot of what we’re really focusing on is the programming for the clients here,” Kines said. “I feel like so many clients, when they walk through the door, they’ve not only been abused, but also held back. A lot of them don’t have an education or work skills. They have no financial acumen. Since I’ve been here, we’re really trying to get that programming in place. We just want to help them all the way around in getting them in a better place so when they leave, they’re in a much better situation. We work with them to get housing and jobs.”

Kines said the strength of the community, its partnerships and opportunities to pool resources work to make Ruth’s House a success.

“I am really looking forward to get back out in the community,” Kines said. “I want us to be a place that people recognize and realize the work we’re trying to accomplish. It’s not just a shelter; it’s a place we can make a better life for our clients. We have an incredible community and cooperation with other organizations.”

Valerie lives in Washington Park with her husband, Jacob Kines, pastor at First Christian Church in Washington, and their children, Kate, 12, Sam, 9, and Evie, 6.

Ruth’s House, Inc., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. For information about its services and programs, call 252-940-0007.