By DAWNE LEIKER
A desire to help individuals "unleash their dream" has led Dennis Becking to dedicate his life to social services.
As one of a few male domestic violence services advocates in Kansas, Becking has seen little hesitation on the part of most female victims to talk openly with him.
"I just feel like there's something calming about me," he said. "Hopefully they can see the concern that I have for their well being and just the vision that I have for them."
Becking and his wife relocated from Lincoln, Neb., in August. There, he worked with individuals who were receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds.
When moving to Hays, he looked at various local agencies and organizations, searching not just for a 9-to-5 job, but a position where he could "make a meaningful difference in a person's life."
He joined the staff of Options Domestic and Sexual Violence Services in December and said he has enjoyed his role in helping people create a personal vision for who they want to become.
"A lot of times you'll see movement forward and movement back, but at least the next time they come around they might be a little further than they were," he said. "My dream for everyone is that they can process and work through their present situation and take that next step into living out the dream that they probably had at one point in their life."
"And for one reason or another, being in an abusive relationship, they lost all sight of that ... of who they were."
Becking has been a "very good advocate," according to Options Executive Director Charlotte Linsner.
"I took the chance, and we were one of the first programs in the state to hire a male," she said. "When Dennis came along, it was like, 'Yeah, he fits.' "
Callers seeking an advocate are given the option of speaking with a female advocate if they choose. However, Linsner said it is extremely rare a victim has made that choice.