PiPE’s mission is to partner with houseless, street-dependent, and marginalized survivors to reduce harm, provide opportunities to heal from trauma, fight systemic oppression and build lasting connections for our community.
Who We Are
From inception, Partners in Prevention Education has always been about engaging with the people we serve and believing in them as experts in their own community in order to identify gaps and develop solutions together. PiPE began as a demonstration project in 2004, when Rosalinda Noriega was contracted by the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs to outreach to and work in partnership with houseless and at-risk youth to develop a plan to prevent sexual violence in their communities.
Not long after, PiPE received funding from the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy to provide sexual assault services to houseless and at-risk youth and young adults in Thurston County, and became a federally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit.
PiPE got further funding to support survivors of general crimes, founding the Queer Art Heals Your Heart support group in 2009, and began offering therapy to houseless LGBTQIA+ survivors of violence. PiPE moved into our current building, the Purple House, in 2012. This gave us a private office in the heart of downtown Olympia in which to provide services to our participants.
In 2015, Charlia Messinger joined PiPE as our new Executive Director. Starting at 12 hours a week, and with the help of PiPE’s Board of Directors and contract therapist, Nanc LaMusga, they grew PiPE’s services, hired on advocates and set PiPE’s drop-in hours. Charlia’s leadership and collective approach, as well as unwavering support of staff forming programs that uphold a social justice framework, allowed PiPE to transform from its founders’ initial vision into the organization it is today while maintaining the heart of what makes PiPE special. This included recruiting new Board Members, overseeing staff and contractor changes, and writing grants that allowed PiPE to grow.
Since 2016, PiPE had expanded drop-in hours, created new support groups (such as the Trans Support Group, and inspired by participants, created a massage therapy program. Our therapy program grew, and we started providing hazardous weather survival support during snow storms and smoky days.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, PiPE was called to continue our survival support work through outreach to camps. We sadly closed our drop-in hours and paused our massage program, and focused fully on mobile advocacy and outreach. Since then, we’ve partnered with the Community Kitchen, A.S.H.H.O, and the Thurston County Food Bank to provide food to unhoused residents. We also provide weather-specific survivor supplies, hygiene supplies and health and safety supplies.
As the landscape of houselessness in Olympia has continued to change drastically, especially in the midst of a pandemic, so too has PiPE. We retain the core of what made and continues to make PiPE a place of community and comfort for our participants: we support and encourage our unhoused and marginalized participants as they transform themselves and their communities. We value our participants deeply for who they are as people: their struggles, their humor, their compassion,
and their fight to survive every day.
PiPE is low-barrier and uses a harm reduction and trauma-informed care framework, and is constantly taking feedback from participants on how to create a welcoming environment that centers their experiences and needs. As always, we plan to improve our services. We are inspired everyday by our participants’ knowledge and creativity, and use this as a guide to fill gaps in services. PiPE has changed drastically in its nearly two decades of existence, and we can’t wait to see where the future takes us!