PADV Introduces Lisa Winton to the 2015 Legacy Society Class

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This year we are honored to welcome three new members into PADV’s Legacy Society and these noteworthy supporters will be inducted on May 2nd at our 27th Annual Hearts with Hope Gala.

Our first inductee is Lisa Winton. Winton became involved with Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV) when she served as president of the Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton County. She enjoys being an advocate for change and helping those who are victims of domestic violence and sexual trafficking.

“When PADV came into my life it happened in such a serendipitous way. A woman asked if I would like to see the shelter and find out more about PADV. I said yes because I know there is a need in our community for women to have a safe place, a place that can help them rebuild their lives.”

Lisa was aware of PADV’s mission, but after sitting in on a counseling session with a survivor she decided to become more involved. Winton primarily volunteers her time with the Gwinnett Shelter, but has an affinity for the teen programing PADV offers.

“I’ve been involved with the Teen Dating Violence Summit and in the teen portion of PADV. I never realized the number of teens affected by dating violence in Georgia. Once I was educated on the statistics, I began incorporating some of PADV’s programs into my children’s high school.”

Lisa has been a staple in supporting the organization through her volunteer involvement. She wants people to know that PADV is unique in that it does more than merely help women in emergency situations but the organization also offers a variety of educational programs to empower women to rebuild their lives.

“I want to encourage all people to become more involved in this fight to end intimate partner violence. We need to empower women so that they can be strong. Also we need to educate the next generation of girls and boys on domestic violence. I encourage everyone to help any way that they can.”

Winton says she is honored to be a Legacy Society member and we are honored that she has chosen to support PADV so passionately and generously.

How Verizon Wireless HopeLine program is helping survivors of domestic violence

Verizon Wireless is committed to helping the nearly one in four women, one in seven men and more than three million children in the United States affected by domestic violence.  Almost 15 years ago, Verizon Wireless chooses to focus our community efforts on domestic and dating violence.  We do so because we know our technology can be a literal lifeline.  Wireless phones and technology serve as an especially safe and reliable way for domestic violence victims and survivors to reach emergency or support services in times of crisis and stay connected with employers, family and friends.

The Verizon Wireless HopeLine program began over 10 years ago in the form of donated voicemail box for victims of domestic violence in shelters in order to send and receive confidential messages. Today, HopeLine is a multifaceted program that includes employee volunteerism, community and corporate awareness programs and phone recycling and re-use efforts. The program connects survivors of domestic violence to vital resources, funds organizations nationwide and protects the environment.

HopeLine takes no-longer-used wireless phones and refurbishes them. HopeLine phones are available to survivors affiliated with participating domestic violence agencies and are equipped with 3,000 anytime minutes of airtime and texting capabilities. They come with Verizon Wireless Nationwide Coverage, Call Forwarding, Call Waiting, 3-Way Calling, Caller ID, Basic Voice Mail and texting. Nationally, we’ve collected more than 10.8 million phones and donated more than 21.4 million dollars in cash grants to domestic violence shelters and organizations across the country.

Additionally, protecting the environment is a major focus for the HopeLine program. We collect no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries and accessories in any condition, from any service provider. Phones that can’t be reused are recycled responsibly under our zero landfill policy. Since 2001 our program has recycled 1.7 million wireless phones and kept more than 260 tons of electronic waste and batteries out of landfills.

Our work with HopeLine also includes supporting anti-bullying programs, dating violence efforts on college campuses, sexual assault prevention, healthy relationship education, partnerships with the military and the support of domestic violence shelters and survivors nationwide.

You can donate no-longer-used phones and accessories in any condition from any wireless provider at any Verizon Wireless Communications Store or through the mail. I encourage you to also consider hosting a HopeLine phone collection drive at your place of business, school, church or community. You can find more information about how to get involved with HopeLine on our website.

HopeLine donations allow us to support organizations like PADV that are doing critically important work around the issue of domestic violence. Verizon Wireless has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with PADV, and we work with dozens of other organizations across the state of Georgia to educate the public about domestic violence prevention and support various programs helping survivors. We have been a proud sponsor of PADV’s Hearts with Hope gala for a number of years. Please remember to get your tickets to this fun, elegant May 2 event that is critical to the success of the organization. I hope to see you there!

Kate Jay manages Public Relations for the Georgia/Alabama Region of Verizon Wireless. She also serves on the PADV Board of Directors.

2015 Teen Dating Violence Summit Keynote Speaker, Kristen Paruginog

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Kristen Paruginog is not only this year’s Teen Dating Violence Summit keynote speaker, but she is the founder and executive director of Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence. A Facebook campaign she started on December 3, 2011, .

“I was in my relationship from the age of 18.  At 22, I knew that if I continued giving him control of my life, my life would spiral out of control. I told my mom; I broke my silence. I started a Facebook page as a way to share my story.  I soon realized there were other people, not just in San Diego, who were affected by intimate partner violence, I knew that I had to do something.”

Paruginog’s Facebook site continued to grow with comments, questions and those who needed to share their own stories of abuse.

“Break the Silence continued growing and growing. After six months, it became a nonprofit, and I realized the need to help victims of intimate partner violence.  2013 we provided services, and in 2014, we quadrupled the amount of support we are able to offer people affected by violence. Break the Silence is my life, my heart, my soul and the reason I breathe.”

Success comes in all forms for Paruginog. Break the Silence has helped so many people and proof of that comes from stories on the Facebook page.

“There was a mother in Texas, I call her Mama Tammie, who shared her daughter’s story with us for the very first time on Facebook. Her daughter was murdered when she was 22, and Mama Tamie was suffering from depression. She contacted our Facebook page.  I said I would love to honor your daughter and I would love to continue her legacy. She shared her story and then she started to heal. That is just one story; there are hundreds more.”

Paruginog connects with all survivors and feels a calling to continue helping those who are faced with intimate partner violence. She became involved with Partnership Against Domestic Violence through a friend.

“I became involved because one of my really good friends was a speaker a few years ago and referred me.” That friend and survivor is Johanna Orozco-Fraser, a speaker at the 2012 Teen Summit. “I have a huge passion for talking to teens, because I was that teen. I was that kid who was in the relationship. I just feel that sharing my story is a way for other teens to understand and connect. I know there are others walking in my shoes. They are not alone. I want them to know they can do it, just like I did.”

Paruginog was mentally, emotionally, sexually, physically and financially abused as teen by her boyfriend. She understands the importance of mentoring and educating teens about domestic violence.

“Teens are dating younger and younger, and they don’t know about healthy relationship. They aren’t having those conversations, at home, at school or anywhere, really. The Teen Summit is an opportunity for young people to learn about healthy relationships. The summit provides an opportunity to engage and to be in a place where it is safe to ask questions and where they’re not going to get judged.”

“It is really important for nonprofits or domestic violence organizations to promote programs like this because these programs are going to touch those who attend.”

It is important for teens to have an adult to talk to. According to Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Fatality Review, statistics show that 68 percent of teens do not confide in their parents. They need to know what resources are available to them. Paruginog encourages teens who might be facing dating violence to tell an adult.

“I have talked to a lot of teens in high school and asked what would they tell their friends if they were in an abusive relationship, would they even know where to tell them to go? Out of the 400-500 students, maybe one or two knows the answer. It is a problem that teens don’t know resources are out there. In the event that they themselves or someone else experiences dating violence. I would tell them to talk to a school counselor, to a parent, teacher or contact a domestic violence agency that is closest to them.”

The 2015 Teen Dating Violence Summit will be held March 14 at the Primerica headquarters. To learn more about the event or to register for the Teen Summit visit http://www.PADV.org.

To learn more about Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence check out their Facebook page here, https://www.facebook.com/breakthesilence1. Check out their website here, http://www.breakthesilencedv.org/.

“I want to let people know they are not alone; there are resources that are out there. So people that are reading this that might be victims of intimate partner violence know that there are resources and we as advocates are here to help. “

Irv Kooris, with The Home Depot, Shares his thoughts on Domestic Violence in the Workplace

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Six years ago Irv attended a Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV) conference. He was so impressed with the conference that he has been part of the PADV team ever since. At this year’s Domestic Violence in the Workplace Conference (DVIW), Irv is playing an integral role on the program planning committee as well as using his network to make sure that the community knows about the October DVIW Conference and what the PADV hopes to accomplish.

Irv is currently the director of associate services for Home Depot, which includes the men’s health management department and the company’s work life program, Care Solutions for Life.

“Care Solutions for Life is a benefit for all our associates and their household members to deal with a variety of issues, from a domestic violence situation, a child having trouble in school, written resources for pregnancy, or loss of a loved one. We provide face-to-face counseling for a certain number of sessions with no cost to our associates.”

Irv understands the effects domestic violence has on its victims, and DVIW provides an opportunity for people to understand how it should be dealt with in the workplace.

“Whether it is sexual abuse, depression, or other causes that we know exist in our world today, they are seldom discussed openly in the work place. So the idea of having a domestic violence conference that is really about the work place is unique.”

Although Irv has dealt with issues of domestic violence in the past, he admits that when he first attended the conference six years ago, it opened his eyes to new ways domestic or intimate partner violence can be handled in the workplace.

The conference will address the business side of domestic violence as well as examine the human factor.

“Whether it’s a high-level executive or a sales associate at the store, the problem doesn’t go away when you walk into work. For example, if someone is dealing with a domestic violence situation at home, it constitutes a potential danger at work, not only to themselves but to other associates and customers.”

“The goal should be to continue to engage businesses and engage the workplace because that is where a majority of people spend time.” Irv says the conference is not intended to turn the workplace into a treatment facility for domestic abuse. “It’s important that there is an awareness of what to look for, what to do and what resources are available to help the employee and the family.”

Irv Kooris is the Director of Associate Services which is part of the Medical & Health Management at The Home Depot. Kooris is on this year’s DVIW planning committee. 

Linda S. Boatright’s Views on Domestic Violence in the Workplace

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For years Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV) has dedicated a conference to highlighting ways to deal with domestic violence in the workplace. This October will be no exception as they bring business professionals together to discuss these issues.

Linda has been the director of employee and labor relations at Kaiser Permanente for the past five years. It was four years ago that she attended her first Domestic Violence in the Workplace (DVIW) conference, and she has made it a point to continue to share what she learned with others at her company.

“Looking at the stats, one in four women and one in seven men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. In my company women represent more than 50-60 percent of the work force, and for that reason we felt very compelled to make sure that our managers, as well as the employees, know Kaiser is a safe haven that they can talk about domestic violence, and the mangers are equipped with the skills to recognize it.”

Working closely with employees, Linda knows the importance of having a work environment that people are comfortable in. “I think domestic violence is that little dirty secret that nobody wants to talk about. I am very committed to being an agent that says let’s change that, let’s give people an opportunity to talk about it.”

Having attended, and even chaired the DVIW in the past, Linda continues to learn and share information with others. Despite the fact that she has experience handling domestic violence situations with employees, the DVIW opened her eyes to issues she had not considered.

“One thing I learned is that domestic violence, like rape, is a power disorder; and many times it’s generational. Intimate partner abuse is clearly an issue too. Victims most often feel they are guilty of something. I want people to know that while it is an issue, there is also a solution, there’s also help. I cannot talk enough about the work that PADV has done in the Fulton and Gwinnett County areas.”

Linda says there are many reasons companies should attend the conference. “I believe that when we don’t talk about things, they become issues for people. These issues then find their way into the workplace. You may see increased employee absence, or see productivity problems. Kaiser is there to support employees and make sure that they have healthy lifestyles and healthy environments. I feel empowered to say let’s turn it around and make domestic abuse something that people feel comfortable acknowledging so they can get help.”

Linda Boatright is Director, Employee & Labor Relations HR, for the Georgia Region of Kaiser Permanente. Boatright has worked with Kaiser Permanente for five years, chaired the DVIW Conference in 2012, and served in an advisory capacity for the 2013 and 2014 conference. 

Marcus Delgado (PADV Board Chair, Cox Communications, Inc.)

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Over the past two weeks, the NFL has been forced to confront the realities of domestic violence as it relates to its teams and players. Unfortunately, much of the coverage has focused on the livelihoods of the players/abusers and the NFL’s handling (or mishandling) of the issue.  Little has been written about the sources of domestic violence and the effects on its victims.  As a father of a 15-year-old football-playing son, I wanted to take this time to reflect on why this issue is important to me and why it should matter to other men.

One in four women will be affected by domestic violence in their lifetimes. One in four high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse. During my twenty-one year legal career, I have had the opportunity to assist many victims and hear their stories.  I have seen the terrible toll that abuse can take on these women and their children.  I have also watched them emerge from their circumstances even stronger, thanks to organizations like ours.  Domestic violence is a plague, but it can be eradicated.

We need men to take the first steps. Statistically, men are overwhelmingly the abusers in these conflicts.   When we create poor ideals of manhood—power, strength, subjugation of women—we create psychological structures that are difficult to remove.  If a young boy is taught that he isn’t a man until his first sexual experience, he may take steps to prove his manhood through force.  If his only images of women are through music videos, he will quickly objectify women and treat them as a lesser.   Both of these situations lead to the development of an abuser.

We also need to demonstrate that conflict resolution can occur peacefully.   Men should not view violence as the first resort.  Wives and girlfriends must be seen as partners, not opponents or combatants.  If a tension-filled issue arises (no matter how it may arise or who “started” the fight), we need to learn to de-escalate the problem.  We simply cannot begin hitting, and thereby use a strength advantage to silence a loved one.

Our work begins at home. We need to tell our sons, grandsons, fathers, and brothers, that manhood is defined by how we respect others—particularly, the women in our lives.  Our conversations with women should be filled with warmth, not vitriol and expletives.  We must set examples every day by demonstrating that kindness, care, and love are attributes of a strong man.  Otherwise, there will be a terrible price to pay for our daughters, sisters, and mothers.

There are many other factors that can lead to an abusive relationship (e.g., regularly witnessing abuse as a child). So I don’t mean to simplify a complicated solution.  My only desire is to start a dialogue about how we can stop this dreaded epidemic.  Let’s stop looking at domestic violence as solely a women’s issue.  The inclusion of men is mandatory.

Marcus Delgado is the Board Chairman of Partnership Against Domestic Violence, Georgia’s largest domestic violence prevention agency.  PADV’s mission is to end the crime of intimate partner violence and empower its survivors.  PADV offers safety and shelter to women and their children, and restores self-sufficiency and control to survivors.   To help us in our struggle to end domestic violence, please donate to Partnership Against Domestic Violence at http://www.padv.org.

Presenting our Final Legacy Society Honoree, Anne Bowen-Long

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Anne’s journey with PADV has been one of personal growth and healing.

After moving to Atlanta from Philadelphia in the early 90’s, Anne knew she wanted to get involved with an organization that helped victims of domestic violence. “I was raised in a volatile household and wanted to understand more about what that meant,” she said. “There is so much more to domestic violence than the violence itself. For me, fear and secrecy also shrouded my entire household.”

Anne has never been outspoken about her experience growing up, but knows she can help more people by having the conversation. “Domestic violence alienates people from their families and friends. There is a shame that surrounds it that is debilitating,” she said. “Through my work with PADV, I have been able to understand how unique each situation can be, and how to respond and offer help. I understand so much more now, and that understanding has propelled my passion for bringing the issues surrounding domestic violence forward.”

Anne began her PADV work as a volunteer, answering evening crisis line calls.  Later she joined the committee for PADV’s major fund raiser, the Hearts with Hope gala and silent auction, and ultimately was asked to join the board of directors.  She has served as board chair and is continuing her second term as director.

Anne credits the UPS culture of giving, and UPS affinity group Women’s Leadership Development, for the strong support that has enabled her community service.  In addition to her efforts on behalf of PADV, she has worked with Metropolitan Counseling Services, Ahimsa House, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta and Women of Tocqueville – United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Her ultimate mission is to change the way people view and approach the topic of domestic violence. “I would like to see more companies educate themselves about the signals of domestic violence, and encourage an open environment where victims feel safe asking for help,” she said. “PADV has multiple programs to educate everyone from teens about dating violence, to the financial impact of domestic violence on corporate America. It is always reassuring when we see young people and companies attend our forums.”

When PADV invited Anne to join the Legacy Society, she knew it would be a great opportunity to continue her efforts. “It is an honor to be invited to join the Society,” said Anne. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue this vital work.”

Welcome to the Legacy Society Mary Jane Wolfe!

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Mary Jane Wolfe, our next PADV Legacy Society honoree, considers herself a “newbie” when it comes to her involvement with PADV. She has been active within the organization for three years and serves on the Gwinnett Advisory Committee.

“I was invited to a meeting by Sandra Strickland, but I didn’t know what it was going to be about. I went to the meeting not knowing anything and came away wondering how I didn’t know about PADV. One of the success stories from the shelter was there to speak to us. She talked about her entire experience with the Gwinnett Shelter. To hear about this local organization that is so pure and so good – I wanted to be part of it somehow.”

After that initial experience, Wolfe realized she needed to roll up her sleeves and give back to the organization that “grabbed her heart.”

“I wanted to get information out and raise funds for PADV. What I specifically did was bring it to the Women’s Club in Sugarloaf neighborhood. I brought my involvement down to something I could handle – getting the word out and getting funds. The Sugarloaf Women’s Club chooses three or four charities each year raising $20,000-$40,000 to donate to each cause.  We also send out information about that charity to the people of Sugarloaf. I am proud to say we’ve done really well.”

Wolfe decided early on that giving back fully to one organization was what was most important. Especially to a group that is in her backyard.

“The thing about people who live in Gwinnett County and the reason I’ve been able to get so much support for PADV, is this Gwinnett Shelter. People in Gwinnett are interested in helping anything having to do with Gwinnett County, and helping it grow. That includes the charities. The fact that one of the shelters is located here is great, and we are so proud of that. This is where we live, these are people we know, and these are people that might be able to help PADV.”

Wolfe’s dedication and cheerleader attitude towards PADV are main reasons she was invited into the Legacy Society. She is eager to grow with the organization and continue to build awareness for PADV.

“I’ve have only been with PADV three years. I am proud to be involved and I plan to be involved. I am looking forward to growing with the organization and learning how I can do more. I see where I can make a difference with PADV with some of the national charities you really don’t know if you’re making a difference or not, but here I can really see that trickle-down effect.”

We Want to Welcome Susie Trotochaud into the Legacy Society!

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Susie Trotochaud, our next PADV Legacy Society inductee, has been involved with PADV for 16 years serving in various roles for the organization.

“My husband and I were looking for a volunteer organization for employees of his company to support, and we found PADV. I had heard of the organization before, known as The Council on Battered Women, and knew they did good work. The employees created a cookbook of recipes, titled “Humble Pie,” that raised $10,000 for the Gwinnett PADV Shelter.”

After that experience and learning more about PADV Trotochaud and her husband, Scott, became more involved.

“I am amazed by how many people are affected by violence in the home – it doesn’t matter your income, age or education. People often see a “face” of abuse, but there is no single face; it can and does happen everywhere. People should get involved because more people need help than you would ever believe. You can be in a room with 50 people and be amazed how many have been affected by violence.”

Hearing from the survivors along with her many years of work with PADV Trotochaud discovered what type of strength people have to come to PADV.

“I feel I am a pretty strong person. I am one of those people who always says this would never happen to me, but I’ve have met some pretty strong women with PADV. The strength it takes to actually get away and change your life. That is strength I don’t think I have ever had to find in myself. It is inspiring.”

Trotochaud was awakened to the kinds of people it takes to run an organization like PADV. It requires people who have either experienced the violence themselves or are willing to open their minds and their eyes to the realities of abuse.

“Hearing the stories of people who lived in the situations, survived it and were helped by the partnership, along with knowing what we have been able to contribute has made a difference for people. Those are my fondest memories.  We are happy to continue to do whatever we can to help PADV. We still know that any support we give the organization will make a difference and that is what we want to continue to do.”

Legacy Society Honors Scott Dorfman

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Our next inductee, Innotrac President, CEO and Chairman Scott Dorfman. Dorfman has served as a PADV benefactor for more than 16 years.

Dorfman and his wife, Susie Trotochaud, initiated their involvement after searching for an organization that improved the lives of children and families. Dorfman and Trotochaud describe the moment they came across PADV as a “love at first sight” situation.

“We were looking for an organization that we felt strongly about. We wanted to find people who needed protection or families that needed help. When Susie found the Partnership (PADV) we knew right away that this was the one.”

Throughout Dorfman’s 16 involvement with PADV, he has seen the organization’s transformation. One of his fondest memories centers on a cookbook that he and his wife compiled to benefit PADV.

“It was back in the days when the organization had very few donations being given. Susie and I called on our Atlanta employees to submit their favorite recipes, and we took that and turned it into a cookbook, “Humble Pie.”  With 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to PADV, $10,000 was raised.”

Through his initial work with PADV, Dorfman realized that the impact of the book showed what PADV could offer to those who needed help.

“Susie and I were amazed by the number of employees requesting more information about PADV for victims of abuse… someone they knew or themselves. I thought, wow, this is really crazy. We were just doing this because we believed in the cause – but here’s a group of 200 people who not only came to buy a book, but also came to get help.”

Dorfman was inspired during his time as a Hearts with Hope co-chairman where he met a survivor who told her story.

“I volunteered my home as a location for filming with a survivor. She was a woman from India and had been brought over on false pretenses. She had no rights here, and she had no rights in India. I thought she really didn’t have a choice. She was kept in the home and abused. She had no idea that she really could get free. The Partnership opened her eyes. She soon realized, I don’t have to do this.”

PADV’s mission and personal stories impacted Dorfman, who feels that domestic violence safe havens are vitally important to society.

“Those who are abused – children and adults need somebody out there as an advocate; somewhere for them to go. For every woman or child being abused, there are 20 more whom no one hears about. Someone must hear their stories and help them heal.”