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.
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.
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. “
“You are now entering the mission field.” Sandra Strickland sees this sign before exiting her church building each week. And every time she stops to think about what it means.
Sandra and daughter Theresa Bullock are two extraordinary women who entered the mission field to help the numerous women and children in Gwinnett County who are affected by domestic violence.
Theresa’s daughter was in an abusive relationship in her teenage years. After she received the assistance she needed, Theresa and her husband started looking for a place they could support that helped others like their daughter.
What they found was PADV. Sandra and Theresa were asked to co-chair PADV’s Gwinnett County Safe House Capital Campaign to raise more than $4.4M for a new shelter for abused women. After consulting with their husbands and joining in steadfast prayer, both women agreed to the challenge because they felt that was where God wanted them to be.
Their family gave the lead gift of $500,000 to ensure the new facility is up and running by early 2013.
“Anything that Clyde and I have is not ours. God owns it all,” Sandra said. “What we have we take care of, and once we leave someone else will take care of it.”
The Campaigning Process
Sandra and Theresa’s first task was to create a committee. They approached friends, family and other community connections to put together a dedicated 17-person team.
Then they put their heads together to brainstorm who they would reach out to, including local community organizations, businesses, churches and so on.
It was Sandra’s idea to contact 12Stone Church, which gave $100,000 – the first of many generous donations. 12Stone’s contribution fueled excitement among other churches like Holy Cross Anglican Church and Saint Lawrence Catholic Church, which invited the committee to speak at their services. Even if the committee only spoke for five minutes, their message touched many hearts because generous funds rolled in.
From there, the word continued to spread as the committee spoke at other Christian organizations, women’s groups, rotary clubs, Sunday schools and even the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.
“After a while, you just learned to talk about it wherever you went,” Theresa said. “I even started dropping off brochures at retail stores and other places I came across throughout the day.”
The team also conducted a letter-writing campaign to friends and family, which raised nearly $90,000 through checks that ranged from $5 to $5,000.
“It wasn’t about the size of the check but the size of people’s hearts,” Sandra said. “We were thrilled every time we got even a $25 check. That’s a lot of money for some people and a lot of money to us.”
Sandra and Theresa both say that every little bit helped PADV reach the larger goal.
The committee also received $750,000 from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, an anonymous gift of $600,000 and a $1,630,000 contribution from the Gwinnett County Community Development Block Grant to purchase the land and building for the new shelter. In all, the campaign received an estimated 21 large gifts and 152 others.
Coming Full Circle
After months of campaigning and fundraising, the committee is close to reaching their goal. Sandra and Theresa feel like the Gwinnett community is aware of PADV and standing strong behind its mission.
“To me, this has been one of the most rewarding projects I’ve taken on,” Sandra said. “And I don’t like calling it a project because it’s about people and the lives of their children.”
In addition to improving the lives of victims of domestic violence, the Gwinnett Safe House creates jobs for those hired to work on the construction of the building.
“I love things that help people. PADV cares about the lives of our women and children,” Sandra Said. “It’s not how much money we have but what we have done for others.”
Sandra and Theresa both talked about how moved they were by the people they met and the stories they heard along the way.
“You know you’re doing what you are supposed to be doing when you can talk about it to anyone and people can come and talk to you,” Theresa said. “I’ve been in different places where people come up and ask to talk to me. We’ve been able to help people get to where they need to be.”
But the work doesn’t stop here.
“The future is going to be keeping the shelter going,” Theresa said. “Educating people about PADV’s mission is really important. We have to continue letting people know we’re helping and here. We have to make people aware that PADV provides help and hope for them to escape domestic violence.”
For more than 25 years, Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV) has had a safe house in Gwinnett County to ensure the safety of the victims of intimate partner violence. Over the course of those years, PADV has invested more than $20 million into serving Gwinnett County. Each year, approximately 260 women and children receive emergency shelter and support services at the shelter. In recent years, the need for safe shelter has unfortunately grown and remains particularly acute in Gwinnett County. From 2003-2010, Gwinnett County had more known cases of domestic-related fatalities than any other county in Georgia.
In the recent years, it became increasingly obvious to PADV that the shelter in Gwinnett County was no longer sufficient or suitable for the needs of the women and children in need of a safe, healing, and nurturing place torecover and grow.
On February 19th, a new, 13,400-square foot, two-story safe house opened in Gwinnett County. The new facility boasts 12 bedrooms with semi-private bathrooms that will accommodate 50-55 women and children, increasing capacity by 50%; kitchen with commercial-grade GE appliances and a separate dining area; several communal areas for residents; a dedicated area for youth programs; a large outdoor playground and an outdoor retreat/garden area for the women. Most importantly, the house provides sanctity, warmth, and the space that will help provide the women and children the support they need to rebuild their lives.
On May 4th, the 25th Hearts with Hope Gala will celebrate the accomplishments of PADV, its volunteers, and those that PADV has helped to heal. While recognizing allof those that have worked so hard at sharing the mission of PADV, the Gala also serves as the largest fundraiser. The money that is donated at the Gala remains here in Georgia to help local victims become victors. Your contributions helped to make the safe house a reality and a starting point for women and children to begin anew.
The Healthy Masculinity Project debuts this October 17-19 in Washington, DC at the Healthy Masculinity Summit. There mission is to spread the importance of non-violent, healthy masculinity. The summit’s focus is to drive healthy conversations between men and women by bringing them together to transform awareness into action. For a summit of such scale and importance, The Healthy Masculinity Project couldn’t do it all without the enormous support of their HMAP National Partners and HMAP Allies. For a full list of donors, visit http://www.mencanstoprape.org/Updates/healthy-masculinity-registration.html
According to the website, mencanstoprape.org,
EVERY MAN CAN ROLE MODEL HEALTHY MASCULINITY
EVERY MAN CAN BE STRONG WITHOUT BEING VIOLENT
EVERY MAN CAN MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE
HEALTHY MASCULINITY BENEFITS US ALL
To learn more about HMAP: http://www.mencanstoprape.org/images/stories/PDF/Handout_pdfs/hmap-booklet-final.pdf
To learn more about the Healthy Masculinity Summit: https://getinvolved.mencanstoprape.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=368
PADV was named as a top non-profit organization by the Women’s Empowerment network this past June.
The Women’s Empower Network in conjunction with GREATNonprofits.org selected 11 non-profits last month, which help women around the globe in a variety of ways including outreach from dating violence, educational assistance and international grants, as well as with community outreach.
Click the link below to review the slide show of pictures featuring real volunteers and women who have received support from these worthy organizations:
To learn more about women empowerment, visit their website: