“Because Peace On Earth Begins At Home” – Charlottesville Design House
The Charlottesville Design House hosted its seventh Preview Party last week. The Design House is a two week fundraiser presented by the Shelter for Help in Emergency located in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Shelter’s work to end domestic violence in our community is quiet and behind the scenes with no superstars or heroes winning awards or accolades. The Design House is a public event bringing awareness to the very good and essential services provided by those who work for and volunteer at the Shelter.
I had the privilege and pleasure to serve on the Board of Directors for the Shelter for Help in Emergency and found that role above all an honor. I learned ALOT about the hard work and dedication it takes for an agency such as ours to remain open. I learned that there will always be more volunteers than paid personnel to keep this organization running. In order to maintain the counseling, legal and emergency services we offer to families of DV, the small but expert staff of the Shelter depends upon community volunteers who give generously of their time and energy for fundraising events that provide essential monies to our in-house and out-reach programs.
A portion of our operating budget relies heavily on local, state and federal funding. We are not unique from other non-profits in this respect, however, our organization cannot promote an iconic ‘face’ or ‘mascot’ for our cause so we are not visually identifiable. We anonymously share the tumultuous battles of those seeking our services and their eventual survival of the abusive cycle they escaped. Their letters of thanks and praise for the support they received at the Shelter are the badges we wear discretely representing our successes. We also report our annual statistics revealing the number of hotline phone calls taken or the number of clients assisted among other services in order to itemize the countless services we provide the women who reach out to us in times of crisis. Without this funding, the private donations and community fundraising, our doors would close.
While events such as the Design House and our 5K Run for Shelter bring the community together I learned there still is the shadow that looms over domestic violence. For many women, it is a topic they will not discuss for fear of the repercussions on her and her children. For some, they cannot believe it exists in their circles. Sadly, it is this shadow of shame and denial that keeps the epidemic of DV out of the forefront of public awareness. The topic will rise to front page news when celebrity is involved, however.
We must shed light on the shadow of domestic violence in our communities. There is no shame or blame on the victims in these situations. There are many caring, educated people who can and want to help. With this knowledge I hope victims will be empowered to leave their abusive relationships, communicate their stories thus raising awareness. And then we can perpetuate the continued cycle of survivors.
“He didn’t take everything.” – A survivor
My response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt, Shadow.