XENIA — Family Violence Prevention Center is offering Greene County residents the opportunity to fund its mission at its annual event, An Uncommon Affair: Denim & Diamonds, 6 p.m. Friday, April 6 at the Greene County Fairgrounds Assembly Hall.
Attendees will be able to support the center at 380 Bellbrook Ave. — which offers safe housing, counseling and community programs — directly through hand-picked, mission-specific activities.
Executive Director Deborah Matheson said she hopes these activities will allow donors to feel personally connected to the domestic violence shelter’s work.
“We’re reaching out and holding hands with partners in the community,” Matheson said, “and really trying to connect with them and do good work to impact the community.”
According to Harmony Byrd, child and family counselor and community relations coordinator, a value will be attached to different areas of service that the center provides on a day-to-day basis.
A hot shower, a meal, a phone call; these are a few examples she listed.
“We enjoy that hot shower. When we need to call a friend if we’re having a concern, we have that opportunity to have a warm voice on the other end of the phone,” Matheson said. “We can imagine if we were in crisis that it would be helpful for law enforcement to come and for a supportive voice to be behind that intervention.”
According to the director, the center’s teen dating violence prevention program is especially in need of funding. The program partners FVPC officials with local school districts and focuses on educating middle school and high school students.
“There will be different opportunities for folks to fund the material that we utilize in the group, to sponsor students to participate in the group, or to sponsor a whole class,” she said.
The second major focus of the evening will be the shelter’s partnership with local law enforcement. Matheson said a FVPC social worker follows up on each domestic dispute and case of violence that the jurisdictions handle.
“So folks will be able to support that crisis intervention that we provide to victims,” she added.
Matheson said each year there are between 1,500 and 1,600 law enforcement reports of domestic violence or a case of dispute. Research shows about 40 percent of victims will call law enforcement while 60 percent will not.
Local residents can be a direct part of these critical partnerships, the women explained.
“We want to help people understand we do have those connections and if they do something to help us that night they’re going to be a part of that,” Byrd continued.
Besides fund-the-mission activities, the event — hosted by iHeartMedia Air Personality Kim Faris and WDTN Morning News Anchor John Seibel — will feature live and silent auctions with Auctioneer Bart Sheridan as well, highlighting fun, experience-based items like trips, restaurants, cooking classes, fly fishing, golfing and more. Attendees, encouraged to dress in “denim, diamonds and sparkles,” will also enjoy games and raffles, dinner and drinks, a cash bar and live music by Blind Justice.
The proceeds from last year’s event supported all four areas of service the center is known for — intervention, outreach, residence and prevention. The fundraising dollars also helped match grants to provide for important work at the shelter.
Tangible items that came to the shelter as a result of the event included kitchen appliances — a commercial-grade and industrial-sized stove and dishwasher. Kettering Health Network challenged the center to raise half the money, and then matched the other half.
FVPC is funded primarily through competitive grants, donations and special events like Denim & Diamonds.
Besides raising funds for the local cause, Matheson and Byrd said they just want people to walk away from the event knowing more about the center and its resources.
“So that if they run into anybody at the salon, at church, in their social group, at school — they have the opportunity to have a piece of information at least to know that Family Violence Prevention Center might be able to help them,” Matheson said.
Daily work continues at the shelter, which 32 beds — and cribs and toddler beds — are more often full than not. In 2017, the center provided 12,453 nights of safety, the highest number of shelter nights in its 39-year history.
Matheson said the work can only be done with the help of the community.
“Domestic violence is common, it is consequential and it is changeable. The consequential is why we do all the work — the danger that may exist with people, the pain and the disruption that happens in someone’s life,” Matheson said. “We want no one to feel alone and that’s the changeable piece. The community can help us make sure that when folks need help, there is help available …”
“… That’s why we want them to come out and be connected with us because they’re really that important, changeable piece.”
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.
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