Every October YWCA hosts several events and activities that the community can participate in to raise awareness for domestic violence. Below is a recap of our 2018 Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
To prepare for the month, YWCA arranged for mayoral proclamations declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month to be signed in each of the 6 counties we serve. Proclamations were signed in Allen, Huntington and Whitley counties during the last week of September and in DeKalb, Noble and Wells during the first week of October.
We kicked off the month with our annual Flowers on the River event at Lawton Park on October 1st. Mayor Tom Henry attended the event and read the Allen County mayoral proclamation on Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Guest speaker, Becky Risch, gave a personal account of her family’s experience with domestic violence after her sister was murdered by her husband in June 2009. Following the ceremony over 50 people walked to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge to drop flowers in the St. Mary’s River in honor of those who have been affected by domestic violence and to symbolize the journey that domestic violence survivors and their families travel.
On October 3rd, YWCA Northeast Indiana hosted their Chalk It Up for Awareness event on Summit City Square to start conversations about domestic violence and how affected individuals can get help. YWCA staff and survivors turned the sidewalk into billboards by chalking inspiring images, facts, and quotes about domestic violence. Several of our community partners and task forces in the counties we serve also hosted their own Chalk It Up events to increase exposure to this important issue.
We wrapped up the month with our 22nd Annual Circle Luncheon, a fundraising event that focuses on empowering survivors of domestic violence, at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Thursday October 25th. The theme of this year’s luncheon was “What would you do?”, giving attendees the chance to experience a domestic violence story first hand and consider what they would do in that situation. Through the combined effort of our generous corporate sponsors, sustaining Circle and day of donations; over $146,000 was raised to help support the programs and services that YWCA provides to individuals affected by domestic violence.
This year we introduced a fingerprint canvas that traveled along to several of our awareness events for participants to leave their “mark” on YWCA Northeast Indiana’s 2018 Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Three shades of purple finger paint were available for individuals to use to represent how domestic violence was significant to them; whether they are a survivor of domestic violence, they are participating in memory of a past or present victim of domestic violence or they are an advocate for ending domestic violence in our community.
By the end of the month the canvas was filled with finger prints and the taped ribbon was removed to commemorate our 2018 Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Thank you to everyone who participated in YWCA hosted activities and to those who hosted their own events. All of our efforts contributed to another successful Domestic Violence Awareness Month and brought us one step closer to ending domestic violence!