At the Women's Center I learned about the cycle of violence. How after an incident the perpetrator may make a lot of promises but, statistically at least, the chances were that they would not be kept and I would be hit again.
-Kathy Graham, recipient of Women’s Center Service Above Self award
Hundreds of community members, including local government officials gathered at Brookfield’s Fox Hill Inn early Wednesday morning, February 7, for the 7th Annual “Hearts of Hope” breakfast, a fundraiser for the Women’s Center. The Fox Hill Inn generously donated 100% of the food and service for this sold-out event.
Founded in 1975, this year marks 40 years that the Women’s Center has been a safe haven for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Fairfield and Litchfield Counties.
The morning featured two thought-provoking speakers, both Ridgefield residents, who exemplified the work and mission of the Women’s Center, to serve the needs of individuals, families and the community with prevention, crisis intervention and support services with regard to domestic violence, sexual assault and other major life crises.
Honoree and recipient of the Service Above Self award was Vice President of Fairfield County Bank, and Women’s Center Advisory Council member, Kathy Graham. A true community leader and advocate, Graham spoke candidly and with deep emotion when she described her journey from personal heartbreak to happiness.
"Today, I don't want to talk about the ugly things that happened to me, but instead would like to focus on the words that people said to me that were healing, thought provoking, and gave me the courage to move forward. My journey was not an easy one but every step of the way, there were people who stepped up to help me—including strangers…that's the person I aspire to be," explained Graham.
The event featured guest speaker Siobhan Fisher who currently serves as a Women's Center Direct Service Volunteer and has answered calls on the Center’s hotline since 2012. “There isn’t a right answer, but there are options,” said Fisher, who counsels victims of domestic violence as well as those dealing with bullying, low self-esteem and other challenges.
The morning was a stark reminder that domestic violence surrounds us in all walks of life. Many victims hide their emotional scars behind smiles, their physical ones behind sweaters or hats. The Women’s Center continues to provide safety, healing, and hope that there is a brighter tomorrow.
“Women's Centers save lives as well as changes lives. And I am very grateful for my changed life. This award means more to me than you can ever imagine,” proclaimed Graham.
The Women’s Center will honor its Past Presidents at a Gala on Friday, April 10 at the Amber Room in Danbury. All are invited to attend. Please click here to learn more and to register.
To learn more about the Women’s Center click here.
To become a volunteer, click here.
*photo credit: David Clark