Hundreds of community members, including local government officials, gathered at Brookfield’s Fox Hill Inn early Wednesday morning, February 8, for the 9th 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.
Pat Zachman, Women’s Center President and CEO presented the Service Above Self awards to longtime Women’s Center supporters and tireless volunteers, Barbara Cottingham and Lynne Phillips, who have helped the Women’s Center achieve their mission: 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.
“The path to ending violence starts with education,” said Ann Rodwell-Lewton, Director of Education, Training & Outreach at the Women’s Center.
Through the efforts of the Women’s Center educators, more than 23,000 adults and children benefit from the Women’s Center education and training programs annually to a wide range of audiences - from pre-school children to senior citizens. The programs are all offered free of charge.
Courtney Lauria, Prevention Coordinator, together with puppeteers and Women’s Center educators, Matthew Austin and Cara Mackler, talked about the Women’s Center’s free age-appropriate programs that teach even the youngest members of our communities about safety. Through dynamic and artistic puppetry, the trio gave attendees a glimpse of their curricula and how it works in a classroom.
A tearful Lauria said, “A middle schooler came forward after the Women's Center’s program came to her school and disclosed that her mom’s boyfriend was abusing her when she [her mom] wasn’t home.”
Rogers Park Middle School health teacher Carrie Rowe knows firsthand the powerful influence these programs have on area schools. “These programs make my students stronger and more equipped to manage their world,” she said. “The culture of our schools is more positive because of their presence,” she added.
Thank you to Felicia Paduano, the Breakfast Chair, the Fox Hill Inn for donating your beautiful venue, and to all of Inn’s waitstaff who served with a smile and donated all of their time. A big thank you also to Praxair, Williams and Wendy Beurket, and Paul Dinto Electrical, the Hearts of Hope Breakfast Benefactors.
Founded in 1975, this year marks 42 years that the Women’s Center has been a safe haven for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Fairfield & Litchfield Counties.
To learn more about the Women’s Center or to have the Center visit your school, click here.
To become a volunteer, click here.