She walks into the shelter all smiles, her cheeks big with the jovial laughter of coming home. And it is a sort of homecoming, the type of familial exchange that exists from people who have shared space, stories, tears and laughter.
Shelter staff greet her with similar cheeky smiles and hugs. She fills them in on updates about her children. Things are good with her now as she excitedly discusses thriving in her current job and an upcoming trip to Disney.
“My plan is to take the kids to all 50 states before they’re 18,” she says through a proud smile.
She introduces herself to a new staff member and says, “I was here years ago. I promised someday I would give back.”
She’s dropped off seven baskets of various beauty products for Mother’s Day for the women who currently reside at the shelter: shampoos, make-up brushes, toiletries and razors. She is full of gratitude for the safety the shelter once provided to her and her children and she wants to give back.
The Alliance Area Domestic Violence Shelter is not just a safe haven for survivors of abuse. The connections made here are often lifelong. Thanks to the support of so many in the community, the shelter has many success stories such as this one. It takes a village, as the saying goes, and recently, the AADVS saw the enormous support of the surrounding community when it held it’s 14th annual Hope for Healing fundraiser.
On April 27, 2019 the Alliance Senior Center was filled the to the brim as hundreds of items donated from the community were raffled or auctioned off in support of the AADVS. Roughly 165 tickets were sold for the event, and auction items included toys, household items, tools, tickets for various sports teams including the University of Mount Union and the Cavs and various recreational items including a bicycle, and even a trip to Disney World. Overall, an estimate of $28,000 was raised for the shelter.
The fundraiser kicked off with a silent auction at 5 p.m. and a buffet-style meal from Jeff Walker Catering. Fundraising Chair and honorary board member, Dr. Debra Lehrer, spoke about the outpouring of support from local businesses and the community for the fundraiser. She then introduced the evening’s keynote speakers, Executive Director, Kimberly Stanley and Board Treasurer, Pastor Neal Mann.
Longtime board member, Pastor Neal Mann, gave an impassioned speech about his history with the shelter. Since 2002, he has served in various capacities on the board of trustees, guiding the mission of the shelter for nearly two decades.
Pastor Mann spoke about the 40-year history of the shelter, recounting the early days of his tenure with AADVS when Kimberly Stanley became Executive Director at the age of 25.
“At that time, Kim was the youngest executive director in the state,” Mann said. “Her tireless commitment to the community and her work with the Stark County Domestic Violence Collaborative among many other networks is what led to Kim being named one of Stark County’s Twenty Under 40 and receiving the Athena Award,” Mann continued.
“This is the largest fundraiser of the year,” Stanley said. “We rely heavily on the funds raised from this event to help keep the doors of the shelter open,” she continued, thanking the audience for their attendance. She went on to explain: “There are many expenses that grants and other funding sources do not cover. The Hope for Healing event covers the gaps in funding that are critical to continuing our mission of providing quality services to survivors of domestic violence.”
The Hope for Healing fundraiser is an opportunity to engage a large crowd and provide education and awareness about an issue that so heavily impacts the Alliance community. Those who attend are supporting the agency and the survivors that we serve. It is truly amazing for survivors to know that the community supports them.
Thanks to the many agencies and individuals who donated items, time, and energy into making this year’s fundraiser a success. Because of the overwhelming support of the community, the Alliance Area Domestic Violence Shelter can continue to provide refuge to those seeking safety from abusive homes and relationships. It is through the support of the community that we are able to truly provide hope for healing.