As you can imagine, Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) is a busy time of year here at REACH. We started off the month with our Waltham Neighborhoods Fall Festival, which brought community members out on a Saturday afternoon to get to know one another, hear some great music, and participate in fun group activities.
Then, with a little less than two weeks to go until our big annual fundraiser, the Reach for the Stars Gala, we found out that the Moakley Courthouse, our scheduled venue, had canceled all events for the month of October due to the shutdown of the federal government! We were able to relocate to the Castle at Park Plaza, and last Saturday night REACH’s staff, board, and friends gathered for an evening of delicious food, an exciting auction, and moving words about the need for our services. We honored former Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone and heard from one of the members of REACH’s Survivor Speakers’ Bureau. When all was said and done, more than $300,000 was raised by our loyal donors who followed us to the new location and battled Red Sox game traffic to be there with us. We could not be more grateful.
Ballroom at the Reach for the Stars Gala
The work goes on! Monday evening we gathered with members of the Waltham Community for an important panel discussion on how to prevent domestic violence in our city. REACH organized the event in conjunction with a long list of community partners in response to several high-profile cases of domestic violence that have impacted Waltham in recent months. David Adams from Emerge, Shawn MacMaster from the Middlesex DA’s office, Detective McGann from the Waltham Police Department, and our own Director of Prevention Programs Jessica Hollander spoke from their unique perspectives about what domestic violence looks like and how we as friends and neighbors can support those who might be experiencing it. They answered questions submitted by community members both in advance as well as during the event.
Panelists at “Preventing Domestic Violence: The Waltham Community Responds”
In other happenings around the organization, we had approximately 15 new volunteers and interns (both our own and other agencies’) complete our 25-hour training over five weeks, facilitated by REACH staff members. We participated in Purple Light Night in Burlington, a vigil that was held to raise awareness about domestic violence and honor lives that have been lost. We took part in the Cut It Out program, sponsored by the Middlesex DA’s office at Davis Hairdressing in Newton. We’ve talked to parents’ groups, church groups, student groups, and anyone else who will listen about domestic violence, because that’s what DVAM is all about.