This past Saturday, REACH Beyond Domestic Violence held its 16th Annual Reach for the Stars Gala at the Boston Park Plaza. More than 350 guests were in attendance at the event, which featured a cocktail hour with silent auction, then a formal program hosted by emcee, Robin Young, from WBUR radio.
Young introduced REACH Executive Director, Laura Van Zandt, who spoke about listening to and believing survivors and lifting up voices that need to be heard. She said:
“At REACH, we lift the stories of survivors and communities because it matters. We listen and believe. We are actually innovative in our simplicity – to combat relationship violence, we must foster relationship health. One on one or with a community, we use a relational, empowerment based approach. Our goal is to be a trusted resource while supporting an individual or a community in TRUSTING THEMSELVES to become the resource. Change comes from within – but we don’t do it all alone.”
Attendees also heard from Zoila, a member of REACH’s Latinas Know Your Rights (LKYR) group. The LKYR program builds capacity within the Waltham Latina community by training participants to become community activists, educate others, and break systemic barriers that immigrant female domestic violence survivors face in accessing their rights. Zoila said:
“Now you have in front of you the new Zoila! I became a leader in Latinas Know Your Rights. I have been invited to speak at the Statehouse to educate legislators about domestic violence and keeping immigrant families together and safe. I shared my story with the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CNN, Telumundo Univision and others. But most importantly I have become a role model for other survivors to show them we don’t have to live in fear because here is always help.”
A live auction featuring one-of-a-kind travel and entertainment packages, and dancing followed Zoila’s moving speech.
The evening raised over $450,000 to support REACH’s programs and services. We are grateful for the support from sponsors, auction donors, event guests, and our event committee – we couldn’t have done this without your generosity.