Friday, April 26, 2013

National Volunteer Appreciation Week April 21-27, 2013

April 21-27, 2013 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week. The theme of this year’s event is “Celebrate Service”.
Hope House relies very heavily on volunteers to provide all of our services. We would not be able to operate at our current capacity if it wasn’t for our volunteers. We are extremely grateful to all of them who work so hard on our behalf.

It is such a wonderful feeling to donate time and energy to a cause that you firmly believe in, knowing that you are making a difference in this world. Our volunteers help us in every aspect of our programming. We have volunteers who work directly with clients and some who prefer the behind the scenes approach and work in our administrative and fundraising functions. We couldn’t do it without any of them.

Take Chris Hope for example. Chris has been volunteering for Hope House for over 10 years and he has done it all. He is most known for creating the bedtime story program at our shelters. Chris created the idea of having volunteers come into shelter at bedtime to read to the kids a story before they go to bed. What a wonderful tradition to help our families start with their kids. The kids love this program; we just don’t have enough volunteers to keep it going every night. Hint hint. Chris is also known to staff our information table at health fairs or wherever is needed. I loved working with him at one of the Mavericks games as we sold Chuck a Pucks for Hope House. Chris and his sisters started our birthday fund as well, in honor of their mother who loved to celebrate her children’s birthdays. In her memory they created a fund that pays for birthday cakes for children in shelter so when kids are celebrating their birthdays in shelter they can do it just as they would if they were at home with a cake! Chris is so easy going and such a lovely spirit. He will do whatever we ask of him. He truly gives of himself and we are ever grateful.

Chris and all the other wonderful committed volunteers deserve the special recognition of this week. We are truly grateful to you for dedication in helping us carry out our mission of breaking the cycle of domestic violence. THANK YOU for all you do.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Crime Victims' Week

April 21st-27th is National Crime Victims' Rights Week. Started in 1981, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) has brought much needed attention to the victims of crime, their families and the professionals who serve them.

Domestic violence is a crime as we all know. This week of recognition and support to crime victims is very important to Hope House as a way to honor and recognize the journey of all of those who have been impacted by crime. This year’s theme is New Challenges New Solutions. The Office of Victims of Crime states that “Despite all of our progress—victims’ rights laws in all 50 states, the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, and the more than 10,000 victim service agencies throughout our Nation—we face enduring and emerging challenges. About 50 percent of violent crimes are not reported, and only a fraction of victims receive the help they need. We need to know more about these victims, how we can best help them, and how to better target our services to reach every victim. At the same time, we must adapt to funding cuts, globalization, changing demographics, new types of crimes, and the changes (both good and bad) brought by technology. These challenges require bold, new solutions.”

I couldn’t agree more. I am excited about the future and the work we are doing to address the issue of domestic violence and other crimes that are happening in our community. At Hope House we work to ensure that every victim that comes into our services feels they have been treated with fairness, dignity and respect, from us as a service provider. These are fundamental rights that everyone should have, but especially those who have been traumatized and victimized. 

This week is an opportunity for the nation to reflect on those who have been victimized and work to create new solutions to the new and the old challenges to ensure that the victimization doesn’t continue and crime victims are able to recover.

On our campuses we have visual and daily reminders of the work being done to address crime. I invite you to take time during this week to reflect on the journey that crime victim’s must make and look for new solutions and new ways to get involved and to help make that journey a bit easier. You can visit our website or for resource guides specific to crime victim’s week visit: or  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Margarita Ball!

I am so excited about our upcoming event. It's our second annual Margarita Ball! It will be held on Friday, April 26th from 8pm-midnight at Dan Meiners Studio which is located at 2500 W. Pennway in Kansas City, Missouri.

The event was a huge success last year and we look forward to even more people this year. We'll have two bands - The Zeros and X-Parte - providing lively music to dance the night away. There will be plenty of delicious food and lots of free margaritas.

The proceeds from this event will be used to support our daily operations and assist us in providing services to over 10,000 people every year. We could not provide the level of service and program opportunities to all of the individuals we work with if it wasn’t for the support of this wonderful community.

Please join us on the 26th and have a great evening of fun while knowing that you are helping thousands of people over come the tragedy of domestic violence.

For more information on the event or to purchase tickets visit our website, or contact Libby at 816-257-9334. Looking forward to seeing you on the 26th

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Follow up post on Jennifer Sebena

Since my blog post about Police Officer Jennifer Sebena, I received a letter from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund letting me know that the board voted unanimously to include Officer Sebena’s name on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

They cited the unusual circumstances of her death as the reason they felt the need to take the time to carefully review the case. They feel that the decision to add her name to the memorial is the proper way to honor her service and sacrifice. 

I couldn’t agree more. Thank you to those of you who took the time to write to the board and urge them to honor Jennifer for her service.

Friday, April 5, 2013


There has been a lot in the media lately about victim responsibility and the culture of violence in our community. I, like many others, was horrified by the images seen on TV of a young woman unconscious and being dragged around by classmates who were laughing and enjoying themselves at her expense. What was even more horrifying to me was that that image was only the tip of the iceberg as to what happened to that young woman that evening. Two high school boys, both football stars in their town, were convicted of raping her that evening.
What is sickening to me is that those boys didn’t think they did anything wrong; they certainly didn’t believe they were guilty of rape. What is sad to me is that  the tears seen at the trial were not because they were devastated that they had done wrong and harmed this young woman and changed her life forever, but because they were found guilty and were going to go to juvenile detention for one year. Where was their recognition of the crime they had committed and their ownership of responsibility? Where was the understanding from the other young people at the party who were taking pictures, tweeting them and taking videos with their phones, that what was happening was a crime and this young woman was the victim? It doesn’t appear from the news report that there was any understanding by anyone. They thought it was funny, a joke. And it certainly doesn’t appear that anyone thought to try to stop them. One article talked about how a young man had, just moments earlier, stopped his friend from driving because he was drunk and shouldn’t be behind the wheel. He took responsibility to stop his friend from making this grave mistake, but moments later didn’t think to take that same responsibility and stop his other friends from raping an unconscious young woman. I have to ask why? Why didn’t anyone think this was wrong? 

I am also very troubled by the media coverage of this event. Why are we focusing on the victim and her responsibility in this? Yes, it appears she drank too much as it appears everyone at the party did. Also noting that everyone was underage, but that is a whole different blog topic. Because a young woman drinks too much doesn’t mean she wants to be raped. It doesn’t mean that other party goers can do whatever they want with her. It means she drank too much. Once again our society is trained to blame the victim and leave the responsibility to her, not to the perpetrators. 

What is the answer? For starters we all must stop blaming the victim. Battered women don’t ask to be abused and rape victims don’t “have it coming” because of their attire, their state of consciousness, etc. As a society we need to change our focus. What do we do to prevent rape? It isn’t about telling a woman what to wear, how to wear her hair, how to fight back or whatever other strategies we all say to our daughters and sisters and women in our lives. We stop rape by not having people rape other people. Put the responsibility where it belongs, on the perpetrator. Let’s have lists of things people can do to prevent themselves from raping others such as, if you feel like raping someone today, don’t. 

There is hope, I saw a video that showed a young woman unconscious on a couch and a young man saying, “Look at her. Let me show you what I am going to do to her.” He then proceeded to get her a pillow and a blanket to cover her up. He then said real men respect women. I am ever hopeful that message will be heard and that becomes the culture in our society.