Friday, May 30, 2014

Too Apparel -- Panties with Purpose

    1. In addition; also: When you buy a pair for yourself, the company donates a pair too.

Last week, we had the great pleasure of meeting Kevin Goryl, co-founder of Too Apparel. Kevin and his wife, Sara, founded this underwear company purely to give back and in honor of a friend they had that died all too early of alcoholism. You can read more about this backstory at

Too is predicated on the practice of sell one, give one, and will donate a pair of underwear to a woman’s shelter for every pair sold.

Kevin came to Kansas City to promote Too when Fox 4 News invited him to appear on their morning show. Kevin was impressed with how proactive Kansas City was—Hope House was the very first shelter to sign up with Too and Fox 4 News was the first media to contact them—so he invited us to join him on air! You can view the segment here:

The Goryls have strongly held tenets which you can find throughout their website at “We believe in responsibility, respect, compassion and comfort. We believe in protecting woman and children. We believe in empowerment and making sure everyone has choices. We believe tomorrow WILL be better. We believe in a nonviolent world and we believe you do too.”

It’s a wonderful concept we hope you’ll support. Too has generously offered a discount 20% discount when you use the code FOX4KC as well as free shipping!

From the too website:  too. will donate a pair of underwear to a women's domestic violence shelter for every pair you purchase. Shelters receive a lot of used clothing donations but underwear is too personal of an item to donate used. too.'s mission is to fill this void by providing women in need with new, comfortable and clean underwear. You have visited this website because you care, because you want to make a difference and we do too. Sharing our page on Facebook, tweeting about us to your friends, choosing to wear our underwear or sharing our story with your neighbor makes you part of this movement, part of the too. family. We promise to always be honest and make the right business decisions. That is why we've started this blog. We want you to grow with our company and we want to be completely transparent in our donation process. Starting a business isn't easy so we'll be asking for your advice and help often. Please join us on this journey, together we can make a difference, together we are too.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Domestic Violence Apps

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit with Lara Moritz from Channel 9 about the apps that have been developed for domestic violence victims. Apps are a great way to connect with people especially those in their teens and 20’s. Communicating electronically is so commonplace now no one even thinks about it. Emails, texts, Instagram, facebook, twitter and apps are all ways that the majority of people are now communicating with each other.

There are many apps out there for those affected by domestic violence. Some are geared towards educating the public about DV, some to help discern if you are in an abusive relationship, others are for medical professionals in hospitals, doctors’ offices and clinics to help make assessments of DV victims and refer them to resources, and others are focused on safety and/or immediate shelter for victims.

There was actually a challenge back in 2011 from the Department of Health & Human Services and the White House encouraging the development of applications to provide college students and young adults with tools to help prevent dating violence and sexual assault. It had some very good, specific criteria that included check-ins with trusted friends, privacy and safety, and DV resources. It produced two first place winners—OnWatch and Circle of 6—and had over 30 entries, many of which are now on the market.

Here are some apps we have learned about that offer resources, safety plans and tips on how to talk to your children:

Aspire News - ASPIRE News is a free application which contains summaries of top stories in world, sports, and entertainment news, from the When Georgia Smiled: Robin McGraw Foundation. If someone is in an abusive relationship, the Help Section of the application contains resources for victims of domestic violence. * We couldn’t get it, but had reports from one client that it never worked well for them.  

SafeNight - SafeNight provides support to people seeking urgent shelter. The support requests come from trained staff and volunteers at domestic violence service organizations, ensuring best practices for the safety of all individuals are followed.

One Love - An anonymous, free application, the One Love MyPlan determines if a relationship is unsafe and helps to create the best action plan by weighing an individual’s unique characteristics and values. In partnership with, the app provides access to trained advocate support 24/7 through an embedded live chat function.

Love is Not Abuse - Launched in August 2011 by Break the Cycle, the Love is Not Abuse app is an educational resource for parents that demonstrates the dangers of digital dating abuse and provides much needed information on the growing problem of teen dating violence and abuse. It also has an interactive tool that simulates digital dating abuse.

VINE (Victim Information & Notification Everyday) - Allows you to search for offenders that are currently incarcerated in the state. The victim can register to be notified when the offender is released and/or about any upcoming court dates for the offender’s case. So, if a client’s abuser was arrested at their home and the victim came in to shelter, she could register through the VINElink website or app and she would receive notification when the abuser posts bail, etc.

Kitestring - It’s a safe call service. Start a trip on Kitestring (either on the website or via SMS), and we’ll text you later to make sure you’re okay. Reply to the message (or check in on the website) within 5 minutes and all is well. If you don’t check in, we’ll alert a list of emergency contacts that you set up ahead of time. Of course, you can always extend your ETA or check in early.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Surviving Abuse

I am thrilled to read positive stories and to quiet the deafening noise of the violence that seems to be around us at all times. I love hearing how people have survived violence and have embraced life and are moving on.

That seems to be exactly what Michelle Knight who was held captive for 11 years in Ohio by Ariel Castro had done. She is now free and moving on with her life. She has changed her name and now goes by Lilly and recognizes the trauma she endured for such a long time impacted her, but it doesn’t define who she is now. I love her spirit and her strength. She is a true hero in my book. She has not only survived but she is thriving. I am happy for her. I hope that others who have been through horror can find strength in her and hope for their own recovery.

Recovery is possible. It can be a long and arduous journey, but there is hope for those who have been traumatized by violence. I am excited for Lilly and her future and for all of those that we work with everyday who have lived through horrific abuse and survive and then thrive. 

Friday, May 2, 2014


I have been struck by how much violence I have heard about in the past few weeks. It seems to be more in number of incidents and more violent in nature. You cannot pick up the paper or turn on the news without hearing about a rape, a domestic violence homicide, a stabbing of a young student at school. Thankfully, a young man was arrested before he had time to carry out his plan to terrorize his community by killing his family and then going to the school and killing anyone he could before being killed by police. I am grateful that lives were not taken senselessly. Apparently this young man was fascinated by Columbine and wanted to do something on the 20th anniversary. He had to change plans when he realized that the anniversary fell on Easter Sunday. 

I am not sure what is different or what may be the cause of this wave of violence, but for me, it is there and present all the time. What this violence does do is force me to look at what we are doing and how we are doing it and if we need to make changes or adjustments. Is there anything else that can be done to reduce the violence in our society? Not just domestic violence, but all violence.

I know violence is all around us and it happens every day but I continue to hope for the day that I can say violence is a thing of the past. What can we do as a society to make that happen? How can we, as a collective, say enough is enough—we will tolerate no more violence?

We know we must start young. What we teach and instill in our children is critical. It will take society as a whole to stop this violence.  It will take all of us being free of judgment and finger pointing and saying it is not me it is them. That attitude is not going to help. Violence doesn’t just happen in poor neighborhoods or within certain racial groups or within any one segment of society. It happens everywhere. Yes, there may be pockets but overall it is everywhere and it is all of our responsibility to do what we need to do to stop it. I encourage you to get involved.Volunteer at Hope House or your child’s school or some other organization. Always model non-violent behavior so others can emulate you. Change starts with each of us.