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Vera House holds annual awards recognition luncheon honoring Community Members who support its mission, services

John Smith / WAER News

Vera House is honoring community members who support their mission of ending domestic and sexual violence and keeping the lines of communication open to deliver a multitude of services. They include stopping and preventing elderly abuse, workplace harassment and youth prevention education. Board of Directors President Marissa Saunders says there are many forums of violence that need to be addressed.

“Vera House is not just about ending domestic violence but, all forms of violence… from domestic, sexual, verbal, mental, emotional, financial, elder.  So, it’s not just domestic, it’s all forms.  A violence-free world is what we’re wanting to look at and create through our work.”  

The organization’s annual awards recognition luncheon program opened with a moment of silence to remember victims of violence following recent mass shootings across the US and the racist attack in a primarily African-American neighborhood in Buffalo. Saunders says everyone needs to help end racism.

“The work has to be done individual.  So each person has to be committed and be intentional about identifying in themselves what needs to change, what needs to grow, there perspectives and then move outwardly.  So, it starts with individual and then collectively we can work together.  It won’t work if we try to do it collectively and everyone is not working individually to do the hard work.  It’s messy, hard, uncomfortable but, in doing that, that’s where growth happens.”

Saunders adds that Vera House is always looking for more volunteer call center operators and advocates on behalf of those residents who need help.

“Financially, bills have to be paid, people have to be paid, the work has to be paid for.  We need help with shelter, we need help with folks who are moving out of the shelter.  There’s so much that can be done in so many ways for people outside of Vera House within the community to be a part of it.  They just have to find what works best for them.”

Community award winners this year include Campus Advocacy and Prevention Coordinator Chris Kosakowski, Faith and Hope Community Center Co-Founder and Director, Arthur “Bob” Harrison, Author and Social Worker ArDenay Garner. There was also a posthumous lifetime achievement award to Poet and survivor of violence and child sexual abuse, Jackie Warren-Moore. Listen to George Kilpatrick’s tribute to Jackie below.

Jackie Warren-Moore Award by George.mp3
A tribute to Jackie Warren-Moore.