Year End Appeal – 2015

Posted on Tuesday, December 2nd 2014

Laura’s House wishes you and your family Joy, Peace and Hope this holiday season.

As this year comes to a close, it is only the beginning for many of the families we serve, starting anew on a path of healing and a journey of independence and growth, learning how to break the cycle of violence once and for all and gaining the tools to form happy and healthy relationships.

We hope that you will consider contributing to Laura’s House this year end, giving families’ we serve the ability to overcome the violence present in their lives and the ability to become Joyful, Peaceful and Hopeful all year long.

Over 250,000 individuals in Orange County are affected by domestic violence. Help us to continue to expand our programs and services to meet this overwhelming need – right here in our own backyard.

Please take a moment to read Marie’s Story – A Message from one of our recent graduates, who would like to share with you her experience, just one short year ago.

On December 13, I walked downstairs after putting the children to bed and he was standing on the opposite side of the kitchen counter. I bent down to pick up a pair of shoes and as I stood up I heard the familiar sound of the knife as it flipped open. I jumped as I saw that he was holding the knife at my eye level. When I jumped he grinned an evil grin. At that moment I knew that if I did not leave something terrible was going to happen.

The next morning after dropping the children off at school, I called our children’s doctor, whom I trust and she gave me the number for Laura’s House and said that for our safety we should leave immediately. After a very emotional intake call with the amazing staff at Laura’s house, I was told that I was accepted into their program. Making the decision to leave everyone and everything familiar behind to go into a shelter is like jumping off a cliff. No one in her right mind would do it unless what is behind you is more terrifying that what lies ahead. I had the sense that if Laura’s House didn’t catch me, I would surely fall to my death.

Let me tell you for a moment just how Laura’s House “caught us” from that cliff dive. From the intake call on Dec. 14 until ten months later when I moved out of the transitional shelter into my own apartment, my experience with Laura’s House was life changing.

Emergency shelter:

  • Immediate safety and security
  • Help with the legal processes
  • Emotional and therapeutic support
  • Education about domestic abuse
  • Personal empowerment through individual and group therapy sessions
  • Assistance getting any and every resource that we needed such as financial assistance, schooling for the children, immediate medical and dental care

Transitional shelter:

  • Daily support from my case manager
  • Help and guidance for the future
  • Practical workshops on anything from managing finances to car maintenance
  • Continued therapy for my children and myself
  • Time to heal emotionally and get on my feet in every way
  • Guidance in getting set up in my own apartment

Finally, there was the step into independence. I exhausted all the money that I had saved to get into my new apartment. Laura’s House brought a truck on my move in day and provided me with every, last thing to set up a home. It didn’t stop there! At Christmas time, Laura’s House delivered a Christmas tree, decorations and presents for the children and for me. Coming to Laura’s House was the first time I had received presents on Christmas since the first year of my marriage, 10 years prior. Once again, Laura’s House had made me feel like I was valuable and important.

For the better part of a year, Laura’s House masterfully carried me through the process of beginning life again and completely equipped me for the journey ahead.

I’d like to take a moment to tell you about my life today. I’m an ESL teacher at a local language college. I have three classes to go in order to complete my master’s degree in special education, and I’m training to run my first mini-marathon next year.

Laura’s House brought me to a place of brokenness and utter subservience to and dependence on an abusive man, to a woman who is free from oppression. I am forever grateful for the investment that Laura’s House made in my life and the lives of my precious children. I believe that investment will reap dividends in our lives for generations to come.

-       2014 Laura’s House Graduate & Alumni


Survivor Stories Ways To Help

Sprit of Empowerment: Holiday Gift Card Giving Program

Posted on Monday, December 1st 2014

Events Ways To Help

Laura’s House Honors Exceptional Volunteers at 2014 Appreciation Event

Posted on Wednesday, November 19th 2014

Nine local residents recognized for support of Orange County nonprofit

LADERA RANCH, Calif., Nov. 18, 2014Laura’s House, a nonprofit devoted to ending the cycle of domestic violence, recognized nine remarkable volunteers for their dedication to the organization at its 2014 Volunteer Appreciation event on Thursday, Nov. 13, at the Laura’s House Resale Store in San Juan Capistrano. More than 50 supporters were on hand to honor the standout individuals who worked year-round to support Laura’s House initiatives – from its Resale Store, counseling and resource center, emergency shelter, 24-hour crisis hotline, events and more.

Through Oct. 2014, more than 400 volunteers have provided Laura’s House with nearly 9,200 hours of unpaid service – leading into the nonprofit’s busiest time for volunteers – and a 6.4 percent increase from 2013. Volunteers served in various critical positions, including administrative, H.E.A.R.T. program advocates, legal services, hotline support, childcare, case management, house coordinator, resale store customer service and product preparation, events, promotions and as board members. The Laura’s House volunteer program is currently in the certification process through OneOC and Points of Light to become a Service Enterprise in early 2015.

“Our hundreds of volunteers contribute their wealth of knowledge, invaluable resources and unwavering commitment each year,” said Margaret Bayston, executive director of Laura’s House. “They should be proud of their many contributions to our organization, and we’re so grateful to have them as part of our team, especially those whose efforts we recognize today.”

Awards were presented to the following:

  • Case Manager: Karen Marley, Dana Point Marley was recognized for her motivation and commitment to the case management department since 2013. She actively worked to create – and update a system of Laura’s House’s resources – by contacting transitional and housing programs to assist Laura’s House shelter graduates. Recently, Marley worked with job assistant programs in Orange County to support Laura’s House clients, meeting with them individually to assist in resume development and job searches.
  • House Coordinator: Kalley Hartman, Aliso Viejo – Hartman was recognized for her initiative and ability to complete a multitude of shelter maintenance duties. She assists by organizing the shelter garage, including incoming donations.  The kind, compassionate help Hartman provided has been beyond outstanding.
  • Fund Development: Natalie Bonhall, Rancho Santa Margarita – A volunteer with Laura’s House for more than two years, Bonhall has helped at various events and recently assumed a larger role with the organization’s fund development department. She provides data entry support and consistently volunteers two days a week in any way possible.
  • Fund Development: Alex and Cyndi Lee, Laguna Niguel – This mother-daughter duo was recognized for compassionately and willingly helping at nearly every Laura’s House event in 2014. Alex has participated in both summer and holiday internships for many years and stops by after school to help.  Both are members of Laura’s House partner, National Charity League – Capistrano Coast Chapter, of which Cyndi is the philanthropy liaison. They have gone above and beyond – taking projects home to complete for the fund development department.
  • H.E.A.R.T.: Ronda Terrell, Ladera Ranch – Terrell was honored for her work with the Healthy Emotions & Attitudes in Relationships for Teens (H.E.A.R.T.) program. Last year, she entered nearly 4,000 H.E.A.R.T. pre-post tests, which gauge how well the message of healthy relationships for teens is being received by students the nonprofit works with. As a result, Laura’s House provided timely reports to its funders. She also volunteers for the 40-hour domestic violence advocate training program three times a year, at the Resale Store and for the emergency hotline.
  • Resale Store: Laura Feld, Ladera Ranch – Feld, a volunteer at the Lake Forest and San Juan Capistrano Resale Stores, was recognized for the countless hours she spent making improvements to increase book sales. She is an asset to the team and is continually developing ideas to grow business at both resale stores.
  • Resale Store: Kathleen McRivette, Rancho Santa Margarita – Now acting as volunteer captain for the Lake Forest Resale Store, McRivette was recognized for going above and beyond her role to ensure the store runs efficiently. She also helps to process and price all jewelry and refurbish broken pieces for sale. As a result of her dedication, the resale store volunteer program and jewelry section have grown since McRivette joined the team.
  • Hotline: Cheri Starr, Irvine – Starr was honored for her positive attitude and consistent dedication to the Laura’s House crisis hotline. She shows compassion to every caller with which she interacts. Starr is always prepared and accepts every task with a smile.

The evening included a fashion challenge on a purple runway, mingling with Laura’s House staff, family and friends and desserts, prizes and awards. For more information about volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.laurashouse.org/volunteer-opportunities.html or contact Melanie Galloway at 949-364-3775 or mgalloway@laurashouse.org.

About Laura’s House

The mission of Laura’s House is to change the social beliefs, attitudes and the behaviors that perpetuate domestic violence while creating a safe space to empower individuals and families affected by abuse.

In 2014, Laura’s House celebrates its 20th anniversary serving those whose lives have been affected by domestic violence. For the past two decades, Laura’s House has provided shelter and support services to more than 4,000 battered women and children and counseling, life skills education and legal assistance to over 45,000 people. Connect with Laura’s House on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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Events Press Release

Laura’s House & the H.E.A.R.T. Program

Posted on Saturday, October 18th 2014

This article was originally posted on ParentingOC.com By Tyler Hardy.

Teens Learn the Dangers of Domestic Violence.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Laura’s House, a local program that has made much needed strides in eliminating domestic violence in Orange County, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. A state-approved agency launched in 1994 in memory of a fatal case of abuse, Laura’s House has cared for 3,500 battered women and children and has provided services—ranging from counseling to legal assistance—to over 45,000 individuals involved in cases of domestic violence.

“In Orange County, nearly 40 percent of domestic violence emergency calls are made by children,” said Margaret Bayston, CEO and executive director of Laura’s House. “This heartbreaking statistic illustrates the serious need for the programs, education and services which Laura’s House has provided to women and their families for the past 20 years.”

One valuable service to area young people is the Healthy Emotions & Attitudes in Relationships for Teens program, simply called H.E.A.R.T. One in four teenagers is involved in physically abusive relationships in Orange County. H.E.A.R.T. is an interactive workshop that focuses on teaching teenagers about healthy dating, as well as the signs of and repercussions of being with an abusive partner.

“Dating abuse is a topic that is extremely relevant but rarely discussed between parents and their teens,” said Marissa C. Presley, prevention education specialist for Laura’s House. “Oftentimes teens are unaware of the abusive relationship they are in until they learn the red flags. That’s why Laura’s House developed H.E.A.R.T.”

The emphasis is on the variety of abuse. From possessive behavior to verbal attacks to sexual coercion, H.E.A.R.T. teaches teens that although physical abuse may not be present, feelings of inadequacy, self-harming, eating disorders or substance abuse can still occur in a relationship where one person devalues the feelings and safety of the other.

In co-ed workshops, teens are taught not only how to defend themselves from dangerous relationships but also how to identify abusive patterns they themselves are exhibiting that they may not be aware of.
“Our goal is to provide supportive service programs that will prepare our clients and their children to live independent and violence free lives.”

Events In the News

20th Anniversary Gala Raises Nearly $1.5 Million for Laura’s House

Posted on Monday, October 13th 2014

Emotional Night Brings Funds To Help End Silence of Domestic Violence

LADERA RANCH, Calif., Oct. 7, 2014 – More than 350 supporters of Laura’s House attended its annual gala “Shall We Dance” on Saturday, Oct. 4, in celebration of its 20th anniversary of successfully empowering victims of domestic violence and changing lives forever. The event, held at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, proved to be an emotional evening, raising nearly $1.5 million in support of the nonprofit’s mission of ending the cycle of abuse in the lives of women and their families.

Near the end of the evening, guests were stunned with a surprise announcement from Julia Argyros, speaking on behalf of the Argyros Family Foundation: “George and I arrived with the intent to donate a half million dollars. After hearing the graduate describe her experience with Laura’s House, we decided we wanted to help the organization assist even more women. So, we tore up the original check and wrote a new one for one million dollars.”

Before Argyros presented the check, a Laura’s House graduate shared her emotional story, detailing the abusive situation she came from. She described what Laura’s House had done for her and her family, which resulted in her current successful situation. In addition, a 20th anniversary video gave guests insights into the tremendous work carried out over the past two decades. Photos and interviews with board members, staff, volunteers and donors told the story in poignant detail.

Another major gift, announced by Anne MacPherson from the Joe MacPherson Foundation, matched the first $100,000 raised from the “Rebuild A Life” portion of the program, quickly resulting in a total of $225,000.

“Our 20th anniversary gala was a very special evening, celebrating a huge milestone, and it definitely was a great success with both unexpected major gifts and so many heartfelt donations from many more guests,” said Margaret Bayston, Laura’s House CEO and executive director. “It’s wonderful to see the community support our mission to help women move forward as they attempt to break the cycle of abuse.”

Master of Ceremonies, NBC4 Southern California reporter Hetty Chang, Laura’s House CEO Margaret Bayston, & Julia Argyros of the Argyros Family Foundation.

Attendees enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as they mingled and bid on silent auction items. Master of Ceremonies, NBC4 Southern California reporter and four-time Emmy nominee Hetty Chang, welcomed guests and encouraged supporters to make a difference in the lives of families affected by domestic violence. Dinner was a lively celebration that featured a three-course gourmet meal, awards presentation, live auction and a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers-themed dance. Following dinner, guests danced the night away to music by Sensation Showband.

Presenting Sponsors Mike Hayde and Laura Khouri (Laura also was this year’s gala chair)

Laura Khouri, president of Western National Property Management, chaired this year’s gala and led the committee to ensure a record-setting fundraiser for Laura’s House. Khouri, who also is a Laura’s House board member, has volunteered as gala chair and has been on the committee for a number of years.

In honor of its 20th anniversary, Laura’s House recognized two organizations that have given so much through the nonprofit’s history. Haskell & White LLP (H&W), one of the region’s largest privately held accounting firms, was presented the Crystal Heart Award for its support. H&W Managing Partner Wayne Pinnell has been the key advocate and currently is Chair of Laura’s House Board of Directors. He leads many of the nonprofit’s key initiatives, and is one of Laura’s House’s important male supporters who helps to generate awareness about domestic violence within the community. Pinnell has been a supporter of Laura’s House since 1996. The other honoree, Gibson Dunn, received the Legal Leader Award for helping spearhead the legal services program provided to Laura’s House clients.

Daniel, Karen & Wayne Pinnell, Managing Partner at Haskell & White LLP (Wayne is Chair of Laura’s House Board of Directors)

“I’m proud to support an organization that works to protect women and children,” said Pinnell. “Vital support, from both women and men, is needed to put an end to domestic violence and we invite you to join us on this important journey.”

On the heels of a successful fundraising event, Laura’s House will continue raising awareness – and support for its families – throughout October in honor of domestic violence awareness month. Individuals interested in supporting Laura’s House and its mission to change social beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate domestic violence can participate by donating food, cell phones or a car, shopping at one of the Laura’s House Resale Stores, or joining the organization for its annual Canyon Country Hike and Hoedown on Oct. 25. For a complete list of ideas, visit: http://www.laurashouse.org/news/2014/10/lauras-house-31-ways-in-31-days/

This year’s Honorary Event Chair was Laura’s House advocate Donna Pickup who, with husband Dick Pickup, is co-owner of the Balboa Bay Resort. Presenting Sponsors were Laura Khouri and Michael K. Hayde, CEO and chairman of the board of Western National Group. 2014 sponsors included: The Argyros Family Foundation; Donna & Richard Pickup; Haskell & White, LLP; The Jacqueline Glass Family; Verizon Wireless; Lisa & Les Fujimoto; The Joe MacPherson; Foundation; The Thompson Foundation; Wolin Design Group; The Busch Group; Laura Feld; Frome Foundation; Gerson Bakar & Associates; Gibson,Dunn & Crutcher LLP; IHP Capital Partners; Local.com; Morgan Stanley/The Timpe Group; and Rutan & Tucker LLP.

About Laura’s House

The mission of Laura’s House is to change the social beliefs, attitudes and the behaviors that perpetuate domestic violence while creating a safe space to empower individuals and families affected by abuse.

In 2014, Laura’s House celebrates its 20th anniversary serving those whose lives have been affected by domestic violence. For the past two decades, Laura’s House has provided shelter and support services to more than 4,000 battered women and children and counseling, life skills education and legal assistance to over 45,000 people. Connect with Laura’s House on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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Events Press Release