“Take a Walk in My Shoes” Art Installation on Display at the Laura’s House Resale Store

Posted on Saturday, February 16th 2013

This month, in honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, the Laura’s House Resale Store in Lake Forest is featuring an art installation called “Take a Walk in My Shoes.”

The installation is an adaptation of a project that was first put in display in April 2004 by The Women’s Community, in Wausau, Wisc., in partnership with The Clothesline Project, to commemorate Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Since that time, many organizations across the United States have displayed similar projects to build awareness for domestic violence and sexual assault.

As part of the project, Laura’s House clients and survivors of domestic violence created pieces of artwork using shoes to express their feelings about surviving domestic violence, and help others understand how it feels to “walk in their shoes.”

“We are proud to be able to provide our clients with this wonderful opportunity to express the feelings they have as survivors of domestic abuse,” said Deborah Phillips, MFT, a clinical therapist with Laura’s House. “The shoes that are on display right now demonstrate both the pain and healing that our clients are experiencing on their journey toward building lives that are free of violence.”

The public is encouraged to stop by the Laura’s House Resale Store, located at 23635 El Toro Road, Suite F in Lake Forest to see the “Take a Walk in My Shoes” art installation on display.

Events

Laura’s House Partners with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to “End the Silence” of Domestic Violence

Posted on Tuesday, February 5th 2013

Through presentations to local law enforcement, Laura’s House is arming Sheriff’s deputies and police officers throughout Orange County with the tools and information they need to improve the outcomes of domestic violence 9-1-1 calls

Ladera Ranch, Calif., Feb. 1, 2013 – Recent studies indicate that police in the United States spend approximately one-third of their time responding to domestic violence calls, and will often return to the same home multiple times to address complaints. To better educate Orange County Deputy Sheriff’s and local police officers concerning domestic violence, and arm them with the resources and information they need to improve the outcomes of domestic violence 9-1-1 calls, Laura’s House has teamed up with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, led by Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens.

“Domestic violence is a serious issue that can often be viewed as a nuisance for law enforcement officers who are called to the same home, over and over again – especially when the victim is too afraid or refuses to press charges,” said Marissa Presley, Bilingual Prevention and Education Specialist for Laura’s House. “The startling reality is that this recurring violence can turn deadly, if the victim does not take legal action and receive access to the support and resources she or he need to start rebuilding a life that is free of violence. By providing law enforcement with the tools and strategies that will enable them to better understand the violence from the victim’s perspective, and help them through referrals to Laura’s House and other domestic violence resources, we can change the attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate the violence.”

Since 2010, Presley has been leading presentations for Orange County Deputy Sheriffs and police officers, as well as the Juvenile Services Bureau, which includes School Resource Officers and Investigators. These presentations are designed to help officers and investigators responding to domestic violence calls better assess both the situation and the behavior of the victim and abuser, so that they may take a course of action that will lead to a more positive outcome. During these presentations, officers learn about the types of questions they should be asking both the victim and their abuser, and how to counsel and provide the victim with a clear overview of their rights, which include pressing charges and seeking assistance at Laura’s House or other local domestic violence shelters.

Laura’s House also provides the Orange County Sheriff’s Department with victim’s assistance resources, including small cards with the number for the Laura’s House 24-hour domestic violence hotline imprinted on them, as well as many other helpful agencies. “Being able to provide the victim with a phone number where he or she can get help is one of the ways that law enforcement can gain the victim’s trust,” continued Presley. “Victims are often hesitant to involve the police because they are afraid that their abuser will turn the tables and blame them for everything.”

“We are grateful for Laura’s House and their commitment to ‘ending the silence’ of domestic violence in Orange County and beyond” said Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Sheriff-Coroner. “The presentations that Laura’s House provides to our Deputy Sheriff’s and law enforcement officials are instrumental in our efforts to break the cycle of violence in our communities. Being better informed about how to appropriately deal with situations where violence is occurring within the home is one of the ways in which our deputies can prevent domestic violence from turning deadly.”

About Laura’s House

Over the past eighteen years, Laura’s House has provided residential shelter and support services to nearly 3,500 families, and counseling, life skills education and legal assistance to over 40,000 individuals. 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 in which to empower individuals and families affected by abuse.

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In the News

Laura’s House Partners with the Orange County Bar Association to host Monthly Legal Clinics for Victims of Domestic Violence

Posted on Thursday, January 24th 2013

Located in Ladera Ranch at the Laura’s House Counseling and Resource Center, the Legal Clinic pairs volunteer attorneys with agency clients who are in need of legal assistance stemming from their family law and domestic violence cases

LADERA RANCH, Calif., January 22, 2013 – In an effort to promote access to legal counsel and assistance for its clients, Laura’s House, a non-profit organization whose mission is to change the social beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate domestic violence while creating a safe place in which to empower individuals and families affected by abuse, partners with the Orange County Bar Association in hosting a monthly Legal Clinic at its Counseling and Resource Center in Ladera Ranch.

Legal clinic attorneys, who volunteer their time on a pro-bono basis, meet with clients by appointment and provide assistance in navigating the complex family law legal system. In some cases, Laura’s House clients are still residing in an abusive home and are in need of a legal road map to find their way out. Others may have recently obtained a restraining order and need help addressing issues of custody and support.  In all cases, these legal issues are complicated by domestic violence.

While the type of legal assistance needed does vary, the most common issues pertain to dissolution, paternity, custody and visitation, support or restraining order protection. Volunteer attorneys Courtney Winzeler Smith and Robert Clemons of Prenovost, Normandin, Bergh & Dawe come across unique and challenging situations every month.  “We are consistently amazed at what these self represented victims are able to accomplish on their own,” says Winzeler Smith.  “However, the benefits of meeting with an attorney to help fill in the gaps, strategize or to simply receive reassurance are critical to their legal process and confidence.”

Most importantly, the Legal Clinics fulfill a need for access to family law expertise that supplements the legal services offered by the Laura’s House Legal Department.  The department is staffed by two full-time legal advocates who provide a broad offering of services and assistance to victims of domestic violence. However, these services are limited in scope to domestic violence restraining orders only and legal advocates do not provide legal advice, making the Legal Clinic a critical component to the agency’s legal services platform. “The Laura’s House Legal Clinic program is a vital asset not only for our clients, but also to our Legal Department,” said Lia Chacon, a legal advocate with Laura’s House. “With the aid of the Legal Clinic, we are able to more completely serve the legal needs of our client base.”

The majority of volunteer attorneys from the Orange County Bar Association have some level of family law experience. “On any given night, attorneys will often meet with up to four clients on a variety of complex legal issues from modifying custody to starting a divorce,” said Attorney Rebecca Rainwater of Rainwater Family Law. “By volunteering for just a few hours per month, legal clinic volunteers quickly make a meaningful impact in the lives of several victims and their children, which is extremely rewarding.”

From the client’s perspective, the Laura’s House Legal Clinic strives to emulate the experience of visiting a law office.  Clients of Laura’s House are seen by appointment only and meet in a professional office setting. Meetings are held one on one with clients in private offices.   A volunteer attorney’s commitment is limited to these 30-minute appointments only and does not extend beyond the clinic.  This formula has been a huge success for clients of Laura’s House.  “Due to barriers of cost and accessibility, the opportunity to consult with an attorney is not a viable option for many of our clients,” said Adam Dodge, a legal advocate for Laura’s House. “We are extremely grateful to the Orange County Bar Association and its attorney members for partnering with Laura’s House in providing much needed legal counsel and assistance to our clients.”

In addition to the Legal Clinic, the Laura’s House Legal Department also conducts intake interviews and assists with safety planning; education on victim’s rights; registration for the State of California’s Safe at Home program; the preparation and filing of domestic violence restraining orders; collection of evidence, including the photographing of injuries; court transportation; court accompaniment; court direction; and referrals to community resources, emergency shelters and pro bono attorneys.

More information on the Laura’s House Legal Department is available at www.laurashouse.org/legal-services.html or by calling the Counseling and Resource Center at 949.361.3775.

About Laura’s House

Over the past eighteen years, Laura’s House has provided residential shelter and support services to nearly 3,500 families, and counseling, life skills education and legal assistance to over 40,000 individuals. 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 in which to empower individuals and families affected by abuse.

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Press Release

Laura’s House Introduces its 2013 Board of Directors

Posted on Wednesday, January 16th 2013

Led by Chair, Wayne Pinnell, Managing Partner with Haskell & White, LLP, the Board is comprised of 15 members of the Orange County business community

LADERA RANCH, Calif., Jan. 15, 2013Laura’s House, a non-profit organization whose mission is to change the social beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate domestic violence, while creating a safe place in which to empower individuals and families affected by abuse, is pleased to announce the introduction of its 2013 Board of Directors.

Comprised of 15 members of the Orange County Business Community, the 2013 Board of Directors is led by Wayne Pinnell, Managing Partner with Haskell & White, LLP, who returns as Chair after serving as the Chair of the recently completed Cornerstone Capital Campaign, a $4.5 million fundraising campaign that enabled Laura’s House to successfully fund the re-build of its Emergency Shelter and expand its Transitional Housing facility for shelter graduates.

“We are delighted to begin the New Year with an energetic board of directors, who through their continued involvement with Laura’s House, both as board members and volunteers, have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to building awareness for our organization and its mission throughout the Orange County community,” said Margaret Bayston, CEO and Executive Director, Laura’s House. “I’m especially pleased to have Wayne Pinnell return as our Chair this year. Over the years, he has been a tremendous advocate for our organization, and I’m looking forward to all that the board will accomplish this year under his leadership.”

“It is a great honor to be able to return to the Laura’s House Board of Directors, as Chair in 2013,” said Pinnell. “The organization has an excellent reputation throughout the Orange County and beyond for its commitment and dedication to providing a comprehensive suite of services, including shelter, counseling, legal and community outreach. These services have helped thousands of individuals and families build lives that are free of violence, and I’m looking forward to joining our board in helping Laura’s House through the next year as we move beyond the Shelter re-build project and focus on other initiatives such as the expansion of our legal advocacy programs.”

The 2013 Laura’s House Board of Directors also includes Casey Wolin, Vice President, Wolin Design Group, who serves as Vice Chair; Kurt Ross, Senior Vice President/Team Leader, Sunwest Bank who serves as Secretary; and, Brenda Zalke, Consultant, Cordis & Company, who serves as Treasurer. Board members are Brent Chase, Owner, Focus360; Jennifer Hannigan, Principal/Founder, Alliance Resource Group; Sandy Jacobson, Partner, Allen Matkins; Jay Jaffin, Vice President, Marketing and Sales Operations, Verizon Wireless; Linda Kearns, Proprietor, Giracci Vineyards & Farms; Rick Lutzky, President, Lutzky Associates Development; Garett Sleichter, Partner, Rutan & Tucker, LLP; Helen Timpe, Senior Vice President, Morgan Stanley, The Timpe Group; Barry Villines, Director, Deloitte & Touche, LLP; Dan Weeks, Vice President, Community Banking District Manager, Wells Fargo’s Pacific Coast District; and, Matt West, Senior Vice President, 1st Enterprise Bank.

About Laura’s House

Over the past eighteen years, Laura’s House has provided residential shelter and support services to nearly 3,500 families, and counseling, life skills education and legal assistance to over 40,000 individuals. 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 in which to empower individuals and families affected by abuse.

 

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Press Release

Laura’s House to host 3rd Annual Candlelight Vigil for Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

Posted on Wednesday, January 16th 2013

On Friday, Feb. 1, more than 150 people are expected to gather in Lake Forest to honor victims of teen dating abuse and learn more about prevention and education efforts that are currently underway by Laura’s House and its community partners

LADERA RANCH, Calif., Jan. 14, 2013 – Across the United States, February is recognized as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. To bring local focus to this national event, and demonstrate the impact that teen dating abuse has on our community, Laura’s House, will host its Annual Candlelight Vigil in honor of all teens whose lives have been taken as a result of teen dating abuse. The event will take place on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Laura’s House Resale Store, located at 23635 El Toro Road, Suite F in Lake Forest.

Now in its third year, the Annual Candlelight Vigil will honor Jacque Villagomez, a graduate of El Toro High School in Lake Forest, who died at the hands of her abuser in September 2008. “When she was killed by her boyfriend, Jacque was only 19 years old,” said Marissa Presley, Bilingual Prevention Education Specialist, Laura’s House. “Unfortunately, Jacque’s story is not unique. Each and every day thousands of teens across the country are dealing with dating abuse. Recent studies have found that one in four high school students report being in a physically abusive relationship. Furthermore, nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser.”

The Candlelight Vigil is part of the Laura’s House Healthy Emotions and Attitudes in Relationships for Teens (H.E.A.R.T.) program. This year, more than 150 attendees are expected to gather for an evening of art, music and tributes remembering Villagomez and all victims of teen dating abuse. Guest speakers will include Deputy Rebecca Reger from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and Claudia Bremser from Verizon Wireless, who will speak about the importance of educating teens on dating abuse, and how their respective organizations are supporting Laura’s House in this effort. Several survivors of teen dating abuse will also share their testimony.

For the first time this year, the event will also debut a music video, “Didn’t Mean It,” a song written and performed by teen recording artist, Jasmine Villegas, after she experienced teen dating abuse. Jasmine’s fan base currently includes more than 1.5 million Twitter followers and over 75 million views of her YouTube videos. She is the 8th most powerful artist on Twitter, ranks as the 6th most powerful woman on Twitter, and has the 6th most powerful Twitter account in Los Angeles. Last year, she opened for Justin Bieber’s “My World” Tour, performing in more than 40 cities, and became the new face of Sephora/tokidoki Beauty for 2012.

During the event, Laura’s House will encourage survivors of teen dating abuse to light a communal candle and will provide the opportunity for attendees to “take a stand” against dating abuse, by signing dating abuse “pledge cards.” Beginning in January, these pledge cards are also being distributed by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department as part of the “Is Your Teen At Risk” program.

“We are grateful to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Verizon Wireless for partnering with Laura’s House in the education and prevention of teen dating violence here in our community, and excited to have them as part of our program this year,” continued Presley. “We would also like to thank the City of Lake Forest, for permitting us to hold the vigil at the Laura’s House Resale Store.”

The Annual Candlelight Vigil will also feature an installation of artwork called “Take a Walk in My Shoes.” As part of this project, Laura’s House clients and survivors of domestic violence created pieces of artwork using shoes to express their feelings about surviving domestic violence, and help others understand how it feels to “walk in their shoes.” This moving display is modeled after similar projects that have been put on display by domestic violence and sexual assault awareness organizations across the United States.

The public is encouraged to attend the Candlelight Vigil, particularly families with teens and pre-teens, who are interested in learning more about how to prevent dating violence. Members of several H.E.A.R.T. clubs that have been established at local high schools will be selling purple ribbons and hosting bake sales to raise funds to support the Laura’s House H.E.A.R.T. program. Laura’s House will also have information and resources available for teens and their families that are interested in learning more about dating abuse and the H.E.A.R.T. program.

Annually, Laura’s House provides the H.E.A.R.T. program to more than 3,000 Orange County teens at local high schools, junior colleges and other youth facilities. The program helps teens become educated on healthy relationships and appropriate conflict resolution skills. Laura’s House also has a website designed to assist teens who are seeking information on healthy relationships.

Recently, Laura’s House launched a new teen Website with funding from a Verizon Wireless HopeLine® grant. The colorful and dynamic teen Website, which can be viewed at www.laurashouse.org/lhteen, offers a number of interactive features designed to reach today’s tech-savvy teen populations. These features include digital postcards that address dating abuse and provide tips and encouragement to teens that find themselves in an abusive relationship; online pledge cards that enable teens to take a “virtual” stand against dating abuse; a quiz feature that lets teens assess whether they are being abused by their dating partner, or if they are the abuser; music, news and current events; podcasts, and other informative resources that can help teens become educated about dating abuse.

Schools and organizations that are interested in learning more about the H.E.A.R.T. program, or would like to schedule a presentation should contact Marissa Presley at mpresley@laurashouse.org.

 

More information on the programs and services offered by Laura’s House is available at www.laurashouse.org or by calling the Counseling and Resource Center at (949) 361-3775. Victims of domestic abuse can get immediate help by calling the Laura’s House 24-hour hotline at 949-498-1511 or toll-free at 866-498-1511.

About Laura’s House

Over the past eighteen years, Laura’s House has provided shelter and support services to nearly 3,500 battered women and children, and counseling, life skills education and legal assistance to over 40,000 individuals. 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 in which to empower individuals and families affected by abuse. More information on the programs and services offered by Laura’s House is available at www.laurashouse.org.

Events