More than 400 Attendees Join Laura’s House for the 4th Annual Candlelight Vigil for Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

Posted on Friday, February 21st 2014

It was standing room only on Friday, Feb. 7 at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Regional Training Center in Tustin as hundreds of teens, their parents and Laura’s House supporters gathered to honor Jacque Villagomez and all victims of teen dating abuse

LADERA RANCH, Calif., Feb. 21, 2014 – On Friday, Feb. 7, Laura’s House welcomed more than 400 attendees for the for its 4th Annual Candlelight Vigil – “Teens Together to End Dating Violence.” Held this year at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Regional Training Center in Tustin, the event honored Jacque Villagomez, a graduate of El Toro High School in Lake Forest, who died at the hands of her abuser in September 2008, and all those whose lives have been cut short as a result of teen dating abuse.

Click to Tweet: More than 400 attendees joined @Lauras_House for #TeensTogethertoEndDV on Friday, Feb. 7! #teenDVmonth #TDVAM

“Jacque would be so proud if she could see the group gathered here tonight,” said Marissa Presley, Bilingual Prevention and Education Specialist for Laura’s House. “The more people that we can bring together to talk about this important issue, the greater the chances are that we will reduce the instance of dating abuse, which affects one in four high school students today. Furthermore, through the prevention and education programs offered by Laura’s House, we are working each and every day to develop strategies that teens and their parents can use to prevent what happened to Jacque and too many other teens from across the country, from happening in their schools and communities.”

The 4th Annual Candlelight Vigil for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month opened with a flag salute from Girl Scout Troop #2411, which was followed by remarks from Laura’s House CEO and Executive Director, Margaret Bayston, and Wayne Pinnell, Chair of the Laura’s House Board of Directors. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (C-46) then spoke to the crowd gathered for the event, sharing a few words on the importance of educating young adults and teens on dating violence, and presenting Laura’s House with a Certificate of Recognition for its efforts to stem the tide of dating abuse here in Southern California.

Dr. Jill Murray, a nationally-recognized expert on dating abuse and author of But He Never Hit Me: The Devastating Cost of Non-Physical Abuse to Girls and Women (iUniverse, 2007) and But I Love Him: Protecting Your Teen Daughter from Controlling, Abusive Dating Relationships (Harper Perennial, 2001), then spoke about her work surrounding dating abuse, and current trends within society that are perpetuating relationship violence.

During the Candlelight Vigil, Laura’s House also recognized Girl Scouts of Orange County with an Award of Recognition for their efforts to shine a light on teen dating abuse. Accepting the award on behalf of Girl Scouts of Orange County was Mickie Allen, Program Director. Rachel Goldman, Program Specialist for Girl Scouts of Orange County was also in attendance. And, for the first time this year, Laura’s House presented “Teachers Together to End Dating Abuse” award. The award was given to Sharon Spiers, Health Education Teacher and San Juan Hills High School’s 2012 “Teacher of the Year.” Since 2008, Ms. Spiers has invited Laura’s House to San Juan Hills High School to present its Healthy Emotions and Attitudes in Relationships (H.E.A.R.T.) program to its students.

Following the awards presentations, Kayla, a survivor of adolescent dating abuse shared how her experiences in an abusive relationship during middle school and high school have prompted her to become an advocate and spokesperson against dating abuse, helping other teens realize that they are not alone, and building awareness for the programs and services that Laura’s House offers to teens through its H.E.A.R.T. program. The event concluded with Sammi Santana singing her rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “You Are Beautiful,” and dedicating the song to Jacque Villagomez.

Before and after the 4th Annual Candlelight Vigil, attendees were given the opportunity to “take a stand” against dating abuse, by signing dating abuse “pledge cards.” In January 2013, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department began distributing these cards as part of the “Is Your Teen At Risk” program. Local survivors of teen dating abuse, including former Miss Teen Laguna Hills Morgan Berschauer, and Laura’s House volunteer Aurora Hernandez were also on-hand to talk with teens about their experiences and share advice on coping with dating abuse. Additionally, members of several H.E.A.R.T. clubs from several local high schools sold purple ribbons and hosted bake sales at the event to raise funds to support the Laura’s House H.E.A.R.T. program.

“We are grateful to Rancho Santiago Community College and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for partnering with Laura’s House in the education and prevention of teen dating violence here in our community,” continued Presley. “And, we would like to especially thank the college, for permitting us to host this year’s vigil at the Regional Training Center.”

Annually, Laura’s House provides the H.E.A.R.T. program to more than 3,000 Orange County teens at local middle schools, 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.

The Laura’s House Teen Website, which was made possible by funding from a Verizon Wireless HopeLine® grant, can be viewed at www.laurashouse.org/lhteen. The colorful and dynamic site 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.

Connect with Laura’s House on social media to learn more about programs, services, upcoming events and more. You can reach us at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LaurasHouseOC
Twitter:
www.twitter.com/Lauras_House
Instagram:
www.instagram.com/LaurasHouseOC

About Laura’s House

Since 1994, Laura’s House has provided residential shelter and support services to nearly 4,000 families, and counseling, life skills education and legal assistance to over 50,000 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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Events

Laura’s House Celebrates 20 Years of Serving Families Affected by Domestic Violence

Posted on Monday, February 17th 2014

Over the last two decades, the agency has provided shelter, counseling, 24-hour crisis hotline, legal services and community outreach to more than 50,000 women, men and children, and continues to be the only State-approved domestic violence facility in South Orange County

LADERA RANCH, Calif., Feb. 18, 2014 – In 2014, 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, is celebrating 20 years of serving families affected by domestic violence.

Click to Tweet: Join @Lauras_House in commemorating 20 years of serving those whose lives have been touched by #domesticviolence.

Founded in 1994 by The South Orange County Domestic Violence Action Committee, Laura’s House is named after a local woman named Laura, a wife and mother, whose life was tragically cut short at the age of 38, due to the injuries she sustained from her abuser.

“The founders of Laura’s House had a vision of providing vital shelter services that would enable women like Laura to find safe refuge before it is too late, along with the counseling and support services that would help them build lives free of violence,” said Margaret Bayston, CEO and Executive Director, Laura’s House. “Two decades later, we continue to execute upon this vision through our state-of-the-art Emergency Shelter and transitional living programs, and through the use of leading-edge therapies and community education programs that reach all cross-sections of the population including women, men, children, teens, young adults, and the elderly.”

Laura’s House will commemorate its 20th Anniversary with various celebrations to be held throughout the year. The largest event will be the Annual Gala, which take place on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014 at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach. Honorary Co-chairs for the Annual Gala will be local philanthropists Donna and Dick Pickup. Laura’s House Board of Directors Vice President, and President of Irvine-headquartered Western National Property Management, Laura Khouri, will chair the gala. Other special events will include the Laura’s House Birthday Party in June, which will celebrate the date of inception with a birthday cake, entertainment and a fun-filled afternoon at the Laura’s House Corporate Headquarters in Ladera Ranch. During the month of October, there will also be various events and promotions marking both the 20th Anniversary and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In honor of the 20th Anniversary, members of the community are also invited to participate in several giving opportunities throughout the year. By joining the Laura’s House 20th Anniversary Giving Club, a special Circle of Friends giving club, with a one-time donation of $20, donors can help provide shelter and counseling services to women and children. Through the Give 20 Major Gifts Campaign, donors who gift $20,000 or more to sustain the future of Laura’s House will have the opportunity to earmark these funds for specific programs such as the 24-hour hotline, Emergency Shelter, legal programs, the Healthy Emotions and Attitudes in Relationships for Teens (H.E.A.R.T.) program, or other programs and services.

During 2014, members of the community can also participate in the Paver Project at the Laura’s House Transitional Living Facility, by purchasing a paver stone and having a personal message inscribed to inspire and foster healing for women and children as they experience a new beginning, self-sufficiency and independence.

“Over the course of the year, Laura’s House looks forward to celebrating our 20th Anniversary alongside our donors, volunteers, staff members and clients,” said Wayne Pinnell, Board Chair, Laura’s House. “We are tremendously grateful to those who have so generously supported our mission over the last two decades, and for our diverse and tremendously talented board members whose contributions over the years have helped to ensure that Laura’s House maintains a legacy of excellence in serving those whose lives have been touched by domestic violence.”

Connect with Laura’s House on social media to learn more about programs, services, upcoming events and more. You can reach us at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LaurasHouseOC
Twitter:
www.twitter.com/Lauras_House
Instagram:
www.instagram.com/LaurasHouseOC

About Laura’s House

Since 1994, Laura’s House has provided residential shelter and support services to nearly 4,000 families, and counseling, life skills education and legal assistance to over 50,000 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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Uncategorized

Laura’s House Introduces its 2014 Board of Directors

Posted on Tuesday, February 11th 2014

The 19-member board begins the year with the addition of Dr. Jill Murray, an internationally known expert on domestic violence; and, Mike James, former Assistant Sheriff of Custody and Court Operations for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department

LADERA RANCH, Calif., Jan. 30, 2014Laura’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 2014 Board of Directors.

Comprised of 19 members of the Orange County Business Community, the 2014 Board of Directors is led by Wayne Pinnell, Managing Partner with Haskell & White, LLP, who will continue on as board chair for the coming year. Other members of the Laura’s House Board of Directors executive committee include Laura Khouri, President of Western National Property Management, who returns to the board this year as Board Vice President; Kurt Ross, Senior Vice President of Sunwest Bank, who serves as Board Secretary; and, Brent Chase, Co-Founder of Focus 360 who will serve as Board Treasurer.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the Laura’s House Board of Directors during a year when it will experience an important milestone – the celebration of its 20th year of providing domestic violence services within Orange County, and beyond,” said Pinnell. “Over the years, Laura’s House has built an outstanding reputation for offering a comprehensive suite of services, including shelter, counseling, legal and community outreach. Furthermore, they are often on the cutting-edge in terms of their use of the latest therapeutic methods, and state-of-the-art shelter facilities that cater to the needs of individuals, families, including those with special needs.”

The Laura’s House Board of Directors is entering 2014 with the addition of two new board members – Dr. Jill Murray, an internationally known expert on domestic violence; and, Mike James, former Assistant Sheriff of Custody and Court Operations for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Dr. Jill Murray is highly regarded internationally as a leading expert in the field of domestic violence. She has appeared on more than 400 television shows, including Oprah; Montel; 20/20; Dr. Phil; Anderson Cooper, Good Morning America; Today and more than two-dozen CNN shows, as the guest expert on domestic violence.  She has appeared on more than 350 radio talk shows, and either been the subject or expert in more than 200 newspaper and magazine articles on the subject of domestic violence. She is the author of three highly acclaimed books have been used as required curriculum at many universities and in part for countless high school health courses, including But I Love Him—Protecting Your Teen Daughter from Controlling, Abusive Relationships, 2000 (written at the suggestion of Oprah Winfrey); Destructive Relationships—A Guide to Changing the Unhealthy Relationships in Your Life, 2002; and, But He Never Hit Me—The Devastating Cost of Non-Physical Abuse to Girls and Women, 2007.

In her advocacy for domestic violence and dating abuse issues, Dr. Murray has spoken before Congress about the importance of a teen dating violence bill, which resulted in a unanimous vote for said bill, and the formation of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week, which is held the first week in February.

Annually, Dr. Murray speaks to more than 100,000 middle and high school students and parents each year across the country and has conducted more than 500 trainings for professionals on the subjects of domestic violence and teen dating violence. She also conducts trainings for law enforcement, judges, and attorneys working with domestic violence victims. Dr. Murray maintains a waiting-list private practice in Laguna Niguel, Calif. and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is the co-host of a popular Internet radio show: The Dr. Jill and Judge Pam Show (website: www.drjillandjudgepamshow.com). Dr. Murray also has a website: www.drjillmurray.com, at which she receives several hundred to several thousand e-mails per week.

Assistant Sheriff Mike James worked at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for more than 27 years. He retired last year as the Assistant Sheriff of Custody and Court Operations, and currently works as a consultant in the area of Police Administration and Information Technology within law enforcement. During his tenure with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Assistant Sheriff James was also in charge of Field Operations and Investigative Services, and had primary oversight for five divisions including Airport Operations, Homeland Security, Investigations, North Operations and South Operations. Prior to his promotion to Assistant Sheriff in 2008, he was the Captain of the Support Services Division prior to promoting to the rank of Assistant Sheriff. During his career, he also served as the Chief of Police Services for the City of Lake Forest Police.  Assistant Sheriff James has been married to his wife Sandi for 25 years. They reside in Portola Hills, and have three sons.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Murray and Mike James to our board of directors, and excited to see what the board will accomplish in the coming year, as we celebrate our 20th anniversary,” said Margaret Bayston, CEO and Executive Director, Laura’s House. “Over the years, I have gotten to know many of our board members, both on a professional and personal level, and I am always impressed by their unwavering commitment toward advocacy and building awareness for our organization, and our mission, throughout the Orange County community. We would not be where we are today without the tremendous support we receive from this talented and dynamic group of individuals.”

The 2014 Board of Directors also includes Eric B. Chamberlain, Associate General Counsel, Senior Vice President Consumer Banking Services of Bank of America; Laverne Friedmann, President, Friedmann & Friedmann Insurance Services, Inc.; Sandy Jacobson, Partner, Allen Matkins, LLP; Jay Jaffin, Vice President, Marketing & Sales Ops, Verizon Wireless; Linda Kearns, Proprietor, Giracci Vineyards and Farms; Kerri Strunk, Partner, Hittelman Law Group; Linda Lewis, Sr. Practice Consultant, Allergan Practice Consulting Group, Allergan, Inc.; Rick Lutzky, President, Lutzky Associates Development, LLP; Garett Sleichter, Partner, Rutan & Tucker, LLP; Helen H. Timpe, Senior Vice President, Wealth Advisor, Portfolio Manager, The Timpe Group at Morgan Stanley; Barry Villines, Senior Vice President/Chief Accounting Officer, Institutional Housing Partners; Dan Weeks, Branch Manager, Union Bank; and, Matt West, Senior Vice President, 1st Enterprise Bank.

About Laura’s House

Since 1994, 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

Help Us Celebrate 20 Years in Orange County by Sharing Your Laura’s House Story

Posted on Tuesday, January 28th 2014

In 2014, Laura’s House is marking an important milestone – 20 years of serving individuals and families within our community who are affected by domestic violence.

Over the past two decades, we have touched lives of thousands of women, men and children, and not just those who have benefited from the programs and services we provide, but also the donors, volunteers and staff members who have generously supported us in our fulfilling our mission!

As part of our 20th Anniversary celebrating, we are looking for clients, volunteers, donors, current and former staff, and members of the community, just like you, to share their story of the impact that Laura’s House has had on their lives. Perhaps you, or someone you know is building a life free of violence with the help of Laura’s House? Or, maybe you’ve experienced the joy of making a difference for those we serve by volunteering, or by making a financial contribution or donating goods and services? Perhaps you are part of a community group or organization that makes an annual commitment to Laura’s House?

Please consider sharing your story with us on our GreatNonprofits page at http://greatnonprofits.org/org/lauras-house, or you can also e-mail the story to amccallister@laurashouse.org.

Thank you and we looking forward to hearing about the difference that Laura’s House has made in your life!

Events In the News

Teens Together To End Dating Violence

Posted on Saturday, January 25th 2014

In Orange County, one in four high school students (boys and girls) is in a physically abusive relationship. If you need help call: Hotline (866) 498-1511

Join Laura’s House to honor Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month at our 4th Annual Vigil:

Friday, February 7th, 2014
5:30-7:00p.m.

OC Sheriff Regional Training Academy
15991 Armstrong Avenue
Tustin, CA 92782

In loving memory of Jacque Villagomez and all victims of teen dating violence. Jacque’s life tragically ended when she was beaten to death by her boyfriend.

Jacque Villagomez ~ May 8, 1989 ~ September 2, 2008

Events