St. Clair County Residents Plant Seeds of Hope for Victims

August 19, 2016

The theme of the Eighth Annual Purse & Passion St. Clair County Luncheon was “Planting Seeds of Hope,” and the 425 guests sent a strong message to let domestic violence victims from St. Clair and Blount counties know that they are not alone.

The group raised $80,257 at the August 18 event, chaired by Blair and Cindy Goodgame and held at The Beacon at Pell City First United Methodist Church. All of the funds will be used to support Our Place, the YWCA Central Alabama’s emergency shelter in Pell City, and to provide supportive services to victims in St. Clair and Blount counties. Since Our Place opened in 2009, more than 6,000 victims have received legal assistance, court advocacy, shelter and support.

“When domestic violence victims arrive at Our Place, they may feel alone, broken, scared and hopeless,” Blair Goodgame said. “The YWCA’s staff nurtures these women in a safe and loving environment and encourages them along their journey from victim to survivor.” 

Jordan and Tami, two women who are rebuilding their lives with the help of the YWCA, were featured in a video and shared how they found courage, strength and hope at Our Place. “They have shown me that I can stand on my own two feet,” Jordan said. Tami, who recently moved into her own apartment, agreed. “My setback was a setup for me to start over again, and the YW was there for me when I needed it,” she said.

The YW also honored Dr. Virginia Gauld, a former YW Board member who was instrumental in bringing the shelter and the fundraising event to St. Clair County. “Jenny helped plant the seeds for Our Place and Purse & Passion St. Clair County,” said Yolanda Sullivan, the YWCA’s CEO. “She has made an impact on thousands of lives, and we are so grateful for her vision, passion and unwavering commitment.”

The YWCA opened Our Place in 2009 to serve victims in St. Clair and Blount counties who were unable or unwilling to travel to Birmingham for services. The YW's "Justice on Wheels" project is aimed at helping victims in rural and isolated communities who cannot access or afford legal services. Staff members go to them, meeting in coffee shops or other public places to assist with issues such as protection from abuse orders, divorce, child custody and child support. 

"If they can't come to us, we will go to them," said Jennifer Caraway, director of domestic violence services. "The knowledge and training of our staff enables them to address their specific concerns that might not be fully understood by lawyers unfamiliar with the unique needs of domestic violence victims."

The YWCA is grateful to the luncheon’s Steering Committee members and Table Captains, as well as the generous sponsors, including title sponsor Alabama Power and presenting sponsors Belk; Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC;  Red Diamond; and Friends Bound for New Horizons. Supporter level sponsors were: Benjamin Moore Paints; Chapel in the Pines; City of Leeds; City of Pell City; The Daily Home; Goodgame Company; Kilgroe Funeral Home, Inc.; Metro Bank; Pell City First United Methodist Church; Publix Super Markets Charities; Rotary Club of Pell City; and Trinity Industries.

Sponsors at the contributor level were: City of Moody; First Baptist Church South; Hill, Hill & Gossett, P.C.; Landmark Credit Union; Mays Bend Ladies Club; Rhodes Agency – Allstate; St. Vincent’s Health System; and USAmeriBank. Other generous sponsors were: Alpine Bay Golf Club; Butts To Go; Coosa Valley Equine Center; Sonia Dale; The Elmer B. and Glenda S. Harris Legacy Endowment Fund; Kell Realty; Lake Front Motel; Magnolia’s; Paul and Marie Manning; Pell City Internal and Family Medicine; Smith & Son Construction; Town of Steele; and Usrey Funeral Home.

To get involved with the YWCA or to support our programs, click here.