Sojourn for battered women and their children
at the WVRC August 24, 2007
PP MIKE "Goatee" GINTZ led us in the Pledge. LENNY "He's a real gem" FRIEDMAN led us in song with an acappella rendition of "America The Beautiful" (and yes it is!). PP RON LYSTER gave us 6 works of wisdom, from the likes of Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Albert Einstein, George Burns, Abraham Lincoln, and last but not least, Groucho Marx ("I've had a wonderful evening, but this isn't it!").
We had one visiting Rotarian, third generation Rotarian DAVID NOYES from the Laguna Beach Rotary Club, who was up our way for a dental conference of some sort. We also had one special guest. NICK KAHRILAS brought his friend SHAWN HEILBRON, who works in the UCLA Athletic Department (another Bruin!).
PP STEVE DAY put in a plug for our District's Foundation Dinner, which is September 29, 2007, at the beautiful and exciting CBS Studios in Studio City. It's time for black tie and tennis shoes while we traipse around the television studio sets! Please buy and turn in your raffle tickets to Steve right away.
VP ED GAULD, all decked out in a white apron and chef's hat (very becoming!), solicited our interest in attending the always fun and exciting Annual Club Picnic. The Annual Picnic is September 16, 2007, from 2: 30 to 5: 30 pm. at the lovely home of Eloise Siskel. Come one, come all (especially with kids and grandchildren) for games, good food and drink, and best of all, some good old fashion fun!
It was another Fine Day to be a Rotarian! PRESIDENT CHRIS asked PP RON LYSTER to stand while he recounted his telephone call the other day with Ron's old friend Al Gore. Mr. Gore was complaining, something about melting icebergs in Alaska, which a member of the WVRC was aiding and abetting by dancing up a storm on a recent Alaska cruise. After some prodding, RON LYSTER fessed up that he was ballroom dancing on an Alaska cruise, and not just with his wife, the lovely Guin Lyster, but also with the Jersey Girls and other women! With PRESIDENT CHRIS ready to levy a $100 fine, various WVRC Rotarians offered to pay it if RON would show us some of his dance moves. RON, however, elected to pay the fine rather than show us his stuff!
FLORENCE SAMPSON introduced our speaker, Catalina Rodas, who has been working with Sojourn Services for Battered Women and Their Children for several years. Ms. Rodas is currently the Manager of Community Education and Outreach Programs. Sojourn is based in Santa Monica and operates shelters and other programs to assist battered women and their children. The statistics are frightening: 1 out of 4 American women report being physically abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives; 1 out of 3 femicide victims is killed by her current or former intimate partner; and women who leave their batterers are at a greater risk of being killed by the batterer than those who stay. The most dangerous time for a battered woman's safety is when they try to leave the abusive situation.
Sojourn runs two shelters. The Crisis Shelter houses women and children for 30-45 days, until they can relocate. The Crisis Shelter can house up to 20 women and children. Sojourn also runs a Second Stage Shelter, which houses the more severely physically hurt women (e.g., those who are shot, burned, etc.) for periods of up to 2 years. The Second Stage shelter is slightly larger, with 22 beds.
Sojourn runs a hotline for battered women, and works with law enforcement to help battered women get the assistance they need. Sojourn also goes to court with battered women and provides counseling for traumatized women and children. Great focus is put on the children. Sojourn strives to empower and help these children unlearn the violence to which they have been exposed. Sojourn also organizes support groups, which help to educate women on domestic violence, including "red flags" to watch for in identifying likely batterers. A very worthwhile organization.
PRESIDENT CHRIS left us with the following words of wisdom from Will Rogers: Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
YMAE (Ye Middle Aged Editor) ... Mark Block