Help the YWCA Celebrate 120 Good Men

Each year the YWCA celebrates 100 Good Men.  Last year we were pleased to see several of our OBRFW supporters in the celebration lineup!

100 Good Men 2013

Some of the Nominees at 100 Good Men 2013

You can nominate and sponsor a Good Man!  Who do you know who models healthy relationships and exemplifies the YWCA mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, and dignity for all?  Nominations are due by July 14.

This year the event will again be held at Parkview Field with the celebration happening during a TinCaps game – on July 23.  Each nominee receives a ticket to the game and is celebrated on the field at the game.  But there is a twist this year.  To recognize the YWCA’s 120th anniversary, they will celebrate 120 Good Men!

To nominate one or more Good Men, simply fill out the simple nomination form – you can do it online or send in a paper version – and donate $25 to the YWCA (a great cause in the first place!).  Find the form and all the information you need at www.ywca.org/120GoodMen.

Pink, Red, Purple

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We are hours away.  In six hours the stands at Parkview Field will be filled with pink, red, and purple.  Hundreds of people, most dressed in pink, red, and purple.

It will be colorful.  We’ll dance.  We’ll yell.  We’ll laugh.  We’ll sing.

Most of all, though, we will pause and listen – to the very important message about the issue of violence against women and girls.  We’ll listen to stories about how that affects us right here.  We’ll get to know the 5 nonprofit community resources that address violence issues in our community every day.

We’ll rise and dance to make change happen.  To build awareness.  To lift the darkness from this often misunderstood issue.  To make sure that survivors know that someone has their back.

Thanks to all of you who have worked and donated to make this event happen! Thanks to all of you who will be there today – in your pink, red, and purple!

Eyes Wide Open – YWCA’s Relationship Awareness Program for Teens

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Fifteen year-old “Alex” and her boyfriend had been on-again, off-again for three years. The late-night texts and phone calls, the constant fighting and breaking up – it was exhausting. But he kept telling her, “I can’t live without you,” and she couldn’t help but to keep coming back.

We have a tendency to think of abuse against girls to come at the hands of an adult. And, we all see relationships like Alex’s and tend to attribute the intensity to hormones or puberty. But oftentimes, there’s something else going on, hidden from the eyes of parents and teachers:

Teen dating violence far exceeds the rates of all other types of youth violence. One in three American teenagers will experience dating violence in her or his relationship, and about two-thirds of those teens in abusive relationships will never tell anyone. These statistics don’t even reflect the number of teens who do not understand that what they are experiencing is abuse.

When YWCA Northeast Indiana’s Community Education Coordinator came to her class to talk about healthy relationships, Alex didn’t realize that what she was experiencing was dating abuse. The jealousy, the possessiveness, the isolation from her friends, even the threats of suicide, she thought were romantic. She thought, “This is what you do when you love someone.”

But YWCA Northeast Indiana’s certified Eyes Wide Open… relationship awareness© training made her realize what was really happening in her relationship. And after spending some one-on-one time talking with our Community Education Coordinator, Alex realized that consciously spending time apart from her boyfriend, ignoring his texts, and hanging out with friends she had long been isolated from, brought her a sense of relief.

Getting out of her relationship allowed Alex to become herself again, and hopefully prevented her from experiencing the long-term effects of teen dating violence. (Aside from physical harm, violent relationships in adolescence put teens at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, and further domestic violence.)

These destructive relationships during the teen years can also lead to a lifelong pattern of violent relationships. According to the CDC, among adult victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner 22 percent of women and 15 percent of men first experienced some sort of dating violence as teenagers.

YWCA Northeast Indiana helps over 5,000 women, children, and men annually who have been victims of domestic violence, and offers programs that are certified under Heather’s Law to teach teens the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships. We go into hundreds of classrooms and youth groups each year, and we hear stories directly from teenagers. And we are proud to be a part of One Billion Rising Fort Wayne because it gives us the opportunity to spread awareness of these stories. Stories like Alex’s.

So, what can you do?

Talk with the teens in your life about the characteristics of healthy relationships, and the signs of unhealthy ones. Keep your eyes open for changes in behavior, such as disruptive text messages and phone calls, depression, withdrawal and anxiety, which may be signs of an unhealthy relationship. Act on your hunches.

And, if you need help, know that YWCA Northeast Indiana is here to help all victims of dating and domestic violence. Our website (www.ywca.org/NEIN) is a wealth of information and our Crisis Line operates 24/7/365. Call us at (800) 441-4073.

As a community we need to respond to and work toward ending teen dating violence by supporting the efforts of schools, communities, and organizations like YWCA Northeast Indiana, to empower teens to develop healthy relationships.

One in three American teens will experience dating violence. Will your teen be the one?

Shovels Against Violence

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We at One Billion Rising Fort Wayne have the best friends ever!  Ever!

Yesterday, there was a window of opportunity to clear snow from the stands at Parkview Field to get ready for Friday’s main event.  Last year, we had no snow buildup to deal with, but this year it had drifted high among the seats.  A bunch of great volunteers showed up, shovels in hand, and got to work clearing the seats.

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They came from all corners.

  • You can see Tincaps tickets guru Justin Shurley in the front of the photo below, lugging a huge shovelful.
  • They came with Andrew Hoffman and Neighborlink.
  • They came with Brad from the Tincaps Bad Apple Dancers who (spoiler alert!) will be dancing with us on Friday.
  • They came because they saw the call for help on WANE-TV.
  • They came, like Kevin Butts and Jerry Vandeveer, because they were loyal OBRFW volunteers and supporters who fervently believe in the cause.

Do you see the man in the back talking to the woman in the green coat.  That’s Jerry Vandeveer, who has been a supporter since day one.  He is talking with Cathie Rowand of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette about OBR and OBRFW.  He eloquently explains the cause and why we are here.  Watch and listen …

Removing Snow for One Billion Rising Event from The Journal Gazette on Vimeo.

Breaking the Chain at Wunderkammer

This video features the Dance Empowerment Crew dancing to Break The Chain at our fundraiser at Wunderkammer.  But, DO NOT click away when the dance is done!  The video continues with the soft sounds of Mathis Grey, who we thank for playing at the fundraiser – go check out “Lights” on iTunes or Bandcamp.

Video Credit – Yolanda SoBlessed Hall

Girl Rising – What a Great Fort Wayne Premiere!

The critically acclaimed film, Girl Rising, premiered to a packed house last night at the Cinema Center.  The film highlights the stories of 9 girls from across the globe to demonstrate the impact that educating a girl can have on her life – from creating the opportunity for individual freedom and happiness, to breaking the cycle of violence, abuse, and oppression, to kickstarting the cultural growth of a country!

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The lobby was full of pink as people filed in.  The OBRFW crew debuted the new 2014 hot pink t-shirt!

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To guarantee you get a shirt, you can buy one for $10 (proceeds to our charity partners, of course) at our Lifting the Darkness fundraiser this Sunday at Wunderkammer.   Or take your chances of being one of the 1 in 3 who receive one at the main event at Parkview Field.

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Jonah Crismore of the Cinema Center introduced OBRFW’s Lori Rose while people were still filing into the theater.  Thanks to Jonah and the Cinema Center and to David Lupke and Lupke Rice Insurance for generously sponsoring the event (you guys rock)!

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After some thank you’s, Lori got the program started.

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She first and introduced Matt Thomas’s beautiful and moving OBRFW “Why We Rise!” video.  If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t wait – go directly to the video and be thrilled!  p.s. – we apologize, Matt, for “borrowing” your photo (below) of your video on the big screen.

Matt Thomas' OBRFW Video at Girl Rising

And we moved right into the feature film.  For those of you who may not  be familiar with Girl Rising, we suggest you that you visit GirlRising.com for more information.  You can even buy a DVD for home use or license the film for a group event like ours.  The film is a cinematic pleasure and the storytelling (all true stories) is wonderful.  We’ll concentrate on the facts of the issues for a second – here’s Girl Rising’s 10 Facts About Girls’ Education.

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Sometimes we in the US tend to think that these issues don’t exist here.  The US wasn’t one of the 9 countries represented in the film.  But, they absolutely do – right here in Fort Wayne.  To start a dialogue about the local impact we can make, Jordan Crouch of Crime Victim Care and Nicole Moore of Creative Women of the World led a discussion that continued until 11:30!  We were especially proud of you girls in the audience who found your voice and spoke up openly – because, frankly, you are what this is all about!  Kudos!

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One Billion Rising Fort Wayne thanks everyone who came to Girl Rising last night.  Please come visit us again on V-Day, February 14 at 5:00 pm at Parkview Field, to RISE once more.