Tag Archives: Haven

Domestic Violence Victims Recover with Community Help

After our Zonta Club meeting in September, I ran by a big box home improvement store to buy a flower for my stepmother.  The day was my Dad’s birthday.  He was no longer here to celebrate with us having passed away in February this year.  But he was still very much in our hearts and minds that day.

As I was checking out, the cashier asked me what “Zonta” was.  I realized that in my hurry to get to the store  and deliver the plant to my stepmother that evening, I had not yet taken off my Zonta pin.  I told the sales clerk that we were a professional and business women’s group concerned with ending domestic violence among other priorities.  I also explained that Erica Wiedemann, the Executive Director of The Haven of RCS, the local domestic violence shelter in Clearwater, had spoken to our group that evening.



The cashier looked at me and said, “A domestic violence shelter once helped me.”  I was startled by her admission.  As her male colleague and I stood close by, “Raven” told us her story.  Raven had married at age 17 and had her first child at age 19.  Her husband’s abusive streak had emerged while they were stationed overseas in Germany.  Their family grew to five children.  Once when they were back in the US, her mother came to visit.  Her husband started threatening Raven’s mother with violence, too.  That’s when Raven decided that she had had enough.  She got her mother out of the house and then left with the kids who were at home and went to the police station.  Raven had no money, no job, no nothing except fear and a desire to protect herself, her mother, and her children from further abuse.  The police connected her with the domestic violence shelter who helped her with a residence and time to relocate, find a job, and build a new life. Raven was willing to let me take her picture and publish it on this website because she wants people to know how important programs are for helping victims of domestic violence.

On today, October 20, I am sharing this story with you because domestic violence happens all the time.  Don’t look the other way when you see it happening to someone in your life.  Talk to them, help them see that violence against women and children by a partner, paramour, or spouse is never justified.  A journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first step; remember what Raven did over twenty years ago to make a new life for her self and her children because someone helped her connect with the local domestic violence program.  Let’s all be that someone…

Zonta Pinellas Club Members Meet with Erica Wiedemann

Erica Wiedemann, Executive Director of the Haven of RCS and Donna Lancaster, Zonta Pinellas Club President

Erica Wiedemann, Executive Director of the Haven of RCS and Donna Lancaster, Zonta Club Pinellas President

Zonta Club Pinellas members were happy to host Erica Wiedemann, Executive Director of The Haven of RCS, our domestic violence shelter program in Clearwater, at our September Club meeting.

Erica explained the work they do to provide emergency and extended residential services for victims of domestic violence.  Their Safe House has room for 36 residents for up to 45 days.  They also have an eleven unit complex where families may stay for up to two years.

Erica encouraged Zonta members to come to the Haven’s annual fundraising luncheon on October 23 at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church at 409 Old Coachman Road.  Our table is reserved for us.  Erica left with “Zonta assistants” helping her carry the toddler diapers and wipes we had collected for Haven families.

She also came with a calendar of events for 2015, many of which Zonta Club Pinellas members will support with donations and assistance. Thank you, Erica, for coming to our Club and your enthusiastic leadership to help families hurt by violence in the home.

Calendar of Events for The Haven of RCS

January 2015–Back to School Supplies Needed

March 11-13, 2015–CORE Training, Outreach Center

April 16, 2015–Fashion Show Fundraiser with Patchington and Mary Kay, Chapel by the Sea

May 10, 2015–Mother’s Day (gifts cards needed for Moms)

TBD (Spring 2015) Sunshine & Soul Benefit event

June 10-12, 2015–CORE Training, Outreach Center

July 4, 2015–Independence Day Cook Out (food, drinks needed for families)

August 2015–Back to School Supplies Needed

October 2015–Domestic Violence Awareness Month & Annual Faces of DV Luncheon, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Clearwater

Thanksgiving–Turkeys and side dishes needed for families

November-December 2015–Adopt a Family Holiday Drive

* * * * *

Paulette Kevlin earns smiles and pats on each shoulder for bringing guests to the September Club meeting.  Way to go, Paulette!

Paulette Kevlin and Guest Dee Streb

Paulette Kevlin and Guest Dee Streb