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September 27, 2005 > 3rd Annual Breakfast Eye Opener

3rd Annual Breakfast Eye Opener

by Tina Cuccia

Learn how domestic violence affects everyone including the victims, their families and the community at the Shelter Against Violent Environments' 3rd Annual Breakfast Eye Opener on October 7, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Fremont Marriott.

Commemorating Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the educational event will feature California Senator Liz Figueroa who returns this year as Honorary Chair. Senator Figueroa will present the "Liz Figueroa Domestic Violence Prevention Award," established in 2001, to recognize individuals who have made exceptional strides in combating domestic violence in our community. This year's recipient of the award is John Dutra, Assemblymember 20th District, retired, who will be recognized for his outstanding work to raise domestic violence awareness in the community.

Dutra, a former SAVE board member, authored AB 664 in 2001 with Senator Figueroa as the co-author to get $4 million in funding for SAVE as well as nine other California domestic violence agencies. Dutra said that while his name is on the bill, it wouldn't have been possible without the help of Senator Figueroa, who he says played a major role in helping shepherd the bill through legislation. He's honored to be receiving this award. "I've received awards in the past, but this one is an award that I will truly cherish and treasure," he said, adding, "This one is the most meaningful one."

Dutra continues to support SAVE today, an organization he considers "one of the finest most critical nonprofits in our region."

"SAVE provides a shelter for women who are in very dangerous situations when they don't have a place to go," Dutra said. "SAVE has continued to provide a vital service in a caring, thoughtful and compassionate way." Not only does it provide a shelter, it offers solutions to many of the challenges victims of domestic violence face, such as relocation and finding a job.

The problem, Dutra says, is SAVE does not have the available funds to provide necessary services for all of those who need them. "If the community only knew that SAVE doesn't have the money to provide services...just think of the mother who calls and is told that they don't have the resources to help her. It breaks my heart. But they [SAVE] do the best they can even though they are limited by a lack of funds."

Dutra says it's vital that the community become aware and do what they can to support SAVE, so the organization has the resources it needs to support victims.

"He's a wonderful philanthropic individual and a person with a lot of heart," Senator Figueroa said of Dutra in a telephone interview, adding, "He knows the importance of touching people's lives." There are millions of children who are victims and this is a huge presence in their lives," she said. "He doesn't want to leave any child behind."

Willie Monroe, ABC7 News Oakland Bureau Chief will emcee the Breakfast Eye Opener. The theme this year is "Open Your Eyes to the Impact of Domestic Violence on Children" and will feature a panel of speakers who will address the impact of domestic violence on children, providing personal stories and expert perspectives. Pamela Isom, CEO and President of ICE Safety Solutions, will share her personal story of growing up with an abusive father. The terror of watching and hearing the violence was traumatizing to her for many years. Isom, an accomplished local businesswoman, wife and mother, has triumphed over her traumatic past.

Deborah Turner, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and Deputy Director of Kidango, will also discuss the impact that exposure to domestic violence has on children's emotional, physiological, cognitive and social development as well as the long-term effects of domestic violence.

Senator Figueroa spoke of the need to reach out to victims by encouraging them seek help and support. She said many feel they can't tell anyone and it is important that we help them feel like they can.

"We need to promote the ability to feel comfortable talking about it [domestic violence], Senator Figueroa said. "A lot of women and children of ethnic groups feel embarrassed to even talk about it."

SAVE organizers hope that by attending the event, attendees will become more aware of how important it is to address the effect of domestic violence on children and the challenges these victims face. SAVE will also share what the organization is doing to help their young clients work through their own personal traumas as well as what you can do to help.

SAVE is a nonprofit organization established in 1976 to address the needs of people who experience violence in their families. Their mission is to provide alternatives to domestic violence through support services, advocacy and education, and to assist domestic violence victims and their families in the hopes of ending the cycle of violence. SAVE is located in southern Alameda County and serves the areas of mid and southern Alameda County, and Silicon Valley.

3rd Annual Breakfast Eye Opener
Friday, Oct. 7
7:30 - 9 a.m.
Fremont Marriott
46100 Landing Parkway, Fremont

Tickets are $75, with all proceeds benefiting SAVE. To purchase tickets or learn more about SAVE visit or contact Leslie McGarry at (510) 574-2262.

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