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September 25, 2007 > Boys to Men, an eye on safe, stable futures

Boys to Men, an eye on safe, stable futures

By Julie Grabowski

Children grow and change with each new day; experiences and perceptions build their personality and stature as a future adult. Influences are plentiful but not always positive. Ideas of strength and power, even those with a positive message, sometimes give way to harmful attitudes and violence. Young boys can be a special cause for concern since statistics show that men commit 85% of domestic violence incidents. Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE) sheds light on this issue Friday, September 28 with their 5th Annual Breakfast Eye Opener "Open your eyes to Boys Becoming Men." The event will focus on what we, the local community, can do to raise and mentor boys to become respectful and loving men.

SAVE, a community based non-profit organization, provides services to over 10,000 women, men, and children involved in domestic violence each year. Since 1976, they have worked to provide a path from crisis to safe and stable futures via counseling, life skills training, support groups, shelter, transitional housing, legal advocacy and more. "As an agency we really focus on awareness and prevention," says Development Officer Laura Schulmeister. And that is the core of the Breakfast Eye Opener.

Returning for his third year as Master of Ceremonies is Willie Monroe of ABC7 News. Sponsored by California State Assemblymember Alberto Torrico, Kaiser Permanente, Washington Hospital Healthcare System, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and the Tri-City Voice, this important presentation is open to everyone. Concerned community members, religious groups and service organizations are invited to take part in combating this form of civic blight and making a difference at a personal level.

Schulmeister says SAVE would love to get involved with more schools; the organization has reached almost 1,200 teenagers in the past year with their successful Teen Dating Violence Prevention presentation. Another wish is to see good men get involved. "It's not just a woman's problem," says Schulmeister, "It's an 'everyone' problem. It's something that everyone should be discussing."

While enjoying an All-American breakfast including scrambled eggs, sausage, pastries, smoothies, and coffee, attendees will analyze messages boys receive about the characteristics of a real man and how those messages affect interpersonal relationships. The morning will feature a video presentation created in partnership with Washington Hospital in which local men share their thoughts and experiences on the issue. SAVE's Executive Director Rodney Clark will also address the assembly.

Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler will be honored as this year's recipient of the Liz Figueroa Domestic Violence Prevention Award for his years of service to SAVE. Schulmeister says Steckler is open to communication on this subject and realizes and the valuable help SAVE provides by diffusing difficult situations and making positive steps toward a better future. "We're really lucky to have that relationship."

The Eye Opener Breakfast is one of SAVE's two major fundraisers. Last year, the morning event drew close to 300 people and raised $27,000. All monies go to SAVE's General Fund. A large proportion of the funds raised at the breakfast are expected to be used for the children's program, which recently suffered a financial blow when a broken water pipe flooded one of their rooms. Repairs are needed as well as the replacement of toys.

SAVE has changed the lives of thousands in their mission to assist, educate, and stop the cycle of domestic violence. But the road is long and community-wide support is needed to ensure healthy futures for all. "We'd really appreciate people getting involved and standing up," says Schulmeister, even if they aren't attending the breakfast. "The more we talk about it, the closer we get to a solution." Open your eyes to the issue and help guide our boys into honorable, respectful men, creating loving relationships and peaceful communities.

Tickets are $75 apiece and can be purchased online by credit card; printable forms are also on the SAVE website for those wishing to send payment by mail. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Program ads begin at $100.

SAVE's local community office is located in the Fremont Family Resource Center, with advocates located in local police stations. Help is available 24 hours a day through a crisis hotline: (510) 794-6055. To learn more about SAVE or the Breakfast Eye Opener call (510) 574-2266 or visit www.save-dv.org.

SAVE Breakfast Eye Opener
Friday, September 28
7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Fremont Marriott
46100 Landing Pkwy, Fremont
(510) 574-2266
www.save-dv.org
Tickets: $75 each

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