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September 21, 2010 > SAVE breakfast gets personal

SAVE breakfast gets personal

By Julie Grabowski

Getting up for breakfast just might be one of the best things you do this year. Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE) is hosting their 8th Annual Breakfast Eye Opener on Friday, September 24 to raise awareness about the far reaching effects of domestic abuse.

"Something like domestic violence, it's often closer than you know," says SAVE Development Officer Debra Watanuki. It could be happening to a friend, colleague, cousin, or parent of your child's friend. People generally operate on the thought that bad things happen to other people, that domestic violence is a private matter and personal concern, none of your business. But the Eye Opener focuses on the "outside" individual, you, because directly or indirectly, domestic violence impacts and affects us all.

For example, a child living with domestic abuse carries that with them to school, where it affects their performance, friendships, teachers, and the school. An abused employee might be arriving late, not attending to work properly, which in turn affects other employees and business productivity. "It ripples out into the community," says Watanuki. "It isn't somebody else's problem or somebody else's hurt. It affects everyone."

Education is key. Watanuki says that people must learn what domestic violence is, and what the signs are. It does not always mean physical injuries, but comes in different forms, such as psychological and emotional. "It is much broader than you think," she says. "You don't know you're in it." It is especially important for children to learn what a healthy relationship is; they need to know what is normal. And education leads to prevention.

"The purpose of the breakfast is to raise awareness and educate the people who attend, and empower those working with us," says Watanuki. Eye Opener attendees will learn how the impact of abuse extends beyond the victim, as well as hear from women guest speakers sharing their stories of personal triumph. The event also is an important fundraiser. Last year's breakfast brought out around 230 people and raised between $35,000 to $38,000. This year SAVE has high aspirations and hopes to double that amount, reaching their goal of $75,000. All proceeds go directly to SAVE, benefiting their many services, which include an emergency shelter, teen dating violence prevention program, individual counseling, employment and housing assistance, support groups, children's program, and outreach and community education. They also have a 24-hour crisis hotline that can be reached at (510) 794-6055.

SAVE is a non-profit, community-based organization that has helped over 200,000 victims of domestic violence since their founding in 1976. Their mission is "to promote alternatives to domestic violence through support services, advocacy, and education; to assist domestic violence victims and their families to end the cycle of violence."

Says Watanuki, "We need people to know... you're not in a bubble, you're not protected from this." Attending the Breakfast Eye Opener will move, educate, and enlighten attendees as individuals and as part of a community. It might be the best way you've ever started your day.

Tickets cost $75 for an individual seat, or $750 for a reserved table of 10. Tickets can be purchased at, or call the SAVE Community Office at (510) 574-2250 for more information.

SAVE 8th Annual Breakfast Eye Opener
Open Your Eyes to: YOU
Friday, September 24
7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Fremont Marriott Hotel
46100 Landing Parkway, Fremont
(510) 574-2250

Tickets: $75 individual, $750 table of 10

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