Assistance League of Diablo Valley President Margie Basile (l.) Community Programs Co-Chairman Laurie McIntosh (r.) and Philanthropic Programs Vice President Sally Ryan (far r.) welcome Cynthia D. Peterson (c.), Director of Crisis Intervention Services for Marin and Contra Costa Counties.
Since 1967, member volunteers of Assistance League® of Diablo Valley have improved lives in the Contra Costa community hands-on philanthropic programs. In 2006, the chapter reconfigured Community Programs to umbrella seven short-term programs that were designed to meet immediate or emergency related needs. Assault Survivor Kits®, established in 1994, is one of these programs. This year alone, dedicated committee member volunteers have filled 180 reusable, muslin bags with such items as sweat pants, a sweat shirt, a T-shirt, underwear, socks, and a hygiene kit that were donated to the Rape Crisis Center to be distributed to victims of sexual assault. One client’s response summarized the overall tragedy, “Thank you for the clothes. If it hadn’t been for this kit, I would have had to go home…in my hospital gown.”
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an observance that Community Programs Co-Chairman Laurie McIntosh shared with attendees at Assistance League of Diablo Valley’s Regular Meeting on April 9. Ms. McIntosh then introduced Cynthia D. Peterson, Executive Director of California State University-Chico Women’s Center, where she had previously graduated with a major in Social Work and Psychology and a minor in Women’s Studies. Ms. Peterson has devoted more than 20 years in community activism to increase awareness of women and children’s basic needs, as well as racism, sexism, ageism, poverty, and homelessness. Focusing on sexual assault and domestic violence, she has developed and conducted programs for Rape Crisis Advocates and has in-serviced law enforcement personnel, health care workers, church groups, community organizations, and school staffs. Currently, Ms. Peterson directs Crisis Intervention Services, Prevention Education, and the Anti-Human Trafficking Project for Marin and Contra Costa Rape Crisis Centers.
Ms. Peterson began her presentation by alluding to the Community Violence Solutions’ Mission: “In partnering with the community, we are dedicated to ending sexual assault and family violence through prevention, crisis services, and treatment.” The program’s Crisis Intervention & Counseling effort serves approximately 1,400 clients each year. Along with the Rape Crisis Center, the Anti-Human Trafficking Project, Sexual Assault Response Team, Children’s Interview Center, and the Safe 4 Us Child Visitation Center ultimately empower victims to become survivors.
Additionally, Prevention Services for Youth include workshops presented at school sites in an interactive format that address Sexual Assault, Bystander Intervention, Sexual Harassment, and Girls Assertiveness Training. This effort targets first, third, and fifth grade girls. One example of Creating Positive Change involves the use of technology when an abused child’s interview is taped in a child-friendly environment; it curtails the trauma of the child having to repeat the account. Two drop-in centers, one in Antioch and the other in San Pablo, attend to such basic needs as a home cooked meal or a book entitled Very Young Girls, another Assault Survivor Kit donation. Ms. Peterson concluded with heartfelt thanks to Assistance League of Diablo Valley’s Community Programs, stating that such partnership has helped Community Violence Solutions plant the seeds for effecting Positive Change.
To learn more about Assistance League of Diablo Valley’s Community Programs, as well as its other philanthropic programs, please visit its website: diablovalley.assistanceleague.org. Information concerning its Corporate Partners Program is also available.