Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Gala fattens coffers to fight domestic violence

Funds raised exceed previous year

Express Staff Writer

Joy Kasputys, left, the chair of the silent auction at the Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence?s Dancing under the Stars gala, stops to check the bidding at one of the tables with fellow volunteer Eeva Pregitzer Sunday evening. Photo by Willy Cook

When the party moved from an outdoor patio to the luxurious Limelight Room in Sun Valley on Sunday, supporters of the Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence rallied for the cause by exceeding the amount of money the group raised at last year's event.

The final tally was approximately $230,000, said Advocates executive director Tricia Swartling. "It's better than ever. That's exciting."

The Advocates, a grassroots, non-profit, volunteer organization, works to help physically and emotionally battered families in the Wood River Valley by providing a shelter, counseling and education programs.

Lovely weather and an extensive silent auction that was held on the Limelight patio highlighted the annual fund-raising event.

Inside, a group of Wood River Valley dancers showed off various styles of dance including the Tango and the hustle with music provided by the colorful High Street Band.

Following a sit-down dinner, Lara Spencer of Ketchum was introduced as this year's guest survivor. As she related her own story of abuse and recovery to the 325 people in attendance, the banquet room fell silent.

Spencer credited the many "earth angels" who helped her through the process, including people at New Beginnings, a center in Seattle.

Board member Mari Clack paraphrased a quotation by the Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer: "'Thou shall not be a victim. Thou shall not be a perpetrator. Thou shall never be a bystander.' And no one in this room is."

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