Advocates Mark 30 Years of Service to Lake County
Last Saturday, April 13, The Advocates of Lake County held a 30th Anniversary Celebration at the National Mining Museum in Leadville. The program included a tri-decade overview of the organization, presented by past and present board members and volunteers, including Carolyn Perna, Bud Elliott, Mary Ann Best, and Gretchen Scanlon.Carolyn Perna was one of The Advocates’ founders in 1983.
The evening was emceed by Board Member Donna Axel and included an educational presentation on domestic violence in Lake County by Jennifer McConnell with St Anthony Summit Medical Center. The Advocates of Lake County served 300 victims last year.
And while the subject of domestic violence generally leaves people with a heavy heart, last Saturday’s celebration uplifted attendees by highlighting the notable successes and strides the organization has made over the last 30 years.
Ultimately, the wish would be for The Advocates not to exist. After all, that would mean that domestic violence would have been eradicated in Lake County. But the recent downturn in the economy in many ways created the same kinds of situations and crimes that led to the creation of the non-profit organization thirty years ago when Leadville has dealing with the massive layoffs from the closing of the Climax Mine.
“We have a high rate of domestic violence in Lake County,” noted Gretchen Scanlon, Executive Director of The Advocates of Lake County in an earlier interview with Leadville Today. Most of the variables, Scanlon explains, are economic. Whether it’s the present rate of unemployment or the fluctuating income associated with seasonal jobs, financial hardship is often at the top of trigger points.
Established in 1983, the Advocates of Lake County’s mission is to assist victims of domestic violence and their families through prevention, education and, with the recent completion of The Alder House, a place where victims can call home during their transition to a new, secure life. Initially an all-volunteer organization, the Advocates now consists of 3 full-time staff and countless volunteers.
During last Saturday’s 30th Anniversary Celebration, each speaker told their decade’s story about the journey of a small, volunteer organization that fought the scrappy fight for victims of domestic violence. Starting in a basement office at the Lake County Courthouse, rising to the second floor of Leadville City Hall, and culminating with the completion of The Alder House last year, the evening’s theme of dedication, hard work, and commitment not only rings true for the organization, but for the manner in which they have served victims in Lake County as well.
Which leads to today’s needs and ways you can help. Whether it’s assisting directly with victims or through fundraising efforts (pancake breakfasts, etc), your time commitment helps local families. In addition, the Board of Directors has a couple of open seats, so please consider making a bigger commitment.
If you’re interested, contact Gretchen at 719-486-3530. Those interested in donating can do so by mailing a check to Advocates of Lake County, P.O. Box 325, Leadville, CO.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, please contact the Advocates at (719) 486-3530.