Peace House relies on community to keep its programs alive
Domestic violence isn’t just a woman’s problem, nor is it just a child’s problem, said Ann Johnson, communication and development director for Peace House, the local nonprofit dedicated to wiping out domestic violence in Summit and Wasatch counties.
"This is everyone’s problem," Johnson said during an interview with The Park Record. "This isn’t about the women you don’t know. This is about your sister, your mother, your daughter, your niece. And when people start to realize that everyone is affected by domestic violence, more people start to get on board to figure out a way to eliminate it."
That’s one of the reasons Peace House has hosted its annual spring luncheon for the past seven years.
"This is a fundraiser for our community because Peace House is a big part of our community," Johnson said. "We are grateful beyond all measure for the support we get, and we hope to get more of the community behind us."
This year’s luncheon will be held on Thursday, May 5, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church’s social hall, 1505 White Pine Canyon Rd. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. The lunch begins at noon.
Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door, and can be purchased by visiting http://www.peacehouse.org or by calling 435-658-4739 ex. 104.
The guest speakers will be Park City’s Jason Glidden and Utah State University Professor Steve Reiher.
"The focus of the luncheon this year is about what role men can play in stopping the violence that exists in our families," Johnson explained. "Men can take a significant role in what they say, hear and understand in their neighbors’ or family members’ households.
"Jason works for the city and I understand that he had some personal experience with domestic violence that he is ready to share with the community," she said. "I believe his talk will be very moving in that regard."
Johnson is also looking forward to hearing Reiher’s presentation.
"He was instrumental, along with former Utah Governor John Huntsman, to bring Men’s Anti-violence Network (MAN) to Utah," she said.
MAN’s mission is to help end violence by increasing public awareness of violence issues, actively engaging men in prevention efforts, advocating for more effective anti-violence public policy, and ensuring that men of all ages understand appropriate male behaviors.
"There are still many people who won’t talk about domestic violence, especially if it strikes close to home," Johnson said. "It’s hard to be out there saying, ‘Yes, my family has been affected,’ or, ‘My immediate neighbor has been affected by it.’"
Unfortunately, statistics show Utah has a problem with domestic violence.
"One in three women in Utah will be affected by domestic violence in her lifetime," she said. "This is higher than the national average, which is one in four women."
In the Wasatch Back last year, Peace House sheltered 100 people, including adults and children, Johnson said.
"Even though our shelter is in an undisclosed location, the numbers of people we assist come primarily from Summit County," she said.
That’s why the luncheon and fundraiser is needed.
"Beyond sheltering the victims, Peace House went into all of the public schools in our service area and taught nearly 7,000 students about how to be safe," Johnson said.
The lessons cover how to be safe on the playground, on the internet and while dating.
"Our focus with younger children is about bullying and what child abuse looks like and our focus with teens is about healthy relationships and dating violence," Johnson explained.
All of the lessons we taught at the schools are approved by Prevent Child Abuse Utah, a nonprofit that strives to protect and value children, strengthen families and engage communities, according to Johnson.
"We also serve folks who, for any number of reasons, opt not to go to our shelter," she said. "We help them devise a safety plan so in the event that they need to flee, they will have everything they need to get out of the situation."
Peace House also offers a bilingual outreach program that works with the local Spanish speaking community.
"It truly is a community effort that keeps this shelter alive and working as a household," Johnson said. "Last year, we raised $20,000 and we hope to exceed that this year."
This is the first year Peace House will charge an admission to the luncheon, which will be catered by Eileen Dunn, of Done to Your Taste Catering.
"Eileen is making a significant donation, so every penny from ticket purchases and other donations that we collect during the fundraiser will go to support Peace House programs," Johnson said. "We are grateful for that."
Peace House will host its annual spring luncheon on Thursday, May 5, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church’s social hall, 1505 White Pine Canyon Rd. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. the lunch begins at noon. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door. Tickets can be purchased by visiting http://www.peacehouse.org or by calling 435-658-4739 ex. 104.
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