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Reflecting on WomenSafe's 2019 Year

Oftentimes when we enter into a new year, we look back and reflect on our favorite moments from the year we are leaving. And what a year it was for WomenSafe!

In 2019, WomenSafe provided shelter and services for hundreds of domestic violence survivors, implemented many new programs and services, and held many successful events that helped raise money for the shelter.

Some highlights from the year include:

  • Partnering with the CRCC and opening an office in Mentor
  • Implementing new services for our clients, including Trauma-Informed Yoga
  • Expanding our services into Lake County, including providing After Care and our Healthy Relationships program
  • Starting the volunteer-run Nancy's Nest
  • Our successful fundraiser events including Casino Night, our Golf Outing, and the Fall Luncheon
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • The renovation of our courtyard 

We want to thank all our supporters and volunteers for helping us make 2019 the most successful year for WomenSafe yet!

Hear from WomenSafe staff and volunteers on their most memorable moments from 2019:

  • Andrea Gutka, Chief Executive Officer

    Personally, I am so amazed to work with a staff who is dedicated to grow our agency into the best agency possible and work tirelessly to make sure that WomenSafe is a recognized agency that provides the highest quality of services to survivors of domestic violence throughout the state of Ohio.

  • Holly H., Court Advocate

    The one client that sticks out to me came in unsure of the shelter, not knowing what to expect, and if she could turn herself around and be on her own. This client worked hard every day to improve herself by journaling, doing yoga and getting out in the world, finding not only one job but two, working with staff on getting housing, and having the support that was offered daily while recreating her new self. I spoke with her recently and she is doing amazing and even got a dog!

  • Tricia G., Volunteer

    There are a few things that come to mind:

    • Even though I was unable to attend the Nancy's Nest craft nights, I was able to still contribute my cards to the Nancy's Nest initiative.
    • Every time I can fulfill a client's request in Roe's Closet.
    • Teaching new donation volunteers the daily routine working in Roe's Closet.
    • Having Roe's Closet be neater than when I arrived.
    • The fun time volunteering at both Casino night and the Fall Luncheon.

    And making [Donations Coordinator] Michele laugh!

  • Megan Fisher, Development Director

    I loved being part of the first Nancy’s Nest team!

    For over ten years, Nancy Zamrzla coordinated the traveling quilt and raised over $200,000 by utilizing volunteers and selling $2 raffle tickets in the community. When she made the decision that she could not coordinate the program anymore, our team went into problem solving mode and as a result, Nancy’s Nest was born. This craft club (made up of volunteers, staff, and clients) meets monthly and creates beautiful handmade cards and then staffs booths in the area to sell them.

    With its first year under our belt, it has been fun to see everybody’s fresh ideas come together to create and grow this program. With the help of volunteers, Nancy’s Nest raised over $8,000 this year to help WomenSafe! And for those of you who are wondering, Nancy is not done volunteering just yet! You can still find her at the Nancy’s Nest craft club, designing beautiful cards, staffing booths, and helping with special events.

  • Grace J., Volunteer

    Throughout the past year, I've repeatedly observed a positive transformation in many of the children [in the shelter]. Those who appeared sullen, tense and/or cautious upon arriving at the Green House eventually let down their guard and developed positive friendships with others who were undergoing the same trial. It's been very heartwarming to see them playing, laughing, running around and just acting like typical kids again!

  • Jessica Martin, Chief Clinical Officer

    I am proud of:

    • Our new Lake County office in Mentor with CRCC
    • I completed my 300 hour Hatha Yoga Certification and began teaching to the clients and staff at WomenSafe
    • Hiring our first ever male therapist, Justin
    • Expanding the Aftercare Program into Lake County
    • Creating the first ever Transitional Living Program for Survivors in Lake County

  • Alexis K., Volunteer

    I loved helping with the Adopt-A-Family program. Helping give people a wonderful holiday season is the best feeling.

  • Melissa N., Clinical Counselor and Art Therapist

    A few things that I believe were positive for 2019 were assisting with the Domestic Violence Support Group [Empower Hour] both in Lake County and Geauga County. I really enjoyed working with Bonnie G. while she was in her position in Aftercare. We provided support and education to individuals who were either supporting family members going through abusive relationships or even individuals themselves reaching out for the extra support. We are now transitioning to new facilitators of the group for 2020, and that is exciting.

    I also really enjoyed the Domestic Violence Awareness event that took place in downtown Chardon in October. At that event, I assisted with face painting. It was fun to have both the kids and even a few adults participate at our booth. I thought the event was fun and successful, and I was proud to be a part of it.

  • Stacy E., Geauga County DV Coordinator

    I’m so glad WomenSafe became a part of my life in 2019, first as a volunteer and now as an employee.

    Going into the middle and high schools of Geauga County to present our Healthy Relationships program has been a highlight for me. Talking to teenagers can be tough sometimes, but when I have students thank me and tell me they think all kids their age need to hear this information, it makes it all worth it!

Here are some of our most memorable moments captured on camera:

We're entering a new decade and approaching WomenSafe's 40th year as an organization. We are looking forward to helping more clients and expanding our services in 2020 and the many years to come!

  • Thank you to our Annual Event Partner Leading Lady!

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