Working in the domestic violence field isn’t easy. Advocates, volunteers and other helpers are exposed to traumatic experiences on a regular basis, both first- and secondhand. But the work is absolutely necessary and rewarding—domestic violence professionals change and save lives.
Burnout is common in the field due to the intensity of the work, but these professionals are unsung heroes. The extent of how much emotional and physical stress advocates willingly experience can be extreme. However, when professional support persons were asked to rank the prevention techniques that they found most helpful, using a one to six scale with six being most helpful, emotional support from colleagues ranked at 4.21, putting it in the top three most helpful measures of preventing burnout.
Recognition as a form of support and gratitude is why DomesticShelters.org started the Purple Ribbon Awards. It’s the first comprehensive awards program honoring the countless heroes of the domestic violence movement, including advocates, programs, shelters, survivors and members of the community support system.
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“We Need Space for Inspiration”
Claudine Thibaudeau represents SOS violence conjugale, a program that helps domestic violence victims in Quebec. SOS violence conjugale won a 2021 Purple Ribbon Award in the Outstanding Awareness Campaign category. They also won a $7,500 grant as a special recognition.
“We work in a field that takes a lot out of us. We need space for inspiration, and that’s what the Purple Ribbon Award did for us,” Thibaudeau says. “It gives us inspiration and a push to do more, to dream bigger.”
Recognizing and honoring the work that often goes unsung helps revitalize, inspire, and spread awareness of the countless heroes within the domestic violence movement—people who are changing and saving lives every day.
“It revitalized our staff and our community and our mission,” says DawnMarie Ardelt, the Executive Director of Laurens County Safe Home. They won the 2021 Purple Ribbon Award for Shelter Turnaround of the Year, after the shelter suffered a devastating fire. Despite the significant damage to the shelter, staff at the Laurens County Safe Home never missed a day of continued support for their clients and were even able to find a new, better space.
Select PRA Winners Receive Up to $30,000 in Grants
With over 30 categories of recognition, The Purple Ribbon Awards honors a huge variety of the different types of work done in the domestic violence field, from shelters to awareness campaigns to survivors using their experience to help others. Up to $30,000 in grant money is awarded to select winners.
“A lot of us work off grants and donations, so sometimes not everything is covered,” explains Rachel Enriquez, who won the 2021 Purple Ribbon Award for Shelter Employee of the Year. With her award came a $2,500 grant for her employer, Center of Hope.
Neisha Himes won the 2021 Purple Ribbon Award for Survivor of the Year, honoring her work as a liaison between survivors and law enforcement, as well as leadership of her organization, the G.R.O.W. Foundation. In honor of her award, G.R.O.W. Foundation won a $5,000 grant. “It allowed us to be able to lease our very first office space,” Himes says.
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“It’s special because I feel like if I’m trying to put an effort into what I’m doing, it’s making a difference,” says Enriquez. “And people can tell I am trying. I try so hard to help my clients and make a difference to the people I’m serving.”
Nominate Heroes You Know
Join Theresa’s Fund, DomesticShelters.org and our panel of expert judges in honoring the meaningful, life-changing work these heroes do every day. With over 30 categories, there is significant room to celebrate the deeply meaningful work being done in the domestic violence movement.
The Purple Ribbon Awards recognize both individual contributors with awards such as Volunteer of the Year as well as group contributions with categories like Outstanding New Service Launch or Program/Shelter of the Year. Anyone can nominate as many people, organizations, or programs as they’d like—including themselves or their organization—at the cost of $50 per nomination (a fee used to continue to support the Purple Ribbon Awards program). Nominators can include pictures, reports, multimedia presentations, marketing materials and any other resources they think tells their nominee’s story in the best way possible.
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