Photo courtesy of Grace Coleman
Crisis Center North Board Treasurer Detmer Schaffer, Executive Director Grace Coleman and former Board President Alicia Dal Lago enjoy an evening together at Zonta’s Glass Slipper Ball. Funds raised at the ball benefit CCN Educational Scholarship Program.
By Alyse Horn
On Saturday, February 22, the 11th Annual Glass Slipper Ball will commence at 7 p.m. at Four Points Sheraton in Cranberry.
The Glass Slipper Ball is an event held by Zonta Three Rivers North Pittsburgh that helps raise money and awareness to “greatly increase critical funding, community awareness and mutually beneficial relationships for women’s agencies and service organizations,” according to its website.
The ball directly helps benefit Crisis Center North, a nonprofit organization and a counseling and educational resource center whose mission is to empower victims of domestic violence, and cultivate community attitudes that break the cycle of violence.
Grace Coleman, executive director of CCN, said money received from the ball is put into a scholarship fund to help women support themselves and go back to school “so they don’t have to be financially tied down to an abusive relationship.”
Zonta hires Team Effort Events to help with the production of the ball, and CCN has been a recipient of the funds from the ball since 2004.
Debra Krischke, founder and special events coordinator for Team Effort Events, said she initially thought of the concept for the Glass Slipper Ball herself over a decade ago and originally held the event in her home.
Krischke said she knew Zonta was holding fundraisers for the same cause, and recognized that the concept of the ball had to go big.
“I presented [Zonta] with an offer they couldn’t refuse,” Krischke said.
Krischke said partnering with Zonta opened a whole new level of fund raising.
Currently, four to five different agencies receive the proceeds that are gathered during the ball. Krischke said Zonta collects the money and then a committee divides the money accordingly between the organizations.
Krischke said the ball serves as “a reminder to us all of why we do this.”
“[An event like this] should always connect with the bigger purpose,” Krischke said. “It’s really nice when you hear a testimony of how [the money] changed someone’s life, and to know that your time and effort made a difference.”
Since partnering with the ball, Coleman said over $100,000 has been collected for CCN and directed to victims of domestic violence.
Coleman said the scholarship from CCN can help remove the restrictions that are sometimes implemented when applying for grant money. With some grants, the money can only be used for purposes that deal specifically with school. With the scholarship from CCN, women can use it to overcome the obstacle of child care or transportation so they are free to take classes.
“That’s what makes this money so powerful, it can meet the needs of the woman,” Coleman said.
One woman, who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons, had been in an abusive marriage for over 20 years before seeking help from CCN. Through the emotional and financial support she received through the crisis center, she was able to leave her husband and go back to school.
“Even if I got out [of the relationship] I didn’t know what I would be able to do without an education,” the source said. “I feel like [the scholarship] was sent by God. I don’t know if I would have had the confidence to leave my husband without the scholarship and [Crisis Center North].”
The source said that counseling alone was a great help in leaving her husband, because CCN employees are trained to understand the dynamic of abusive relationships.
“A lot of people think that going to the crisis center… they will make you leave [your relationship] right away,” the source said. “Whether or not you’re ready to do that, just seek counseling.”
Dawn, who is also using the scholarship to further her education, said women that are in abusive relationships normally don’t think there is a way out.
“Up until the day I filed the Protection from Abuse order against my husband I didn’t think there was a way out,” Dawn said. “Crisis Center North can be your support system if you don’t have one.”
CCN is always accepting volunteers, and Coleman said the organization is currently the largest volunteer core in the state under domestic violence coming in at 63 volunteers.
“If you can think of a way to volunteer, we can use you,” Coleman said.
All volunteers who work directly with victims are required to complete 48 hours of training, and some don’t even have to leave their homes.
The crisis center offers a 24 hour hotline that directs calls to different volunteer’s homes, where the caller can be provided with crisis counseling, information and referral every day of the week, 365 days a year.
“Think of the worst moment of your life,” Coleman said. “Now, if I asked you to walk over to a table of complete strangers and tell them about that moment, how would you feel? Women have to trust us every day with their story.”
The hotline number is 412-364-5556.
Photo courtesy of Grace Coleman
Crisis Center North Executive Director Grace Coleman and daughter Sierra Coleman Chapin enjoying the evening at the Glass Slipper Ball. The event has raised over $100,000 for CCN to use towards its scholarship program.