Event raises awareness to fight domestic violence


Photo courtesy of Kara Sroka
Attendees from last years Cocktails & Cuisine event relax
outside during the event and soak in the nice weather.

By Alyse Horn

On Friday, May 16, Crisis Center North will be holding its signature Cocktails & Cuisine event to raise money for the services it provides to victims of domestic violence.

The event will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. at Bradford Woods, 134 Shenot Road.

Kara Sroka, development specialist for CCN said a lot of work goes into planning the night, but the reward is unrivaled.

“Having the resources to continue doing what we do and making a difference … keeping our families safe is absolutely the best part of the job,” Sroka said.

CCN is 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.

Since 1997 when CCN installed a tracking system to keep record those who utilize its services, Executive Director of CCN Grace Coleman said 1,994 clients have been from the Northside, and for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, 78 clients have been from the area.

Coleman said CCN receives grant funding, but the organization still needs to raise over 40% of its budget to keep services free for people in need. By attending Cocktails & Cuisine, Coleman said community members are able to have fun while also addressing a huge issue in the neighborhoods.

“There is something for everything and it is a fantastic way to make the community safer,” Coleman said.

Sroka said part of her job is to find sponsorships and donations for the event, which isn’t difficult because businesses in the community are motivated to support CCN’s cause. Through this, Sroka said the event is able to provide an array of different items for the live and silent auctions.

The bidding items range from different pieces of artwork and gift baskets, to trips through the Costa Rican rainforest and a stay in France’s wine region. Sroka said this year there will be a special getaway attendees can bid on, which is a James Bond secret hideaways romantic adventure for two where vacationers can “live the life only a secret agent could imagine.”

Event Chair Lisa Wagner said the event will be held outside at The Woodlands at Bradford Woods, and Pittsburgh jazz singer Antoinette will be performing throughout the night.

Wagner, who is a volunteer at CCN, said preparations for Cocktails & Cuisine started in October, but this time of the year can be particularly hectic.

“Seeing the event from start to finish and how successful it can be makes it all worth it,” Wagner said. “It’s a sense of accomplishment.”

The master of ceremonies will be Jon Burnett, the KDKA-TV Accuweather Forecaster. Some of the food purveyors include Atria’s, Bella Frutteto, NOLA on the Square, Tin Man Sweets and Walnut Grill. The wine tables will be sponsored by First Commonwealth Bank and Achieve Realty.

Tickets are $75 per person and the dress is business casual. For more information call 412-364-6728 ext. 15.

Sroka also noted that CCN will be a recipient of the Pittsburgh Foundation’s Day of Giving on May 6. From 6 a.m. until midnight, any donation made to the crisis center will receive a pro-rated portion of the match pool. For more information click here.

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