Purses with a Purpose

Serene Harbor's 'Purses with a Purpose' luncheon will benefit domestic abuse survivors and help the nonprofit in its mission to provide free services to the community.

BREVARD COUNTY — Whether it’s plain for the world to see or a secret hidden from sight, domestic violence is an ugly cycle that needs to be stopped.

Nonprofits such as Serene Harbor have been helping victims of abuse through its confidential and free services since 1992.

Each year, Serene Harbor hosts its “Purses with a Purpose” luncheon, which proceeds are used toward helping survivors and its services.

This year’s luncheon is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, 200 Rialto Place.

Tickets cost $55 per individual.

Each year, Serene Harbor invites a guest speaker who is an advocate for survivors of domestic abuse. This Friday, Marni Sawicki will speak to attendees at the luncheon.

Ms. Sawicki was Florida’s first female mayor in Cape Coral from 2013-17, and is the founder of Indigo Pros, Inc., a consulting firm.

It was in June 2017 at a U.S. Conference of Mayors in Miami that Ms. Sawicki was violently abused by her ex-husband, and her story was exposed.

As an abused child by an alcoholic father, Ms. Sawicki was already an advocate, using her voice and connections to educate the public to put an end to victim shaming and the cycle of abuse.

The luncheon will feature silent and live auctions, vendors and raffles.

“I think people enjoy giving back and feeling like they are helping, even if they can’t contribute on a large level,” said Beverly DeMeyer, director of marketing and development of Serene Harbor. “In our world of nonprofit, there is no gift too small to help.”

Up for auction are six “experience” packages paired with a name brand purse. Experiences include theme park tickets, “stay and play” with Victory Cruise Lines, restaurant and catering packages and more.

For every signature cocktail purchased during the event, the Hilton will donate $1 back to Serene Harbor.

“Last year we lost one of our long-term supporters and this will be the second year we’ve given out the Dotti Gatti Philanthropic Legacy Award to a recipient in the community,” Mrs. DeMeyer said.

For those unaware, October is also known for “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” and Serene Harbor’s luncheon helps to educate and raise awareness for its services available to the community.

The nonprofit serves as an emergency shelter and domestic violence center for women, children and their pets.

Services offered by Serene Harbor includes counseling, legal advocacy, case management, transportation, emergency housing, support groups, children’s programs and an advocate who goes out in the community to educate the public on cycles of violence and how to avoid it.

As of this year, Serene Harbor’s Shelter and Outreach Program staff has provided 6,604 nights of shelter, answered 963 hotline calls, assisted 110 individuals by the Injunction for Protection and has created 845 safety plans for individuals.

For more information, call (321) 726-0402 or visit www.sereneharbor.org.

Associate Managing Editor

I have been a Viera resident for 14 years and a writer my whole life. I love to travel when the opportunity presents itself, as well as try new things.

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