Brighter Tomorrows works to raise awareness for domestic violence
While October ushers in cooler weather and Halloween, there is another more serious annual designation observed in October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For a lot of people, home is a sanctuary, a safe, warm place to rest comfortably, but for millions of others home is anything but safe.
There are organizations nationwide working to provide a safe-haven for those who do not feel safe in their own homes. Brighter Tomorrows serves survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in a variety of ways and it is the only agency in Monroe County that provides these services.
According to Program Coordinator Jan Bruder, the agency has two full time staff with its main office in Sparta and an outreach office in Tomah. All of Brighter Tomorrows services are free, confidential and accessible to any and all victims.
Last year it served nearly 400 individuals by providing victims with safe housing and support.
“The amount of survivors needing help continues to grow each year. I wish we didn’t have to exist,” Bruder said. “We love our job, but I just wish there wasn’t a need for us. Unfortunately, we’re never going to go out of business. I wish that we could, but we will always be here for people providing services.”
Brighter Tomorrows provides a wide array of services including a 24-hour crisis line, crisis intervention, legal and personal advocacy, referrals, safety planning, support groups, community education, volunteer opportunities and so much more.
Staff also help to provide individuals and families with toiletries, cleaning supplies, household supplies, store vouchers, gift cards, gas cards and just about anything else victims might need to help re-establish their lives.
Brighter Tomorrows is solely funded by grants and donations from community members and local businesses to help carry out its mission.
The agency will be hosting its second annual fundraiser on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Tomah Recreation Park in the gold building.
This year, the theme of the fundraiser is Remembering Theresa Williams, whose life was tragically cut short on July 22, 2009 at her Warrens home in a domestic violence homicide.
“This is the tenth anniversary of her death and her best friend helps facilitate our fundraiser. Her daughter will be there too to give a brief speech about her mom and the memories of her,” Bruder said. “It’s hard to think about what they went through. I was here during that time and it was amazing how Theresa’s friends and family came together, it was within the same year that they began creating awareness.”
There will be basket raffles valued as high as $150 to $200 at the event. There will be a fully catered meal and a presentation from Carolyn Colleen, PhD, a national public speaker and author.
“She was a victim of domestic violence and she came up with a strategy to get herself through her abuse,” Bruder said. “To set goals, to reach those goals and to keep going. She wrote a book about it that is amazing. She turned her story into something good and I can’t imagine how many women she’s empowered.”
At last year’s fundraiser, Bruder hoped to raise at least $1,000 at the event. Her expectations were greatly exceeded when the event raised nearly $10,000 for Brighter Tomorrows; the target goal for this year is $15,000.
Tickets to the event can be purchased for $30 in person or at www.ticketstripe.com/brightertomorrows. Organizations can also reserve a table for eight to the event for $250, to do so contact Brighter Tomorrows directly.
Tickets will be on sale until Oct. 10, as Bruder will need to provide a final number to the caterer.
Sponsorships are also available. For anyone thinking about becoming a sponsor or wanting to discuss donating, contact Bruder directly at (608) 269-7853 or via email at email@example.com.