Tuesday, July 13, 2010

BeadforLife Open House

Trinity Episcopal Church in Buchanan, VA is hosting a BeadforLife Open House. BeadforLife eradicates extreme poverty by creating bridges of understanding between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens. Ugandan women turn colorful recycled paper into beautiful beads, and people who care open their hearts,homes and communities to buy and sell the beads.

This is a women's microfinance project begun in the slums of Uganda by a handful of women who worked in rock quarries with small hammers breaking rocks for a $1.00 a day. Most of them have contracted AIDS from their husbands and their children are born infected with the virus. As women die, others take their children in. They have built 5 houses, a clinic and a school with proceeds for the sale of jewelry they make from scrap paper. Lives have been changed. The world is a better place because of these brave women and their sponsors here in the US.

This special fundraising event is a cause supported by Maryanne Meloy from our 419 at Colonial store in Roanoke. "I believe microfinance projects are the key to women and children gaining independence and freedom on so many levels," says Maryanne. "I am so thrilled we at Trinity will be doing a small part to further this cause. It is a great tie-in for me as it combines my love for finely crafted and unusual jewelry with a deep interest in the growth of microfinancing around the world and with my understanding of mission. I am gladdened by The Episcopal Church's Millennium Goals Office support."

Aimee, a graduate student majoring in African and Asian studies at George Mason, visited one of these projects in Marrakesh and was so excited. She and Maryanne presented a program about it at Trinity and at Community School.

Contact Maryanne at 540-254-2203 or divadaedalus@verizon.net. Click here to learn more about Bead for Life. Hope you can come!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fink's Jewelers Proudly Supports H-E-A-R-T INC

On May 22nd 2010 Fink's Jewelers provided a David Yurman sterling silver heart pendant as a door prize for the H-E-A-R-T INC Tennis challenge at Raintree Swim and Racquet Club in Richmond, Virginia. Shown to the right is Debbie Smith holding the Yurman Heart necklace.

The mission of H-E-A-R-T (Hope Exists After Rape Trauma) is to provide HOPE for victims of sexual assault through the provision of essential and therapeutic support, by affecting positive change in laws influencing their lives, and by educating both the public and professionals commissioned to serve victims. A vital issue in this matter involves the use of DNA. To enhance that use, H-E-A-R-T will promote the continued use of DNA, and through educating legislators, law enforcement officials, and others, promote its expanded use and continued improvement. H-E-A-R-T promotes victim empowerment and encourages the public to have a greater understanding of and respect for sexual assault victims.

Debbie Smith Act (taken from h-e-a-r-t.info)
On March 3,1989, Debbie Smith was kidnapped from her home while her husband, a police officer, was sleeping upstairs. She was dragged into the woods behind her Williamsburg, Virginia home and raped. The rapist threatened Debbie not to tell, and reminded her that he knew where she lived. Bravely, Debbie went forward and told her husband Robert of the assault. The rape was officially reported and she consented to a forensic exam.

After the sexual assault, Debbie feared that her unknown attacker would return to further harm her or her family. This fear was paralyzing. During the first few years following this attack, Debbie was suicidal. Only the fear of her family finding her body prevented her from following this thought through. Some days, she and Robert drove around Williamsburg looking at homes because Debbie wanted to move. Other days she felt furious at her attacker for the effect he had on her and her family. On those days, she refused to move.

The traumatic effect of the assault remained with Debbie and her family for six and a half years, and then her perpetrator was finally caught through a DNA database known as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System). The man who sexually assaulted her had abducted and robbed two other women. Their attacker was identified through an ATM photo where he made them take out their money. When his DNA was put into the system there was a match. Debbie’s attacker was convicted of rape, abduction, robbery, burglary and larceny. He was sentenced to two life terms plus 25 years in prison. Because of the suffering Debbie and countless other victims of sexual assault have faced, legislation has been passed to improve investigations and services for this crime. The Debbie Smith Act, now part of the Justice For All Act of 2004, was signed into law on October 30, 2004. For a complete look at this law, see the web site noted above.

Debbie Smith travels around the country with her husband Robert to talk about her experience. Her purposes for talking about the attack are to help in her healing and to be a voice for the many women who have not been able to speak out. They would like to take away the stigma that comes with rape that puts the blame back on the victim. They would also like to put rapists in jail before they have a chance to continue their rampage, as most rapists will attack between eight and twelve women.

Send all questions, comments and suggestions to info@h-e-a-r-t.info